In addition to one of the most instagrammable places on earth, Bali's centuries-old history and culture have resulted in the creation of an abundance of temples (over 20,000 Pura), visited by thousands of locals and visitors daily.
Although it's not necessary to visit all of them, there are a few temples that every visitor of Bali should pay a visit to. Thankfully, with the right planning, you can visit a large amount of temples with-in the day, leaving you much time for other much-wanted Balinese activities.
We have made a research and present to you, the best Balinese Temples to visit during your holidays in this beautiful, exotic island!
1. Besakih Temple
Also called the "Mother Temple", Besakih is considered the holiest of Temples. It's located on the inclines of Mount Agung, Bali's largest volcano, while it's more of a temple complex, consisting of more than eighty temples. It's home to at least 70 celebrations every year, while its shrine has its own anniversary.
To fully explore the site, you will need a day - although, most suffice on the largest central complex, Pura Penataran Agung. For breathtaking views over Bali, at a heigh of 1,000m above sea level, opt for Pura Pasimpangan - the view there is truly astonishing!
Meet Nandini Jungle Resort: A Jungle-like Resort in Bali that will compliment your Bali Exploration!
Is there a better place to stay during your Bali temple exploration rather than a hotel in the midst of nature? Nandini Jungle Resort boasts a dramatic landscape, set in the midst of a lush rain-forest will help you relax, unwind and reconnect with nature like nowhere else on the island. Of course, the breathtaking views over the valley that will accompany you during your stay will help your eyes get a rest from the dull grey of the cities.
Choose one of the luxurious suites and traditional villages, set on a hillside, and enjoy uncompromising luxury at its purest form. All rooms and suites are constructed from natural materials, while they are fully equipped with services and facilities equal to a five star resort. Among the rooms, we highly recommend the Sunrise View Villa, which, as the name suggests, features among the best sunrise views on the island.
Of course, there is an abundance of experiences that you can enjoy during your stay, like learning how to source, prepare and enjoy traditional Indonesian cuisine, using herbs and spices from the hotel's garden, romantic dinners overlooking the lush jungle, and refreshing massages while listening to the calming sound of the nearby waterfall.
And, don't forget: book directly to the hotel's booking engine, and ensure lowest price and a series of unique services.
2. Tanah Lot Temple
Tanah Lot Temple is certainly one of the most iconic Balinese temples, located on a huge rock, off a beach shore. On top of the rock, there is an ancient Hindu shrine, whose construction was inspired by the priest Nirartha in the 15th century.
It's only accessible during low tide, while it gets pretty crowded during high season - it mainly gets packed from tourist crowds and vendors. It enjoys some of the finest sunset views in Bali, so, if you are a couple, we recommend you visiting it during that time.
3. Uluwatu Temple - Pura Luhur Uluwatu
Uluwatu is yet another picture-perfect temple in Bali, that sits on top of a steep cliff, southwest of Bali. It's located 70 metres above sea level, while it's super close to the island's most popular beach for surfing.
It's also one of the top places in Bali to watch the sunset, while the direct views over the Indian Ocean are relaxing to watch anytime of the day. Around the temple, there is a small forest where hundreds of monkeys dwell.
4. Ulun Danu Beratan Temple Bedugul Lake
Located in Bali's central highlands and on the shores of Lake Bratan, Ulun Danu Beratan is a picturesque temple that stands out for its breathtaking scenery and cool atmosphere. It's the second most important temple in Bali, although, for rice farmers it's certainly the most important one.
Part of the temple is on the mainland, although there is a section that seems to "float" on the lake. On this section, there is a 11-roof pagoda, that's very beautiful to admire.
5. Tirta Empul Temple
Dating back to 926 AD, Tirta Empul Temple is a pretty unique temple that became popular for its sacred spring - thus the name that means 'holy water spring'. Balinese believe that a dip into its holy waters can bring good fortune and health, this is why thousands gather every day to bathe and meditate.
6. Taman Ayung Temple
Taman Ayung is a 17th century temple located at Mengwui Village (Badung regency). It's one of the finest examples of Balinese Hindu temple architecture, and home to one of the most beautiful tropical gardens in Bali.
7. Goa Gajah
Goa Gjah (aka Elephant Cave), is a popular sight, known for the peculiar faces carved into the rock wall surrounding its entrance. It's actually an archaeological complex located near the Elephant River, that includes a large wantilan meeting hall with various old stone carvings, a resorted pool with 5 statues of Hindu angels, various structures that date back to the 10th century, and in the cave 3 stone idols wrapped in different-color clothing.
8. Lempuyang Temple
Lempuyang is one of the oldest temples in Bali and it's located at 1,1175m above sea level, at the peak of Mount Lempuyang. To reach the temple, you need to go throug a steep climb up over 1,700 steps. Of course, the breathtaking views over East Bali are more than worth it. Many Instagrammers suffice on the grander Penataran Agung Temple, found at the mountain's slopes.
9. Gunung Kawi Temple
Last but not least, Gunung Kawi Temple is a unique temple that consists of ancient shrine reliefs carved into the face of a rock cliff. Overlooking the Pakerisan River, it's the perfect place to spend an afternoon, watching the beautiful river flowing by. This temple is very close to Pura Tirta Empul, so these two are usually combined in a tour.
These are the most important temples to visit in Bali. All are breathtaking, and they will give you a great view towards the local culture. Of course, never forget that these are sacred areas that demand respect, so be sure that you have been dressed properly before visiting them (although, most of them offer clothing to wear during your time there)