Besides beautiful beaches and clear waters, Bali is also home to ancient temples. You can find these temples, or pura in Bahasa Indonesia all around the island, from Bali's coasts to its forests.

Bali is predominantly a Hindu region and you can see its influence in the culture, architecture, and mythic stories told on the island. However, the temples in Bali are unlike those in other parts of the world thanks to the blend of Hindu and Indonesian design. Here are some of the most famous temples in Bali that you shouldn't miss.

Pura Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot temple is one of the most well-known temples in Bali. Located in west Bali, many tourists visit it for its magnificent view and unique location. This small temple is nestled on a small piece of land off the coast and is only accessible during low tide. It's a 30-minute drive northwest of Kuta, and is well worth the drive. Many visitors, both locals and tourists alike come here to be blessed by the holy water from the Tirta Pabersihan fountain.

Pura Luhur, Uluwatu Temple

Pura Luhur is renowned for being located on the edge of the cliffs at Uluwatu, overlooking the vast Indian Ocean. You can watch Kecak dance performances here which often coincide with sunset - the best time to visit Pura Luhur as the view is stunning. Being on the southwestern edge of Bali, it's believed to protect the island from evil sea spirits. To get to the temple, you have to walk through a pathway and small forest which houses hundreds of monkeys believed to be guardians of the temple.

Pura Tirta Empul

Pura Tirta Empul is named after the sacred spring that flows underneath it. Tirta Empul has a large, rectangular pool filled with holy water and numerous koi fish swimming in it. The water in the pool is supplied by 12 fountains from the surrounding springs. This is among the holiest temples in Bali and worshippers from around the island come here to pray and cleanse themselves in the pool, especially during religious festivals.

Pura Goa Lawah

Pura Goa Lawah, or Bat Cave Temple owes its name to the fruit bats that live in the cave where the site is located. The temple was built at the base of a cliff that has a cave with thousands of bats. Since bats are nocturnal creatures, you don't need to worry about them if you visit the temple in the daytime. According to legend, a mythical dragon-like snake called Basuki that eats the bats live in this cave.

Pura Gunung Kawi

Pura Gunung Kawi is quite a large temple complex containing gorgeous ancient shrine reliefs carved into the cliff on various sides on the temples. This ancient temple overlooks the sacred Pakerisan River and is surrounded by lush greenery making it a very peaceful and calming place. It's said that the temple has been a meditation site for both Balinese Hindus and Buddhist monks for centuries.

Pura Besakih

With 23 temples in its compound, Pura Besakih is easily the largest temple complex in Bali. Because of its size, it's been called the "Mother Temple" of the island, and has been for over a thousand years. Each temple shrine serves a different purpose and has its own anniversary, so you can expect to see various celebrations and ceremonies performed in the complex around the year. Located on the southwestern slopes of Mount Agung, Pura Besakih has quite a high altitude and stunning views of the island.

Pura Lempuyang Luhur

Among the highest and oldest temples in Bali, the temples on Mount Lempuyang are believed to predate most local Hindu temples. The main temple, called Pura Lempuyang Luhur is located on the peak of the mountain, at 1175 metres above sea level where you can find the famous "Doors of Heaven".

The 1700 steps to the peak offer stunning panoramic views of Bali's eastern coast and mountains. Many pilgrims take the hike up the steps as a spiritual journey, and complaining during the climb is forbidden. If you prefer to remain at the base of the mountain, you can still enjoy the other temples in the complex like the Pura Penataran Agung.

Bali has more than just natural beauty. Visit the island's ancient temples if you want to appreciate some traditional architecture and find inner peace on your vacation. At Club Med Bali, we can arrange tours to some of the famous temples around Bali including Tirta Empul, Uluwatu, and Tanah Lot temples, so don't hesitate to contact us if you're planning a Bali vacation.

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