72 hours in Uluwatu
Uluwatu is home to some of the best beaches in South Bali. With it’s tropical and spacious surrounding, Uluwatu feels like it’s been untouched by tourism, despite being very popular. Starting the trip off in Uluwatu, in hindsight, was the best decision. We instantly felt like we were in paradise the second we exited the airport. Decorated like a temple, you get a small taste of the adventure that lies ahead. The drive to our villa is exactly what you can imagine; busy, congested and motorbikes everywhere. I wouldn’t recommend renting one unless you are one hundred percent confident that you can be just as daring as the Bali drivers. These drivers are so skillful that we saw a family of four on one bike. It was incredible!
WHERE TO STAY:
We stayed at the beautiful Kandah Hill Villa. Located in the middle of the wilderness, we were surrounded by green hills, palm trees and cows. We did get a little lost on our way to our villa. Our gps got us pretty close but the villa was off the map. Luckily Ketut was able to call them and they were able to guide him the rest of the way. The entrance into the Villa is beautifully detailed with a big double door that leads into the center of of the property. Here you’ll find the pool, mini couple villas and cabanas. The villa itself was not busy, we shared the whole property with another couple. We stayed up on the suite level that overlooked as far as the eye can see. Our two rooms shared a beautiful deck and a patio that wrapped around. The rooms were both very spacious and the bathrooms had big windows that made you feel you were showing in the outdoors. Those lucky cows have the best view lol. Every morning we were greeted by beautiful sunrises and the cows mooing. Both rooms had air conditioning, yet one was stronger than the other. Our over all experience staying at the Kandah Villa was exceptional. From the staff to the location to the cleanliness of everything was fabulous.
WHERE TO EAT:
FOOD FOOD FOOD! One of the reasons I was excited to visit Bali! every article, IG post, and pin I read about Bali raved about the freshness of the food. The uniqueness of each cafe as far as decor also made each experience that much better. Near our villa there were a ton of the cutest cafes and restaurants. I tried bulletproof coffee for the first time and became obsessed. There are a lot of vegan options as well and other dietary sensitive options, along with savory meat options. I mean pulled pork egg Benedicts!? AMAZING! Here are the three places we ate at while in Uluwatu..
Omnia Dayclub, a huge outdoor club, that puts any Las Vegas pool party to shame. There are two restaurants to eat at once inside. The best food was ordered at the bar that sits on a ledge over the ocean. The food was delicious, we order a chicken dish and nachos, both came out on a huge plate and were perfect for sharing. The drinks were delicious and not at all strong. The atmosphere had good vibes and we made some friends that were sitting next to us. They then invited us to their table they were waiting for for bottle service. Our dinner followed through into the late night. Jet lag was my best friend that night and with every sip, my eyelids began to close more and more. We didn’t stay out too late, unfortunately.
Bukit Cafe and Suka Espresso both provided a hipster atmosphere and incredibly delicious food. The food options are very westernized with the avocado toast, and egg Benedict options, the only difference was the freshness! We made sure to order different plates at everything restaurant in order to try a bit of everything and I swear there wasn’t a dish I didn’t like. All the ingredients were fresh, and the display of food was beautifully placed, I did want to mess it up. Fresh coconuts, bulletproof coffee and affogatos are very popular to order.
WHERE TO GO:
Head to the beach if you can and take it easy. But if you’re like me you’ll want to get the sight seeing going and explore your little heart out. I always feel like theres so much to see and so little time. The first day we stayed in Uluwatu and explored our surroundings; local cafes, street vendors, people watched and ended our day dancing eating and drinking at Omnia. The second day we started our day eating breakfast and set off for our first big adventure. We set out to visit our first temples Tirta Gangga and Lempuyang Temple.
Tirta Gangga is a royal water garden that has been very popular all over IG. known for the rows of guardian figures holding what looks like swords and the polygon stepping stones that look like lily pads allowing visitors to walk among the water and feed the fish. Tirta Gangga used to be a royal palace, located in the north east of Bali, it was about an hour and forty five minute drive. Once you arrive you walk through a small pathway with little shops that sell souvenirs and fish food, you’ll definitely want to buy the fish food. You’ll then arrive to the gates and on the left hand side there’s a ticket booth. Walking I was instantly taken back on the how big in size the temple was. There were a lot of people but the size of the grounds made everyone look small. On the far right is where the lily pad steps are, in the far back is a pool where locals can swim, on the far left is a shaded area where you can buy cool drinks and cool off and a restaurant overlooking the whole palace. The lily pads are the most popular and congested. Everyone wants the same IG photo, in the same spot. The lily pads are a good size to sit or stand on, it may feel a little uneasy when you’re in passing with another person, I was afraid of falling into the water! Walking around the grounds could have felt peaceful if it wasn’t so hot. Out of the whole trip, this day felt the hottest. We headed over to the shaded area to enjoy a beer and the views. After doing one last stroll around the grounds we set off for our next location, Pura Luhur Lempuyang.
Pura Luhur Lempuyang sits on the slope of Mount Lempuyang. This temple is one of the oldest and highly regarded temples. After driving all the way up, the climb isn’t over. There was a kind man sitting in a small ticket booth. We payed for our entrance and he has you write your name and where your from in a book. Your then given a few colors of sarongs to choose from and the kindest girls wrapped them around our waists. Then the climb begins. You’ll walk up hills and stairs, the heat and the altitude don’t really help but once you reach the top, it’s all worth it.You find yourself surrounded by beautiful architectural details and looking up to the what seems to be the highest temple. Three grand staircases leading up to the sky. The locals are dressed in white and yellow and carry baskets of offering all the way to the top. We tried to go up but we were aloud since we didn’t have any offering to give. We hang out in the courtyard and watched the locals climb the steps and soaked everything in. In the same courtyard there was the kindest young man that was taking photos for the visitors at the gate entrance. The gate entrance looks like a door to another world. You cant see the steps below and you have a view of sky and the volcano. People watching made us realize how happy many of the Balinese people are and how kind and generous. As we walked down, and returned out sarong, the gentleman in the ticket booth started to talk to us. He had the most beautiful smile and was happy to practice his English. He told us he’s learned other languages but that English is the hardest. We laughed and reassured him that we, along with many other Americans, can speak English properly. He laughed and said so gently, “If I don’t see you again in this lifetime, I hope our souls meet in the next..” *cue the tears!! It was the nicest thing a stranger has ever said to me and I hope it does come true!
Our stay in Uluwatu was short yet wonderful. The peacefulness set the tone for our trip. The next day we took it a little easy by hanging around the pool for a bit, packed up our belongings, ate some breakfast and headed to our next destination.. Ubud!