Uluwatu Temple, Bali @ sunset

Uluwatu is a large limestone peninsula, connected to the rest of Bali by a narrow stretch of land just south of the airport.

It’s a dry place, best known for: 1) its rugged coastline and surfer beaches; 2) a bizarre statue which, if ever completed, would be the world’s largest; and 3) a wonderful temple which teeters precariously on high cliffs with rocks and boulders far below.

Uluwatu cliffs, Bali
One slip, and you're a goner.

And it’s also become popular among extremely affluent tourists looking for secluded and luxurious accommodation in Bali.

They stay at places like Alila Villas Uluwatu, a “postmodern clifftop resort” which features one of the world’s most
decadent swimming pools according to The National.

But I bet the owner of the Alila Villas has now got out his map and is anxiously trying to gauge how far the villas exactly are from the sacred Uluwatu Temple.

Because if it’s less than 5 kilometers he might be in some trouble:

Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika has issued an order to demolish buildings not complying with a 2009 Bali bylaw on spatial planning that banned commercial structures within five kilometers of sacred sites.

Pastika’s order would affect 25 hotels, villas and restaurants built near Pura Luhur Uluwatu, a temple in Badung district.

Oh well.

As for the temple itself, it is well worth a visit even if it is overrun with some of the most aggressive and light fingered monkeys (actually long tail macaques) this side of the equator.

These thieving little blighters have no shame and will try to nick any thing you have. Including sunglasses.

monkey at Uluwatu

Unlike Besakih - where aggressive touts prevail - Uluwatu still maintains its sanctity and you only have to pay a small charge (Rp 6,000) to get in – thankfully free from any hassle or attempted extortion. You will need to be properly dressed to enter, however, although sarongs and sashes can be rented at the temple’s entrance if you don’t bring them yourself.

The temple is one of Bali's nine key directional temples and most of it was built under the watchful eye of the Javanese sage, Empu Kuturan, way back in the 11th century.

It’s all pretty spectacular – provided you don’t suffer from vertigo of course.

The best time to visit is late afternoon when it’s cooler and, if you’re lucky, one of the best spots in Bali – and probably the world – to witness a truly spectacular sunset.

Sunset at Uluwatu, Bali


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