The beaches may not justify a visit to Bali by themselves, but temples are delightful, some of them because of the temples themselves, and some others because of their dramatic sites, simply breathtaking.
Unlike the rest of Indonesia where islam predominates, Bali remains largely hindu. Balinese hindu temples are unique in the world for its architecture. Named “Pura” there are no less than 6000; the traveler should visit at least 3 or 4. Although cheap, in all major ones admission must be paid; prices here correspond to the adult ticket (children often pay half).
They’ll be commented following my personal preferences.
LUHUR ULU WATU
Open from 8 am to 7 pm, admission Rp 10,000.
At the southern end. One of the best known of Bali and my favorite, although I admit I am conditioned because I saw the sunset here, won-der-ful, one of the best I’ve ever seen. The temple itself is almost nothing: a small esplanade full of monkeys, an area further south where Balinese dance shows take place at sunset (100,000 Rp), and the little pagoda (they are called merus, since they are inspired by the shape of the mythical Mount Meru, where the hindu deities are supposed to live) on the cliff overlooking the ocean; is a beautiful, almost mystical composition.
ULUN DANU BERATAN
Open from 6 am to 6 pm, admission Rp 30,000.
A small temple north of the island, on the shore of Lake Beratan. The image of their merus surrounded by water is undoubtedly the most iconic of Bali. The day I went was cloudy, rainy and the lake surface was not completely flat; and yet the beauty of the composition seemed extraordinary to me.
Open from 7 am to 7 pm, admission 30,000. It is paid at the entrance of the path leading to the area where this temple and other minor ones are.
Another Bali icon is this temple built on a rock, completely surrounded by the sea. A major reconstruction was needed in the 90s as it was about to sink. It can be accessed at low tide, but non-Balinese are not allowed to enter. In any case, what is interesting are precisely outdoors and the location. It is the most visited temple in Bali with 3 million visitors a year, so the place is not quiet, especially during sunset, as it is said is the best on the island.
Its less famous brother is just 300 meters north, the PURA BATU BOLONG, which I almost liked more because there are hardly any people around. It is on a rock on the sea that communicates with the coast by a stone bridge. In addition, on the base is a beach accessible by rock stairs, although it is small and the sea is usually wavy.
Open from 8 am to 5 pm, admission Rp 15,000.
In the central-east area. Nicknamed “the Mother temple of Bali”, it is the most important religious building in the island. Unlike the others, it is large because it is actually a complex of 23 temples, the largest of them PURA AGUNG PENATARANG. It has many sections at different levels.
Open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 pm, admission Rp 15,000.
Just 10 minutes drive from Ubud. Nicknamed “Elephant Cave” because it has a cave richly carved dedicated to Ganesha. The best of this temple are its gardens, large, green and wild.
Open from 7 am to 6 pm, admission Rp 15,000.
About 15 km north of Ubud, it is built around a thermal hot spring, with supposed magical properties. It is a very popular place for praying and hindu purifying bath, but anyone can use of the waters whenever respectful.
TEMPLES IN UBUD
There are at least three temples, although not as nice as the previous ones, are worth a quick look if you stay in Ubud. Admission free:
- Pura Dalem Agung, inside the Monkey Forest.
- Taman Saraswati: famous for its large pond where lotuses bloom.
- Pura Marajan Agung: is part of the Ubud Royal Palace. The royal family still lives here, so it is very well maintained.
OTHER FAMOUS TWO TEMPLES I DIDN’T VISITED AND I THINK THEY MIGHT BE NICE
- Pura Gunung Kawi: small temples carved into the rock in honor of ancient kings.
- Luhur Lempuyang: on top of a hill, facing the Gunung Agung volcano. You have to climb 1700 steps and it is said that the views are excellent.