Pura Uluwatu (Uluwatu Temple)
Looming high above the Indian Ocean on majestic cliffs, the well-maintained temple at Uluwatu is a spectacular sight and allows a stunning sunset view. Belonging to the Sadkahyangan group of temples, Pura Uluwatu is one of the holiest places in all of Bali. According to legend, the temple was once a ship which was turned to stone, and it pays homage to the sea goddess Dewi Laut.
Beaches, Surfing & Swimming
(The word for beach in Indonesian is ‘Pantai’)
Pantai Uluwatu is the closest beach to The Istana, and is only a short walk down the road to the left from the estate. This exotic beach is set in a sort of cave with cliffs looming above. Uluwatu is famous for its waves that can peel perfectly for hundreds of meters over reef, and are reserved for expert surfers only. Swimming here, however, is inadvisable. There are warungs (local cafés) for basic drinks and local snacks.
Towards, the north, just down the road from Uluwatu is Padang-Padang, which is another enchanting beach nestled into a pocket of lava-rocks, with an entrance to the beach though a cave crevice. This small cove offers famous world-class waves that attract surfers from all over the world. The water is also safe for swimming and snorkeling. The beach is small but the setting is enchanting and memorable, and, like Uluwatu, has warungs for drinks and snacks.
Further north down the peninsula from Padang Padang, this long stretch of white-sand beach is free of warungs and people, and still maintains its original natural make-up of flora along the towering cliffs. The Impossibles are a set of waves off shore, so named because most of the time they break neither right nor left but all at the same time.
Unfortunately, at high tide the beach is all but disappear under the waves, and for this reason Impossibles is not an ideal place for relaxing in the sand, although it is a great setting for a sea-side walk at low tide. Swimming is not advised here, and the waves are for experienced surfers only, as they break over a reef.
Within paddling reach of Impossibles is Pantai Bingin, but this beach totes an extremely different atmosphere. It is still very natural and quiet, with few people, although there are quite a number of bungalows and a few warungs in the vicinity. This white-sand beach is pockmarked with rock and reef, forming pools in low tide, while at high tide the beach is almost completely consumed by the sea. Experienced surfers love to come here as the waves are near perfect and often form pristine tubes. The water is also fairly safe for swimming and snorkeling as the waves break on a reef about fifty to one hundred meters from the shoreline.
A few hundred meters up from Bingin is Pantai Dreamland, which overlooks every other Bukit beach all the way to Uluwatu. Because of its beauty, with white sand and cliff outcroppings, it has become the chic beach of the day(though experiencing development in 2009 results in a lot less visitors), It is a great beach for swimming and surfing, as it offers a sand-bottom break, but often has a strong rip current.
Just around the corner from Dreamland, this white-sand beach is absolutely idyllic, fringed by cliffs and clear water. Relatively quiet, with a mix of locals and tourists, there are only a few warungs near the tree line. The water here is fabulous for surfing and is safe for swimming, as the waves break over reef one hundred and fifty to three hundred meters from the shore.