Sunset over a temple by a lake

Bali is a place of incredible beauty; with its lush ricefields, sunset beach views, sunrise mountain views, stunning waterfalls, mouth-watering food and ceremonial culture, and of course, amazing temples to visit. For the Balinese, traditions and ceremonies are a part of everyday life and this is why you will see so many incredible temples with beautifully crafted sculptures.

If you are lucky enough you may also get a chance to visit the ‘house temples’; which are the centre of Balinese family life. You have not seen Bali if you have not visited at least some of these top must-see temples in Bali.

There are over 20,000 Hindu temples in Bali Indonesia and we are going to show you 11 amazing temples to visit in Bali.

Bali’s ancient temples are a place of spirituality, colour, liveliness and tranquillity all at the same time. The best time to visit Bali temples are also during ceremonial days but bear in mind it can get very crowded.

You can easily organise a Bali temple tour with a local driver or with a knowledgeable tour guide who can show you the best temples in Bali on our list. We will put the links for you so that it is easy to book.

Tips and Things you need to know before you visit Bali Temples

The Balinese generally welcome visitors but there are some ‘etiquettes’ to follow which will make you and the locals feel comfortable.

  • When entering a temple wear a scarf around your waist and a sarong over your clothes. You will see locals everywhere selling sarongs (you may want to negotiate on the prices). There are plenty of local markets where you can buy one; they come in pretty designs and are useful to keep with you.
  • Usually there will be a fee for the ‘touristy’ temples these are usually between 2-4 USD/EUR. For smaller temples you may choose to put a small donation for the up keep of the temple.
  • Many temples have a holy spring, this is regarded as holy water so no splashing around in the water. Also if you decide to take part in a water ritual keep your clothes on.
  • There are many rituals and ceremonies which take place in the temple. During the ceremonies Balinese people beleive that the gods have descended to the temple and so elaborate dances are performed and people are dressed up in their best clothing for the gods. Just be mindful of this and respectful and consider whether using the camera is appropriate or not.
  • The Priests (Padanda) are very respected in the community and occupy the highest positions in the ceremonies, just be mindful that you are not sitting somewhere above the priest.
  • Most temples state that menstruating women must not enter the temples (I don’t quite understand the reasonaing behind this one but unfortunately these are their rules).

Follow these few etiquette rules and you will have an amazing experience in the fascinating culture and life of the local Balinese community.

Now you are ready to visit some of Bali’s most beautiful temples

Beautiful Temples in Bali

Pura Taman Ayun – Pura in Indonesian means Temple

Pura Taman Ayun

Location: Jalan Ayodya No.10, Mengwi, Badung, Bali 80351, Indonesia, 45 min from Ubud and 1.5 hrs from Denpasar.
Open: Daily from 9 am to 4 pm
Entrance fee: 20,000 IDR / 1.30 USD

This temple was built in 1634 for the people of the village of Mengwi so that they did not need to travel far to the main temples of Besakih. Taman Ayun translates to ‘beautiful garden’. It has 4 different divisions which represent the world of man, the realm of gods and the divine sacred level which is only open during ceremonies. As you walk through the different divisions, you come across water fountains, lotus and fish ponds, a big hall for communal gatherings, courtyards and beautiful garden landscapes. The striking feature is the Chinese influenced tiers of the Balinese Hindu Temples.

Pura Ulun Danu Beratan

Pura Ulun Danu Beratan

Location: Candikuning, Baturiti, Tabanan, Bali 82191, Indonesia, 1.5hrs from Ubud
Open: Daily from 8 am to 6 pm
Entrance fee: Adult 50,000 IDR / 3.40 USD (may have increased to 75,000 IDR which is shown on their website)

One of my favourite temples; this unique and iconic temple was built in 1633, it is dedicated to the lake goddess Dewi Danu and the 3 Hindu gods; Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

There is also a Buddhist statue that really signifies the unity between the 2 different cultures at the time of the temple being built.

As this temple is located 1200m above sea level and is beside the Beratan lake it can get cooler. When we went it got quite misty but was also beautiful with the backdrop of the misty mountains and the ‘floating’ temple on the lake.

As well as the beautiful temples you also have other features which make this place great for kids too. There is a little playground for children, lovely flower gardens to explore and cute statues and caves to take photos in.

There is also a restaurant on site that serves reasonably priced food. You can also hire a paddle or speed boat on the lake.

TIP This location is known for its strawberries; don’t forget to pick some on the way back home.

Pura Tirta Empul Temple

Location: Jalan Tirta, Manukaya, Tampaksiring, Gianyar, Bali 80552, Indonesia
Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm
Entrance Fee: 50,000 IDR / 3.40 USD and an extra 15,000 IDR if you would like to bathe in the holy water

Pura Tirta Empul is probably the most known temple in Bali, it is now a UNESCO world heritage site and was built around 926 AD.

People come here to pray and bathe in the holy water springs and perform water purifying rituals. There are 13 natural water springs. For an extra 15,000 IDR you can enter the water springs and offer prayer under each water sprout.

Before you enter the springs you usually go to the shrine where you will see people praying. There is usually a queue so just wait in turn to visit the springs. There are 2 springs that you cannot use; these are reserved for funeral rituals.

There is of course no obligation to go into the springs you can simply visit and see what the people are doing.

Pura Gunung Kawi

Location: Sungai Pakerisan, Dusun Penaka, Tampaksiring, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80552 30 minutes from Ubud

Open: Daily from 8 am to 6 pm
Entrance Fee: Adult/child 15,000 / 7500 IDR, parking 2000 IDR

Pura Gunung Kawi and Pura Tirta Empul are both in the village of Tampaksiring; 15km Northeast of Ubud. If you are coming by scooter you will see a sign ‘Objek Wisata Gunung Kawi’ and you will also see stalls selling souvenirs.

Considered to be one of Bali’s oldest temples around the 11th Century; it really is a beautiful temple to visit on your Bali trip giving you lovely views of the ricefields, lush greenery, rivers and ponds. This temple is a bit more difficult to get to as you have to climb down around 250 steep steps that lead you down to the river. There are 10 7-metre high shrines carved into the rocks. There are 4 on one side of the river and 5 on the other side of the river. The 10th shrine is around 1km away. When you cross the river you can also explore the meditation cave. The shrines are believed to be memorials of the 11th Century royalty.

Pura Lempuyang Temple ‘Gates of Heaven’

Location: Jalan Pura Telaga Mas Lempuyang, Tri Buana, Abang, Karangasem, Bali 80852, Indonesia
Open: Daily from 7 am to 5 pm
Entrance Fee: No fee but you can make a donation, for scooters, there is a 5,000 IDR parking fee.

Pura Lempuyang; is probably the most instagrammable place taken over by ‘influencers’ on Instagram with the ‘fake’ water reflection.

Although the photos look lovely and it is quite an ingenious idea there is actually no water; the image is created by using a pocket mirror. Be prepared to wait 1-2 hours for the famous photo of the “gates of heaven”. But Pura Lempuyang which is located on Mount Lempuyang is more than this;  there are 7 different temples around this huge complex which can take up to 3-4hours to walk around. There is a beautiful backdrop of Mount Agung volcano and high altitude views. Walking to the summit of the temple can take 1-1.5 hours so be prepared for a long walk and wear comfortable shoes.

TIP – If you really want to take the ‘gate of heaven’ photo with the backdrop of Mount Agung choose a day that is not cloudy. If it is a cloudy or misty day you will not be able to see the volcano view.

Pura Taman Saraswati Temple

Pura Taman Saraswati
Pura Taman Saraswati

Location: Jalan Kajeng, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
Open: Daily from 7 am to 5 pm
Entrance Fee: Free to enter, evening show costs 80,000 IDR

We came across Saraswati temple by surprise, it is conveniently located in the centre of Ubud but surprisingly really peaceful (apart from the guy who decided to sing and play his guitar in blissful obliviousness). This beautiful temple was built in the 1950s dedicated to the Hindu goddess of knowledge, Saraswati. Although tourists cannot visit the main temple you can still walk around the beautiful lotus pond and take some nice photos of the elaborate Balinese doorways. Every evening you can see traditional dance performances which start at 7.30 pm and cost 80.000 IDR. There is also a restaurant called Lotus Cafe (a bit more on the expensive side of Balinese prices).

Goa Gajah Temple, The Elephant Cave

Location: Jalan Raya Goa Gajah, Pejeng Kawan, Tampaksiring, Gianyar, Bali 80582, Indonesia. 10min away from Ubud centre
Open: Daily from 8 am to 4 pm
Entrance Fee: 50,000 IDR

A UNESCO world heritage site, this Hindu temple is over 1000 years old. The striking feature which hits you as soon as you visit is the sculptured doorway entrance staring at you with these big bulging eyes. There is not a lot to see here apart from the big banyan tree and going 50 feet deep into the cave, but it is still quite a unique temple to see and if you are based in Ubud then it is about a 10-minute ride by a scooter.

Uluwatu Temple

Location: Jalan Raya Uluwatu, Pecatu, Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Open: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm
Entrance Price: 50,000 IDR, Fire Dance 150,000 IDR

Another of the most beautiful temples to visit in Bali is the Uluwatu temple. Uluwatu is a 1000-year-old temple that attracts many visitors due to its prime location on a 250-foot high limestone rocky cliff with a backdrop of the Indian Ocean; it usually gets very crowded near sunset time. Although you cannot enter the temple itself you can walk along the beautiful cliff walk. We really enjoyed the Kecak Fire Dance which happens every evening. It is quite a long show but really interesting to see the fire dance and costumes and the story of Ramayana. The setting is also very special as you can see the ocean view whilst watching the dance. It is a wonderful way to start your epic Bali vacation.

Kecak Danse

TIP: There are many wild and sneaky monkeys who are not afraid of taking your belongings so hold onto your phones, sunglasses and hats.

Beware of the ‘local taxis’ as we got into a very difficult situation. We made the mistake of booking a one-way taxi thinking we would be able to easily get another on our way back. Unfortunately, you will get stuck and have to pay an extortionate fee to go back home. It is best to either book a day tour or your own private hire car

Tanah Lot Temple

Tanah Lot, Bali

Location: Jalan Raya Tanah Lot, Beraban, Kediri, Tabanan, Bali 82121, Indonesia
Open: Daily from 7 am to 7 pm
Entrance Fee: 60,000 IDR

Tanah Lot temple, translated to ‘land of the sea’ is one of the most famous and sacred Hindu temples in Bali. It gets pretty crowded during sunset as the views over the ocean and crashing waves are stunning. There are 3 temples that are roughly 100m apart from each other. The main temple is on a large offshore rock, you can only access this area during low tide when you can walk across the beach but you cannot enter the temple or the stairs leading to the temple. There is also a holy cave where you can be blessed with the holy water for a donation. There is a man with a snake there too; I guess these are just ways of getting some tips from tourists so you do not have to take part in any rituals if you are not comfortable.

Besakih Temple

Location: Besakih, Rendang, Karangasem, Bali 80863, Indonesia
Open: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm
Entrance Fee: 60,000 IDR

Besakih is the largest Hindu Temple in Bali and is known as the ‘mother’ temple due to its importance and significance within the Balinese community. It is at the base of Mount Agung at 1000m which is an active volcano. There are over 86 temples and shrines dedicated to the Hindu gods; the main one is Pura Penataran Agung with 7 tiered terraces representing the 7 universes in Hindu belief and each terrace having its own shrines. Being the holiest of temples in Bali; it has become a place of pilgrimage for the communities.

TIP It does get very crowded so try to early and avoid Saturday’s as this is a busy day for prayers for the Balinese people.

As the temple is near Mount Agung which is active be sure to check it is safe to go.

Also, there can be a lot of cloud cover so for best views of the mountain and the ricefields try to visit on a clear day. You will get some beautiful views from the top of the temple.  

Some people have said they have been scammed here so be aware of potential people posing as ‘guides’ or ‘temple guards’. You do not need a guide and neither do you need to buy a sarong. These are included in the entrance fee as well as a one-way scooter ride to the top.

Goa Giri Putri Temple

Location: Suana, Nusapenida, Klungkung, Bali 80771, Indonesia
Open: Daily from 7 am to 5 pm
Entrance Fee: by donation 10,000 / 20,000 IDR

Goa Giri Putri Temple is in the Northern tip of Nusa Penida; sometimes overlooked but definitely an interesting and unique temple which is in a cave. You wouldn’t think by going through a small rock entrance how big the temple is inside! The incense in the air adds to the mystical and spiritual setting. To get here you can easily hire a scooter for a day for around 70,000 IDR, usually, you will find scooter hire on the islands more expensive than on the main island. Driving should also be done by someone experienced as the roads are not always smooth with a lot of loose gravel.

What next

Most of these amazing temples in Bali are family-friendly. Just be aware for babies it is best to take a carrier rather than a pram and some temples do require you to climb a lot on steep stairs in the heat so may not be suitable for younger children. Hope this article helps you to organise your beautiful Bali trip.

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