Photo: Can get busy.

Pura Luhur Uluwatu

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Dramatically perched on the edge of the towering cliffs above thundering surf at the Bukit’s southwestern coast, the iconic Pura Luhur Uluwatu (Uluwatu Temple), can feel a little underwhelming, but the real magic appears towards the end of the day as the sun sets over the Indian Ocean and the monumental silhouette leaves jaws gaping.





Uluwatu Temple is one of Bali’s holiest sites, reputedly founded around the 11th century as one of the sad kahyangan or “six sanctuaries”—pivotal points, said to provide spiritual balance to Bali—it plays the role of a vital guardian of the southwest. The temple is built from grey coral stone, tougher than the volcanic stone of most of Bali’s temples, meaning that the details here are generally well preserved.

What a location. Photo taken in or around Pura Luhur Uluwatu, Bukit, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

What a location. Photo: Sally Arnold

Only worshipers are permitted to enter the actual temple structure, but visitors can climb the stairs to the outer entrance gates flanked by statues of Ganesh wrapped in ceremonial cloth and circumnavigate the outer walls. From the southern side you can take a peek into the central courtyard where you will see the arched kori agung gateway presided over by a leering Kala head. Once you’ve wandered around the temple structure, walk along the fenced cliff ledge to neighbouring headlands to the south or north to capture a sunset silhouette.

Uluwatu Temple is held hostage by a troupe of thieving monkeys who can be most unpleasant—we have had an earring ripped from our ear in the past here and flip flop taken off our foot (yes really) and have seen them run off with people glasses leaving them virtually blinded. Remove jewellery, hats and glasses and be aware of the little buggers with your phone and camera—if they do take something, look for an attendant to help—you will probably be asked for a small fee to facilitate retrieval.

“chak chak cak” Photo taken in or around Pura Luhur Uluwatu, Bukit, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

“chak chak cak” Photo: Sally Arnold

The highlight of a visit to Uluwatu Temple is the fabulously entertaining kecak dance performed in the amphitheatre near the southern headland. Unlike most Balinese dances that are designed to be performed as entertainment for the gods, Kecak was developed in the 1930s as an entertainment for tourists (although its roots are in the Sanghyang ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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Pura Luhur Uluwatu
Close to the southeastern tip of Bali
Admission: Temple 30,000 rupiah for adults and 20,000 rupiah for kids. Kecak dance 100,000 rupiah

Location map for Pura Luhur Uluwatu

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