As soon as you think about Bali, vivid images of the sun, salty winds and white sand beaches seem to flash before the eyes. Indonesia’s most famous island has an endless coastline, fragrant cuisine and a galore of tradition and culture. However, if you are visiting Bali or are planning to do so, we suggest you ditch the beaches and mainstream sightseeing spots for a while and visit the many enchanting temples in Bali.
Temple hopping may seem to be absurd, but not when it comes to this island city. No visit to Bali would be complete if you do not visit its temples. The ancient Balinese temples dot the coasts and highlands and there is a lot to witness and explore. You may or may not be traditionally religious, however, the scenic atmosphere and the brilliant architecture make it worth the visit. Bali boasts of being home to over 10,000 temples, each distinct and amazing in its own way.
Having said that, the next question that arrises is what temples to see in Bali? You do not need to worry about sitting and researching about which temple in Bali is a must visit among the rest. We at in.lastminute.com have put in all our resources at the job to research and collate the perfect list of the best ones in Bali. Moreover, we will fill you in with all the dos and don’ts that will help you avoid miscommunications on your trip and let you explore the majestic spiritual havens at peace.
The Top 10 Temples In Bali
- Uluwatu Temple
- Tanah Lot Temple
- Underwater Temple of Pemuteran
- Ulun Danu Beratan Temple
- Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal
- Besakih Temple
- Goa Gajah Temple
- Taman Ayun Temple
- Tirta Empul Temple
- Gunung Kawi Temple
1. Uluwatu Temple
The word ‘ulu’ stands for lands end and ‘watu’ means rock. This perfectly describes its location which is perched on top of a steep cliff. That is why, the views that can be witnessed from here are unmatched and breathtaking. The Uluwatu temple in Bali is one of the best temples in kuta and has a unique architecture that makes it a majestic beauty. It is also one among the six directional temples of Bali. The locals believe the three Gods- Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma became one here. Hence, all Hindus all over the world hold it in high regards.
The inscriptions on the temple walls suggest that it was built approximately 1000 years ago. There is also a story around a priest from Java who attained enlightenment worshiping the idol here. The views of the sunset from this temple are a sight for sore eyes. It makes a great portrait for nature lovers and photographers.
- Location: Pecatu, South Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia
- How to Reach: It takes about 45 minutes to reach from the airport. However, there is no public transportation that can get you here. You can choose to hire a private taxi (INR 1500 approximately) to make it here.
- Must Witness: The graceful Kecak dance performances at the cliff-top stage.
- Entry Fee: Approximately INR 150 for adults and INR 100 for children.
- Timings: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
2. Tanah Lot Temple
Visit to the Tanah Lot Temple in Bali is a must among all the other temples to visit in Bali. It sits on a large offshore rock right on the beach and is much famed for the alluring views. That is how it derives its name since it translates to ‘the land in the sea’. It is said that a high Hindu priest built the temple place in order to honour Varuna, the Sea God. He faced opposition from the village yet accomplished constructing the temple.
He created a snake from his shawl to always keep the temple away from malicious attacks and even today you may see many sea snakes guarding the rock pillars underneath. As you enter, make sure to see the architectural Balinese gate and several art shops that offer local handicrafts. Although the sea is salty, there is said to be a magical natural fresh water spring just beneath. You can visit the Tirta Pabersihan fountain across the temple and cup your palms to take a sip of the waters, which will stand proof of its amazingly fresh water. It is also the best choice for temple photography in Bali.
- Location: Jalan Raya Tanah Lot, Kediri, Beraban Village, Tabanan, Bali, Indonesia
- How to Reach: It takes around 50 minutes to reach from the airport. You need to arrive to the town of Kediri after which you will have to cross some dry land and climb up a hill.
- Must Witness: Heirloom pilgrimage parade, panoramic views of the sunset and other cultural offerings.
- Entry Fee: Approximately INR 150 for adults and INR 75 for children.
- Timings: 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
3. Underwater Temple of Pemuteran
This underwater temple in Bali is one of the must see temples in Bali and perhaps one of the most unusual temples of the world. This is because it is located 90 feet beneath the ocean’s surface. The temple is over 5,000 years old, which also proves that the sea levels have risen dramatically over the centuries. Several artificial reefs have been created which are regarded as the best man-made reefs that help people to dive on in the area.
There is also a site, which is only 15 meters deep for the lesser-experienced divers to explore. You can witness a dozen large stone statues that sit on the ocean floor along with tall temple gateways. It is also an important marine habitat with corals and other sea lives anchoring onto the surfaces. The underwater temple is one of the best attractions in Bali and welcomes each and everyone, irrespective of their religion or caste.
- Location: Pemuteran, Bali, Indonesia
- How to Reach: Get in touch with a tour operator who can sail you on a boat, post which you can indulge in snorkelling or ride on an underwater scooter.
- Must Witness: The statues that are tucked under the water and the beautiful corals that surround them.
- Entry Fee: The snorkelling or underwater scooter fees per person is approximately INR 100.
- Timings: The snorkelling companies generally operate between 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. for temple visits.
Also See: Day and sunrise cruise in Bali
4. Ulun Danu Beratan Temple
Set on the banks Lake Beratan, the Ulun Danu temple gets its popularity on the basis of the fact that it floats on the lake. While it does not quite literally float, the reflective surface of the lake does create a unique floating impression. It is dedicated to the goddess of the lake- Ida Batari Dewi and the entire complex area is full of natural beauty. The uplands where it is set let’s the temple area enjoy a cool climate throughout the year.
That is also why it has made the lake and this temple a favourite recreational and sightseeing spot. The mountain ranges of the Bedugul region encircle the lake and offer the temple a scenic backdrop. Explore the area by foot or indulge in swan paddleboat rides. Moreover, you can rent fishing gear here and spend time relaxing on the lakeshore. Among all the other temples in Bali Island, this is one of the most photographed one.
- Location: Jl. Bedugul, Singaraja, Baturiti, Candikuning, Kabupaten Tabanan, Bali, Indonesia
- How to Reach: 1.5 hours drive approximately will get you here from the airport. You can hire a taxi to Lake Bratan where the temple is set.
- Must Witness: Piodalan- the temples anniversary ceremonies and the serene views around
- Entry Fee: Approximately INR 50 for adults and INR 25 for children
- Timings: 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
5. Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal
Locally known as the monkey temple in Bali, it gets its name due to the location of the temple. Set amidst the Monkey Forest in Ubud, this temple is home to God Hyang Widhi, a personification of Lord Shiva. It plays a vital role in the spiritual life of the local community. There are other two temples in the same vicinity, however, the Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal temple is the main temple.
It was built in middle of the 14th century and is one of the prominent temples in Ubud. The Kecak dance performances that take place at the temple tells a lot about the local culture and art and is a must watch. In addition to that, the excellent craftsmanship can be reflected in the arches and pillars of the temples.
- Location: Monkey Forest St, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
- How to Reach: If you depart from Ngurah Rai international airport, you will have to drive for 1.5 hours towards Ubud. A cab can easily get you here.
- Must Witness: The idol of Lord Hyang Widhi, “Vampire Children” statuary gilding the Dalem Agung Padangtegal Temple and Ubud Monkey Forest’s 5 group of Crab Eating Macaques
- Entry Fee: Entry to the temple is free. However, fees are required to be paid to enter the forest premises, which is approximately INR 10 for adults and INR 5 for children
- Timings: 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
6. Besakih Temple
This Bali Hindu temple is the biggest among the others and also considered to be the holiest temple complex on the island. It plays an integral part of Balinese Hindu culture and religion. Known as Bali’s ‘Mother Temple’, it sits at an elevation of 1,000 metres and is an artistic and unique complex. It comprises of at least 86 temples and its location gives it an almost magical quality. Unlike many other Hindu temples in Bali, the best part about the Besakih temple is that it is open to all the devotees belonging to any caste groups.
After your visit to the temple, walk down the footpath to the valley alongside the river and enjoy the beautiful views from here. Many of the shrines, beach and parts of southern Bali can be spotted in the distance. Also, spot the kulkul, a Balinese wooden slit gong, which is used for signalling and sending messages.
- Location: Desa Besakih, Rendang, Rendang, Kabupaten Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia
- How to Reach: From Sanur, you can take the Kusamba Bypass to Klungkun and drive for 2.5 hours to get to Besakih
- Must Witness: The breath-taking view of the flowing streams and mountains
Entry Fee: Approximately INR 150 for adults and INR 75 for children
- Timings: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
7. Goa Gajah Temple
One of the historic caves of Bali, the Alamat Goa Gajah Gianyar is one of the best temples in Bali to visit. It is a world heritage site as recognised by the United Nation organizations. Nestled amidst an area known for its rainforests and paddy fields, the greenery and fresh air here you get to see and breathe here is unending. This 9th-century temple is also known as the Elephant Cave Temple owing to the fact that real Sumatran elephants can be easily found here.
Having said that, undertaking an elephant safari is a must when you visit this temple. Inside the cave, an idol of Lord Ganesha sits who is regarded as a symbol of wisdom and a danger repellent. Visit the Widyadara fountain and statue in the temple vicinity and see the row of statues encircling the fountain. It became the symbol of an angel from heaven who is said to give prosperities.
- Location: Bedulu Village, Jalan Raya Goa Gajah, Gianyar, Blahbatuh, Bali, Indonesia
- How to Reach: Go east from Ubud and head 3 kms approximately towards Jalan Raya Goa Gajah
- Must Witness: The relic-filled courtyard, the central meditation cave, rock-wall carvings and the bathing pools
- Entry Fee: Approximately INR 100 for adults and INR 50 for children
- Timings: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
8. Taman Ayun Temple
What earlier used to be a magnificent family temple of Mengwi empire is now one of the most visited temples in Bali by both, foreign tourists and locals alike. It is still one of the six royal temples in Bali making a very important destination, both religiously and historically. The temple complex boasts of splendid traditional architectural designs. You can witness them throughout its courtyards and enclosures as well.
Its expansive garden terrains comprises of lotus and fish ponds. UNESCO recently awarded the temple and also named it under the world cultural tourism sites. A tall fountain is placed in the complex that adds much elegance to the temple. A bell tower is located in the west of the temple where if you climb up, you can get a spectacular view of the entire place. The Taman Ayun temple also houses a museum that showcases human rites of passage and Balinese Hinduism rituals throughout their stages of life.
- Location: Jalan Ayodya No.10, Kabupaten Badung, Mengwi, Bali, Indonesia
- How to Reach: Follow the main road north from Denpasar and head to Bedugul. Upon reaching Mengwi, the landmark cannot be missed.
- Must Witness: The traditional Balinese architectural designs
- Entry Fee: Approximately INR 75 for adults and INR 50 for children
- Timings: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
9. Tirta Empul Temple
Among all other famous temples in bali to visit, this one must top your list. For over a thousand years, Hindus from all across the globe have been drawn to worship at the Pura Tirta Empul. It translates to the water temple and the credit for its popularity goes to the sacred springs. Legends say that God Indra himself has created them. The waters are said to possess curative properties and tourists come in here to bathe in its refreshing blessed water.
It is also believed that by doing so, it purifies their soul and washes away their sins. Apart from Lord Indra, you will also find shrines to Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. The temple is located just below the Presidential Palace of Tampaksiring and it provides some of the most mesmerizing views you will ever see. Try and spot Kala carvings at the entrance and inside with large fangs that stick upwards.
- Location: Jalan Tirta, Manukaya, Kabupaten Gianyar, Tampaksiring, Bali, Indonesia
- How to Reach: If you come from Ngurah Rai International airport, 1.2 hour drive is what you will need to reach here.
- Must Witness: People taking a ritual bath in the sacred water of the temple
Entry Fee: Approximately INR 75 for adults and INR 50 for children
- Timings: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
10. Gunung Kawi Temple
Housing 370 stone steps, this temple in Bali is the islands oldest and most important monument. At the end of the stairs, you will find a way through a stone archway with small pillars. Each of the pillars holds an earthen pot that is filled with holy water that people sprinkle on themselves and then enter in. The temple complex comprises of 10 massive shrines or Candi, as they locally say, that is cut out of rock faces. Some believe it to be a memorial of the Balinese royalty.
The surroundings comprise of lush paddy terraces and charming green valleys steers you away from modernity and takes you back in time. The Gunung Kawi temple is undoubtedly the most stunningly unique archaeological site in Bali. Kawi temple is undoubtedly the most stunningly unique archaeological structure in Bali.
- Location: Banjar Penaka, Kabupaten Gianyar, Tampaksiring, Bali, Indonesia
- How to Reach: Set close to the Tirta Empul temple, it will take 1.5 hours to drive down here from the airport.
- Must Witness: The tall carved shrines, dips taken in the holy waters
- Entry Fee: Approximately INR 70 for adults and INR 35 for children
- Timings: 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Best time to visit any temple in Bali
Bali is bustling throughout the year. The crowd never seems to cease their flocking to this island. Bali experiences two kinds of weather- wet and dry. November to March are the wet month where the tourism is at its low and rainfalls are high. It may hamper your trip as you will have to be sheltered at most times.
During the months of June to August is the best time to pay a visit to the temples in Bali. The days are moderately sunny with pleasant temperatures. People can freely roam, enjoy sunbathing and explore the temples peacefully without any fear of weather conditions.
Temple rules in Bali and quick tips that come handy before you visit any temple in Bali
- Temple timings in Bali: Although the temples are open from early morning to late night, you must plan your visit to the temples as early as you can. The weather will be pleasant and you can witness the beauty of the place with much peace. The crowd will be sparse and you will not have to wait in line as well. Moreover, when you are planning for your trip, research for special ceremonies or performances that take place in the temples and see if you can attend the same.
- Temple dress code in Bali: Follow the Bali temple dress code is an absolute must. Try and wear covered clothes or carry a sarong or a sash at all times. It will help you to cover your bare legs which is mandatory for both men and women. Some temples also let you borrow it on a returnable basis at a small fee.
- Menstruating women should not enter the temple: Many don’t believe in this age-old custom, however, the locals here do and it is best if their rules are followed. If you are on your cycle, try and avoid entering the premises of the temple.
- Avoid touching anyone’s head: The locals believe that the soul resides in one’s head. Be it elders, or children, the head is off limits for people to touch.
- Avoid smoking in the temple premises: A “smoke-free” bylaw went into effect that forbids people to smoke in public areas. These include restaurants, temples, hotels and all the other tourist attractions.
- Souvenir shops: Do not miss out on exploring the small shops that adorn the temple premises. They sell unique jewellery, shells, fridge magnets and other knick-knacks that make for before souvenirs and gifts.
Apart from these, there are many other famous temples in Seminyak, Bangli regency, Karangasem regency, Gianyar etc. which can be explored. So buckle up your shoes for your bucket list of the must visit temples in Bali is ready. Most of them have become the island’s most iconic landmarks. And why wouldn’t they? All these feature glorious centuries-old architecture that lures millions to the land every year to witness it in all its glory. Religiously driven people, nature enthusiasts, history buffs or photography lovers, whoever you are, these beautiful structures are for all to behold.
If you too wish to witness the holy shrines, the mysterious ruins and bask in the golden sunsets of Bali, get in touch with our travel agents today. With in.lastminute.com, forget all the hassle and stress that goes into planning the perfect travel package for Bali. Our team boasts of having the expertise to outline a comprehensive travel plan that incorporates all the chief temples and other sightseeing places on the island.
Moreover, if you wish to customise and choose a travel plan as per your needs, we are more than happy and willing to tailor it to suit your needs. Call or email us to get more details on the incursions and excursions and book now!