Bali, an island in Indonesia, is also known as the land of a thousand temples, and that is certainly true. A trip to Bali just isn’t complete without seeing at least a few. Many of the temples in Bali are even accessible in day trip from the popular town of Ubud, from which you can also see some of the famous rice terraces. Throughout our time in Bali, we saw our fair share, but there is no way to see them all. Here are just a few of the temples in Bali.
Menjangan Island Temple
Our sole purpose of heading to Menjangan, and uninhabited island, was to dive off the coast of this tiny island, but we were mesmerized by the ocean side temple on the way to the dive site. We took a day trip from Pemuteran, a sleepy beach village.
Location: Off the coast of the NW tip of Bali, you can drive from the Denpasar Airport (about 5-6 hours) to Pemuteran and then take a boat to the island.
Small local temples
Our preference, as it turned out, were the small local temples we stumbled upon in villages. They truly felt more sacred than the mass tourist sites, and often had almost no one around. We would see local people leaving beautiful offerings of flowers, trailed by incense and an overwhelming sense of spirituality.
Location: In every village you will find small temples and many offerings. So go off the beaten path and find a few for yourself.
The Temples of Ubud
On just about every corner in Ubud, yoll find two things: a temple and a group of taxi drivers. On a quick walk around the city you’ll come upon several photogenic temples.
Location: The touristy town of Ubud, about an hour from the Denpasar Airport.
Taman Ayun of Mengwi
Just a short distance from Ubud is Ayun Mengwi. The drive took around an hour, but as always, the time is heavily dictated by Bali traffic. This temple was built in 1634 with some additional construction in 1937, and is still owned by the descendants of the royal family that built it. Taman Ayun translates to “beautiful garden”, and has wide open spaces surrounded by a beautiful moat.
Location: This temple is very close to the Denpasar Airport, but is typically visited as part of a day trip from Ubud.
Tanah Lot was built on a sea-side cliff sometime in the 15th century, and is only accessible during low tide. Maybe I’m missing something here, but I was not impressed by this temple. Don’t get me wrong, it’s in a gorgeous setting on a cliff looking over the ocean. But I just couldn’t get passed all the vendors, the crowded parking lot, fake markets and tons of people. It was more like Disneyland than a sacred temple. I feel so bad for the locals that want to practice their beliefs there. What a shame.
Locaiton: About an hour south of Ubud, along the coast. Often visited as part of a day trip with other temples (such as Taman Ayun above).
Monkey Forest, a large reserve in the middle of busy Ubud, is mostly known for the long-tailed macaques that live there. However, it houses some temples as well, making it a more interesting trip than I expected. It’s best to a arrive early in the morning, when the cheeky monkeys are still sleepy, and we had one of the biggest tourist attractions in Bali to ourselves.
Location: Directly in the heart of Ubud.
There are so many great and beautiful temples that we missed, giving us yet another reason to get back to Bali. And soon.
Have you been to Bali? What are some of your favorite temples?