One of the oldest temples in Bali is located atop rugged cliffs, a spectacular setting from which to enjoy the sun setting over the ocean.
Peaceful Uluwatu Temple is nestled within a spectacular natural setting. Carved out of black coral rock, the temple sits on the crest of 250-feet (76-meter) high cliffs, overlooking the Java Sea. Dating back to the 10th century, Uluwatu is one of the oldest temples in Bali. It’s one of Bali’s kayangan jagat, or “directional temples,” which means, according to Hinduism, its function is to guard Bali from evil spirits.
The temple has particular religious significance: Dhang Hyang Dwijendra, a pilgrim who founded the current form of Hindu-Dharma in the 15th century, lived his last days here. It’s believed that he achieved “moksa,” or unity with god, while meditating at this site.
Situated at the southern tip of Bali, Uluwatu Temple is surrounded by a landscape that is more rugged and drier than the rest of the island. Admire the dramatic views of the jagged headlands on either side of the cliff and watch the sun set over the ocean. Beneath the cliffs, look for surfers enjoying one of the most famous surfing spots in Bali. If you are a keen to join them, take your board and descend the stairs to the small beach.
In the evening, dine in one of the warungs (restaurants) along the clifftops and watch the moon rising over the ocean.
Uluwatu Temple is located near the village of Pecatu, in the South Kuta district, about 19 miles (30 kilometers) south of Bali’s capital city, Denpasar. The easiest way to reach the temple is to drive there with a rented car or motorbike, or to hire a driver.
Remember to wear modest clothing when visiting the temple complex. If you aren’t wearing suitable clothing, rent a sarong at the entrance. Make sure to watch out for the monkeys; they are experts at snatching visitors' belongings, especially sunglasses.