Our Top 5 Must-See Temples on the Island Of The Gods – Bali
1. Pura Luhur Uluwatu
Pura Luhur Uluwatu is not only one of the six sad kahyangan, major Balinese temples, but also the site of one of the famous nightly kecak performances. The temple stands atop of a 200 foot cliff in the southern part of the island and was constructed in the 10th century.
We visited this temple on two occasions. Our first visit was to the western-most side which offers a walkway on the cliff along the magnificent sea. There is a wall to ensure safety and the walkway does have a few steps here and there. The second time we visited this temple was to see the fantastic sunset views followed by the Kecak performance which consisted of a group of men chanting while masked actors perform a re-enactment of Ramayana as well as a bit of a fire show.
Be aware that there are lots of monkeys around the entrance to the temple. Take caution and mind your belongings. They are fun to watch, but you wouldn’t want to really interact with them.
This temple has a lot to offer. It’s really a great visit for families and couples alike. You can enjoy an afternoon taking in the views and then watch the performance as the sun sets in the background. A truly fun and enchanting experience!
- Location: eleven miles south of Kuta. 8°49’37.7908″S, 115°5’4.5722″E
2. Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is the second most significant temple in Bali. It is nestle on the western shore of Lake Bratan just above the central area of the island.
It is considered a very important temple to the rice farmers of the region. It is dedicated to the goddess of lakes and rivers and is the primary temple, among many others, in the irrigation system.
The lake is popular destination of rthe local people and provides opportunities for several different types of water sports. Behind the temple there is a large park with a couple of great restaurants in it.
With it’s location in the north of Bali, it is a great place to go to cool off. There is usually some level of fog and clouds, which create a very surreal and calm atmosphere to the place.
We drove our motorbike to this temple from Kuta and it was just under two hours. While a bit tiring on the motorbike, it is, nevertheless, a great way to see the surrounding nature as you make your way up to the lake.
- Location: Lake Bratan, an hour and a half from Denpasar. 8°16’32.11″S, 115°9’58.77″E
3. Pura Tanah Lot
Tanah Lot has a very special place in our hearts as we spent Rob’s birthday at the Nirwana Resort, which has fantastic views of this temple from it’s golf course, hotel, and restaurants.
We spent only one night at the resort, but a full day of playing golf gave us a great opportunity to take in the majestic ocean and temple views. It was a great way to take it all in. If you enjoy playing golf, I would certainly recommend this course and resort!
The magnificent sea temple stands on a rock just off shore and accessing it is only available during low tide. Visiters wait patiently for the tide to go down so that they are able to walk up to the rock and see the temple up close.
It is said that during the 15th century, priest Nirartha instructed local fisherman to construct this temple. It goes without saying, that this is a highly admired temple by visitors and extremely important to the local Balinese culture and religion.
Vendors and restaurants line the path on the way to this temple. Don’t worry if your budget doesn’t allow for dinner or a stay at the resort. You can easily find great places to eat with spectacular views of this temple at very budget-friendly prices. The sunset at this location is nothing short of taking anyone’s breath away!
It is about a 45 minute taxi ride from the popular Seminyak area and the ride will cost around $9 USD, so there is no excuse not to visit while in Bali. You will not be disappointed.
- Location: Accessible via Ubud or Denpasar. The temple can be visited together with Pura Taman Ayun nearby. 8°37’16.35″S, 115°5’12.54″E
4. Pura Goa Gajah
While you won’t find any elephants at this “elephant cave,” visiting this temple will still be an extraordinary experience.
The iconic entrance to the cave is strange and menacing and at the same time intriguing and awe inspiring.
The carvings, thought to have been done around the 11th century, are done on a solid piece of rock and serve to protect from evil spirits.
Inside the cave, small and a bit eerie, contains a statue of the Hindu god Ganesha on one end and a warship area devoted to the Hindu god Shiva on the opposite end.
In the front of this cave is the site of a large ancient bathing place. The surrounding area cosnsist of beautiful, lush gardens, a small waterfall and creek, along with fallen ancient statues.
If you are looking for a pieceful and serene temple experience, this one will certainly deliver that experience.
- Location: Central Bali, about 10 minutes’ drive southeast of Ubud. 8°31’25.5457″S, 115°17’12.525″E
5. Pura Dalem Agung Padantegal
Located in the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary of Ubud, Pura Dalem Agung Padantegal, or Padangtegal Great Temple of Death, is an integral part of the spiritual life of the local community.
This temple is an easy visit due to being in the southwestern part of the Monkey Forest, which is a popular tourist destination, and one we would recommend highly.
The main temple here is thought to have been constructed during mid 14th century and is the worship place of the Hindu god Hyang Widhi in personification of Shiva.
Make sure to pay a respectful visit to this temple in the beautiful setting of the Ubud Monkey Forest. Enjoy a full day walking around the forest, taking in the natural beauty and playful interaction of the long-tailed Macaques.
An hour drive north of Kuta, the entire area of Ubud is a must-see. It is not as crowded as the beaches of Bali and provides a small glimpse into the real Balinese culture. Ubud also offers a plethra of opportunities to purchase amazing art and handmade souvenirs that are unique and beautiful for anyone looking for something other than the typical “Bintang” shirt to take back for family and friends.
- Location: Central Bali, about 45 minutes’ drive north of Kuta, 8.5188° S, 115.2584° E
About the Author
Hi! I'm just a California girl addicted to travel and adventure with a passion for art and dance on the side. Born in Iran, but I consider myself a citizen of Earth, adhering to the belief that "The world is but one country and mankind its citizen." I strive to make a positive impact on everyone I meet and learn as much as possible from them. My degree out of college is in Marketing. However, I entered the hospitality business at an early age and worked my way up to hotel management. After about 13 years in that industry (5 of which I was a hotel assistant manager), I made the decision to move to Thailand and leave the 9 to 5 grind behind. My husband and I set off for a life of living abroad and hopes to continue traveling the world, just 3 months after our wedding. It all started with the two of us, along with our cat, together in Thailand. Can't wait to see where life takes us next!