Island of Gods- 10 Must Visit Temples in Bali
Bali, an Indonesian island known for its stunning beaches, lush rice paddies, and vibrant cultural heritage, has an abundance of beautiful temples scattered throughout the island. In fact, Bali is often referred to as the “Island of the Gods” due to the high number of temples and religious sites found on the island.
The temples in Bali are the pride to showcase the rich culture of Indonesia. Bali Tour packages with WanderOn are designed for you to experience all the beautiful temples at ease. Before knowing about the best temples in Bali, it is important to know how to dress up ethically while visiting the temples.
Cultural Dressing Etiquette for Temple Visits in Bali
Bali, Indonesia is a culturally-rich and diverse island that is home to many beautiful Hindu temples. When visiting these temples, it’s important to dress appropriately to show respect for the local customs and traditions. Here are some tips on what to wear when visiting temples in Bali
1. Cover Your Shoulders and Knees
Temples in Bali,hold pride in it’s customary to cover shoulders and knees when visiting temples. Avoid wearing shorts, tank tops, or revealing clothing as they are considered inappropriate for temple visits. Men are also requested to avoid the sandos or half pants.
2. Choose Lightweight and Breathable Fabrics
Bali is a tropical island with a hot and humid climate. When visiting temples, it’s important to choose lightweight and breathable fabrics that will keep you cool and comfortable. Cotton and linen are good choices as they are both breathable and lightweight.
3. Wear Comfortable Shoes
When visiting temples in Bali, you will likely need to do some walking and climbing. It’s important to wear comfortable shoes that are suitable for this. Avoid wearing high heels or flip flops as they are not suitable for temple visits. It’s a great option to choose sandals or shoes.
4. Avoid Wearing Jewelry
When visiting temples, it’s best to avoid wearing jewelry as it can be distracting and disrespectful according to their customs. But if you like it, wear something subtle and not too flashy.
5. Wear a Sarong or Scarf
In some temples, it’s required to wear a sarong or scarf to cover your legs or shoulders. These items are often available for rent or purchase at the temple entrance. However, it’s a good idea to bring your own as they can be more hygienic and comfortable.
6. Follow the Local Customs
When visiting temples in Bali, it’s important to follow the local customs and traditions. This includes removing your shoes before entering the temple and avoiding touching any sacred objects or statues.
7. Be Mindful of Your Clothing in Public Areas
It’s important to be mindful of your clothing not just inside the temple, but also in the public areas surrounding it. Dressing modestly shows respect for the local culture and customs.
When visiting temples in Bali, it’s important to dress appropriately to show respect for the local customs and traditions. By following these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy your temple visits while also showing respect for the local culture.
Suggested Read – The Best Beaches In Bali For Surfing
Best Temples in Bali
1. Uluwatu Temple
Uluwatu is a picturesque temple in Bali, situated atop a cliff that also serves as a popular surfing spot. The temple, which is locally known as Pura Luhur Uluwatu, is situated 70 meters above the crashing waves in Bali’s southwest. While it shares the magnificent sunset views of the Tanah Lot sea temple in West Bali, Uluwatu’s elevated position provides an even more expansive and mesmerizing view. According to archaeological evidence of India , the temple is made up of the remains of stones that came together. Visitors can explore the ancient architecture and sculptures up close by following the pathways throughout the site. The temple is surrounded by a dense forest where gray long-tailed macaques live. Additionally, an open-air amphitheater nearby hosts regular performances of the Ramayana ballet or Kecak dance during the golden sunset hours, making it an ideal location for capturing unforgettable memories through photographs. The Balinese people pay their respects to the gods and ancestors by creating offerings at temples, usually in the form of woven palm leaf baskets filled with a variety of items such as flowers and rice.
Location: Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Timings: 9 am to 6 pm, Everyday
2. Ulun Danu Beratan
The purpose of constructing Ulun Danu Beratan in the 17th century was to worship the Hindu trinity (Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva) as well as the lake goddess, Dewi Danu. Situated in central Bali’s Bedugul region, Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is an important temple complex and a famous landmark. The Bedugul area, known for its cool climate, is a favorite upland weekend and holiday retreat for residents of the island’s southern urban areas. The temple design, which appears to float, comprises four groups of shrines, including the well-known Lingga Petak shrine to the east. The reflective surface of the lake surrounding the majority of the temple’s base creates a one-of-a-kind floating impression. Lake is considered to be serene and gives calm to the soul so that people visiting Bali’s temple can also feel the peace within. In addition to their religious significance, temples in Bali also serve as important social gathering places for Balinese people. Entry is mostly prohibited if the people are not abiding by the culturally accepted clothing. The doors of the Shrines are open to the pilgrimage. Temple festivals, known as “odalan,” are held throughout the year and feature music, dance, and other cultural performances. These festivals are a celebration of Balinese culture.
Location: Baturiti Tabanan, Bali 82191, Indonesia
Timings: 8 am to 6 pm, Everyday
3. Besakih Temple
Known as Bali’s “mother temple,” Besakih Temple is an impressive complex comprising 86 clan temples and shrines, situated on the southwestern slopes of Mount Agung. Each shrine has its own anniversary, resulting in a minimum of 70 celebrations taking place at Besakih each year. Bali’s biggest and holiest temple is considered to be Besakih. Most of the devotees also believe that this temple is where God Vishnu comes to rest.Its elevated location provides stunning views of the surrounding countryside, which includes rice paddies, hills, mountains, and streams. The entire site can take an entire day to explore. The journey to go to the temple is believed to remove the Karmic debts a soul carries and until he reaches the face of the temple he is pure to pay respects to the lord, Pura Besakih is the only temple that is accessible to devotees from any caste group. Temples in Bali make offerings to the gods and ancestors at temples, which can be seen in the form of small baskets made from woven palm leaves filled with flowers, rice, and other items.
Location: Rendang Karangasem, Bali 80863, Indonesia
Timings: 8 am to 5 pm, Everyday
4. Lempuyang Temple
Lempuyang temple is one of the best temples in Bali. It is also known as the oldest temple.
Bali’s eastern region offers a unique blend of mountain scenery and cultural highlights, making it a must-visit for hiking enthusiasts. However, for those who do not wish to climb up to the peak at Lempuyang, the magnificent Pura Penataran Agung temple at the mountain’s base offers breathtaking views. This temple is the first stop on the pilgrimage and features impressive towering dragon staircases that are perfect for taking photos. The whole complex architecture marks the seven different sanctuaries. The best views can be found at the top of the stairs, where visitors can take in the green forested slopes and get a glimpse of Bali’s highest peak, Mount Agung, the location of Besakih Temple .One of the best times to experience the beauty of this temple is during dusk when the sun sets and illuminates the entire area with a golden hue. The ‘Gates of Heaven,’ which can be found in the first temple, is only a short five-minute walk from the entrance. From this point, visitors can witness an awe-inspiring view of Mount Agung and the lush forests that are considered the lungs of the island.
Location:, Karangasem, Bali 80852, Indonesia
Timings : 6 am to 7 pm, Everyday.
5. Tirta Empul Temple
The temple of Tirta Empul derives its name from a holy spring that flows inside the temple in Bali. The water from this spring feeds several purification baths, fish ponds, and pools that encircle the outer periphery of the temple, eventually flowing into the Tukad Pakerisan River. The temple complex and its vicinity house several other archaeological remnants and sacred sites that relate to local legends and myths. The Tirta Empul Temple in Bali houses a sacred relic known as the buffalo, which is believed to be the vehicle of Lord Shiva. Unfortunately, the carving of the buffalo is badly damaged, making it difficult to identify its exact type. In Hindu mythology, the buffalo is considered the mount of Lord Shiva and is known as “Nandi.” Visitors to this Balinese temple are required to adhere to a simple dress code, which involves wearing a kamen wrap or sarong around the lower body and a sash around the waist. Although it may be tempting to bathe in the holy water, it is exclusively reserved for pilgrims and devotees who follow a strict formal routine.
Balinese people often make offerings to the gods and ancestors at temples, which can be seen in the form of small baskets made from woven palm leaves filled with flowers, rice, and other items.
Location: Tampaksiring, Gianyar, Bali 80552, Indonesia
Timings: 9 am to 5 pm, Everyday
6. Goa Gajah
Goa Gajah, which means ‘Elephant Cave’, is a historical site located on the western side of Bedulu Village, around 6 km away from central Ubud.
Once you cross the set of stone steps leading to the Goa Gajah temple complex, you can witness the courtyard filled with relics and the intricate rock-wall carvings. The complex includes a meditation cave, bathing pools, and fountains, all surrounding the famous elephant cave. The architectural structures are of the Hindu idols dating back to the 10th century, with some relics even showing traces of Buddhism from as far back as the 8th century. These Bali Temples show the diversity of the culture.
The shallow cave houses three stone idols draped in red, yellow, and black cloths, while black soot lines the walls from the present-day incense burning. The cave’s walls also feature several indentations that once served as seats for meditating priests. The Buddhist influence dominates the northern side of the complex, while the southern side leans towards Shiva-ism, separated by the river. Most of the tourists prefer adding up the beautiful Bali temples to visit on their vacation.
Location : Tampaksiring, Gianyar, Bali 80582, Indonesia
Timings: 8 am to 4 pm, Everyday
7. Underwater Temple
The temple is nearly 5000 years old and one of the must visit temples in Bali.It is the perfect destination for those seeking water temples, and the Underwater Temple Bali is a particularly exceptional temple tour experience. But some new reports show that the temple was built in 2005-2006. The Jakarta Globe reported that the project included a temple structure and ten statues, which were added to other initiatives such as bio-wreck dive sites and a reef conservation project called Reef Gardiners, which was funded by the Australian Agency for International Development
The temple is located in the Pemuteran bio rock area beneath the water’s surface, and visiting it through diving or snorkeling is a must for anyone seeking a non-traditional holiday experience filled with both peacefulness and excitement. As one of Bali’s most renowned temples, the opportunity to snorkel in the crystal-clear waters surrounding this unique temple is a highly worthy experience that should not be missed. “ Be soaked in devotion”
Location: Pemuteran, Bali
Timings : The snorkeling timings vary
8. Batuan Temple
The village of Batuan is renowned for its traditional Balinese paintings and is home to the Batuan Temple, also known as Pura Puseh Lan Pura Desa Adat Batuan, a significant landmark in the area. The temple boasts well-preserved sandstone base motifs and stunning traditional Balinese architecture, which are its primary attractions. Wantilan is an ancient standing building that serves as a meeting hall for practicing various types of Balinese dances, such as the Gambuh dance and Pendet dance.
Built in the 11th century, Batuan Temple is a sprawling complex of shrines, with a communal hall where most visitors begin their tour. During significant temple ceremonies, the space is filled with towering fruit and flower offerings, while on other days, local artists and craftsmen showcase their latest creations, including batiks, framed paintings, and statuettes. These festivals are a celebration of Balinese culture. They are not only places of worship but also serve as important cultural and social gathering places
Location: Sukawati, Gianyar, Bali 80582, Indonesia
Timings : 8 am- 9pm, Everyday
9. Kehan Temple
Located in the cool upland region of Cempaga, which is renowned for its fruit plantations, palm sugar cottage industries, and picturesque rural countryside, is the ancient Kehen Temple. The temple dates back to the 11th century and is covered with centuries-old banyan trees that add to its charm. One of the unique features of this Hindu temple complex is its magnificent architecture.To reach the temple courtyard, visitors must climb 38 flights of stairs that are adorned with carved sandstone statues of mythical creatures and Balinese folklore figures. The center of the temple in Bali is decorated with these intricate carvings. There are numerous smaller merus on either side, which are the resting spots for mountain gods that visit the temple. Master craftsmen are presently renovating and repainting the intricate woodwork. Below the wall, guides will draw your attention to the ancient Chinese plates that were affixed to it. Interestingly, some of these plates portray scenes of rural England, including a watermill and a mail coach being drawn by four horses. The temple also depicts the relation between Indo- China.
The best time to visit Kehen Temple is during its anniversary celebration when it is highly decorated, and visitors can witness traditional Balinese dances. The anniversary falls on Pagerwesi Wednesday, which is marked on the 210-day Balinese pawukon calendar.
Location: Bangli, Bali 80613, Indonesia
Timings: 9 am to 5 pm, Everyday
10. Samuan Tiga Temple
One of the best temples in Bali, it is a 10th century temple. It was built during the Warmadewa dynasty. The ancient temple is a must-visit for those interested in seeing Balinese temple architecture up close. The temple boasts ornate sandstone carvings and majestic gates that showcase its historical significance. Unlike most Balinese temples that have three courtyards, Pura Samuan Tiga has seven that are separated by walls and interconnected by staircases. The temple’s name means “meeting of three” in the local language, which reflects the historical consensus among previously conflicting Hindu sects at the time. The temples represent the mountain, the village, and the sea, as well as the “Tri Murti” Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Visitors can simply admire the temple’s ancient beauty.The site of Pura Samuan Tiga Temple is surrounded by sacred banyan and large old trees, which are well-cared for and enhance the beauty of the gardens. The temple also offers stunning views, as it is surrounded by two rivers, the Pande and Tegending, on the east side, and the remains of an ancient pool on its west side. Temples in Bali not only serve as places of worship but also play an important role in the island’s cultural heritage
Location: Gianyar, Bali 80581, Indonesia
Timings : 8 am- 8pm, Everyday
Temples in Bali are also important tourist destinations, attracting visitors from all over the world who come to admire the intricate carvings and beautiful architecture. However, it is important to note that temples are places of worship and visitors should dress modestly and behave respectfully while visiting.With their beautiful architecture, stunning locations, and rich cultural heritage, temples in Bali are a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to this beautiful Indonesian island. What are you waiting for? Get your tickets booked with planned itineraries.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the most popular temple in Bali?
There are few Most popular temples in Bali, namely, Lempyung Temple, Pura Tanah Lot, Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, Goa Gajah.They are not only places of worship but also serve as important cultural and social gathering places. With their beautiful architecture, stunning locations, and rich cultural heritage, temples in Bali are a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to this beautiful Indonesian island.
2. What is the holiest temple in Bali?
The Besakih Temple, located in the village of Besakih on the slopes of Mount Agung, is the largest and holiest temple in Bali, serving as a complex of puras that is essential to the practice of Balinese Hinduism.The temple is dedicated to the Trimurti, the three main Hindu gods – Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Its significance and beauty make it a must-visit destination for tourists and a source of pride for the Balinese people.
3. What is the most photographed temple in Bali?
Pura Tanah Lot is among the most picturesque temples in Bali, renowned for its stunning location on a small rocky island. Accessible for most of the day when the tide is low, visitors can cross the rocky way to explore the temple. This ancient temple dates back to the 16th century and is dedicated to the Balinese sea gods. Its unique location and stunning views of the sunset have made it one of Bali’s most popular attractions, with thousands of visitors flocking to it every day.
4. Which is the best temple in Denpasar?
Jagatnatha Temple is one of the best temples located in Denpasar. This temple is located in the heart of Denpasar and is dedicated to the supreme god of Hinduism, Sang Hyang Widhi. The temple features traditional Balinese architecture with intricate carvings and sculptures that depict stories from Hindu mythology. Pura Jagatnatha is also the venue for the annual Bali Arts Festival, where visitors can experience traditional music, dance, and other cultural performances.