13 Must Visit Temples in Bali

For us, the mention of the island of Bali brings images of beautiful and mystical temples surrounded by lush greenery. Bali should be a bucket list destination for everyone. Not only are the beaches in Bali some of the best in the world but the Indonesian food and culture are worth the trip alone. A trip to Bali wouldn’t be complete without visiting a temple or two. When exploring other attractions in Bali see if there is a tour that includes visiting some temples. There are over 20,000 temples in Bali so we decided to ask our a few Bali experts their personal favorite temple.


Tips For Visiting Bali Temples

What to wear to a temple in Bali

It’s a place of worship so dress modestly. Both men and women should have their shoulders covered as well as their knees. One of the best ways to do this is by wearing a sarong which can later be used as a beach blanket. Often sarongs will be available for rent or be available free of charge. I personally like to wear a cute maxi dress and bring a scarf to throw over my shoulders. If you are visiting other temples in Thailand or Angkor Wat pick up a pair of elephant pants at the market for under $5, they are super easy to throw in your daypack.

Be Respectful

The temples in Bali are very active religious sites make sure you are respectful of local cultures and people at the temple for worship. You may be there because the temple is beautiful, but to the people in Bali, it means more to them. Be quiet and don’t do anything you would do at your grandmother’s church or place of worship!

Bring Cash

Most temples operate on a cash-only basis and in the local currency. It’s best to have smaller bills so you don’t have to wait around for the change. Don’t expect ATM’s at the temples.

Go Early (heat)

Like most of Southeast Asia, go early in the morning because by noon the heat is intense. Bali is no different, the earlier you visit in the morning the better not only for the heat but few tourists. If mornings aren’t your thing visit just before closing/sunset.

Watch Out For Monkeys

Yes, monkeys are cute but they are very naughty. I personally saw a monkey rip my friends iPhone out of her hand as she was taking a photo. The little bugger ran with it, but we threw some food at it so he dropped it to go after the food. Not everyone is so lucky. They are known to steal phones, sunglasses, and hats. It’s best to have your bags zipped and be alert when they are around.


Top 13 Temples in Bali

pinterest pin for Temples in Bali - Ulun Danu Bratan temple

Ulun Danu Bratan (Bali water temple)

One of Bali’s most famous temples and our personal favorite is the “Water temple” or Ulun Danu Bratan (pictured above in the pin and featured image). Located along the shores of Beratan Lake in the village of Candi Kuning this temple is a must visit in Bali. Famous for its 11 tiered roof this temple appears to be floating just off the shoreline of the lake. Inland there are large temple grounds and a few more things to see in addition to the main temple.

Recommended by: The Traveller’s Guide By #ljojlo

Situated on the bank of Lake Bratan, Pura Ulun Danu Batur is a Hindu water temple located in the middle of the island of Bali, Indonesia. A 2-hour drive north of Seminyak should see you arrive at, Pura Ulun Danu Batur, the second most important temple complex in Bali. The name derives from Dewi Baturi Ulun Danu meaning goddess of lakes and rivers and what a godlike spot this is to witness. With its striking and famous photo, you can see why many tourists flock to this location.

Being up in the mountains, 1239 meters above sea level to be exact, and under the shadow of Mount Batur, I found the complex to be serene and surprisingly refreshing. Considering Bali is often sweltering in heat and humidity I experience first hand that arriving at Pura Ulun Danu Batur early in the morning gave me the opportunity to experience Bali’s cool beauty. I would therefore highly recommend visiting at this temple in the early hours of the morning to enjoy its real beauty. Oh, and this also helps with beating the crowds, which is a must while in Bali.

  • Entrance Fee: IDR 50,000 person
  • Address: Danau Beratan, Candikuning, Baturiti, Tabanan Regency, Bali 82191, Indonesia
  • Recommended Tour: Bali Water Temples Tour

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Pura Luhur Uluwatu

Recommended by: Stingy Nomads

Pura Luhur Uluwatu temple in Pecatu Village, Kuta South. It is one of the most impressive temples in Bali. Its coastal location at the edge of a 70m high cliff contributes a lot to its beauty. Uluwatu is one of the nine Balinese temples that protect the island from bad spirits. Built about 1000 years ago in a traditional Balinese style, Uluwatu is a place of worship to Siva Rudra, the Balinese God of all elements of life and universe.

Every 210 days according to the Pawukon calendar there is a big temple celebration at Uluwatu. The surrounding temple forest is a real monkey land, there are hundreds of them here. It’s believed that monkeys protect the temple from the evil spirit. Monkeys are often attracted by shiny objects like sunglasses, cameras, and watches; tourists are strongly recommended to watch their belongings.

The temple attracts hundreds of visitors every day, some are tourists who come just to admire the beauty of the temple, some are pilgrims. Best time to come here for best views and great photos is on a clear day at sunset time. Uluwatu temple is opened daily; for visitors from 9 am to 6 pm, for pilgrims – 24 hours. There is no public transport going to the temple, you can get here by taxi, from Kuta it’ll take about 30min.

View of Tanah Lot a temple in Bali Indonesia

Tanah Lot Temple

Recommended by: Lemonicks

Tanah Lot is a temple dedicated to the Mythical Hindu God Varuna, who among a host of other things is also the God of sea and weather. Tanah Lot itself means “Land on Water” in the Indonesian Language. This 15th-century temple is built on a rock away from the shore that gets isolated and inaccessible during high-tides.

Fortunately, when we went, there was low tide (tip!) and we could just walk across to the temple. There is also a holy snake, white in color that resides in a hole and guarded by a priest. He charges a few thousand IDRs and lets you touch it if you are interested. It is said that you are blessed with well-being by touching the snake. As per the priest, these type of snakes are found only here.

There is a garden to rest and imbibe the surroundings and a lot of shops to buy souvenirs. There is another temple close by resting on an arched rock, called Pura Batu Bolong, which is also great for photography. It is a good idea to visit before sunset so that you have time to visit the temple and wait for the spectacular sunset and photo opportunities. Tanah Lot, 45 minutes from the tourist area of Kuta, is definitely worth a visit.

Entrance Gate to Pura Luhur Batukaru Bali Temple

Pura Luhur Batukaru

Recommended By: Time Travel Turtle 

Indonesia has just eight World Heritage Sites but one of them is here in Bali. The site is made up of a collection of rice terraces and the water system that feeds them. And at the heart of this system are the temples that bless the water before it flows to the terraces. One of the main ones is Pura Luhur Batukaru.

You’ll find Pura Luhur Batukaru in the very center of the island. It’s about 45 kilometers north of Seminyak and will take between 90 and 120 minutes to drive there through the traffic.

Pura Luhur Batukaru is one of the most sacred Hindu temples in Bali and is one of the island’s nine directional temples. It was originally built in the 11th century but most of what you’ll see was actually rebuilt in the mid-1900s. The most important part is the seven-tiered shrine deep in the compound.

I love this temple because it doesn’t have the crowds that you’ll find at many of the other important ones. There’s also something about the microclimate here that means you’ll often have fog hanging around, giving it a mysterious atmosphere.

There’s a parking area here with lots of space. You’ll need to wear a sarong but that will be provided for you. I would recommend also visiting the nearby Jatiluwih Rice Terraces where the water from the dam here at the temple flows to.

Tirta Gangga

Recommended by Vicky Viaja

The Tirta Gangga Temple in Bali is not comparable to any other temple I have seen before. This unique Water Palace Temple is located in the Eastern Part of Bali. The name Tirta Gangga can be translated as “Water from the Ganges” and is an honored place for Hindus.

The water that fills the different pools and fountains comes from holy sources above the Water Palace. But the best thing about this place is that you are actually allowed to swim in the pools of Tirta Gangga. How cool is that?! You can even rent a floatie. The water is pretty cold, to be honest, but definitely a perfect cooling after spending a hot day exploring temples and rice-fields in Bali.

Even though the locals usually prefer bathing in their full clothing it is totally fine for tourists to go into the water with your usual swim-wear. Tirta Gangga is full of magnificent architecture and fountains. Thus, besides swimming, it is absolutely worth it having a look around this place before or after your bath. You can find amazing fountains and ponds with Kois. So, don’t forget your towel when visiting the Tirta Gangga Temple in Bali!

  • Entrance Fee: IDR 30,000 person
  • Tirta Gangga Address: Jalan Abang – Amlapura, Ababi, Abang, Kabupaten Karangasem, Bali 80852, Indonesia
  • Recommended Tour: Tirta Gangga and Lempuyang Temple Tour

The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary

Recommended by: Getting Stamped 

The Ubud Monkey Forest is a super unique temple in Bali. It is home to over 600 very curious monkeys.There are three temples located on the grounds: Pura Dalem Agung, Pura Beji, and Pura Prajapati. Allow yourself at least an hour to visit the temples and snap a few photos of the monkeys.

Make sure to keep your bags closed and your phones held tight. You definitely will get very close to the monkeys but be careful they do bite. They sell bananas right out front, which are tempting to buy but DON’T BUY THE BANANAS. The monkeys will literally crawl up your legs and onto your shoulders. Sure this sounds like a great Instagram photo but it can be very dangerous, as monkeys carry rabies. If you get bit please seek medical treatment.

  • Entrance Fee: IDR 50,000 person
  • Ubud Monkey Forest Address: Jalan. Monkey Forest, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
  • Recommended Tour: $38 Best of Ubud Tour includes visiting rice terraces, waterfalls, and Monkey Forest

Pura Besakih

Recommended by: Travellers Archive

Bali’s Pura Besakih is the mother temple and, thus, the most important religious institution for the Hindu population of the Indonesian island. Located on the slope of Mount Agung it has been closed during the past months as the Volcano Agung has been erupting constantly. However, once it is back open, it is truly the most magic temple of them all. Also, it is one of the biggest as it consists of 23 separate temples that all belong to each other. The most important and largest one of those 23 is Puta Penataran Agung. This temple is also the symbolic center of the entire complex. It will quickly turn into the main sanctuary during religious ceremonies.

A visit to Pura Besakih may also be considered as a small work-out since the temple is built on six levels and, thus, walking around means taking lots and lots of stairs. However, walking up will not only offer you a great view over the temple but will also get you to a number of hidden courtyards and brick gateways.

Also, did you know that Gunung Agung, the volcano, has once erupted in 1963? Back then a number of people were killed and hundreds of houses destroyed. However, the Besakih temple remained completely untouched, despite its proximity to the volcano. No wonder that it is considered as one of the holiest and spiritual places in Bali.

The Brahma Vihara Arama

Brahma Vihara Arama Buddhist Monastery

Recommended by: Ipanema Travels

Brahma Vihara Arama is the largest Buddhist temple on Bali. It is located near Banjar in Northern Bali and that’s why it is sometimes referred to as Vihara Buddha Banjar. It is only a 10 km drive from Lovina Beach and can be combined with a visit to the Hot Springs of Banjar as a day trip.

The temple was built in the 1960s for the Buddhist community on the island and is still a functioning monastery. The great room is open for everyone for meditation. The temple is also called a second Borobudur for its resemblance with the largest Buddhist temple in the world, located on Java.

The name of the temple is a combination of the 3 words Brahma, Vihara, and Arama, which together mean “a place for self-cultivation”. It is a highly spiritual place and a site for Buddhist pilgrimage.

There is no entrance fee to the temple and there are no market stalls in front selling souvenirs. The place is quiet and peaceful and shall be visited with respect. As it is located on a hill, there are beautiful vistas to the ocean from the temple. At the entrance, there are also sarongs, which shall be worn when visiting the temple.

  • Entrance Fee: FREE includes sarong rental, donations are kindly appreciated
  • Brahma Vihara Arama Address: Gang Sahadewa, Banjar Tegeha, Banjar, Kabupaten Buleleng, Bali 81152, Indonesia

Related Article: Getting A Tattoo By A Monk

The grounds of Pura Taman Saraswati Indonesian Temple

Pura Taman Saraswati

Recommended by: My Soul Travels

One of our favorite temples in Bali is Pura Taman Saraswati, dedicated to the Hindu goddess of knowledge, art, and wisdom. Located in Ubud, which is about an hour drive from Denpasar airport, it is a must visit to experience the age-old culture and traditions of Bali. Also, it makes a surreal backdrop for some great clicks.

We loved Ubud, for its refreshing paddy fields, artsy villages and authentic Balinese way of life. It houses the royal palace and some amazing temples in Bali. The breathtaking Pura Taman is located in the heart of Ubud and stands out mostly because of its lotus pond and water gardens. Though the temple is right next to a busy street, the ambiance inside of the compound is mysteriously calm. We visited early morning and spent some peaceful moments here.

To reach the main tower gate, you have to walk on the access bridge, through the lotus-filled pond. It is mandatory to wear the traditional sash and sarong to enter the temple premises and you can either buy or rent one at the entrance. Another good time to visit is during the evening when the temple is lit up. You can also watch the Kecak dance performance that happens twice a week there.

  • Entrance Fee: FREE
  • Pura Taman Saraswati Address: Jalan. Kajeng, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia

People in the water at the Tirta Empul Temple in Bali

Tirta Empul Temple

Recommended by: The RTW Guys

Tirta Empul Temple is a Hindu water temple dedicated to Vishnu. It dates from around 962 AD. When we were there, the pool was full of people and, honestly, we didn’t get in because we didn’t know if it was appropriate to do so. Now we know it was entirely fine, so we missed out.

Sadly, you may have to miss out on the water portion of the experience as well. As of August 2017, people are advised not to get in the water because of an ongoing e.coli contamination caused by nearby residents dumping garbage and sewage. That said, it’s still worth a visit because the area is beautiful. Tirta Empul Temple is about 1.5 hours outside of Kuta (or about 30 minutes from Ubud). We highly suggest renting a motorcycle or scooter and making the trip that way. There’s plenty of beautiful sights and rice paddies to see along the way! Hopefully, the water will be clean for your trip.

  • Entrance Fee: FREE donations are kindly appreciated
  • Tirta Empul Temple Address: Jalan Tirta, Manukaya, Tampaksiring, Manukaya, Tampaksiring, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80552, Indonesia

Ubud Palace in Bali

Ubud Palace

Recommended by: Whisper Wanderlust

Ubud Palace or Puri Saren Agung, as it is officially named, is the official residence of the Bali royal family. Visiting the temple is very handy, as it is located on a large boulevard in Ubud, Jalan Raya Ubud, but also because the entrance is free. Neither dressing for sarong is mandatory, as is the case with other temples on the island. However, I recommend you have a decent outfit.

The temple was built between 1800 and 1823 by leader Ida Tjokorda Putu Kandel. Unfortunately, it had to be rebuilt in 1917, following a devastating earthquake that nearly destroyed it. However, the Balinese architecture is well represented here through the traditional mandalas, detailed wooden sculptures, stone sculptures and dramatic gates. Basically, everything that means a regular Balinese temple.

Inside the temple, there are some very beautiful gardens that are worth visiting and exploring. The entire tour should not take longer than an hour, so it can be part of a day’s itinerary to explore a few attractions located near the center of Ubud.

  • Entrance Fee: FREE
  • Ubud Palace Address: Jalan. Raya Ubud No.8, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
  • Recommended Tour: $45 Private Ubud Tour includes Monkey Forest, Ubud Palace, and Elephant Cave

Goa Gajah

Recommended by: My Adventures Across The World

Goa Gajah is known as the Elephant Cave, and it is one of the most interesting temples to visit in Bali. It is located in Bedulu, a 20 minutes drive from Ubud and a lovely village itself. Legend says that Goa Gajah sanctuary was created by the nails of a giant, whose name was Kebo Iwa. It’s supposed to date back to the 11th century.

The temple is a carved rock wall and it can be accessed via what resembles the huge mouth of a demon. Inside the temple, phallic symbols of the Hindu god, Shiva, can be found, as well as representations of his feminine counterpart. There’s also a statue of Ganesha, the god with the elephant head.

Goa Gajah also has a meditating room, bathing pools, and fountains.

The temple is open every day from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Women who have their period are forbidden to go inside – as in any other temple in Bali. Wearing a sarong is required to get in – sarongs can be rented at the entrance.

  • Entrance Fee: Entrance Fee: IDR 15,000 person
  • Goa Gajah Address: Jalan Raya Goa Gajah, Desa BeduluUbud 80581, Indonesia
  • Recommended Tour: $45 Private Ubud Tour includes Monkey Forest, Ubud Palace, and Elephant Cave

Have you been to Bali? What is your favorite temple? Leave a comment below with your favorite!

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