14 Best Temples In Bali To Visit During Your Next Trip

Bali, the Indonesian ‘island of the gods’, is best known for its idyllic white sand beaches, dramatic volcanoes and tropical green landscapes. 

It is the perfect global destination in which to relax and rejuvenate, surrounded by amazing scenery, good food and a rich cultural heritage.

If you stay in Seminyak or one of the resorts of Nusa Dua, you will have a central location with easy access to all the diverse attractions Bali has to offer.

Some of these cultural attractions include temples (also called pura); Bali has a staggering 20,000 temples to choose from.

A Balinese temple can vary from a 20th-century modern temple to a temple dating back thousands of years, from elevated mountain temples to urban or ocean-facing temples. 

This article includes 14 of the best temples to visit in Bali to add to your perfect Bali itinerary.

Although there are several Buddhist temples in Bali, all the temples featured in this article belong to the Hindu faith. 

If you are wondering what to wear in Bali temples, the dress code is modest; visitors of both genders must cover their shoulders and knees.

Plus, most Bali temples require visitors to wear a traditional sarong. If you don’t own a sarong, most temples have sarongs you can borrow at the entrance. 

Best Temples In Bali

#1 Uluwatu Temple 

This historic 11th-century temple has one of the most impressive temple settings in Bali.

best temples in bali

It sits on a 70-metre-high cliff overlooking the ocean in Uluwatu, 21 kilometres from Ngurah Rai International Airport. 

The sacred temple is one of Bali’s nine ‘directional’ temples that protects the island in all directions from evil spirits.

As a result, the temple holds an important status for locals on the island. Watch out for the precocious monkeys who inhabit the temple, as they are fond of snatching food and bags from unwary tourists. 

If you visit the temple in the afternoon, stay for the nightly sunset Kecak dance performance; its sunset ocean backdrop is spectacular.

Most places to stay in Uluwatu are within a short drive of the temple. 

Uluwatu is one of Bali’s top surfing spots. Beaches near Pura Uluwatu include the stunning Nyang Nyang Beach and Padang Padang Beach.

The nearby Garuda Visha Kencana cultural park is also worth visiting. 

#2 Pura Taman Kemuda Saraswati

Pura Taman Kemuda Saraswati is also known as the Ubud Water Palace. It is one of the most famous temples in Bali. 

best temples in bali

The temple was built in the early 1950s by renowned Balinese sculptor Gusti Nyoman Lempad and is dedicated to Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of wisdom. 

The temple is loved by Instagrammers for its elaborate and ornate stone carvings, its lotus-filled ponds and graceful frangipani trees. 

It is free to enter the temple grounds, but only visitors who wish to worship are allowed to enter the temple itself.

If you time your visit carefully, you can buy tickets to a twice-weekly nighttime Kecak dance performance on the temple grounds. 

Nearby attractions include Ubud Art Market and the famous Monkey Forest. 

#3 Pura Tanah Lot

Further along the coast from Pura Uluwatu (and within sight from the temple) is Pura Tanah Lot, meaning ‘land of the sea.’

This sacred sea temple is one of the most photographed locations in Bali. 

Jutting out into the sea on a large offshore rock, the temple is only accessible at low tide (and can only be entered by Balinese wishing to pray).

The 16th-century temple underwent significant reconstruction in the 1980s and today, its backdrop against the Indian Ocean makes it one of the most popular places to watch a sunset on the island. 

Pura Tanah Lot is 24 kilometres from Ngurah Rai International Airport. Nearby attractions include Pererenan Beach and Citraland Waterpark. 

#4 Lempuyang Temple

This famous temple in Bali sits 600 metres above sea level on the slopes of Mount Lempuyang in Karangasem in eastern Bali.

The elevated Hindu temple complex is a photographer’s dream. 

The fee-paying 16th-century complex consists of three sanctums, several bales and towers, plus seven small temples.

Its most iconic feature is its imposing four-metre-high ‘Gates of Heaven’, which reach up to the sky at the end of a long set of stone steps. 

This split gateway perfectly frames Mount Agung in the background; however, to get the perfect Instagram photo, you will need to be prepared to wait your turn amongst the crowds.

Lempuyang Temple is 33 kilometres east of Sideman and 83 kilometres from the airport.

Don’t forget to bring your walking shoes, as nearby Mount Agung offers some of the best hiking trails on the island. 

#5 Pura Tirta Empul

This sacred Bali temple in Manukaya is dedicated to Vishnu, the Hindu god of water and is considered one of the holiest water sources in Bali. 

best temples in bali

Locals and tourists flock to the 10th-century water temple to bathe in its purification pools and dip their heads under the 30 water spouts which feed the pool.

The pools are found in Jaba Tengah, one of the three sections of the Pura Tirta Empul site. 

Bathing in the pools is open to locals and tourists alike. It is a unique and memorable experience and if you want to live like a local, it is one of the unmissable things to do in Bali. 

Note that both men and women must wear a sarong to visit this temple, but the use of a sarong is included in your entry fee. 

Pura Tirta Empul is 15 kilometres north of Ubud. Nearby attractions include the Manuaba waterfall and the Tegalallang rice terraces. 

#6 Goa Gajah

The 9th century Goa Gajah temple is 5 kilometres southeast of Ubud.

Unlike other temples in Bali, this temple is situated inside a small cave. 

Surrounded by impressive Banyan trees, the small 15-metre-deep cave temple is also known as Elephant Cave, allegedly because of the statue of Ganesh inside the cave.

It is also famous for the menacing stone faces carved into the stone at the entrance to the cave. 

Look out for the seven statues of women with water pitchers outside the cave, which are believed to represent the seven holy rivers of India.

Nearby attractions to Goa Gajah include the Sumampan waterfall and the Agung Rai Museum of Art. 

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#7 Batu Bolong Temple

The small Batu Bolong Temple can only be seen from the outside, but its impressive oceanside location makes it worth the effort to visit it.

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The 16th-century temple sits on a rocky volcanic outcrop 24 kilometres northwest of Ngurah Rai International Airport.

It is dedicated to Batara Segara, the god of peace and can only be reached by crossing a narrow stone path over a sea arch (the ‘stone hollow’ which gives the temple its name). 

Batu Bolong Temple sits on one of the most popular beaches in Canggu, famous for its beginner surfing spots and lively atmosphere during the sunset hour.  

#8 Pura Ulun Danu Tamblingan

If you want to visit a quiet temple, head to Pura Ulun Danu Tamblingan in Munduk in northern Bali. 

best temples in bali

Also known as the Tamblingan Lake Temple, the 10th-century temple is located on the eastern shore of Lake Tamblingan, a caldera lake at the foot of Mount Lesung.

There isn’t a road to the temple, so it can only be reached on foot. In the rainy season, the lake level can rise, cutting off the temple so it is only accessible by canoe. 

The small temple is dedicated to Danu, the lake god, and has two different meru shrines, an entrance gateway and three pagoda towers. 

Pura Ulun Danu Tamblingan is 60 kilometres north of Ubud. Nearby attractions include jungle hikes plus Munduk waterfalls and rice terraces. 

#9 Pura Besakih

If you only have time to visit one temple complex in Bali, choose Pura Besakih.

It is the biggest temple in Bali and is considered to be the holiest temple in the Balinese Hindu faith. 

Known as ‘the Mother Temple of Bali’, Pura Besakih sits 1,000 metres up the slopes of Mount Agung in central Bali.

It offers fantastic views of the surrounding countryside. 

The complex consists of 23 temples, the most important being Pura Penataran Agung.

It is built on seven ascending levels and is accessed by a dramatic split gateway (called a candi bentar) at the top of a steep set of stone steps.

As Pura Besakih is an important and active temple, it is probably the best temple in Bali to visit if you want to witness a religious ceremony. 

Visitors are required to wear a sarong and a waist sash, but if you don’t have your own, they are included in the cost of your entrance ticket. 

The complex is located 41 kilometres north of Ubud. Nearby attractions include Tukad Cepung waterfall and Lake Batur. 

#10 Pura Segara Ulun Danu Batur

Translated as ‘water temple on Batur lake’, this pretty, floating stone temple is situated on Lake Batur near Kintamani in northeast Bali. 

best temples in bali

The 17th-century temple is dedicated to Dewi Danu, the goddess of Lake Batur and the Hindu god Vishnu and can be accessed by a narrow stone bridge across the lake.

The complex consists of nine different temples, including a picture-perfect 11-tiered Meru – a pagoda-style multi-tiered tower. 

A trip to Pura Segara Ulun Danu Batar, which is 35 kilometres north of Ubud, can be combined with a visit to Lake Batur and nearby Mount Agung. 

#11 Pura Ulun Danu Batur

Pura Ulun Danu Batur is in the heart of Kintamani, 32 kilometres north of Ubud. 

It was built in 1926 and is dedicated to the goddess of lakes and water. The complex has nine temples, five courtyards and an 11-tiered meru. 

A visit to Pura Ulun Danu Batur can be combined with a visit to Pura Segara Ulun Danu Batur, Lake Batur and Mount Agung. 

#12 Pura Ulun Danu Beratan

This picturesque 17th-century temple sits on Lake Beratan (the second largest lake in Bali) in Bedugal in northern Bali, 43 kilometres from Ubud. 

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It is a small, four-temple complex with a central 12-tier Meru tower dedicated to Shiva.

In contrast to other temples in Bali, this complex has a mix of traditional Balinese structures and Buddhist architecture. 

If you want the perfect Instagram photo of the temple against a backdrop of mountains, visit the temple in the morning, as Lake Beratan tends to cloud over during the afternoon. 

Non-worshippers are not allowed inside the temple, but the grounds around the temple – and the view – make this historic temple worth visiting. 

Nearby attractions include Bali Botanical Garden and Buyan Lake.

#13 Sakenan Temple

Sakenan Temple is on Pantai Serangan in southeast Bali, only 11 kilometres from Ngurah Rai International Airport. 

The temple was built in the 10th century from local limestone and is dedicated to Hyang Baruna, the god of the ocean.

The temple hosts a piodalan ceremony every 210 days, emphasising the importance of community and social responsibility.

If you are in Bali for this festival, head to the temple for an unforgettable experience; attendance is also said to protect visitors from future bad luck. 

Nearby attractions include the Serangan Blue Lagoon and the Turtle Conservation and Education Centre. 

#14 Jagatnatha Temple

Built-in 1953, Pura Jagatnatha is one of the most significant temples in Bali.

best temples in bali

It is dedicated to the supreme god, Sanghyang Widi Wasa, and consists of several courtyards, shrines, small temples and pagoda-style towers. 

The complex highlights the skills of local artisans, including ornate stone carvings, imposing statues, pictorial frescoes and detailed hand-painted wooden roofs. Look out for the impressive shrine made of white coral.

If you are in Bali for a full moon, this is the temple to visit. Thousands of worshippers gather at the temple every full moon for the sacred Odalan ceremony to offer colourful flower garlands and incense to their gods.

The explosion of colours, scents and sounds create a once in a lifetime experience.   

Jagatnatha Temple is 12 kilometres from the airport and 14 kilometres from Kuta. Nearby attractions include Nusa Dua Beach and Bali Collection Mall. 

Best Temples In Bali: Final Word

Bali is a captivating and diverse island with world-class beaches, great food, quality shopping and fantastic wildlife opportunities. 

However, if you want to experience the real culture of Bali, make sure you leave time in your itinerary to visit one of the temples of Bali.

It will give you valuable insight into the history, culture and deep-rooted religious beliefs of the Balinese people.

If you have time, try to visit both modern and ancient temples, plus contrasting mountain and water temples.

Above all, try to time your temple visit to coincide with a religious festival; if you do, you are guaranteed a memorable and special travel experience.