Temple Run - Where to see Bali's best temples

Oct 01, 2018
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Bali isn’t called the ‘Island of the Gods’ for nothing. Each mystical temple on the island is unique and designed to worship a different Hindu god, the ocean, the mountains or the sunrise. Whether perched on a clifftop, set on a picturesque inland lake or with the mountains as a backdrop - each temple is a place to don a sarong and experience authentic traditions and Balinese spirituality.


And don’t forget to check out our guide to temple etiquette before your visit.  



Tanah Lot


An ancient Hindu shrine perched amidst the waves on a rocky outcrop - an island highlight teeming with visitors night and day. A short 45 minute drive from Kuta and home to the famous Kecak (Fire) Dance. The sunsets here are unmissable.



Pura Besakih


Bali’s ‘Mother Temple’, is the holiest site on the island. An intricate complex of temples and shrines built on 6 levels - perched 1,000 metres above sea level on the slopes of the mighty Mount Agung. Witnessing a ceremony here is a once in a lifetime experience.



Pura Ulun Danu Beratan


Built in the 17th century for the Hindu holy trinity of Brahma/Vishnu/Shiva this  stunning landmark is in the central highlands of Bali on Beratan Lake. With a mountain backdrop, mists and water reflections - it seems like the temple is floating. Surrounded by flowering gardens to explore, paddle boat rides and sensational vistas - Danu Beratan is a popular day trip for tourists and locals alike. Sundays and holidays are super busy. Try mid week.



Goa Gajah


A must see when you visit the Ubud area - the ‘Elephant Cave’ is a UNESCO  archeological site built in the 9th century with intricate stone idols and meditation caves to explore. Ancient bathing pools and angelic statues greet you as you make your way to bathe and purify in the flowing Petanu River overlooking the rice paddies.



Pura Tirta Empul


Built in 960 AD the ‘Holy Water Spring’ is a national heritage site that has visitors flocking to take part in complex water purification rituals. The natural spring flows into a series of baths, pools and fish ponds. There are archaeological relics to explore and the temple is overlooked by the impressive Presidential Palace. Take a guide to walk you through the water ritual, follow temple guidelines, avoid Sundays and early morning visits are best.



Pura Taman Saraswati


This serene water temple is an Ubud highlight  and a welcome respite from the hordes of tourists on Jalan Raya. Loads of photo opportunities await in this example of classical Balinese architecture. Visitors come to wander and reflect amongst the lotus ponds.



Pura Luhur Uluwatu


Is one of Bali’s spiritual pillars - one of the six key temples on the island. This sea temple is perched on a magnificent coastline and steep cliff face 70m above sea level - the sunsets here are sensational. Looking over the Indian ocean, home to cheeky resident monkeys, ancient sculptures and the Kecak dance performance that kicks off every day at 6pm - just in time to watch the sunset.



Written By: Fotini E Douglas