Uluwatu is a paradise! See our guide and why we will be back!

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Uluwatu is truly amazing! We arrived in the southern beachside region of Bali after a very busy period of work and life for both of us back home. We were craving some rest, relaxation and in desperate need of a recharge. Uluwatu delivered on this and more!

Ky had visited Bali in 2016 but only stayed in the tourist heart of Seminyak, whilst Tess was well travelled in Asia but not Bali. We both expected the usual Asian ‘chaos’, but didn’t anticipate the positive, vibrant, and wellness focused place that Uluwatu was! We found this coastal paradise a mix between the ‘chic’ and health-conscious vibes of Byron Bay, combined with a distinctly Asian flavour. Think good food, a plethora of amazing cafe’s, wonderful beach bars, world class waves, one of our favourite gyms in the world, and incredible accommodation (see at the end)! Read on for our thoughts and recommendations from a wonderful 5 night stay in Uluwatu!

Why Uluwatu over Seminyak or Canggu?

Having both frequented Asian countries, and with Ky visiting Seminyak a few years prior, we wanted to step away from the party scene, street markets and tourist masses. Uluwatu offers a calmer experience, while still delivering on high quality food, cafe, bar and beach club options. If you’re looking for cheap Asian markets, lots of shops, low cost massages and party venues, choose Seminyak. If you want the above but access to amazing beach clubs, choose Canggu. If you want more picturesque beaches, better surfing, amazing cafe’s, and less chaos, consider Uluwatu! It’s definitely one of the next big destinations for Bali tourism.

What to know before visiting Uluwatu:

Uluwatu isn’t quite the same vibe as ‘tourist Bali’, which is why we enjoyed it. There’s less bars and clubs, no cheap markets, and overall less tourists. The main street has many great bars, cafes and restaurants, however it is very long and quite a distance from one end to the other (a few kms) meaning you’ll need to order a Grab/Taxi or ride a scooter. This also means you don’t have the same ‘heart of the town’ like other busier parts of Bali. Additionally, the beaches aren’t as easily accessible, often needing a scooter/taxi/Grab ride to get there and many stairs to reach them. There is also a bit more of a ‘health conscious’ focus, meaning less ‘fast food’ options available. Finally, there’s fewer resorts and ‘kids club’ type accommodation compared to other regions of Bali. These are all reasons we loved our stay, however it is important to consider if these fit with why you want to visit Bali and what you want to get out of your trip.

What we enjoyed about Uluwatu:

Some of our favourite things from our time in Uluwatu were not necessarily activities we set out to do each day, but rather little moments scatted throughout our visit. Firstly, waking up without an agenda and letting the day pan out with little to no expectations was something we particularly enjoyed. If you’re the kind of traveller who is happy to ‘go with the flow’ then Uluwatu is the place for you. Other moments that were highlights include enjoying a beer overlooking Bingin Beach at Kelly’s Warung (tasting even sweeter after the descent on foot to get there) and cafΓ© hopping along the main street to find the best almond latte Uluwatu has to offer. We also loved the positive and happy Balinese people who always had a smile on their face. Finally, our accommodation was incredible, and a great spot for us to relax and enjoy (see below)!

Things you should do in Uluwatu:

There’s a multitude of great options and things to do in Uluwatu. We’ve listed a few of the activities we enjoyed and think you should definitely consider when visiting:

  • Check out the amazing cafes and restaurants: Uluwatu is truly a haven for amazing cafe’s with well designed aesthetics and an array of great food options. The coffee was great and there’s loads of top spots to sit and work or study.
  • Visit the beaches and beach bars: The clifftops that comprise much of Uluwatu’s coastline means there’s ample opportunity for amazing beach clubs, bars and places to perch for a beer or drink. The water is much clearer in Uluwatu compared to Seminyak/Canggu, however be prepared for surf beaches and rocky reefs. Our favourite beach was definitely Bingin Beach! We have also listed some of the beach bars we loved down below!
  • Surf or watch the surfers: The waves in Uluwatu are some of the best in Bali, and surfers will flock here to ride them. If you’re a surfer, head out and enjoy great reef breaks and warm water. Alternatively, sit and watch the surfers in action. The beach bars, e.g. Single Fin or Kelly’s Warung, are great spots to relax and look on.
  • Shop at the many local boutiques: The main street of Uluwatu has some amazing boutiques filled with a great range of clothes, jewellery, bathers, surf gear, fitness wear and more. We loved shopping at some of these unique one-location-only shops.
  • Embrace the health and fitness vibe in Uluwatu: We noticed a distinct health and wellness vibe in Uluwatu. There were lots of gyms and yoga studios. The cafe’s had a multitude of health-focused menu items, and many were vegetarian/vegan as well. Overall, the people living and visiting Uluwatu seemed to embrace this lifestyle.

The best Coffee in Uluwatu:

Uluwatu had a thriving cafΓ© scene with many excellent coffee’s that wouldn’t be out of place in Melbourne Australia. Of course we decided to sample 2-3 different cafe’s and coffee’s per day (we’re coffee addicts), so we feel well placed to give our thoughts, as coffee snobs, on some of the best coffee’s in Uluwatu.

Our top 5 favourites were:

  • BGS Uluwatu: Located at the opposite end to most of our other favourite cafe’s (near Single Fin), this cafe delivers one of the best coffees in Uluwatu!
  • Chela – This aesthetic cafΓ© belongs on your Instagram feed, and the coffee could easily be found in Melbourne. We found the cortado the best variation!
  • The Loft – We watched the barista make these coffees and instantly knew they would be good after seeing how much time, effort and care he put into them. One of the best in Uluwatu.
  • Nourish – This main street cafe is always busy, offering good feed, great coffee and often live music in the afternoon/evenings. We tried the food and of course the coffee! Definitely a top pick!
  • Uluwatu Motorcycle – This little espresso bar is just off the main street, and definitely worth a visit! Great coffee, lovely staff, and some good breakfast options.

There are so many other great cafe’s and coffee options that we have put together a full guide here. Check out our thoughts on the best coffee’s in Uluwatu!

Food & bars we loved in Uluwatu:

There was a lot of excellent, well-priced food in Uluwatu! We were ‘cautious’ with our food choices (e.g. no salads, ordering cooked meals etc) and thankfully didn’t encounter any ‘Bali-belly’ during our stay. We have listed some of our favourites below, but there’s many more that we didn’t get a chance to try:

  • Laggas: this Asian fusion restaurant came highly recommended, and we are glad we decided to check it out! Great food, good prices and creative cocktails! Make sure you order the beef rendang dumpling, this was amazing! We spent around 500,000k (~$50 AUD) for 2 mains, 1 entree and 2 cocktails.
  • Alchemy: This cafe-come-restaurant-come-co work space was one of our favourite spots to relax, do some work, or get a coffee and breakfast. Alchemy is vegetarian with lots of vegan options, and the food was great! In particular, the banana pancakes were amazing! Alchemy also offered a ‘breakfast deal’ where you could order something off the menu and get a free coffee before 10am. Breakfast would often cost between 70-100,000k (~$7-10AUD) and coffee around 20-45,000K (~$2-4.50AUD)
  • Ours: This restaurant and wine bar was across the road from our hotel, and we loved the vibe there. We stopped for a few cocktails one night and recommend it as a great place to visit.
  • Beach Bars: head to Kellys Warung at Bingin Beach for wonderful views and cheap drinks, or if visiting the popular Single Fin, consider heading down the stairs to La Terazza which had less crowds and just as good a view!
  • Others we enjoyed included Nourish/The Loft/Drifters for brunch/lunch, Ulu Artisan and Bartolo if you’re looking for something a bit fancier (and more expensive).

Note: there are numerous beach clubs in Uluwatu like Ulu Cliffhouse, El Kabron, Single Fin, Savaya, Sundays Beach club and many more. While we did visit 1 or 2, these aren’t really our ‘vibe’. However, they are impressive, often have great views, DJs and pools. Just be prepared that the prices are often high and they may require a minimum spend.

Health and Fitness in Uluwatu:

One of the things we were looking forward to when visiting Uluwatu was relaxing and training at some local gyms. One of our good friends had recently visited, and gave us the heads up on an amazing fitness centre, Bambu. This gym was one of the ‘places to be’ in Uluwatu, with popular classes running most hours. We bought a 3 day pass and loved our sessions there! While we didn’t get the chance in Uluwatu, we noticed a multitude of great yoga studios and have listed some below based upon recommendations. If health and fitness is your thing, we think you will love Uluwatu!

  • Gyms: Bambu Fitness, Bali Training Centre
  • Yoga Studios: The Space Bali, Morning Light Yoga, Yoga Searcher, and more.

Where we stayed in Uluwatu:

After deciding on a stay in the beautiful Uluwatu, we did a lot of research. There are numerous accommodation stays at a variety of price ranges. We found that because Uluwatu is relatively spread out, the accommodation choices vary and location can be a big factor. We decided upon a stay at Segredo Uluwatu, located in the heart of the action just a few minutes walk from gyms, cafes and restaurants. Our research paid off! This boutique hotel was recently build in 2022, and has a distinct Moroccan feel, reminiscent of a Moroccan riad (a little throwback to our 2022 Moroccan travels!).

Why stay at Segredo?
  • Excellent location: Segredo Uluwatu is located close the all of the best cafes and restaurants. It is only a 1 minute walk to main street, 10 minutes to Padang Padang beach, 5-10 minutes to excellent gyms and short car/scooter rides to many other beaches (e.g. Bingin Beach).
  • The aesthetic: Segredo Uluwatu offered a beautiful exotic Moroccan feel and great spaces including a pool to relax. The hotel has been exceptionally well styled and it was truly a joy to stay here.
  • Well priced: We only paid $200AUD per night, and considering the beautiful hotel and excellent location, we thought this was good value! You can definitely find cheaper options, however it is unlikely they will be at the same level as Segredo Uluwatu.

We found this to be one of our favourite stays yet! Take a look at Segredo Uluwatu here!

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