Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Bali: a magical day trip to Uluwatu

Uluwatu is a destination I missed out on my previous trip to Bali, so was keen to get it ticked off the list this time round.

We weren't sure whether to spend time staying in Uluwatu itself, or just visit as a day trip. There is undoubtedly more going on in Seminyak than in Uluwatu, and upon searching we found accommodation in Uluwatu to be pretty pricey. I remember reading Rosie's post and thinking 'must stay here!!!'... only to find it charges a mere ~£500 a night. Yes, really. This made our minds up for us!

As I mentioned before, Bali is actually a fairly small island, so a day trip to Uluwatu is completely do-able. I would recommend hiring a moped and having complete freedom to see the beautiful southern tip of the island on your own terms. If you've read any of my travel posts, you will know we hired a moped in most places we visited - it usually meant more flexibility, less money and that feeling of complete freedom. The best way to get around in SE Asia for sure! By the end of our six months, however, we were feeling a bit travel-weary. Bali is utter mayhem in places, and we just couldn't be bothered to fight our way through ridiculous traffic and hordes of tourists on bikes. Here in lies the warning; driving a bike in Bali can be pretty stressful!

Anyway, we decided to go by taxi on this occasion. We found an Uber and made our way to Uluwatu temple - this cost around 100,000 IDR (around £5) and took about 45 minutes from our hotel in Legian. Uluwatu temple (or Pura Luhur Uluwatu) is just the most beautiful sight; set atop of a cliff, above crashing waves below, it really is something else. It is no surprise that the name of the temple roughly translates to "something divine at the end of the land", and although the monkeys are bloody terrifying it is well worth spending a couple of hours there!  Be sure to bring a scarf to cover your legs if you are wearing shorts, or they can lend you a sarong for modesty.

After much ooh-ing and aah-ing at the temple (and all the sweating - it was so hot), we hopped in a taxi to our next stop. Unfortunately you are a bit of a sitting duck in the taxi lot, and we were subject to what I imagine was an inflated fare; 50,000 IDR for a 5 minute drive to Suluban beach. The term beach is a bit misleading I suppose - it's a surf beach so there's no actual sand to relax on, but instead a series of cliff-front restaurants where you can grab a drink and watch those who are mad brave enough to face the waves. We went for a drink at Single Fin Beach Club; completely overpriced but lively with good atmosphere and an amazing view. We went to the bar below for a second drink which was much cheaper and nearly as good views - without that pretentious feel you get at so many of the beach bars in Bali.

We then walked up to Padang Padang beach - a 25 minute walk, which basically followed the main road making it really straightforward. Parts of Eat Pray Love were filmed on Padang Padang beach, and it is what so many picture when they think of the Balinese coastline! Looking down at the beach from the road you can see the waves are far less crazy and the water is crystal blue... but it was also jam packed. The crowds, plus 10,000 IDR entry fee (yes, it may only be 50p!...), meant we gave this one a miss and carried on walking to Mango Tree Cafe for lunch. A peaceful and good value lunch spot, we hydrated with fresh fruit smoothies and filled up on nasi goreng.

Our final taxi (80,000 IDR) took us to our sunset stop on Jimbaran beach. A friend recommended we enjoy dinner and watch the sunset on Jimbaran - and we did just that. We grabbed one of the last beach-front tables, kicked our sandals off and got the beers in! As the sun started to set we ordered fresh barracuda with steamed rice and salad, and enjoyed our meal with the sand between our toes and the sun starting to fade below the horizon. It was one of those completely blissful moments where we discussed some of our favourite moments from our travels over the past six months, and contemplated that nomadic life abroad.

'Cos why would you return to the 9-5 grind when you could have this?

Uluwatu, what a magical day.


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