WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO STAY IN JIMBARAN AND ULUWATU, BALI
Bali – Indonesia
Written by Chris Andre
Jimbaran and Uluwatu are the quiet yet entrancing southwest districts of Bali, popular with honeymooners and discerning travelers looking for exclusive hideaways.
For years and years, Jimbaran has long been known for the seafood barbecue by the beach. The fresh offerings from the ocean draw in both domestic and foreign tourists who want to end the night on a high note. Not far from Jimbaran is Uluwatu, a rather barren hill that has evolved into a splendid getaway location suitable for a peaceful holiday on the island. While to some these destinations play a second fiddle to Kuta and Seminyak, those who have basked in the serenity of the breathtaking natural landscape and pristine beaches there know how spellbinding Jimbaran and Uluwatu can be.
Where are and how to get to Jimbaran and Uluwatu?
Jimbaran is 15 minutes away from the airport. It’s on the southern part of the island, and you can go there by taxi or “ojek” (motor taxi) or the shuttle bus transarbagita. Walking is another option, although there is not a really convenient sidewalk from the airport to the Jimbaran area. Meanwhile, if you go further southwest from Jimbaran, you will climb uphill to Uluwatu Hill.
What to find in Jimbaran?
Jimbaran is a must-visit for seafood lovers. A lot of top-class chefs residing on the island would recommend you to go to the Kedonganan fish market—next to Jimbaran—to get the best catch of the day. The same market usually provides plenty of fine hotels in Bali with the freshest catch of the day. Take Koh at InterContinental Bali Resort, for instance. Being arguably the finest Japanese restaurant in Bali, Koh offers beautiful seafood dishes that some are also coming from the Jimbaran area and vicinity. For candlelight dinners by the beach, next to Le Meridien Jimbaran is an extended strip of beachside seafood restaurants worth visiting.
But if you want a five-star quality table that summons world-class chefs, fret not; Jimbaran has Sundara by Four Season Resort Jimbaran. This luxe culinary destination boasts a gorgeous beachfront setting and a plethora of mouth-watering meals and knock-out cocktails. Alternatively, Karma Jimbaran has a rather intimate pool-side dining venue with an acoustic singing performance every week. Or else, head down to boutique restaurant Balique that sits across the InterContinental Bali Resort. Owned and styled by international interior designer Zohra Boukhari, Balique is an oasis of artistic interior design as well as a great place for honeymooners to dine off their hotels.
Art is another factor that makes Jimbaran unforgettable. Jenggala Ceramics at Jalan Uluwatu II (still at the foothill of Uluwatu) is simply one of a kind. It creates phenomenal ceramics, which are at par with renowned designs in Europe. The handbag-shaped tea pot is so unique, and the leaf-fold-patterned plates are inspired by the local culture. It is five minutes away from Kupu-Kupu Jimbaran Resort & Spa—which has a must-visit spa run by French beauty brand L’Occitane (try the bamboo massage here!).
What to find in Uluwatu?
A must-do for every newcomer to Bali is to watch Kecak Dance (aka Fire Dance) at Uluwatu Temple. Located at the south-end of the island, the temple offers a stunning cliff-top view. The Kecak Dance is typically performed when the sunset is high. You can stay at the nearby Anantara Bali Uluwatu Resort & Spa and enjoy more than just an amazing sunset but also sunrises. Another spot famed for the sky and ocean view is Bulgari Resort Bali—the only resort by Bulgari in the world at the moment.
Some distance away from that temple lies the Blue Point Beach, which is basically a cliff edge that’s carved into a surfing village. It’s got the well-known Blue Fin surf’s bar and there’s more than a bunch of surfing equipment shops and massage counters along the descending path from the cliff top to the beach below.
Another equally mesmerizing cliff top is the Karma Kandara cliff. Marked by the Karma Kandara Resort, the cliff here also features another topflight accommodation called Semara Luxury Villas Uluwatu. Both places have a gondola that will take visitors to Nammos beach—inspired after a beach in Greece. On some occasions, Karma Kandara throws a beach party that lasts until dawn, despite the cool sea breeze.
One more hideaway to reveal in Uluwatu is El Kabron, a cliff top restaurant tucked in the off-the-beaten path. The combination of Mexican cuisine and modern hippie lifestyle seems to be the right recipe that lures surfers from different parts of the world to gather, kick back, and relax. For most, learning to be idle for a day is one of the best things they could ever get from a trip to Uluwatu. And this is what makes Uluwatu Uluwatu—a peaceful hill at the south of Bali.
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