# 1 | Chasing Uluwatu's Best Beaches
This is my first personal blog post and will include all places visited, experiences, do’s and don’ts and will be an archive of our trip experiences. Those who follow this blog will get a real life experience through my own eyes and can get a good idea of what to expect in the particular place that I write about.
The posts will also be an informative archive for myself when I come to write a travel guide.
Away from all the social media which shows only the nice parts of travel, these are my/our own experiences.
After 3 months in Thailand, 2 months in Java, Indonesia and 1 month working in Malaysia we finally made our way to the most commonly known island of Indonesia.
We spent our first 5 days in Bali working on our East Java posts. Don’t have much to say about this apart for the fact that although Bali is touristic, the culture is still very much preserved. Our first days were spent in Kuta, a town close to the airport and is popular for its nightlife scene. Beside the nightlife and a surfing beach, Kuta doesn’t really offer much apart from the Balinese architecture which is all over the island.
Uluwatu Day 6
Day 6 was where this trip took off.
First thing, I got a scooter, rode back to the homestay, loaded the scooter with our backpacks and headed to Uluwatu. Uluwatu is on the southern peninsula of Bali. The shoreline is made up of cliffs and landscape seems more Mediterranean than what we expected. The peninsula is a high end location. Loads of 5 star hotels can be found and also a golf course with a backdrop of the ocean.
Once we arrived at the homestay in Uluwatu we unloaded the bike and went to Melasti beach. The surrounding cliffs and beautiful crystal clear natural pool make for a beautiful beach. This area is a popular spot for photographers who bring their clients for pre-wedding photography at sunset.
Our homestay is a bit cut off from the busy areas so eating options are limited and had dinner at one of the cheap eateries.
Uluwatu Day 7
On this day we had an early start and went to a cliff overlooking the ocean and waves were crashing on either side. What stood out was that right below the sea was calm, and I would have considered jumping in if there was an easy way of getting back out. The cliff is on the northern part of Balangan beach.
Next we went to another viewpoint with surfers on either side. To the north of this viewpoint was Dreamland beach.
Later on we headed to Uluwatu temple. This is the most popular attraction in Uluwatu. The temple is built atop a cliff and overlooks the ocean. The place is also home to the macaque monkey. Thankfully the monkeys aren’t aggressive, but one did try to snatch my phone once I got too close. Something I had never yet seen was monkeys swimming. Actually I didn’t even imagine they could but this soon changed once I saw all the monkey jumping into a pool that’s inside the temple. Although the temple and its surroundings are impressive, the highlight for me were seeing the monkeys swimming.
We went to Baker’s Corner for a quick, cheap lunch and after drove to Nusa Dua. Nusa Dua is a high end area on the peninsula. The area is very upscale and we didn’t see any of the usual warungs or local eateries along the shore. On the contrary lots of the sea front street are lined with big turf gardens before entering the hotel. A very nice area but doesn’t seem to offer much beside the hotel amenities.
For dinner we decided to go to a tourist and surfers area. But, we spent 30 minutes riding around most of Uluwatu and ended up somewhere else. Hungry and bored of driving around we stopped at a food court. Stalls in the court were a mix of local, western, Japanese and Chinese. The food was good and while here I found out that the top 2 best dishes in the world are actually Indonesian. Rendang and Nasi Goreng, which didn’t seem right as the Pad Thai was 6th and is surely tastier than Nasi Goreng.
Uluwatu Day 8
This day we needed to catch up with some work we had left so until noon we stayed at the homestay working.
All the time but especially while working I am questioning if this is really what I want from my life. Although I have only been traveling for 6 months I already take everything for granted and don’t appreciate. As everything in life, once you do something over and over it just becomes normal. So I am really considering going back to work even if the blog ends up giving us a sustainable income. At least if I’m stuck in my daily job I can still appreciate travelling.
Once we had done the work we went out for lunch. This time we stumbled upon the surfers area which we so desperately searched the previous evening. Loads of cool shops, cafeterias and restaurants line this stretch of road. Even though this area was fancier than others, the food was still cheap. I had a Bahn Mi for 4USD and honestly I could have shared this with Jacqueline cause it was so filling.
When we stopped for lunch we were on our way to Thomas beach. To our surprise the sea here is relatively calm which allows for a nice swim.
Thomas beach is lined with trees and would be perfect to stay here in the shade. But a few shops renting deck chairs and umbrellas have cut all the leaves off. This is obvious because trees covering the shops are fully blossomed with leaves. Lucky them.
We decided to go and watch the sunset from a good point so we went straight back to our accommodation after the beach.
Efficient me I always find some place to go within 2 minutes. I don’t really check good enough so sometimes we have a disappointment therefore we get into a little argument. But anyway this time on the contrary my very short search was one of the best. My finding was ‘Sunset Point Uluwatu’, a laid back bar on top of a cliff. The bar is a popular spot so there was quite a few people but nothing more than any other place. Views are beautiful but unfortunately more and more clouds rolled in so didn’t quite get the perfect sunset.
For dinner went to a cool Aussie owned restaurant, District 6. The restaurant is surf themed and has exceptional food. I had a wrap and Jacqueline had salad. Although Jacky doesn’t really like salad the one she had at District was really good.
Uluwatu Day 9
Another day another few beaches. Surprisingly many think that Bali has the perfect beaches, but in fact it doesn’t. Although very picturesque the beaches are best for surfers and not for swimming. Determined to find the perfect beach we went out early to check out 2 other beaches. We ended up going to 3 beaches all on the same stretch.
The beaches were Pantai Gunung Payung, Timbis and Pandawa. Gunung Payung isn’t a good beach for swimming, Pandawa beach is reasonable and Timbis beach is perfect. In my 6 months travelling this must be one of the clearest waters I have seen. Although not lined with palm or coconut trees, the surrounding is just as stunning. As all other beaches in Uluwatu these 3 are surrounded by cliffs and offer shade at certain times of the day. At this point we are happy to have found the perfect beach therefore Timbis will surely be included in the best beaches of Bali.
After Timbis we were pretty sure that the next beach won’t be as good and it wasn’t. Green Bowl was the next beach after the first. Still a nice beach but the sea isn’t so clear and vendors on the beach and parking area are overly pushy and demanding.
By the time we left the beach it was getting late afternoon. Jacqueline wanted to go to a beauty parlour but unfortunately miss perfect didn’t really check where the place was. The place she found was over 1 hour drive and obviously this wasn’t the best way to use 3 hours of a day.
Disappointed Jacqueline and I headed back to our lovely 8 USD homestay and worked for a while before going out for dinner.
Dinner was to be barbecued meat at a local eatery. Or that’s what we thought. We had seen this barbecue place while driving around some day before so we just marked it on the map. So now we decided to go here for dinner. Once we got here it turned out to be a tourist type of restaurant. Still stayed for dinner and everything was good.
Not day 10 but something else
If anyone even bothers to read this I would like to thank them for managing to get till here. This blog isn’t going to be edited in any way. These are our real account of our trip and are very much raw in every way. Probably writing will get better and I hope to ingrain more feelings and thoughts into the writing which will give a much more in depth account. Anyway hope those here enjoy what follows which will be: 6/7 weeks more Bali + surrounding island, 1 month Malaysia (mostly we’ll be working), 3 weeks north Thailand (my sister is coming so we’ll be going to meet her). Will be doing Chang Mai/Rai, Ayutthaya, Koh Chang maybe other places and obviously the capital Bangkok. After Thailand we will be doing the last part of our trip in the Philippines. In March we go back home 🙁
Uluwatu Day 10
Today is our last day in Uluwatu and must say that Uluwatu was very surprising to us. Firstly we didn’t know that it would be such a problem to find a good beach. Secondly the landscape reminds us very much of Mediterranean countries. Uluwatu was amazingly different to other tropical places we have been.
Last day in Uluwatu we headed to a cliff viewpoint which I had seen on my way to Sunset view Uluwatu. The cliff is a popular spot for sunset for pre-wedding photography so we came here for sunrise. We found 3 local teen girls. While these girls were taking pictures at the point we went to other point and took a few photos. Stopped to drink a bottled coffee, smoked a cigarette, took other photos, went back to the viewpoint and there they were still taking pics. Unfortunately I had to interrupt their photo shoot just for 1 or 2 minutes to at least take some pics myself.
Next we were heading to Suluban beach and on the way stopped at a warung for breakfast. Haven’t really got used to eating fried things in the morning although the food will be good.
A flight of stairs lead to the beach which at the time wasn’t good for swimming. Tide was low so not sure what it will be like at high tide. The rocky part of the beach is beautiful and looks like a garden but with sea plants. All kinds of different sea plants grow on the rocks which will be covered during high tide.
Again up the stairs and to another beach. This time the beach was even more challenging to reach and need a 45 minute trek down the cliff. The beach is Nunggalan and is one of the lesser visited. A few parts of the bay are good for swimming but we only saw this once we arrived back to the top. What was odd is that just off the beach are accommodation in the form of a large see through bubble. Pretty cool to see but not sure what the people do here, probably just to get some unique pics.
A decked warung at the top overlooks the bay and we stopped here for a drink and lunch before going back to the homestay.
For evening we wanted to go for a drink somewhere nice but most clubs or bars in Uluwatu are high-end therefore expensive.
In the end we went for dinner at the food court we had been to before. Had 2 starters, 2 mains and 3 beers and only spent 12 USD.
Now I am here writing this last paragraph while in the homestay, tomorrow we will be off to Ubud. Hopefully the rice fields won’t be cut yet.
➳ Curious to see which beaches made it to our list of best beaches for swimming in Uluwatu? Then check the post below.
➳ Next jump to this other post for best things to do in Uluwatu beside surfing.