11 amazing things to do in Uluwatu, Jimbaran & the Bukit in Bali
When you mention fun things to do in Bali, most people generally think about areas such as Seminyak, Canggu & Ubud.
But no one really recognises the Bukit area as a place where you go for some fun.
Everyone associates this area with great surf. After all, you in the heart of surfers territory with great names like Padang, Dreamland, Impossibles, Balangan, Uluwatu, Bingin and Greenbowl. Just the thought of this gets most avid surfers frothing at the mouth.
But for those of you that haven’t experienced the wonders of surfing, the whole of the Bukit tends to get a ‘ho-hum’ reaction from most people who have never been there or who tend to do the ‘same same’ holiday in the Seminyak area.
People tend to think of the Bukit as a place where honeymooners go or families hibernate to escape the crowds in their luxury holiday clifftop villa overlooking the ocean ( which is actually not a bad thing to do) or where couples have their weddings.
Well, folks, Jimbaran, Uluwatu, Pandawa, Ungasan, for that matter the whole of the Bukit area is jam-packed with exciting things to do.
Have a read and I m sure you’ll be wanting to spend some time up here exploring all these holiday gems on the Bukit.
1. Explore Suluban Beach at Uluwatu
All surfers know that to get to the Uluwatu surf you have to enter through Suluban Cave. It’s a mystical place and looks like a movie set from Hollywood with high walls and stairs leading to a temple. Walk around the cave at low tide and you will find a hidden beach perfect to enjoy a bit of sun baking and the warm waters of Uluwatu.
It’s only accessible at low tide and can get crowded with everyone wanting their must-have Instagram selfie.
2. You have to visit Greenbowl Beach
No one really comes here to Greenbowl as it can be a bit tricky to find. Plus once you get here you have to walk down a few hundred steps down the cliff to finally get to the beach. But, once you’re there it’s so worth it. A hidden beach, best at low tide you can in some cases have the whole place to yourself, except for the odd surfer and monkey. At the time of writing this, Greenbowl we have noticed is starting to get really popular so get here before the rest of the world discovers this place. It’s a fantastic example of how Bali’s raw beauty was a decade ago.
There are a few local cafes at the top of the cliff where you can have a refreshing coconut juice after a hard days sun baking and surfing.
Bali Villa Escapes tip: save some energy for the walk back up the cliff as it can be a killer – there are ladies at the top of the cliff who will give you a massage for $10 / hour – make sure you take advantage of this.
3. Head to the Rock Bar at sunset for cool tunes & a few cocktails
On the cliff face, 14 metres above the ocean lies the famous, uber-cool and very popular Rock Bar at the Ayana Resort. A chilled out place where everyone comes for sunset cocktails, dinner and to relax with the sound of the waves and warm tropical evening breeze. The menu is extensive with 5-star cuisine and an extensive wine list. There is also a resident DJ playing tunes to compliment the vibe.
The Rock Bar is super popular so you have to either book in advance or get there well before 5 pm to get a table or a prime seat at the bar. It’s a great night out and if you’re staying anywhere in Bali we strongly recommend a visit here.
Bali Villa Escapes Tip: you have to get a cable car down to the bar so queues can get long – so be early rather than late to avoid being frustrated if you are not the patient type.
To make your booking at the Rock Bar – visit their website here.
4. Take the family for a scrumptious seafood dinner at Jimbaran Bay
If your craving fresh seafood, then Jimbaran Bay is the place to head at sunset time. Here, you’ll find restaurants dotted along the beach showcasing their daily catches of fresh seafood and shellfish. Having dinner here under the stars is an amazing experience and if you’re coming to Bali with a group of mates it’s a fab night out!
It’s a romantic setting if your want to pop the question while at the same time the tables on the sand make it a fun family outing. You’ll also be serenaded by walking musicians that ply their tunes up and down the beach for a few tips.
You don’t have to book at there are ample places but getting that prime table close to the water might be hard – so get there early.
What you can do is pick your own pick, lobster or prawns from the display or the tank and get them to cook it for you. This way you know it’s going to be fresh.
Bali Villa Escapes Tip: If you’re coming from Seminyak, Canggu or Ubud it’s an easy taxi ride but traffic can be a nightmare (especially along Sunset Rd) so give yourself ample travel time.
5. Indulge yourself with a massage at Karma Kandara
You’ll feel like you are in 7th heaven or even better like a superstar with the royal treatment you’re going to get with a massage at the villa resort of Karma Kandara.
What separates this place from your average Balinese day spa is the sensational deck area where you can have your massage. It’s simply breathtaking!
You peer out over the lush gardens into the crystal clear waters as your professionally trained masseuse drains all the worries and stresses away with their delicate touch. This is a must-do experience and well worth the effort of getting there and the cost. It’s a tad more expensive than other places but the killer view is so worth it.
To see the price list and make a booking visit the Karma Kandara website
Bali Villa Escapes tip: go for the detox infrared sauna & the anti-aging therapies!
P.S – guys, this is the perfect gift for your partner – she’ll love it!!
6. Start surfing at any of the beaches on the Bukit
The whole Bukit is well known for its world-class surf. There are so many fabulous breaks here but the only issue is that they are reef breaks and mainly for the intermediate to advanced.
If you are a newbie to the sport try the waves at Balangan or Padang Padnag if the surf conditions are not too large. You can easily rent boards here and there are also local guys that will take you out, give you a few tips and surf with you to make sure you don’t end up in trouble. There are also lots of surf schools in the area if you are keen to pick up the sport.
If you are an advanced surfer and you want to rip it, then you already know that Uluwatu, Bingin and Greenbowl are amazing breaks.
Bali Villa Escapes Tip: wear booties as there are rocks and coral on the bottom of these beaches. This will protect your feet and you can hire these.
7. Make sure you at Single Finn, Uluwatu on Sunday night
I think you have to be in your 20’s or 30’s for this one as the music is loud and the atmosphere is geared towards the tanned, young & beautiful bodies.
Overlooking Uluwatu on the cliff, Single Finn is an iconic place that was the first place in the Bukit to really offer any form of nightlife. Anyways, on Sunday night, it goes off!! Cocktails, beers, wine and finger food is the order of the day here and it plays host to everyone from around the Bukit to get together and let their hair down.
Bali Villa Escapes Tip: the weekend traffic up to Uluwatu can be manic so make sure you leave plenty of time if you’re coming from Seminyak. Jalan Raya Uluwatu gets jam packed with tourist buses. Probably better to rent a clifftop Uluwatu villa for a few days with your mates to cut down on travel times and really get to know the area.
Related article: 19 Bali Holiday Villas with Incredible Ocean Views
8. The amazing Melasti Beach (Ungasan)
This is well off the beaten track and is mostly frequented by those willing to explore the island a bit. One of the most deserted beaches in the Bukit, it’s worth the effort to come here for the sheer beauty of the cliff face.
If you’re after that must have an Instagram pic, then Melasti is it!
Bali Villa Escapes tip: head to Pandawa beach next door for some well earned cocktails to enjoy the sunset.
9. Party all day & night at El Kabron
Yes, you can do this at El Kabron, an authentic Spanish restaurant on the cliff overlooking the ocean at Uluwatu. There’s a swimming pool so you can cool off with a cocktail as you stare out into the Indian Ocean.
There’s also an indoor dining area if you want to eat and drink out of the sun.
There are house DJ’s who will mix relaxing tunes during the day but as the night creeps in the place turns into a bit of a party zone where sangria, paella and good times are on tap.
It’s an institution in Uluwatu with drop-dead gorgeous views. Perfect for getting the whole group together where you can all enjoy fun times with a few cocktails thrown in. Bucks nights, hen’s nights are also welcome.
10. Explore the Bingin area
Just off the main road as you head towards Uluwatu on the right is a turn off that will take you to the small but popular beach area called Bingin. Favoured by surfers, couples, honeymooners and families wanting complete peace and quiet, this beachside area has its own unique and specific charm not found anywhere else in Bali.
It’s got loads of lovely holiday villas, small restaurants and a few cafes where you can chill out. But, you don’t come here for the food, your here for the uncrowded beach, the waves and the ‘surfie vibe’ and the cute beach cafes where you can get your post-surf smoothie bowl. It’s a bit of a hike down to the beach so take care as the stairs can be slippery. Once down there you’ll never want to leave.
Bingin is a place that grows on you the more you visit it. Its simplicity and friendly ex-pats who have decided to call Bingin home make it a must-visit location.
Bali Villa Escapes Tip: try staying at 4 bedroom Villa Mahi Mahi (50 metres to the beach) for a couple of days. You can book it here.
11. Visit Uluwatu temple
We have to throw a bit of culture in on your Bali holiday. After all, how much alcohol, beach life and food can you have:)
Uluwatu Temple on the cliff at Uluwatu is also known as Luhur Uluwatu Temple. Perched on the cliff it offers visitors gorgeous views over the ocean as they explore the temple grounds.
Also, stay for the Kecak Fire Dance (a Balinese dance & music drama) that’s sure to keep you mesmerized with their tunes. I can bet anything that you have never seen or heard anything like this before.
Bali Villa Escapes Tip: there are cheeky monkeys all over the temple that will steal anything from you that’s not bolted down such as; sunglasses, jewellery, cameras, phones etc. So put all of these things in a bag before you go in.