Surfing in The Bukit
Surfing in the Bukit
The Bukit is a peninsula located on the south tip of the island. The first ones to surf there arrived in the early 70s to shoot the legendary documentary Morning on the Earth. At first, the access was very limited with no roads taking to the breaks. Back in those days, the surfers had to take all the supplies they would need. To get to Uluwatu, the most famous wave of the area was particularly hard. You had to go down a vertical bamboo ladder carrying your surfboard. But the sacrifice was worth it. Uluwatu is one of the best left-handers in the world, and paddling out of the cave into the lineup is a lifetime experience. Surfers from all over the world come to surf these waves and fulfill their teenager dreams. Nowadays there are plenty of accommodations, restaurants and surf shops on the whole Bukit area.
Why surf in the Bukit?
The Bukit Peninsula is one of the most famous surf destinations in the country. It has the best surf spots on the whole island like Uluwatu, Padang Pandang, Impossibles and Bingin to name a few. The whole area breaths the surf culture and surfers from across the world have been attracted to this legendary peninsula for decades. There are all kinds of waves for beginners, intermediate and advanced surfers and the vibe in this area is very easy going. You can drive around on your scooter and check all the breaks from the top of the cliffs before choosing which one you want to surf. There is something magical about this place and the feeling of paddling out in an epic day is priceless.
Climate in the Bukit
Like the rest of the island, the Bukit has an equatorial climate. There are two very distinguished seasons: dry and wet. The temperatures are warm all year round, shifting around 27-30 degrees Celsius. During the wet season, it rains a lot, especially from December to January. During the rest of the year, the weather is clear and the sun shines every day!
Best time to go
Surfing in the dry season in the Bukit
This is considered the high season. The consistent southeast wind blows all day and it’s offshore for the best waves of the west coast. It’s also when the biggest swells hit the coast, especially from June to August. The wave height average in this period is 4-6 ft with occasionally 10-15 ft swells. It’s definitely the best time to visit this area.
Surfing in the wet season in the Bukit
During this season is when the east coast of the peninsula works better. The trade wind backs off and gives space for nice glassy days. Since the peninsula is located in the south still captures a fair bit of swell so there are plenty of fun waves from November to March. It’s way less crowded than during the high season.
Main Surfing areas in the Bukit
This super consistent spot is the main attraction of the Bukit area. The break can handle any size from 2 to 20 ft. It’s a long reef with 5 sections: Racetrack, The Peak, Temples, Outside Corner and The Bombie. On the busiest days, the crowd spread out so there is always a wave for everyone.
It’s an epic barrel machine. It needs a major swell to break properly. On the best days, you should expect a steep takeoff that takes you directly to the barrel followed by a second barrel before it hits the channel. On the other side of the channel, you will find a break called Baby Padang that it’s a beginner paradise on small days.
This wave looks picturesque from the cliff. It has long left walls and most of the days are impossible to make all the sections, that’s where the name comes from. It’s perfect on a 4-6 ft south swell. That’s when you can score multiple barrels on the same wave.
Certainly the most perfect wave from the peninsula. This mechanical left-hander is friendly on the high tide and super shallow on the low. The trick here is to backdoor the takeoff and kick out before the reef dries out.
Mostly known for the golf court and the huge hotel located near the beach. This wave has nothing special compared to the others. Deepwater and sand-covered reef. It’s good for beginners to get on their feet before adventuring on other breaks. Better on lower tides.
This left-hander starts on the left corner of the beach in front of a big cliff. The wave has sections on small days but on big days can connect all the way to the end of the beach. Beginners and intermediate surfers will have fun on small swells and the more experienced surfers will charge when the waves get big. The beach is perfect to leave your family or girlfriend chilling in the sun.
If it’s flat here it is flat everywhere. This wave is completely exposed to the south and to all the swell directions. The long hike down the beach makes it uncrowded. One of the most beautiful beaches in the peninsula. Take all your provisions with you, there are no warungs at this beach.
Shares the title of swell magnet with Nyang Nyang. Super exposed to the wind, the best windows are usually in the morning. Watch out for strong currents.
This beach has a lot of warungs and it’s perfect to bring the family for a day on the beach. There is a right-hander in front of the restaurants and if you walk down the beach toward the cliffs you will also find a really fun left-hander.
The Best time is between November and March during the wet season. During the dry season try to sneak it early in the morning before the trades kick in. The long 2 km reef has many shifty spots all over the place. The break is far from the beach so we suggest you get a local boat to take you out.
What is your traveling style?
Luxury / Nice / Upscale Surfing in the Bukit
There are all types of accommodations in this area, but if you choose to be in a luxury hotel you will experience the peninsula in a unique way. Most of the resorts are located on the edge of the cliffs with jaw-dropping views and amazing sunsets right in front of them. You will be able to relax by the pool with a priceless view of the best surf spots. When the surf is not good or you are too tired you can enjoy a day at the spa or have a revitalizing yoga session. This is also the perfect option for a romantic hideaway.
Prices are in between 100-700 USD per night
Budget Surfing in the Bukit
No one wants to leave paradise so the longer you stay the better. The Bukit has also a lot to offer for those who want to optimize their budget to stay extended periods. There are plenty of homestays as well located as the fancy hotels. You can find yourself a nice and clean room with a nice hammock at the balcony to have the perfect nap in between surf sessions. And all that for reasonable prices in between 20-80 USD per night
Kids and Teen Surf Camps
The Bukit has a lot of surf camps and surf schools and the reason is clear: there are many options for breaks that are perfect to learn how to surf. With these conditions plus the amazing structure of the surf camps is possible to improve very fast. The surf camps allow you to discover different spots while you are learning how to surf. The surf schools are ready to teach any kind of person from young kids to adults. It’s never too late to learn how to surf.
Prices including lessons can be between 60-100 USD per night.
The best vacations are always the ones you share with your friends. If you are going to surf some amazing waves at a tropical paradise why not invite the ones you love. You will never forget going to surf together and having a beer after talking about how amazing the session was. These moments are priceless and way better than if you were alone. There are plenty of accommodations in the Bukit that can host up to 24 for people at the same time. Nice private houses at the cliffside with incredible views to the Indian Ocean.
The prices for this dream vacation can be between 40-100 USD per night.
The Bukit Travelling Guide
Packing and equipment:
What should I pack for a surf holiday in the Bukit?
The Bukit is all about surf culture. All the shops and restaurants have surf pictures on the walls and it’s not unusual to see people going around in their bare feet. So don’t worry about bringing your fanciest clothes. You will spend most of the time at the beach anyway so bring lots of board shorts and bikinis. If you are going to rent a bike to go around you should bring something to protect yourself from the wind since it gets a little bit chilly during the night. Besides that pack your lightest clothes, lots of sun cream and don’t forget to bring your boards!
Indonesia adopts European standards for electrical plugs. But if you forgot yours don’t stress about it, you can easily buy one in Kuta (which is located close to the airport).
Basic Info about the Bukit
Indonesia’s national language is commonly known as Bahasa. Most of the locals speak very good English in this area. They will be more than ready to teach you some words in Bahasa if you are willing to learn. It’s a good idea and very easy to learn the basics if you want to have a closer and more genuine exchange with the locals.
The local currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). The locals are usually helpful and they love to bargain so always ask for discounts before agreeing with any price
Before Going to the Bukit
Visa / Documents
No need for visa
Free tourist visa for 30 days
60 days visa on arrival (35 USD)
Don’t forget to go to the immigration office to extend your visa on arrival.
Vaccines / Health
If you are coming from South America or Africa you need the yellow fever vaccine.
Your usual childhood vaccines plus protection from Hepatitis A should be fine.
Cases of malaria happen especially during the wet season, but that’s not a major concern.
Be extra careful with dogs, cats, and monkeys. If you are bitten, go straight to a local hospital to get yourself a rabies shot.
Getting to the Bukit
The main airport on the island located near Kuta, approximately 40 minutes from the Bukit. The less stressful way is to arrange your transfer before arriving on the island, but you can always get a cab at the airport as well. There are many drivers offering you rides when you arrive at the airport. Always bargain with the price since they will try to optimize their profit with unadvised tourists. The rides usually cost 32-35 USD.
Moving Around the Bukit
The best way to move around the Bukit is by scooter. There is no public transportation. It’s a good option to go check the surf spots with your board on the surf hack. As soon as you find your accommodation you should ask the staff about renting a scooter. But remember, if you are going to watch the sunset and have a couple of drinks after that you should ask for a cab and leave your scooter at home. Safety first always!
The Bukit has a lot of restaurants and local warungs that offer nice meals and local traditional dishes.
Local warungs price per meal: 2-5 USD
Fancy restaurants price per meal: 10-50 USD
There are many options for accommodations in the Bukit. It’s only a matter of finding the best one for your budget.
Homestays price per night: 20-50 USD
Hotel price per night: 40-200 USD
In order to make it easier to find the surf spots in the Bukit, you should get yourself a sim card. You can easily buy one at the airport after picking up your luggage. The best phone company in the country is Telkomsel.
It’s easy and practical to go surfing with a scooter in the Bukit. You can rent a scooter with board racks which will let you bring your board anywhere you go.
Scooter rent price per day: 4-6 USD
Gas is super cheap in the Bukit. There are no gas stations but there are many places selling gas in old vodka bottles. It’s a funny concept but it’s a practical solution. 1L cost 1 USD.
Other things to do while Surfing in the Bukit
Eat at the Jimbaran Fish Market and discover the famous local flavor
Indonesian food has a lot of seafood dishes. At the Jimbaran Fish Market, you are able to buy fresh fish directly from the fishermen. There you will find a big diversity of fish and seafood. After buying from the locals you can go next door and ask them to grill your food for you. It’s the perfect sunset program since the beach has one of the most stunning sunsets on the island.
Sightseeing - Culture in the Bukit
Uluwatu has one of the most beautiful temples in the Island: the Monkey Temple. It’s located on the cliff edge of Uluwatu, 250 ft above the sea level with an amazing view of the line-up. It’s one of the 6 key temples believed to be spiritual pillars of the island. Every day the locals perform for the tourist the traditional ceremony of the Kecak Fire Dance. It’s a beautiful show that has even more alluring during sunsets. The temple has many cheeky monkeys that like to steal things from the tourist so watch out for your belongings. You should remove your eyeglasses, necklace, earrings or any sparkling thing that can stimulate the monkey curiosity.
Type of Risks
The surf breaks in the peninsula can be very challenging. When you are pushing your limits minor injuries might occur. If that happens the Bukit has a few medical facilities capable of taking good care of you and your family. Usual injuries are fin chops, reef cuts and exhaust burn from your scooter mufflers. Watch out for those and you will have an injury-free vacation.
How to Prepare
If you haven’t been surfing for a while and is a little bit out of shape, you should prepare yourself for a lot of paddling. When the conditions are epic you will want to surf as much as you can. To make the most out of your trip and to avoid fatigue you should try to get into the best shape of your life. If you live far away from the sea you can start swimming in a pool or a lake to strengthen your back and shoulders. But if you can go to the beach, try to go surfing as much as you can. Even when the surf is flat you can go for a paddle just to keep the momentum going.
One week before your trip, it’s possible to check the forecast to get to know how the waves are going and to get ready for the surf conditions. These are some recommended forecast websites that cover the Bukit peninsula:
If the forecast is showing big waves it’s always a good idea to reconsider insurance, just to be safe. Most of the time a good first aid kit with lots of band-aids and betadine will do the job, but insurance might be needed since you may surf some really heavy waves. Here are some options to push the limits without second thoughts about the medical bills.
The peninsula has medical facilities open 24h a day. If anything happens here are a few places you can call or go:
Jl. Raya Uluwatu Pecatu No.100, Pecatu, Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
549M+P6 Petjatu, Pecatu, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia
Open now: Open 24 hours
Jl. Raya Uluwatu, Jimbaran, Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
6588+8C Kuta Selatan, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia
+62 361 703377
Open now: Open 24 hours