This is a large limestone peninsula which, bar a slither of land just south of the airport, would be a separate island. It is rugged and dry, and pre-tourist development this was a real backwater of Bali.
The Bukit (as it is commonly referred to) includes the famous cliff-hanging temple at Uluwatu, a number of Bali’s very best beaches including Balangan, and the top surfing spots on the island. As is so often the case, it was intrepid surfers who really opened up the eyes of the world to this part of the island.
The two main towns with strong local communities on the Bukit are Pecatu and Ungasan.
The Bukit Peninsula is connected to Kuta through Jimbaran by the busy Jalan Bypass Nusa Dua and this is the only route in. Take this main road south to the junction with Jalan Uluwatu II (the famous McDonald’s junction), turn west towards Jimbaran Bay, continue about 2 km and at the four road junction make a sharp left up the hill (signposted for Uluwatu). Continue on this road into the heart of the peninsula.
A taxi from Kuta to Uluwatu for example takes 30 to 40 minutes on winding roads and will cost about Rp 120,000 one-way. If you are just visiting for the day, consider asking the driver to wait trip as it can be difficult to find transport back. Figure on paying the taxi driver Rp 20,000/hour to wait. Joining a tour can be a cheaper way of getting to Uluwatu and this destination is very widely offered by tour operators all over the island.
• Balangan. Rated by some as the single best beach in Bali and one which receives relatively few visitors. It takes a bit of finding but from the main junction at Ungasan heading out from Jimbaran towards Uluwatu turn right (west) by Nirmala Supermarket. The road then twists and turns for about 6 km until you reach the beach. Keep following informal signs to “Balangan” or “Balangan Surf” and a west-northwest bearing. This is a stunning beach and well worth the effort required in finding it. There are a few very laid-back warungs on the beach and even a couple of bungalows where you can stay the night.
• Bingin. Another white sand beach north of Padang-Padang and south of Dreamland. The beach here is not easy to access as the cliffs are high but the ocean views alone make the visit worthwhile. From the village of Pecatu head towards Padang-Padang and look for informal signs on your right directing you to “Bingin Surf”. Proceed down the maze of small roads here, paying a Rp 3,000 toll if the village attendant is there, until you reach the obvious parking areas at the clifftop. There are two sets of steps down the cliff to the beach which are known as the northerly and southerly steps. Don’t be surprised if you have to walk through grassy fields with cows and narrow pathways. Women offering massages might chase you from the parking lot. They’ll back off after a firm ‘no’.
• Dreamland. Formerly a very beautiful beach which has been ruined by the adjacent Pecatu Graha Indah “New Kuta” development, Sadly it has turned into “Nightmare-land”. There are still excellent surfing conditions, especially for intermediate surfers & on days when other breaks are too big to surf. The break goes right & left, is not too shallow and has decent shape. If you do visit this beach, try to imagine how glorious it was before the bulldozers moved in. The entrance road to Pecatu Graha Indah is about 2 km southwest of Ungasan on Jl Uluwatu, and is impossible to miss adorned as it by huge statues and truly massive, intrusive billboards. The entrance fee to use the road down to the waterfront is currently Rp 10,000.
• Padang-Padang. A truly lovely beach with a big surf break offshore. Accessed from a stepped pathway on the north side of the obvious bridge 3 kilometres north of Uluwatu Temple heading back towards Pecatu. The white sand beach here is a little bit narrow at the highest of tides but is otherwise very nice indeed.
• Suluban Beach. To the west of Padang-Padang Beach is secluded Suluban Beach. Access is not as public as that for Padang Padang, hence it is generally very quiet here. Even at hig tides with the rolling surf,Suluban Beach has a rather wide sand beach. As tide receeds some 100 metres, Suluban Beach makes a nice exploratory wade amoung the rocks, corals and seaweed. The view from the Suluban cliff-line above is a show of spectacular ocean colours