Uluwatu Temple Visit
We would visit many Hindu temples while we were in Bali for a week. The temple closest to our home base in Jimbaran Bay was the pagoda site at Uluwatu, guarded by playful monkeys. Sunset at Uluwatu was on most lists of things to do in Bali!
Our first challenge was transportation. We figured we did not really need a driver for the day since we had a short agenda planned. Nick had found the Uber service in Bali to be both highly available and about half the cost of a taxi. The Uber car that showed up for this trip was a tiny Toyota that was challenged to get the 3 of us and the driver up the hill to Uluwatu.
Our Uber took us right to the entrance of the Temple. Getting back was a little more challenging. With no wifi at the site, we had no internet access to call an Uber (and on this leg of the trip none of us had a local SIM in our phones). I had thought there would be a ready supply of taxis available for people who had been dropped at the site, but when we headed to the exit we did not find a parking lot filled with the ever-present Blue Bird taxis. Luckily we managed to grab a cab that had just dropped off someone. If you head to Uluwatu for a visit, plan your transportation in advance. Especially if you plan to stay for sunset at Uluwatu! There are lots of options if you want to visit with a tour guide or a driver for the day.
The entrance fee included a sarong for each of us to cover our legs. We would find this a standard requirement at most of the Hindu temples we visited. If you bring your own sarong or have long pants or a long skirt, you will be ok without a Temple sarong. We found it interesting that you only had to cover your legs. Churches in Europe made sure that your shoulders were properly covered. Seeing the girls with bikini tops and their sarongs, we just shook our heads.
Beware of the Monkeys at Uluwatu
There were signs everywhere warning you about the monkeys. They would absolutely target your sunglasses or anything else that was hanging loose. On the way in David tried to get close to a monkey for pics until the monkey decided he was a little too close and snapped. Monkeys provided some of the interesting animal faces of Bali we captured on our trip!
A little later we saw the monkeys swarming and I kept moving in for more pics. Even though David was yelling at me to “watch the monkeys”, I did not realize that one monkey has slipped up on me and quickly scrambled up my back. Luckily he startled me enough that I got him off my back before he got my sunglasses. The attendants watch for lucky monkeys, prepared to slingshot them or chase them to retrieve stolen property. But I did get my monkey pic!
Uluwatu Temple Views On The Cliff
We wandered off along the path to one side to get a view of the pagoda temple from a distance. You could see the temple high on the lip of the cliff overlooking the sea.
If you looked down, you could see the brilliant blue water crashing on the shore, filling the caves. We figured this would be a great scuba diving spot if you could get close enough to the shore.
After seeing the Temple from afar we walked back to the main site and through the arches decorated with the Hindu God Ganesh statue.
Climbing the stairs to get a closer view of the pagoda temple we found most of the site closed off from visitors. We found many of the temples we visited in Bali to either be closed to visitors all the time or during periods of worship.
Finding some welcome shade, we sat and enjoyed the sea view and paths to the other side. It was beautiful and tranquil – for a while.
When you walk back down the “down” path, you can catch a glimpse of the courtyard at the bottom adorned with a statue of Kumbakarna Karebut (what looked like an angry “monkey god”). Statues presented another one of the interesting faces of Bali we captured. The statue emotions were easy to understand. Maybe he was supposed to be keeping the monkeys in line at this site?
But the monkeys did not seem to be listening. Not only did they accost you as you walked the paths, they made sure to be around to say goodbye as you were leaving!
Sunset at Uluwatu
We arrived at the site at about 3pm, planning to stay for sunset at Uluwatu. But 2 hours of walking in the sun wore us down. When the bus loads of visitors started to pour in before sunset, we decided that maybe we were done for the day. We would miss the traditional Balinese Kecak and Fire Dance in the amphitheatre. And we would miss the famed sunset view. Given our home base in Jimbaran Bay was just down the coast, we figured we would catch the sunset from there
Given we had no booked transportation back, we were concerned about leaving with the crowd. We got very lucky to grab a taxi after it had dropped off people. We were not sure if a group of taxis might show up after sunset but we were not going to take the chance. We would miss sunset at Uluwatu on this trip!
If you want to visit the west coast of the Uluwatu peninsula, I would recommend taking a half day driver. That way you can stop and visit the great surfing beaches (Bingin and Padang-Padang) along the way to the Temple. You will have a refuge from the heat in the air conditioning if you need a break and you will be assured of a ride home.
Did you see sunset at Uluwatu? Did we miss a good Balinese Kecak and Fire Dance show? What beaches are on your “must do” list when on the Uluwatu peninsula?