Uluwatu Surf Spots
Bali’s premier hotspot for surfers and tourists wanting to check out the surfing talent.
Uluwatu is a wide reef set below a stunning cliff face offering different peaks that turn on at different tides. All of the surf breaks run left down the reef with variations in sections that change with the size of the swell also. The cliff and beach at Uluwatu are always bustling with energy and makes for a spectacular viewing platform.
Uluwatu is at the forefront of surfing in Bali, thanks to its ability to cope with all sizes of swells on its vast scattered jetty-like reef playground. With kilometers of sandy beaches tucked into cliff-backed, secretive inlets, Ulu’s is a wide reef offering 5 different peaks that turn on at different tides. These main 5 waves all break left down the reef with variations sections that change with the size of the swell also. Tap the arrows on the images below to scroll through the 5 peaks that make up the waves at Uluwatu.
What kind of wave is Temples?
What kind of wave is The Bombie?
What kind of wave is the Outside Corner?
What kind of wave is The Peak?
What kind of wave is Racetracks?
Temples: Reef Break
The Bombie: Reef Break
The Peak: Reef Break
Outside Corner: Reef Break
Racetracks: Reef Break
The Bombie: Experienced
The Peak: Experienced
Outside Corner: Experienced
The Bombie: Left
The Peak: Left
Outside Corner: Left
The Bombie: Reef
The Peak: Reef
Outside Corner: Reef
Balian: Not necessary
Balian: Any shape or size
The Bombie: Crowded
The Peak: Crowded
Outside Corner: Crowded
Balian: See below
Best swell direction:
Best wind direction:
What tide is best:
Best tide movement:
Balian: Ultra consistent
Best time of year:
Other names for spot:
Balian: Balian River Mouth
Most Common hazards, tides and vibe
This is one of the busiest surfing spots in Bali with experienced surfers hustling for waves. In these sorts of conditions, even great surfers can become very frustrated. Be sure to go out there in a patient frame of mind and a very good understanding of surfing’s etiquette.
There will usually be at least one of the five peaks at Uluwatu working well during any time of the day. The higher the tide the slower and more mellow the wave becomes, therefore, more suitable for lesser experienced surfers while leaving the experts to make the most of the lower tides and hollower performance waves at this time. Uluwatu is generally very crowded particularly when the surf is small, a ‘small crowd’ at Uluwatu may be considered a ‘considerable crowd’ at many other surf locations. The crowd thins out when the surf reaches 6 foot plus with some of the best surfers on display.
Crowds and unassuming surfers out of their depth entering and exiting the surf, in particular, entering the surf on low tide through the Racetracks section are a major hazard. Strong currents, very sharp and shallow reef are guaranteed to be part of any session. Watch the steep stairs on the way down the cliff to the surf and waves pounding the cliff face when entering and exiting the cave on higher tides.
How do you get in and out of the surf?
Entering the surf:
After climbing down the stairs on the Uluwatu cliff you will exit the cave and into the water on a high tide or have a 100m walk across sharp reef on a low tide. When paddling out straight in front of the cliff avoid drifting with the current into the way of oncoming surfers ripping the Racetrack section to pieces. Not only will you get in the way of oncoming surfers but you have a good chance of getting dragged over the shallow and sharp reef if you’re not a strong paddler.
You can also take a left at the bottom of the staircase through a small cave bringing you out on the small stretch of beach known as Suluban Beach. Here you can walk further down the beach towards Temples and paddle out wherever you see the best opportunity.
Exiting the surf:
On a high tide and solid swell when the reef is completely covered, the water surges in and out of the cave at the bottom of the cliff. Not only is it tough work timing your paddle in with the current running across the entry into the cave but it is extremely easy to get smashed against the cliff edge with the incoming surges of water. You don’t ever want to feel the full force of the ocean in this situation! Come in from well up the reef so that you don’t get washed passed the entrance to the cave. If you miss it you have 2 options:
1. A long paddle all the way down to Padang Padang with an even longer walk back to Uluwatu.
2. Paddle back out, wide of the lineup where the current is weak and have a second go.
What is the beach like?
The beach at Uluwatu is called Suluban Beach and is a beach of beauty if you make the walk down the cliff zigging and zagging through the local businesses built into the top half of the cliff and then the steep stairs down the bottom half before you walk through the cave to come out on the beach. The steep Uluwatu stairs at the bottom of the cliff provide a challenge for some but it doesn’t deter surfers or beachgoers. It is a small but popular beach with a unique feel that adds to the raw beauty and charisma that attracts so many tourists to the spot all year round.
Where should I stay?
Cheapest Price Range – Tregge Surf Camp uluwatu
Great value for money and just a short scooter ride away from the surf in Uluwatu. Tregge Surf Camp Uluwatu is set in a quiet area of Uluwatu on beautifully manicured lawns and gardens to provide you with an oasis in between barrels. All rooms feature a seating area for you to relax and unwind, a private bathroom fitted with a shower and free wifi. There is a shared lounge at the property and free parking too. Check them out in the link below.
Affordable Price Range – The Manik Toya
The Manik Toya is within walking distance to the surf at Uluwatu situated just 200 metres back from the top of Uluwatu Cliff. Benefit from an onsite restaurant, garden views, 24-hour reception, free wifi, free private parking, an outdoor swimming pool and a bar. Super friendly staff and well-presented rooms is a common theme through the many reviews. All in all The Manik Toya is one of the most in-demand accommodation options in the area be sure to check it out well ahead of time.
Affordable Price Range – Bali Bule Homestay
Set back just under one kilometre from the Uluwatu Clifftop with excellent restaurants nearby, the Bali Bule Homestay is a great option for those looking for stand-alone rooms for a little more privacy. Benefit from an onsite restaurant, an outdoor swimming pool with sun loungers, beautiful gardens and free Wi-Fi in more modern style homestay. If you are looking for clean rooms, friendly staff and a great location then Bali Bule Homestay is most likely what you’re looking for. Return guests are a common theme in reviews for Bali Bule Homestay which speaks louder than words. Check them out in the link below.
Affordable Price Range – La Bomie Uluwatu by Bukit Vista
Forget about paying for parking every time you head for a wave at Uluwatu, La Bomie Uluwatu is in the prime location! Situated at the top of the Uluwatu cliff you don’t have to go far from your room to check the surf. It’s just a quick walk down the stairs on the Uluwatu cliff face and you come out through the cave and into the surf at Uluwatu. Benefit from an on-site restaurant, bar and pool with epic views over the surf. Or a walk across the footpath and you’re ready to have an ice-cold Bintang at The Single Fin. Rooms are spacious and set up purely for the hardcore surfer looking to maximise time in the Uluwatu surf. Check them out in the link below.
Luxury Price Range – Uluwatu Cliff Apartments
Large one, two and three-bedroom apartments all with a spacious living room, air conditioning, flat-screen TV, and a comfortable couch for you to relax. These apartments are located in the middle of the Uluwatu cliff. The access is a bit difficult as it consists of a lot of uneven stairs, however, the bonus is you’re as close to the surf as possible. If you want to paddle out at the crack of dawn and beat the crowds then you should be the first in the water every day if you’re staying at the Uluwatu Cliff Apartments. Great for groups of surfers and just a hop skip and a jump home from those late Wednesday and Sunday nights at The Single Fin.
Luxury Price Range – The Istana
On the cliffside of Bali’s famous waves at Uluwatu you’ll find The Istana with epic sunsets and views over the ocean. Practice yoga on the breathtaking cliff-face, take advantage of the latest biohacking tools such as their whole body cryotherapy chamber, sensory deprivation tanks, saunas and much more. The Istana is best suited for travellers who like to meet new people whilst enjoying their own private area in a little bit of luxury. All in all amazing views, location and facilities for helping the body recover after those long sessions in the surf.
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What does Uluwatu mean?
“Ulu’ means lands end and ‘watu’ means rock. The stunning cliffs that drop off into a seemingly endless ocean suit the name very well.
Is there food nearby?
Uluwatu is known for its imposing limestone cliffs, breathtaking landscapes, unspoiled beaches and historical temples, but is also starting to become known as a culinary powerhouse, boasting an eclectic, diverse array of restaurants, bars, cafes and beach clubs serving some of the best food you can find on the island.
There are a lot of warungs (small local restaurant) in the area and on the cliff face at Uluwatu along with restaurants that serve nice western food as well. There is usually a local bbq style corn stand in the car park where you can buy fresh corn on the cob cooked over hot embers and brushed with chilli and butter. Definitely, give it a try if it’s your first trip to Bali and you haven’t before.
Outside Corner cafe in Uluwatu is new on the scene opening up in 2017. In a short period of time, it is already a stand out restaurant in the area. With great organic food, a skate bowl, and a surf and skate shop it is no wonder why. An added bonus is the 50k Fridays with main meals for 50,000Rp equating to approximately $5 Australian dollars.
District 6 has a huge range of all time food from meat lover pizzas to vegan-friendly bowls of goodness. The vibe is epic and the setting is super relaxing. Very well priced too!
Blue Heaven is definitely one of the best restaurants with views in Uluwatu. Ulu Cliffhouse is one of Uluwatu’s best swimming clubs with great food, sitting on top of the cliff, looking out over the ocean northward up the coastline of Bali. Mana is a refined yet laid-back setting with irresistible food and drinks within Uluwatu Surf Villas located clifftop in Uluwatu.
What else is there to do in the area other than surfing?
The Single Fin at the top of the cliff is a breathtaking spot to sit and watch the surf and sunset. It’s an extremely popular bar that sees huge crowds on Wednesday and Sunday nights. Well renowned as Bali’s Sunday session spot, in particular, it attracts tourists from all over Bali making the trip down to the Bukit Peninsula to party until it closes at around midnight. If you’re not staying in the area you may want to organise a taxi for the ride home before you get there, otherwise finding transport home can be difficult.
Morning Light Yoga goes hand in hand with surfing or it’s something your non-surfing companion can take part in while you’re out slaying some waves. Morning Light Yoga is located at Uluwatu Surf Villas and includes mats, cork blocks, straps, cushions and drinking water. Check them out on Instagram to see how truly amazing the setting is and you can book in by contacting them at firstname.lastname@example.org
Uluwatu Temple is a huge tourist attraction that sees fairly big crowds most days. It overlooks the Indian ocean from a spectacular height and offers a great opportunity for photographers, travellers, and folks looking to experience Bali’s culture aside from surfing. Expert tip: there are a lot of monkeys in the area so seriously keep a good hold of your valuables.
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Where is Uluwatu?
Located on the most southwestern tip of the Bukit Peninsula. Uluwatu stands out and can be seen from most places along the western coast of Bali.
How to get around?
Rent a scooter. The roads in the area are much quieter than most of Bali, combined with the cruisey atmosphere it is a pleasant place to get from A to B without any hassles. Depending on how long you rent a scooter typically it will cost you around 50.000Rp per day for short-term rental and even cheaper for long-term rates.
Is there parking fees?
Parking at Uluwatu is:
3.000Rp per scooter
5.000Rp per car for the day.