Surfing Uluwatu | Everything to Know About Bali’s Most Famous Break 

Uluwatu is the wave that put Balinese surfing on the map. After an American surfer discovered perfect waves on Bali’s Bukit peninsular in the 70s, Bali’s destiny as a world-class surf destination was set. For better or worse, the discovery of Uluwatu and other perfect waves in Bali drew surfers from all over the world in search of tropical perfection. But what is surfing Uluwatu actually like? Here’s everything you need to know, from what the break is like, where to stay and some tips for the area. 


Table of Contents

Best Time of Year 

The best time of year to surf in Uluwatu is the dry season. In Indonesia, this runs from April to October and this is when the largest Indian Ocean swells hit the Indonesian coastline. Uluwatu, perched on the southwestern tip of Bali, is in a prime position to receive such swells. At this time of year, swells are greeted by trade winds, which means offshores all day, every day. There can also be fun waves in the wet season, but by midday, the onshores come up and mess things up. 

Ulus Surfing
Tempting Temples...

Uluwatu Surf Spot Breakdown

Uluwatu is an incredible piece of reef–a huge playing field defined by various sections. At the top, Temples is the most exposed and therefore most consistent, offering barrels on the right day. In front of the infamous cave paddle out, The Peak is a fun frame peak with a predominant left-hander. Then on the inside section, the waves run onto the Racetracks section, a shallow freight train tube. On the largest swells, the Bombie and Outside Corner come to life for big wave chargers. 

Where is Uluwatu? 

Uluwatu is on the SW tip of Bali. This is known as the Bukit Peninsula and is home to countless word class waves. It’s the most wave-rich region of Bali. 

Getting Around 

By Moped 

Unless you’re staying close to the Cliff tops, at Uluwatu Surf Villas, for instance, you’ll need a moped to get around in Uluwatu. While surfing Ulu’s is great, you’ll also want the freedom and flexibility to explore other waves in the area, such as Padang Padang, Bingin, and Dreamland. You can enter mopeds via most accommodations in Uluwatu for around $5 per day. (less if you rent for longer periods). 

By Car 

Alternatively, you can hire cars in Bali to explore the island and the waves. But to be honest with the traffic and small windy roads, I’d suggest driving a moped instead. You’ll just have an easier time driving around and weaving in and out of traffic. 

For more Bali content, check out my guide to surfing Canggu, or my breakdowns of Balian or Medewi. 

Uluwatu Surf Spot

Where to Stay?

Pecatu Guest House 

If you’re after something cheap and easy on the Bukit, check out Pecatu Guesthouse. While you won’t be able to walk to the waves from here, it’s one of the cheapest places you can stay while surfing in Uluwatu. Learn more here. 

Uluwatu Made Guesthouse

This is where is stayed during my last trip to Uluwatu. Made Guesthouse has everything you need; clean comfortable rooms, bathroom, A/C, good wifi, pool, and friendly owners. Learn more about Uluwatu Made Guesthouse here.

Uluwatu Surf Villas

Uluwatu Surf Villas is one of the best places you can stay in Uluwatu. Perched on the cliff overlooking the waves, you’ll have your own access to Temples, the top section of the reef. While not cheap, this is one of the better places you’ll stay in Bali, let alone Ulus. 

Surfing in Uluwatu
The Peak Uluwatu - And that's a quiet day...

Tips for Surfing in Uluwatu

The Cave 

One of the most unique paddle-outs in surfing. It is the defining feature of surfing in Uluwatu and can be intimidating, particularly at high tide when it’s swashing around and backwashing off the side, at low tide, it’s better, but then you have to walk over the reef. 


As you’d expect for a wave this well-established on the world surfing radar, the crowds are heavy. On good days, there can be anywhere between 30 and 80 people out! Don’t be disheartened though, during the wet season, you can still score waves with fewer crowds amid the afternoon onshores. 


Generally, Uluwatu is a surf spot for advanced surfers only. However, if you’re a progressive Intermediate, the wave can also be great on smaller days. When waves are really small (wet season), the reef behaves more like a beach break and can even be suitable for lower level intermediates and beginners. 

Final Words 

Uluwatu is a world-class wave in every sense of the phrase. Consistent, powerful, and with multiple sections, it’s a wave that every surfer should sample at least once. For more information on surfing in Uluwatu, please comment down below, I’d love to help. 

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