Bali’s famous temples are the island’s most recognizable landmarks. They are usually set against the most exotic backdrops, making for the ideal photograph.
Many visitors come to Bali to see the temples. They can be found in dense jungles, along the coast, or high on cliffs overlooking the sea. On your Bali vacation, explore the richly decorated architecture of Bali temples, some of which are centuries old. Here are the top five temples in Bali.
Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple is one of Bali’s least visited temples, despite being one of the most extensive ancient temple complexes. Many travellers visit Tirta Empul Temple to participate in the purification ritual, but for a more intimate experience, I recommend visiting Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple. The temple is a short distance from Tirta Empul Temple and only a half-hour drive from Ubud.
Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple is a beautiful water temple with bathing and purification pools. There are several large garden ponds filled with lotuses and Koi fish as well as beautifully designed carvings, statues and monuments around the temple grounds.
Not far from the temple is a collection of ancient shrines surrounded by water fountains. Aside from being an important sacred site for the locals, Candi Gunung Kawi is one of the most unique archaeological sites, with ten 7-meter funeral shrines carved into the cliff face! It’s one of Bali’s oldest ancient landmarks! These funeral monuments are thought to be dedicated to the Udayana dynasty King Anak Wings and his favourite queens. Make sure to check it out while you’re at the temple.
Uluwatu Temple is a well-known sea temple perched 70 meters above the ocean.
Plan to spend a leisurely 1-2 hours strolling through the temple grounds, basking in the scenic vistas, and taking in a stunning sunset.
However, it’s important to note that while you can catch a Go-Jek/Grab ride to the temple, you won’t be able to find one back from there.
Be mindful of your belongings, such as sunglasses, phones, and other loose items, as the temple grounds are home to many playful monkeys who may be tempted to snatch them away.
Ulun Danu Beratan is a water temple that is surrounded by Lake Beratan creating a unique island that appears to be floating.
Ulun Danu Beratan is a popular tourist destination due to its breathtaking lake and mountain views, which make this temple extremely photogenic.
During the rainy season, the water surrounding the temple is at its most beautiful.
On the grounds of Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, there are some lovely gardens to explore.
Lempuyang Gate Temple is also known as the “gates of heaven” and is one of the oldest and most highly regarded temples in Bali! The temple is located in the eastern part of Bali and takes around 2 hours to get there from Ubud.
On a clear day, you will have the most incredible views of Mt Agung between these gates. The best time to visit is early in the morning (7 am) before the crowds start arriving.
The famous photo taken at Lempuyang Temple is taken by a local who balances a mirror under the lens of a smartphone camera. It costs 10,000 IDR for a photo between these gates.
Tirta Empul Temple is a highly sought-after destination and is considered the most visited water temple on the island. These water temples hold immense significance for locals, as they are a place of purification through ritual bathing. The sacred springs within the temple are said to contain mystical properties that cleanse and purify those who immerse themselves in the water.
If you wish to partake in this ritual, it’s advisable to bring a change of clothes.
Modest clothing is required at temples; however, the entrance fee for most temples includes a sarong, scarf and sash tie rental.
Whether you’re checking out temples in search of a spiritual experience or in search of the best Instagram photo, Bali’s temples offer something for everyone.