Top 5 temples in Bali

A trip to Bali is not really complete without visiting at least one temple. There are over 20,000 temples in Bali (pura in Balinese). Even though it’s impossible to visit them all, a few of them are really worth the time and effort. Plus, many of them are close to each other, so you can visit several in one day. I visited these 5 temples in Bali over two days and managed to see rice terraces, a butterfly farm and other Bali sights, too.

How to dress : Remember to bring a sarong if you visit a temple. Most temple guards will ask that you cover up your shoulders and ankles, but if you’re wearing pants and a tee, there shouldn’t be a problem. If you don’t have a sarong, you can borrow one for free at most temples. At Besakih, it’s included in your entrance fee so don’t let anyone there convince you otherwise. Unfortunately, the place is crammed with people trying to rip you off!

Prices : Visiting a temple in Bali is cheap (cost is between $1-3), but there are different prices for foreigners and locals. You can find the prices below.

How to get there : There are three main ways to see the Balinese temples. You either sign up for a group tour, you rent a driver (what I did) or you rent a scooter. The latter is definitely the cheapest, but sitting on a scooter all day is probably not the most comfortable way to enjoy Bali’s temples. Remember, if you bring a few friends, you can split the costs which makes it a lot cheaper.

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1. PURA TAMAN AYUN

Entrance fee: 15,000 Rupiah ($1,28)

The Pura Taman Ayun, built in 1634, literally translates to ‘beautiful garden’ and that’s exactly what it is. It is surrounded by green gardens with ponds and trees, and the temple area has those thatched multi-roofed shrines (meru) that signifies Balinese temples. Visitors are not allowed to enter the temple premises, but you can walk around it while taking pictures and enjoying the view.

Taman Ayun is a UNESCO site and truly worth the visit.

Temples in Bali

Temples, Bali

2. PURA ULUN DANU

Entrance fee: 30,000 Rupiah ($2,5)

Pura Ulun Danu, built in 1633, is one of the most iconic and photographed temples in Bali. It’s dedicated to the lake goddess Dewi Danu to ensure plentiful water and bountiful crops. Ulun Danu temple is surrounded and reflected by the lake, and its misty mountain backdrop highlights its serene beauty.

Temples in Bali

Ulun Danu, Bali

3. PURA TIRTA EMPUL

Entrance fee: 15,000 Rupiah ($1,28)

Tirta Empul is by far my favorite temple in Bali. It reminded me of the devoted pilgrims at Ganges River in India which is also a place where many people come to pray and bathe in the holy water. A local man told me that the Balinese come here if they have bad dreams or are feeling depressed as it is believed that the water is purifying. It was a beautiful sight to see locals and foreigners move through every water spring to make a prayer.

Tirta Empul, Bali Tirta Empul, Bali

Tirta Empul, Bali

Tirta Empul, Bali

4. PURA BESAKIH

Entrance fee: 15,000 Rupiah ($1,28)

 Please be aware of the temple scams. Don’t let anyone pressure you to give a donation at the ticket counter and don’t pay for a sarong before you enter – it is included in your entrance fee.

Pura Besakih temple, Bali’s Mother Temple, consists of more than 86 temples and is perched 1,000 meters high on the slopes of Mount Ahung. It’s the largest and most important temple for the Balinese and it is said to be the only temple where a Hindu of any caste can worship. You will even find a temple of all religions.

Personally, I was not impressed by Besakih temple. Sure, it has a magnificent view and marvelous structures, but the vendors, scammers and overall attitude towards making a profit just ticked me off. It still is a temple of high importance, so if you do visit just stay alert.

Temples in Bali

Pura Besakih, Bali, Indonesia

Pura Besakih, Bali, Indonesia

Pura Besakih, Bali, Indonesia Pura Besakih, Bali, Indonesia

5. PURA TANAH LOT

Entrance fee: 30,000 Rupiah ($2,5)

Tanah Lot temple was built in the 16th century and translates to “Land in the Sea”. Many tour companies from Ubud offer a trip to Tanah Lot to see the sunset and this is definitely the most beautiful time of day to visit. I came a few hours before the sun went down and it was perfect to just walk around and exploring. The Tanah Lot temple area is quite big and there are parks where you can sit and enjoy the pretty insane waves.

Tanah Lot, Bali, Indonesia

Tanah Lot, Bali, Indonesia Tanah Lot, Bali, Indonesia

Tanah Lot, Bali, Indonesia

Tanah Lot, Bali, Indonesia Tanah Lot, Bali, Indonesia

Which temple is your favorite?

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A trip to Bali is not really complete without visiting at least one temple. There are over 20,000 temples in Bali (pura in Balinese) and even though it's impossible to visit them all, a few of them are really worth the time and effort. Plus, many of them are close to each other, so you can visit several in one day. Here are the top temples to see and how to get there.

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Miriam

Travel blogger at Adventurous Miriam
I’m Miriam Risager, and this site has been my scrap-book, playground and home since 2013. I launched this blog as a way to share my journey, as well as share the hows, whys and wheres for other travelers.