After Bingin we moved a mere 10 minutes down the road to Uluwatu. We stayed at Puri Uluwatu, which was a short walk to the beach. We only had 4 days there so we didn’t have time to waste with regards to surfing and sight seeing.
We had a few things on the radar regarding what to do. We wanted to go to Padang Padang Beach, visit the Uluwatu Temple, surf at Uluwatu and also ride around the whole area on motorbikes to get a feel for it.
We went to Padang Padang Beach first. There is a good wave for learners there but on this particular day the swell was very small so I decided not to go out. The beach itself is small and average, but I did like that there was a lot of shade provided by the rocks. My mom bought an ornate sarong there for 40 000 IDR (with a bit of bargaining), which I very quickly claimed as my own.
Norman somehow convinced me to go surfing with him at Uluwatu, and I actually had my best surfing experience ever. I was hesitant because the waves were so crowded and I doubted I would even be able to catch one. Luckily for me I had a private (and free!) surf instructor, and Norman knew where in the water we should sit so that we could catch waves. We both ended up catching quite a lot of waves, and the vibe in the water was fun because we made friends with the locals. They were super cool, and would shout and cheer for me when I paddled for a wave.
The Uluwatu Temple (Pura Luhur Uluwatu) was something we all wanted wanted to go see because it is essentially the most famous landmark in Uluwatu. It is an important temple not just in Uluwatu but also in Bali, and is quite spectacularly located on the edge of a steep cliff. It was easy enough for us to find on our scooters, and there was just a 2000 IDR fee per vehicle/scooter. To enter into the temple area itself costs a further 20 000 IDR per adult, which still makes for a very affordable outing. At the entrance to the temple you are given robes to wear to cover your legs. There are also people selling food for the monkeys at every corner but we didn’t buy because it encourages the monkeys to be aggressive when they fight over the food. The views from either side of the temple really are beautiful because you have the green cliffside and then the striking blue ocean below. Parts of the temple itself were under construction, and to be honest I never really felt it’s authenticity.
If you follow my blog you will know I really don’t like any form of animal captivity or exploitation, so I wasn’t looking forward to seeing all the tame monkeys running around. People are encouraged to hide their sunglasses and cameras because the monkeys steal them and run off, which just shows how bad things have gotten. It is to be expected though, because the monkeys are constantly being fed by humans, and in close contact with them. Although I didn’t feed them, I did take some adorable pictures of the babies because they were so tame that they just sat on the wall right where we walked past.
Overall I must admit to being slightly disappointed with my temple experience. It was so full of tourists walking around in hoards, and I didn’t feel any sense of spirituality. The place was run down, littered and basically exploited. As can be seen in the pictures, it is still beautiful in parts so I would say it is still worth a visit – just don’t have very high expectations.