From the day we landed in Bali, we had been dying to go to Uluwatu Temple because we heard about the Ramayan Dance done there every evening and were dying to see it first-hand.
We left the hotel around 1pm and it took us about 2 hours to reach Uluwatu from Kuta (There was a lot of traffic but this journey should take around 1 to 1.5 hours). We decided to stop over at Padang-Padang Beach on the way.
This was one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to. To actually reach the beach you have to walk through this narrow stairway wedged between two huge boulders and it’s a steep slope down! But once you squeeze through the boulders and make it out into the open you literally have to take a step back and admire the beautiful beach.
Cliffs on either side, few people, glittering waves and soft sand – the perfect beach. Unlike Kuta Beach, Padang-Padang has fewer people, no litter, no vendors bothering you to make a purchase and views like no other. The water was cool on the sweltering day but unfortunately this isn’t the ideal beach for swimming. There are rocks and pebbles on the ocean floor and the current is really strong and tends to push you deeper and towards the cliffs on the side. Nevertheless it was an enjoyable and pleasant experience.
(Entrance was Rp.10 000 pp)
We left Padang-Padang and made our way to Uluwatu Temple. This is the postcard picture for Bali. The temple is perched at the top of a 70m high cliff that overlooks the Indian Ocean.
The views were breath-taking! When we arrived, just before sunset, the sun lay low on the ocean making the turquoise waves sparkle. The climb to the actual temple is steep but completely worth it as you’re rewarded with more stunning views. The only thing to be cautious about are the monkeys that can be quite naughty so keep your possessions close to you.
Every evening, at 6pm there is a traditional Balinese Kecak Fire Dance in an amphitheater adjacent to the temple. I would suggest coming earlier since the place gets really full and there is no reserved seating. Also, coming early will allow you to walk around the beautiful area filled with trees and plants against the backdrop of the ocean. We came across a statue of a being (we assumed it is Ravana) fighting off monkeys. Really amazing.
The Kecak Dance was truly unforgettable. It is unlike any other. There is no music but around 40 men repeat the word “Kecak” to create a beat to which the other performers dance and tell a story to. The dance tells the story of the Ramayan. A king named Rama, living with his wife and brother in the forest, fights off the evil demon Ravana, who cunningly abducts Rama’s wife Sita. It is a story of good vs evil.
The costumes are beautiful, the dance is beautiful, the backdrop is beautiful and the story is beautiful. The actor portraying the monkey God, Hanuman, does fantastic acrobatic stunts as he climbs around the amphitheater and engages with the crowd. As a Hindu familiar with the story of the Ramayan, it was interesting to see the portrayal of the characters and see the story told in such a unique and interesting way.
After the show we were able to take pictures with the characters and we were still in awe of the amazing sunset. Entrance to the temple is Rp.30 000 and the tickets to the show cost Rp.100 000 and it is worth every penny!