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5 adventurous things to do while staying in Uluwatu

Uluwatu is world-renowned for its gorgeous beaches, stunning 5-star resorts and marvellous cuisine, but this beautiful and exciting region of Bali presents a host of other must-see sites and exotic adventures to embark on during your stay. 

A magnificent mix of cultural shrines, sweet little hideaways, and epically-designed man-made and natural spaces — these attractions simultaneously capture and resonate Bali’s magical vibe in their own unique ways.

Bioluminescent Plankton at Padang Bai

During the day, this east coast bay is one of the busiest in Bali, but at night the shore can glow with brilliant luminescent hues of whites and blues. This remarkable scene is caused by Bioluminescent plankton, which often shimmers during the darker hours to produce one of the most wondrous natural sites in the world. 

You can see this rare wonder from the shore itself, however, like the sky’s auroras, there are no guarantees of witnessing the phenomenon. To have a better chance, it’s advisable to take a boat, or even embark on a diving expedition to experience the beautiful show up close.

Waterfalls

There’s a host of natural wonders to be seen in Uluwatu, but none are more awe-inspiring than the waterfalls that cascade down from the rolling mountains of Bali’s heartland. 

Located deep in the island’s lush jungles, there’s a vast array of these wonderful waterworks to witness. Some are harder to reach than others, but each portrays their own unique splendour and presents varying degrees of possible activities, including cliff diving and swimming.

There are plenty to the north of the island, but if you are staying in Uluwatu, it’s advisable to plan a trip to those that are positioned more centrally. It’s a perfect opportunity to hire a driver and take the day to see as many as you can, but be sure to add Nungung, Tukad Cepung and Kanto Lampo to your list.

Jimbaran Fish Market

At Jimbaran Fish Market, you’re guaranteed to indulge in the freshest seafood you can possibly acquire. Taking the term ‘caught this morning’ quite literally, discover a ramshackle of sheds lit with overhead fluorescent lighting selling the day’s catch, and a plethora of restaurants on the beach serving freshly cooked seafood.

From squid and barramundi, to giant prawns and mahi-mahi, you won’t be leaving disappointed with the frenzy of fishy options at this famous Balinese destination. 

You can buy your seafood from the market and have a local warung expertly cook your choices in front of you. From 6am to 3pm, enjoy plate after plate of juicy squid and large prawns accompanied by stir-fried vegetables and rice until your stomach simply can’t take any more. 

Jimbaran’s westerly-facing location means it throws up one incredible sunset. The locals have recognised this and have filled the sand with a flutter of white tablecloths and spacious chairs, ready to present gorgeous seafood as the evening sets in. 

It’s a spot that effortlessly satisfies all the senses. Sit back as the refreshing cool sea breeze caresses the moored sailboats that, like you, have settled in for an evening of indulgent relaxation.

Sukawati Canyon

Meandering along part of the Oos River, this stunning ravine is not for the faint-hearted, but that’s what makes it one of Bali’s hidden gems.

This tropical gorge has been created over thousands of years by the powerful waters that run through it during the rainy season and, due to its sacred nature, is still largely protected from mass tourism.

If you’ve visited some of the waterfalls in Bali, you’ll understand there’s a fair walk through the jungle to reach them — but the journey to this location is much more rigorous.

That being said, if you pack the correct gear, like reef shoes, swimming bottoms and dry bags, and you hire a guide at the entrance, you will be much better equipped to battle the canyon’s terrain.

With its unusual rock formations and incredibly tropical setting, the hidden gorge is every nature-lover and adventurer’s dream. Follow your guide through the ravine, scramble along the rugged canyon and cling to its sides, creep blindly along a narrow ledge as the water gushes past your knees all the while absorbing the jungle’s innate beauty.

If you’re embarking on this adventure at the back-end of the wet season, it can prove quite challenging, but the last kilometre of the trek is significantly easier as you walk over a bamboo bridge and onto solid ground again. Just before you reach the main path to the exit, you’ll discover an inviting rope swing for those wanting to take one final leap of faith. 

Tanah Lot Temple

Tanah Lot in Balinese means ‘land [in the] sea’, and it’s certainly an appropriate name given this attraction’s positioning. Although Pura Luhur is perhaps the most visited and renowned temple on the island, this sacred site’s innate beauty surpasses its counterpart. 

Situated on a gigantic jagged rock that rises out of the ocean on Bali’s southern coast, this temple is simply jaw-dropping. You have to wait until low tide to traverse 300 metres across the ocean floor to reach it, but its setting provides exquisite picture-perfect moments — especially at sunset.

The history of Tanah Lot is believed to date back to the 16th century when Dang Hyang Nirartha achieved enlightenment on the rock. According to mythology, Nirartha had supernatural powers and when the leader of the island ordered for his banishment, he moved the whole rock into the ocean. The temple was built to honour Bhatara Segara, the God of the sea, and is eternally protected by an evil snake that is said to live at the foot of the rocky island.

Tanah Lot is still an active place of worship and perhaps the best time to visit the temple is during Odalan, which is celebrated every 210 days. This ritual features scores of Balinese women gracefully carrying offerings on their heads before they kneel in prayer at the temple. 

If you aren’t planning your trip during these ritual days, despite Tanah Lot’s beauty at sundown, it’s best to visit this site in the morning to avoid the crowds.

*Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, opening times and closures are subject to government guidelines.

5 adventurous things to do while staying in Uluwatu

Uluwatu is world-renowned for its gorgeous beaches, stunning 5-star resorts and marvellous cuisine, but there are other things to do in Bali, including: The Bioluminescent Plankton at Padang Bai, Bali Waterfalls, Jimbaran Fish Market, Sukawati Canyon and Tanah Lot Temple.

 

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