5 days surfing in Uluwatu

Sunday, 14 May 2017

After mine and Craig's short stay in Kuta, and before all the craziness descended upon us, we headed to the trendy little surf town of Uluwatu about 40 mins drive away.

Uluwatu got recommended to us by two friends we met in Oz (thanks Nia and Lizzie, great shout)! We stayed at a little homestay called Buffalo Surf House, situated in one of Uluwatu's famous coastal cliff faces. The ocean views were breathtaking and we loved chilling in the hammocks watching the surfers out on their boards. Without further ado we headed to a local surf shack to rent some boards of our own for the 5 days we planned to stay in Uluwatu.

Although there're many great surf spots in Uluwatu we overlooked Padang-padang beach, a reef break, with a little sandy cove on the shore. During high tide it was easy to push our boards out into the water from a secret access point at our accommodation, and then paddle out to the waves. Before Padang-Padang I'd only ever experienced beach breaks, which I have to say, I much prefer! Over the five days of surfing I defiantly learnt a lot and had loads of fun out in the ocean, plus it was great on calmer days just to chill and sunbath on the board. With that said it was a lot harder for a beginner to actually catch the waves, as you spend a lot of time paddling out to them, only to be knocked back quite frequently. This is combined with that fact you have a sharp reef underneath you so you have to be aware when you come off not to hurt yourself or damage the board. Luckily we came away unscathed but Craig's board took a couple of dings!

Enough about surfing, let me talk to you about Uluwatu itself...

Amazing surf shops, some of the best restaurants and cafes I've experienced since travelling and some lovely laid back people.

Our favourite places were...
Mango Tree (try Maria's north Sumatran curry - delicious)
Om burger (the biggest and the best vegan or veggie burgers you will ever have)
Padang-pedang Cafe (great for breakfast and the Padang bowl is one of the best smoothie bowls I've had)

If a little bit of culture is what you're after then check out Uluwatu temple. Perched high on a cliff overlooking the ocean (like most places in Uluwatu) the setting couldn't get more picture perfect. Although the temple itself, in my opinion, isn't quite as beautiful as those we visited in Japan, it's great to visit, as the grounds and setting really do make it what it is.

Another, rather amusing feature, to the temple at Uluwatu are the monkeys. BE WARNED THE MONKEYS ARE SMOOTH CRIMINALS - and they take great pleasure in stealing your stuff. We witnessed a little girl getting her hat stolen, her mum then proceeded to try and kick the monkey in a fearless rage only to loose her flip flop in the process; shamelessly the monkey stole that as well. It was very amusing to watch. However the Uluwatu monkeys aren't always a bundle of laughs as we experienced one morning, walking back to our homestay after brekky! Chatting away we were soon stopped in our tracks by a tribe of about 30 monkeys, the alpha male plonked right in our pathway. He was about the size of a hefty toddle and when he went to leap and bite Craig with his ginormous fangs we for sure as hell sprinted in the opposite direction! Chasing after us for a good 30 seconds they quickly realised we weren't a threat and slowly sauntered past; giggling as monkeys do. From that moment on I can't say I was a huge monkey fan and made sure to carry a large stick with me whenever we walked past in the future!

Quickly before I finish this rambling post I must mention Sunday's beach club! Previously known as Finns - Sunday's is a beautiful private beach club situated on the outskirts of Uluwatu and is defiantly worth a visit if you fancy a bit more of a luxurious beach day. A stunning sandy beach with crashing waves at high tide but swimming and paddle boarding at low, it's a fab place to spend the day. Every day feels like a Sunday - with big comfy beanbag loungers, a constant supply of drinks, laid back tunes and a great little restaurant, serving a mixture of different cuisines. A slightly more pricey day, but still cheap nonetheless at £10 each for entry and then a little bit more on top of that to use against food and drink; it would be rude not to!

So if you're ever in Bali and need some time away from busy Kuta, and love surfing or just beach vibes then I urge you to take some time out for Uluwatu! Full of charm and hidden gems it really is a beach bums paradise...

Elly X

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