Bali is home to many unique ancients temples and not visiting one of them during your stay in Bali would be a big mistake. The main religion in Bali is Balinese Hinduism and spirituality is a central vibe on the island.
There are over 20.000 temples in Bali, and of course you cannot see them all on your vacation.
Some of them need a bit of planning to visit, others of the temples can be seen within a day trip. Whatever temple you decide to visit will not leave you disappointed because of its magnificent architecture and spectacular beauty.
If the plan is to visit any of the temples while being in Bali then these local customs is worth remembering.
If you wish to enter a Balinese temple then you need to cover yourself up with long clothing.
It is expected to wear a shirt that covers your shoulders, so bear that in mind before you leave in the morning.
You also have to wear a sarong, most temples rent them out at the entrance or you can bring your own.
Another custom for women is not to enter any temple whilst menstruating. The same goes for any open wound for both men and women, as it is considered impure and goes against their spirituality.
Besakih Temple (Mother of Temple)
Besakih Temple is a collection of different clan temples (at least 86 temples), which is located in the village of Besakih 1,000 meters above sea level on the southwestern side of Mount Agung. The temple is over 1000 years old and is considered as one of the most important and holiest of the island’s temples in Bali. It’s often referred to as the Mother Temple. In 1963 when Mount Agung erupted and killed 1,700 people, the lava flows missed the temple by meters and was seen as a miracle and a sign from the gods.
Uluwatu Temple (Pura Luhur)
In Uluwatu, Jimbaran you will be able to find this famous sea temple with a stunning view. It is located on a southwest cliff top approximately 70 meters above the crashing waves. Cultural performances take place in a specially designed amphitheater during sunset and are making it the perfect location to go to for its beautiful sunsets. Besides being the site for a nightly ‘kecak’ performance, it is also one of the six sad kahyangen revered by all Balinese.
Pura Tanah Lot Temple
One of popular temples by tourist to visit. Located on the coast of Beraban village in Tabanan in West Bali, making it an only 45-minute drive from Kuta.
Tanah Lot Temple is known for its unique offshore setting and is making it a picture perfect place to see the sunset. It is still an active temple and making it one of the most important temples in Bali. With its spectacular view, is simple among Bali’s not-to-be-missed highlights. Best time to visit is during a ceremony, otherwise it’s for a sunset view in the evening.
Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave)
Known as the ‘Elephant Cave’ and takes it name from the nearness to the Elephant River.
Gajah Gajah is an archaeological complex with historical significance and is making it a great temple to visit for a brief stopover on tours to the Ubud region. Goa Gajah’s key attraction is the menacing entrance to the cave where the surrounding rocks have been carved into a face and the entrance as a mouth.
The site was originally built as a place for meditation, dating back to the 11th century.
Pura Ulun Dana Beratan Temple
In Bali’s central highlands on the western side of Beratan Lake you will be able to find the Ulun Danu Beratan Temple. The temple has a significant importance for the rice farmers in Bali, as the temple is dedicated to the worship of the goddess of lakes and rivers.
Part of the temple is located on the mainland, but during high tide, it creates a floating illusion and making one part of the section seem to “float” on the lake just off the mainland of the temple complex.
Pura Tirta Empul
Pura Tirta Empul is known for its sacred spring water with heeling properties and making it one of the most famous attractions, because of its holy water used for purification.
Many people climb up to the temple for a bath and meditation in the long main pool because it is believed to bring good fortune and health. Legend has it that this spring is created by the god Indra as an antidote to the poisonous spring by an evil demon king.
Goa Lawah Temple (Bat Cave)
Pura Goa Lawah is often referred to as the ‘Bat Cave’ as it is built in a cave inhabited by thousands of bats. It is located in East Bali, around 10 kilometers west of Candidasa.
The temple is one of the directional temples that are protecting Bali from the evils spirits. The temple is a popular site by local Balinese people for post-cremation purification that is culturally important for the Balinese people.