11 Best Temples in Bali to Visit (2024)

Temples in Bali

Best Temples in Bali – Bali is a very zen and spiritual island where, unlike the rest of the country, the most predominant religion is Hinduism. In Indonesia there is a great melting pot of religions, both Muslim, Christian and even Buddhist. But in Bali everything is different and Balinese Hinduism is practiced here . The Balinese are very religious and there are many temples in Bali where they go daily to make offerings. Are you going to travel to the island of the Gods soon and want to know which are the best temples in Bali ? Well, we will tell you.

To give you a little background, I’ll tell you a little more about the Hindu religion of Bali, which, as you can see, is an exception compared to the rest of the country. They believe in the God Sanghyang Widi Wasa and his three manifestations Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. They believe in reincarnation, karma, animism, they worship their ancestors and every morning they make offerings to give thanks for the new day and ask the Gods to protect them. I warn you that if you tell a Balinese that you are an atheist, his head will explode.

To put things into perspective, I would like to tell you some interesting facts that will catch your attention when you visit the temples of Bali :

  • Canang sari are offerings with incense and flowers that are made in Bali every morning. Whether in temples, at the entrances of houses or I have even seen them on the steering wheel of cars.
  • In the temples there are pagodas at different heights, like thatched roofs . They are called meru and their height will always be odd numbers . Their number depends on the importance of the God to whom the temple is dedicated and will always be a maximum of 11. Count them when you see them and you will see that I am not lying!
  • Don’t be surprised to see signs at the entrance to temples indicating that women are not allowed during their period . For example, when I bought tickets to the Lempuyang temple, I was asked this directly. I will omit my opinion.
  • To visit the temples in Bali you have to bring a shawl, which they usually lend you free of charge at the entrance . It is essential for both men and women and you can tie it around your waist. Regarding the shoulders, if you are a woman, sometimes they gave me a scarf to cover myself and other times they let me walk without any problem in a strapless one.

Well, after this introduction of things that will catch your attention when visiting the temples, we get down to work by breaking down which are the essential temples in Bali .

11 Best Temples in Bali to Visit

1. Pura Tirta Empul

Pura Tirta Empul (Bali)

This temple is one of the most famous and touristic in Bali . It is located north of Ubud, about 45 minutes by car . The name of the temple comes from an underground spring and is famous because the purification ritual is performed here .

Beyond being a place that has become very touristy, the Balinese come to this temple at least once a year to purify themselves . The ritual consists of getting into the temple pool and pouring water over it in a certain way. You have to repeat the sequence through the ten pipes through which the water comes out. All this while meditating.

It wouldn’t hurt to watch a YouTube video to find out more about how it works. When we were there, everyone did it that way, you know what I mean.

It is important to note that one must be respectful when participating in this ritual . Every year some tourists are thrown out for not taking local traditions seriously. And I am not exaggerating.

If possible, I recommend visiting this temple first thing in the morning because it is one of the most crowded there is. If you find it too crowded, I admit that it can lose a bit of its charm when doing the purification ritual, but it is still a very special temple.

2. Pura Ulun Danu Bratan

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan (Bali)

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan , along with Tirta Empul, is one of my favourite temples in Bali . It is also one of the most photogenic . If you think of any temple in Bali, this one will surely come to mind because you will have seen it in millions of photos. It is known as the floating temple and is a popular pilgrimage site for the Balinese.

The best thing about the temple is its location, right on the shore of Lake Bratan . In fact, it looks like it is floating on the lake . The temple is located in the north of Bali and in a fairly high part of the island, so you will notice quite a bit of temperature variation. Blessed drop in temperature. Believe me, you will appreciate it if you go in the middle of summer.

The temple is dedicated to the goddess of the lake and fertility. Interestingly, the main part of the temple is depicted on the 50,000 Indonesian rupiah banknotes. This part consists of an eleven-level meru tower as the main shrine and a smaller three-level meru tower right next to it, both situated on an island in the lake. The temple is much more than that, though, it has three shrines and a Buddhist stupa, among other things.

3. Pura Lempuyang

Pura Lempuyang (Bali)

This temple generates a bit of love-hate in me . I admit that it is one of the most important temples in Bali , but it has become too fashionable because of the famous photo. It is one of the oldest temples and is located in the western part of the island, right at the foot of the Agung volcano .

Its name translates as sacred light and it is true that, at dawn, if the day is clear, the light that enters through its Gates of Heaven with the volcano behind is brutal. But everything good has its bad side and the temple has become so popular on Instagram that so many queues form that it loses all its charm .

The photo is really cool, it must be said, but to take this photo you have to wait 3 or 4 hours . And that ‘s going very early in the morning . To all this we must add that the photo is fake because there is no lake below, it is the effect of a mirror.

Our opinion is that the temple is cool and the views are very nice with the volcano behind it , but waiting three hours to take a photo , I don’t know about you, but I think it ‘s not worth it . What’s more, if you cross the Gates of Heaven between photos, you can take a similar photo from the other side. Ok, it’s not the same, but at least you don’t have to wait three hours.

4. Tirta Gangga

In this case we are not talking about a temple, but rather an ancient royal palace, so there is no need to take care of what you wear. Tirta Gangga is also located in the east of Bali. In fact, on the day you visit Lempuyang I recommend you also visit Tirta Gangga.

This temple is super fun and is known as the Water Palace , but I call it ” the hamburger palace “. In the palace there is a pond with some rocks that look like the hamburgers from Humor Amarillo . It is very cool to go from one to another and there are also many colorful carp fish in the pond.

You can also take a purifying bath in this palace, which has gardens with many different plants, original fountains and ponds.

Read Also:- Where to Stay in Bali (2024): Best Hotels Guide

5. Besakih Temple

If we have to choose one temple that is the most important for the Balinese themselves, it would undoubtedly be the Besakih Mother Temple. It is also the largest temple in Bali and the most sacred . It is very popular with the Balinese and it is easy to find some ritual when you visit it. It certainly cannot be missing from this list as one of the best temples in Bali .

The temple is made up of a group of 22 temples at the foot of the Agung Volcano . There is a very curious feat associated with the temple. On one occasion when the Agung Volcano erupted it caused significant damage in the surrounding area, but the temple remained intact.

The tour around the complex will take you the longest time. It will take you about two hours . The most important temple is the Pura Penataran Agung , which is located at the top of the complex . It is also worth noting that there are parts of the temple complex that can only be visited by Balinese and are closed to the public.

By the way, regarding the fact that the guide is included in the entrance fee, I have to admit that it is a rip-off . The scam consists in that they tell you that the guide is included in the price and , instead, they ask you for money . So keep that in mind. We visited the temple on our own and we didn’t have any problems.

6. Pura Taman Ayun

Pura Taman Ayun (Bali)

Taman Ayun is also located very close to Ubud, about 45 minutes to the west . It is also very popular in Bali and means beautiful garden . It is a mix between a temple and a garden with a pond. And the curious thing about it is that to see it you have to go around it since it is located on a kind of island . Entry to the cult is only allowed to Balinese.

It is not as popular as other temples in Bali and it is very nice to see the variety of heights of the temple. Here you will see pagodas up to 11 heights. Compared to other temples in Bali this one is rather small and will not take you much time to visit .

7. Goa Gajah

Goa Gajah (Bali)

This temple is known as the Elephant Cave because to access the most important part of the temple you have to go through a door shaped like a face that in theory serves to scare away evil spirits . This cave is very curious and is without a doubt the most characteristic part of the temple.

The temple is believed to date back to the 9th century and not only has the Elephant Cave, you can also find several smaller religious buildings within the grounds. The Goa Gajah Temple is located on the outskirts of Ubud so it is very easy to visit as you can get there in just 20 minutes from the centre.

8. Uluwatu Temple

Uluwatu Temple (Bali)

This is one of the most unique temples in Bali. It is located in the south of the island, in the Uluwatu area, famous for its surfing beaches and wonderful beach clubs. What stands out most about it is that it is located right on the edge of a 70-meter-high cliff . I especially recommend going at dusk to see the sunset and also to see the Kecak Balinese dance show that takes place at 6 p.m. If you want to see the Balinese dance, I recommend booking in advance because it is usually in high demand, especially if you go in high season.

By the way, I have to warn you that you should be very careful with the monkeys at this temple . They love to take things from tourists. Sunglasses and hats are their favorite things, so be careful. A monkey almost stole my sunglasses. I got a real scare!

If you are going to be in Uluwatu, I recommend visiting it to add a more cultural touch to the area. But if you are only going to be in Ubud and you are short on time, I think there are other better and closer temples in Bali .

9. Tanah Lot Temple

Tanah Lot is another of the must-sees in southern Bali . The curious thing about this temple is that it is surrounded by the sea. It is not one of the most important on the island, but if you are in Canggu, the trendy area of ​​Bali, it is well worth a visit.

The temple is very curious because it is built on a rock in the middle of the sea . It is hypnotic to see the waves breaking on the rock right at the foot of the temple and the beach.

The best time to see it is at sunset because the sunsets from this part of the island are beautiful. There are many bars very close to the temple where you can watch the sunset while having a drink.

10. Gunung Kawi Temple

This temple is both a funerary complex and an archaeological site . It is located north of Ubud, very close to the Tirta Empul temple. Gunung means mountain and Kawi means sculpture. What is the end result of the combination of these two words? A temple carved into the rock, beautiful and very different from other temples in Bali.

The complex is surrounded by rice fields and a river. In fact, here too, the purification ritual can be performed with far fewer people than at Tirta Empul.

11. Pura Taman Saraswati

This Saraswati Temple is the most important temple in the center of Ubud . It is known as the Water Palace and is located in the heart of the city, very close to the Royal Palace. The temple is dedicated to Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, wisdom and the arts.

The temple is not very big and can be seen quickly. To get to the temple you have to cross a pond with lots of lotus flowers . Right next to it there is a restaurant, the Lotus Café , from which you have a view of the temple. The food is pretty average, but to have a drink with a view of the temple is great. At night there are also Balinese dance shows.

And this is our selection of the best temples in Bali that I recommend you visit. They are ordered according to the ones I liked the most and the ones that seem the most important to me. There are many more, but if you don’t know which ones to choose, this selection will be very useful for you.

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