Bali, known as the Island of the Gods, has an ancient and deep-rooted relationship with the divine and the forces of nature which govern the lives of the islanders, and this is reflected in the architechture and majesty of the temples of Bali.
This deeply felt connection to the sacred is reflected in the many temples of Bali, found all accross the island.
Open for all to view and enjoy, each site displays something individual regarding the deep and rich heritage to be found here, and all are worthy of time spent and reflection made.
No list can be truly comprehensive, but here is a collection of the perhaps the most well-known and noteworthy to visit.
The oldest, holiest and largest temple in Bali, the ‘Mother Temple of Besakih’ is a sprawling complex of twenty three related temples spilling out over six terraced levels on the slopes of Mount Agung.
With Mount Agung towering over the backdrop of the complex this is not only one of the holiest places in Bali, but also one of the most breath-taking as well.
Location: Besakih, Rendang, Karangasem, Bali 80863, Indonesia
Open: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm
PURA TANAH LOT
Perhaps the best know of the temples in Bali, Tanah Lot is perched atop a rocky outcrop jutting out into the Bali Sea, this hauntingly beautiful temple is especially stunning at sunset, when it creates a spectacular silhouette against the dimly-lit horizon.
If you catch the tide right it is possible to walk out to the temple and explore the small cave cut into the rock below and walk up to see the view back across the tidal flat to Bali.
There is a short coastal walk that will take you to many vantage points where you can look back at the temple from the cliff tops, as well as viewing other rocky outcrops and small isolated stretches of beach below.
Around the temple itself there are many places to eat, some along the coast itself and some tucked just inland within easy walking distance.
Around the eating places next to the temple there are lots of souvenir shops selling smaller arts and crafts, along with some that sell more intricate wood carving works by local artisans.
A beautiful place to spend an entire morning or afternoon.
Location: Jalan Raya Tanah Lot, Beraban, Kediri, Tabanan, Bali 82121, Indonesia
Open: Daily from 7 am to 7 pm
PURA LUHUR ULUWATU
This is one of Bali’s most sacred sites, and one of Bali’s famous nine directional temples built to ward off evil spirits,
Dramatic coastal views await, as Pura Luhur Uluwatu sits atop a soaring 60-metre cliff.
A stunning location for sunset shots across the coastline, and a great place to catch one of the nightly Kecak (traditional dance) performances.
One thing to note about the temple complex are the cheeky monkey who live in the forest. It is fun to watch their antics as the leap about and play, but be advised they do have a habit of occasionally grabbing things like sunglasses from the tourists. So, if you have any loose items on you just make sure they are secure and enjoy watching them trouble free.
Location: Jalan Raya Uluwatu, Pecatu, Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Open: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm
Ulun Danu is built on the shores of a picturesque lake in the mountainous region of Bedugul. Just a couple of hours drive north of the more crowded southern part of Bali around Kuta and Seminyak it is an ideal place to savour the view and escape the heat of the coastal regions of Bali.
The lakeside setting is beautiful, and often in the mornings the lake can be shrouded by an atmospheric cover of mist, adding to the tranquil feel of the temple.
Of all the temples of Bali, this is perhaps my favourite place as there are lots of places to eat and drink around the temple, and the manicured gardens lend themselves nicely to finding a shady spot and enjoying a quick snack.
You can also rent small paddle boats and cruise around on the water enjoying the stunning temple view against the picturesque lake backdrop.
Location: Candikuning, Baturiti, Tabanan, Bali 82191, Indonesia
Open: Daily from 8 am to 6 pm
PURA TIRTA EMPUL
The sacred Hindu temple of Tirta Empul is believed to be over 1000 years old.
You are welcomed here and invited to make an offering before bathing your worries away in its holy water springs.
Towels are available onsite and are relatively cheap to use, and as usual there are lots of shops and stalls for the souvenir hunters to pick out a present or a bargain.
Location: Jalan Tirta, Manukaya, Tampaksiring, Gianyar, Bali 80552, Indonesia
Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm
Revered for its awe-inspiring cave entrance, carved out of the rock in the 11th Century to resemble a fearsome demon, or perhaps as some have speculated, originally in the style of an elephant’s face.
Access to the temple is via a long flight of steps that winds you down a narrow cut in the rock to the valley floor below.
The complex is unusual in that it contains both Hindu and Buddhist imagery.
The cave contains lingam and yoni, symbol of Shiva, along with the image of Ganesha, both Hindu deities.
By the river there are carved images of stupas and chattra, imagery which is associated with Buddhism.
A truly beautiful temple complex and well worth a visit.
Location: Jalan Raya Goa Gajah, Pejeng Kawan, Tampaksiring, Gianyar, Bali 80582, Indonesia
Open: Daily from 8 am to 4 pm
TAMAN SARASWATI TEMPLE
Located in central Ubud along the main road, the Pura Taman Saraswati is a beautiful water temple.
Perhaps one of the most accessible temples of Bali. The temple is a great stopover along your walks through Ubud town, where you can admire its classical Balinese temple architecture and enjoy the many photo opportunities on offer.
The beautiful foyer features ponds filled with blooming pink lotuses. Most regular visitors drop into the onsite Lotus Café, which gets you the best view over the lotuses and to the temple’s open stage.
Regular traditional dance performances are held in the temple in the evenings from 7.30 pm. Enjoy the culture and architecture whilst dining.
Location: Jalan Kajeng, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
Summary – The Temples of Bali
I hope you have enjoyed this list of the temples of Bali. Possibly the easiest way to visit them is to hire a driver for the day, something that is easy to do but we would be more than happy to assist with if you’d like us too.
If you’d like more inspiration about what to do in Bali then head over to our article, 10 things to do in Bali for more ideas.
Lastly, if you’d like to chat about Bali and what places inspire you, or indeed about anything else then feel free to get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.