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The South of Bali is an area full of things to do. Whether you want culture or beaches, shopping or wildlife, or something completely unique, it’s a place you should check out if you’re travelling around Bali. I spent 5 days there in 3 different areas and it was great to explore them and it’s the perfect area to stop and chill out at.
The Bukit Peninsula is where you’ll find Uluwatu and Nusa Dua, home to incredible surf, beaches, resorts and temples. Just north of The Bukit Peninsula is where you’ll find Legian. It has a completely different feel to it but it’s a popular place if you want to shop and party.
I’ve put together a guide of the places I visited on the Bukit Peninsula and some handy tips to help you see what the area has to offer. This guide will go through what to do in Uluwatu, Nusa Dua and Legian including where to stay and how to get around.
You might also like:
- My 3 week Bali itinerary guide
- The Ultimate Luxe for Less hotel in Canggu
- My guide to visiting Nusa Penida
- Top 10 things to do in Canggu
Where is the Bukit Peninsula?
This piece of land lies on the southern tip of Bali and is well known as being a holiday destination. From the most central point, the airport is about 13km away so the area is a great place to either start or finish your time in Bali.
How to get around the Bukit Peninsula
Tom and I hired a scooter in Nusa Dua and Uluwatu and had no problem getting around to the beaches and main attractions on it. The roads are good here making the drive easy. Alternatively, there are taxis available to take you around but it’s worth noting that the cheaper online taxis such as Grab and Go Jek are not always allowed in certain areas as the local taxis have banned them. We had problems getting from Uluwatu to Legian as Grab taxis were not allowed into the area but local taxis were asking for 3 times as much. We managed to get one eventually but just bear it in mind that it’s not always easy!
Where to stay in South Bali
Where to stay in Nusa Dua
This area is teeming with the big flashy resorts that I can only dream about being able to afford one day, but in the meantime, if you’re like me, I recommend staying in a homestay or guest house. I stayed at the Sari Room Bed & Breakfast which is located right on the main road in Nusa Dua full of restaurants and bars. The rooms are simple, clean and have a TV, hot shower, decent wifi and a really affordable warung attached. Breakfast was tasty and filling as well.
Where to stay in Uluwatu
Uluwatu is far more spread out and doesn’t really have a main town area. I stayed at the Made Roejas Homestay which is a short drive to Dreamland Beach and Bingin Beach. We decided to pay a little extra when we booked to have breakfast included as there aren’t many places nearby to eat at. Again, the rooms were comfy but the wifi was a little on the weak side, which is more common than not for Bali anyway. The family who owns it are lovely and we were able to rent a motorbike from them too.
Where to stay in Legian
As this was our last stop in Bali before we flew out to Singapore, it was great to have a bit of a fancier stay in the GrandMas Plus Hotel. It’s right in the heart of Legian but slightly away from the busiest area, and also a short walk to the beach. It’s really sleek and they also have a fantastic spa there. You can read my full hotel review here.
Things to do in Nusa Dua
Nusa Dua Beach
This beach is the place to go if you want to try your hand at watersports. From jet skis to parasailing to banana boats, it’s all here to try. It also has a pretty little promenade to relax on and plenty of space to sunbathe.
Driving around here will make you feel a million miles from Bali. It almost feels like you’ve been transported to Las Vegas or somewhere super shiny and new. We initially went here to visit the Water Blow Hole but the area was blocked off due to a new walkway being built. The areas has some pretty sculpted gardens though and the wonderfully shallow Pantai Nusa Dua beach to relax and swim on.
Gunung Payung Cultural Park
I actually really loved this spot but when we visited we were the only people there. It costs a small amount to visit and there’s an incredible amphitheatre that overlooks the ocean where performances are held. There’s also a temple and is a popular spot for paragliding. If you carry on walking around the amphitheatre you’ll find a beautiful little beach called Pantai Gunung Payung which is certainly one of the lesser known beaches in the area.
No one really knows why it’s there but it’s pretty awesome anyway. Just off the side of the road you will see some building work going on and a small path going up the hill. Follow the path and you’ll find yourself on top of the hill looking down into a massive hole with an aeroplane in it. I have no idea how it got there (although I would love to know) and rumour has it that it was going to be turned into a restaurant but it just never happened. I hope one day something does come of it! You can walk around half of the top but sadly can’t get down to the plane.
This temple is one of the most important ones in Bali and overlooks Geger Beach. It was open when I visited and guests are expected to wear appropriate clothing (sarongs for both men and women) and you’ll need to bring your own with you. It’s a beautiful temple and I believe there’s a small beach that is reachable during low tide.
One thing I love about Bali is how multicultural it is, and nowhere shows this better than Pura Mandala. This complex has 5 places of worship, each for different religions and they sit side by side from one another. It’s really interesting to see is a beautiful spot. Some of the places are only accessible to people who actually want to worship and be sure to wear appropriate clothing or you won’t be allowed in.
Where to eat in Nusa Dua
Warung Babi Guling Pak Dobil
This warung is the place to go if you want to try some of Bali’s famous sucking pig. I visited for lunch and this place was absolutely heaving with people both sitting down and grabbing lunch to take away. It can be a bit confusing when you get there but if you’re eating in you simply need to find a seat (don’t be shy about sharing tables) and someone will come over with the food and take your drinks order. Here, everyone is served the same meal which consists of a delicious spicy pork broth with pork leg in, satay and a pork rice dish. It’s spicy but so good!
Warung Beten Kelor
With Nusa Dua being built up around high-end resorts, you’ll find that eating here is a lot pricier compared to other areas in Bali. But I found this fantastic warung towards the end of the main street and cannot recommend it enough if you’re looking for local food at local prices. The lady who owns this place is really lovely and she helped explain the dishes to us and even let us try some fresh Balinese cake that her mum had just cooked. Nothing beats having the food freshly cooked right in front of you and it’s what Bali is all about.
Things to do in Uluwatu
Located between Uluwatu Beach and Bingin Beach, Padang-Padang beach is a small cove that’s great for swimming and surfing. There are lots of stalls selling clothes and snacks and around lunchtime, some ladies set up a warung and cook up some delicious Balinese food. There are also monkeys at the beach so watch out for your stuff!
This beach has such a bizarre walk down to it – it actually feels like you’re walking through Greece with all the blue and white buildings lining the stairs down. The beach itself is pretty small but is really chilled and there are some bars and restaurants there making it a great place to spend the day if you really want to relax.
Beach clubs like Sundays and Oneeighty at The Edge
If you’re looking to really splurge and have a luxury experience whilst you’re in Uluwatu, one of the popular things to do is go to one of the big beach clubs. They often host parties and have live music as well as their awesome infinity pools and views. You need to book in advance so be sure to check their websites out before you start making your way there. Here’s the link to Sundays and to Oneeighty.
This is another of the major temples in Bali and is located on the top of a cliff overlooking the sea and its location makes it a great spot for sunset, like Tanah Lot Temple. On the lead up to the temple there’s a forest home to hundreds of monkeys who are believed to guard the temple.
Things to do in Legian
The Bali Sea Turtle Society
This fantastic organisation works to protect the turtles and their habitats around Bali. They help rescue turtles and run a programme where they relocate eggs laid in the sand to a hatchery to then release the babies back into the wild. They focus a lot on education too to encourage others to protect these beautiful creatures. If you’re lucky and are there at the right time of the year, you can even give a donation and help release a baby turtle for yourself. You can see more information about their releases on their website and facebook page.
All along the streets of Legian you’ll find tonnes of market stalls selling everything from clothes to bags to weirdly shaped bottle openers. It’s the place to pick up some last minute souvenirs and practise you’re haggling skills.
This long white sand beach is great for both relaxing and hitting the waves. There are a number of surf schools here if you fancy having a go, or just simply walk along the sand and enjoy the sunset.
It would be rude not to make the most of the spas whilst in Bali, right? There are loads to choose from in Legian and a big range so you’re bound to find something for you. I had a Balinese massage at the Rehat Spa at the GrandMas Plus Hotel and it was absolutely amazing. If you want to really relax then be sure to go here.