Updated July 3, 2019
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 not much expensive, in all major ones admission must be paid and prices tend to rise between 2.000 and 3.000 more every yera; prices in this article correspond to adult ticket (children often pay half).
In almost all is requested to dress properly, and have sashes and sarongs to cover knees and shoulders. Those who get to the temples by their own or rented vehicles must pay a parking fee, normally around 5.000 Rp.
They’ll be commented following my personal preferences.
PURA LUHUR ULU WATU
Open from 8 am to 7 pm, adult admission Rp 30,000.
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. Unfortunatly, access to that tiny pagoda is only allowed for those who want to pray.
For surfers, in the lower area of the cliff, which is reached by a stair, there is a small beach that is considered one of the best beaches on the island for surfing.
PURA ULUN DANU BERATAN
We’ll also find it written as “Bratan”. Open from 7 am to 5 pm, admission Rp 50,000.
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.
PURA TANAH LOT
Open from 7 am to 7 pm, admission 60,000. 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, in fact, one third of the rock that supports it it’s nowadays artificial. The temple 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; there can be traffic jams before and after it.
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, adult admission Rp 60,000, the price is almost four times that it was several years ago.
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. It is at the foot of Mount Agung, considered by locals as the representation on Earth of Mount Meru, center of the universe and place where the gods of Hinduism live; hence the importance of this temple. As usual, tourist can not get into the temple.
Open from 7:00 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. Besides, it has fountains and places for praying, making it a very complete temple; that’s why it has its own post on this link.
PURA TIRTA EMPUL
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 over 1.000 years ago. It is a very popular place for praying and hindu purifying bath; anyone can use of the waters whenever respectful, but the truth is that it cannnot be recommended as far as it’s usually polluted.
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:
- Pura Dalem Agung, inside the Monkey Forest. Admission included with the ticket.
- Taman Saraswati: famous for its large pond where lotuses bloom. Admission is free, but to see a show that takes place daily at 7:30 pm in its pond you have to pay 80,000 Rp.
- 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.