Bali is still a popular destination but there is a big difference between cultural Bali and tourist Bali. We visited the 5 most talked-about temples where you really get to know Bali. Most temples cost money, about 1 to 5 euros per person. It is also necessary to wear a Sarong during your visit.
Are you planning on visiting Bali soon or is it on your wish list? Take the practical information below into account. For example, we made a mistake when renting a motorbike. Renting is not a problem but if you do not have an “international driving license”, it can cost you quite a bit of money if you get caught. Still cheaper than in Europe tho 😉
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Language: Indonesian, English
Mobile Internet: 4G (probably not within your contract)
Travel document: Valid passport
Driving (car and scooter): You need an international driving license
Power: Type C en F 230v
Time zone: GMT+8
- Hire a private driver. He or she will drive you around the whole day for about 500,000 RP (30 euros). Often they have some useful things such as a Sarong (dress that you have to wear while visiting a temple), umbrella and towels. ATTENTION: They always ask too much at first. Negotiating is a must!
- Wear sturdy shoes because there are a lot of stairs that you will be walking on.
- Beware of the monkeys that walk around free at some temples. They love loose items such as glasses, watches, food and hats. So make sure that your belongings are stored safely so that they cannot reach them.
- Many locals visit the temples to pray and to purify. Give them the space to do this and be respectful
1. Goa Gajah Temple (Elephant Cave)
This temple is located near Ubud. Do you have a hotel here? Then you can even walk there. Yet we would like to refer you to tip number 1 so you can also visit the other temples. This temple is also known as the elephant temple. A very large gate that gives you access to a cave of about 13 meters deep. The most important aspect of this temple is the image of Ganesha and images of Shiva and other Buddhist gods. You will also see some local vendors who sell incredibly delicious coconuts for a euro. Super refreshing after the walk.
Useful: Hotels in Ubud
2. Pura Luhur Uluwatu
This is one of the busiest temples in Bali. Many tourists come here because of the beautiful sunset. This temple is located on a cliff in the south of Bali, Uluwatu. Spectacular view over the rocks and the sea but beware of the monkeys here. They grab everything they can and they are much faster than you, so be careful. Within the temple there are still a number of sub temples that are only accessible to the Hindu faith. But very interesting to see from a distance.
Useful: Hotels in Uluwatu
3. Gunung Kawi ( Kings tombs )
Be prepared for this temple because this will be a solid workout. As soon as you have walked down the 500 steps you will reach the Royal Tombs. Beautiful buildings where apparently 9 kings are buried. The rock tombs are located in Sebatu above Ubud. On the way to it, a stop can be made at the Tegallalang rice terraces, which offers an impressive view. The only drawback is that between the temple and the parking lot you have a lot of sales stalls where you have to walk through to get back to the parking lot. Nice but as far as we are concerned it could be a bit less.
4. Pura Tanah Lot
The most photographed temple of Bali, Tanah Lot. Located just above Kuta on the west side of the island. It is said that every temple must be in sight of the other. From Pura Tanah Lot you can also see the rocks of the Pura Uluwatu if the weather is good. The tide plays a major role here. At high tide the temple is completely surrounded by water. At low tide you can walk there but even then you cannot just enter the temple. Because of the sacred status it is only accessible to believers. The temple is very popular at sunset so it is better to visit it around noon.
Useful: Hotels in Kuta
5. Tirta Empul ( Holy Water Temple )
The Tirta Empul Temple is one of the six most sacred temples in Bali and it has left the most impression on us. It is built around the Tampaksiring geyser, which is about 40 km east of Denpasar. You enter via a typical Balinese gate where you then reach three courtyards and a sacred garden where gods like Shiva and Vishnu are worshiped. Also in this temple important purifying rituals take place. You mainly see locals entering the water spring to wash themselves with the holy water. The most spectacular is the rock-carved basin with crystal clear water in which koi carps swim. Tourists can also immerse themselves in one of the three clean, public basins for free.
Watch the video we made
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