Bukit Peninsula

The majestic cliff setting of Uluwatu Temple

The Bukit Peninsula is southernmost point of Bali, Indonesia.

Understand

This is a large limestone peninsula which, bar a sliver of land just south of the airport, would be a separate island. It is rugged and dry, and pre-tourist development this was a real backwater of Bali.

The Bukit (as it is commonly referred to) includes the famous cliff-hanging temple at Uluwatu, a number of Bali's very best beaches including Balangan, and the top surfing spots on the island. As is so often the case, it was intrepid surfers who really opened up the eyes of the world to this part of the island.

The two main towns with strong local communities on the Bukit are Pecatu and Ungasan.

This article covers the whole of the Bukit Peninsula south of Jimbaran and west of Nusa Dua.

Get in

Map of the south-west of the Bukit Peninsula

The Bukit Peninsula is connected to Kuta through Jimbaran by the busy Jalan Bypass Nusa Dua and this is the only route in. Take this main road south to the junction with Jalan Uluwatu II (the famous McDonald's junction), turn west towards Jimbaran Bay, continue about 2 km and at the four road junction make a sharp left up the hill (signposted for Uluwatu). Continue on this road into the heart of the peninsula.

A taxi from Kuta to Uluwatu for example takes 30–40 minutes on winding roads and will cost about Rp 120,000 one-way. If you are just visiting for the day, consider asking the driver to wait trip as it can be difficult to find transport back. Figure on paying the taxi driver Rp 20,000/hour to wait. Joining a tour can be a cheaper way of getting to Uluwatu and this destination is very widely offered by tour operators all over the island.

Get around

Exploring the Bukit lends itself very well to a rented motorbike. A number of the nicer beaches are reached via small roads or dirt tracks and a motorbike is the best method.

Taxis are not plentiful but can be found. There is a taxi stand at Padang-Padang just north of the bridge and one or two taxis are often sitting there waiting for customers.

A few bemos ply the main routes only but they are neither regular nor reliable.

See

Behind the cuddly facade lies a cunning thief

Uluwatu Temple (Pura Uluwatu) is one of Bali's nine key directional temples. Though a small temple was claimed to have existed beforehand, the structure was significantly expanded by a Javanese sage, Empu Kuturan in the 11th Century. Another sage from East Java, Dang Hyang Nirartha is credited for constructing the padmasana shrines and is claimed to have attained Moksha here. Even more remarkable than the temple itself is its location, perched on a steep cliff 70 metres above the roaring Indian ocean waves. There are more steep headlands on either side and sunsets over Uluwatu are a sight to behold.

The entrance fee for the temple premises from 1 Jan 2015 is Rp 20,000 and you need to wearing long pants, if not there are Sarongs and sashes available free at the entrance. Guides, once famously mercenary, hassle visitors less than they used to, although they will offer to "protect" you from the monkeys, for a tip of course. Note that while you are free to walk around the temple grounds, the central courtyards can only be entered during special rituals.

The temple is inhabited by large number of monkeys, who are extremely adept at snatching visitors' belonging, including bags, cameras and eyeglasses. Keep a very close grip on all your belongings and stow away your eyeglasses if at all possible. If you do have something taken, the monkeys can usually be induced to exchange it for some fruit. Needless to say, rewarding the monkeys like this only encourages them to steal more. Locals and even the temple priests will be happy to do the job for you, naturally in exchange for a tip (Rp 10,000-50,000).

The cliff is fascinating but the temple itself is not as impressive as others in Bali.

There is also a very scenic cave underneath with rock formations leading onto a beach close to the temple. This is a popular spot for surfers.

Beaches

There are number of good white sand beaches on the Bukit Peninsula which many consider the best in Bali:

Bingin Beach

Do

The Kecak Dance at Uluwatu

Uluwatu is a very well known destination among surfing enthusiasts. Most of the surf spots are only suitable for advanced or expert surfers though - the waves are big here. The main surfing spots are Uluwatu, Dreamland, Padang-Padang, Bingin/Impossibles and Suluban.

Kecak Dance (monkey dance) performances are held at Uluwatu temple daily between 6PM-7PM. Tickets for the visually spectacular, if rather unoriginal show (it was invented in the 1930s), cost Rp 100,000(from Jan 2015).

Choosing to get married or renewing vows in Bali is increasingly popular, and the Bukit Peninsula is the most popular destination for such ceremonies. There is a stunning, modernist, purpose-built cliff-front wedding chapel close to Nyang Nyang Beach and the Bulgari Hotel, and a number of resorts offer specialist wedding packages and planning.

Spas

Buy

There are the usual souvenir shops at the parking area at the entrance to Uluwatu temple. Otherwise, this is not an area of Bali known for its shopping.

There are convenience stores/small supermarkets in the villages of Pecatu and Ungasan for everyday shopping.

Eat

The growing number of five star resorts on the Bukit Peninsula all have top class restaurants (and prices to match). Alila and Karma Kandara are especially highly rated.

At a more humble level, there are a host of simple local roadside cafes catering to the young surfing crowd at Bingin, Padang-Padang and Uluwatu. A lot of these hardly have a name, let alone contact details, and the best advice is to follow the crowds. Expect cold beers and good, simple Indonesian food.

Drink

This is certainly not an area in which to expect much nightlife, and visitors staying here wanting some late night bar or club culture might make the 45 minute journey up to Kuta or Seminyak.

You will almost always find somebody to join you for a relaxed beer on the beach though as there is a strong surf culture here. The beaches at Padang-Padang and Bingin are the best bets.

Sleep

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under US $30
Mid-range US $30 to 150
Splurge Over US $150

As a tourist destination, the whole Bukit Peninsula area was popularised by surfers. There are still numerous small, cheap bungalows close to the main surf points at Uluwatu, Padang-Padang, Bingin and Suluban, and many visitors just turn up and take what is available.

The area has more recently sprouted an impressive collection of high-end villas and resorts as well. Beware false advertising though: only the most expensive "villas" are completely private and self-contained, while most share at least some facilities, and the cheapest ones are just clusters of bungalows.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Private villas

All the villas listed below are standalone and feature private entrances, accommodation and their own swimming pools.

Connect

Internet

Most of the Bukit Peninsula is now covered by ADSL services and you will find WiFi available at most hotels and many cafes.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, February 29, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.