Must-see temples in Bali

As a leading traveller destination, renowned for its sublime beaches, lush jungle rainforests and refreshing tranquil waterfalls, the temples in Bali have equally topped the list of must-see attractions in this popular Indonesian city.

Although you may be visiting the island for the tropical weather, rice terraced landscapes and beachy vibes, you’ll soon start to find that a visit to the Indonesian temples (also known as ‘Pura‘ in Bali) add to a richer more cultural and spiritual experience on your island getaway.

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The must-see temples in Bali are such an important part of Balinese life and culture that a visit to them is a great way of gaining some insight into how the locals live.

Pura Luhur Lempuyang Temple in Bali

There are over 20 000 Pura in Bali plus, some of the very best temples in Bali are just stunning. Suffice to say, no visit to Bali is complete without at least seeing one of the temples on the island.

Thankfully, there are majestic temples speckled all throughout the island.

Looking for other things to do in Bali?
Check out my article on the Ultimate Bali Bucket List

Besides revelling in architectural beauty, most of the Hindu temples in Bali are located on unusual sites. This makes for incredible photographic opportunities, as there are natural scenic backdrops on the water’s edge, on the edge of a cliff or even surround by thousands of monkeys or a volcano!

Must see temples in Bali Indonesia

Of course, you don’t have to make an effort to see all of them, but you do have to see at least a few of the must-see temples in Bali listed below!

TRAVELIST TIP: Visiting every single temple might be a shade unrealistic. Temple fatigue is all too real (Bali does have A LOT of amazing temples). For instance, if you see far too many in one go, they might just start blurring into one. Try to pace them out over a week or a few days.

Check out this custom map of all the Bali temples listed in this article

Uluwatu Temple

Uluwatu is one of the most famous temples in Bali. It is located on the edge of a 280 ft (70 m) cliff and makes for the perfect location to watch the sun setting over the horizon in the evenings.

pura luhur uluwatu temple bali cliff temple
Uluwatu temple is actually best viewed from afar to see the jaw-dropping landscape of the cliff and surroundings

Uluwatu Bali is one of the nine Balinese temples that defend the island from bad spirits. Constructed approximately 1000 years ago in a traditional Balinese style, Uluwatu is a place of worship to Siva Rudra, the Balinese God of all elements of life and universe.

This Bali Hindu temple attracts hundreds of visitors every single day, some just visiting to admire the beauty of the temple, some are pilgrims and others merely for the jaw-dropping sunset cliff edge landscape.

The Uluwatu temple Bali surrounds are inhabited by a number of monkeys, these mischievously-cute critters are said to be protectors of the temple, but are also equally villainous thieves.

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ULUWATU TEMPLE
Location:
Pura Luhur Uluwatu temple is located in Pecatu Village, Kuta South which is East of the Bukit Badung Peninsula, the Southern Peninsula of Bali.
Entrance fee: IDR 40 000 (Indonesian Rupiah) is the fee to visit one of the most famous Bali temples.
Opening Times: Daily for visitors from 9 am to 6 pm, for pilgrims: 24 hours.
Best time to visit: The best time to come here for the best views and great photos is on a clear day at sunset time. If you visit the temple in the afternoon, take special care with the monkeys that live nearby, since they become very active and often steal things away from tourists.

pura luhur uluwatu temple bali cliff temple a must see temple in bali
pura luhur uluwatu temple bali cliff temple a must see temple in bali

ALSO ENJOY: Uluwatu Bali Indonesia temple is one of the best places to attend a traditional Kecak Fire dance, Be sure to book in advance and watch this performance against this stunning backdrop.

Check out these incredible Bali temple tour options on Viator

TRAVELIST TIP: Monkeys are often attracted by shiny objects like sunglasses, cameras, and watches; tourists are strongly recommended to watch and hold on dearly to their belongings.

pura luhur uluwatu temple bali cliff temple a must see temple in bali

No visit to Bali would be complete without a trip to see at least one of the temples in Bali. Honestly, there are so many incredible Balinese temples that this needs to be top of your places to visit in Bali.

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READ: 20+ Places to find the Best Bali Floating Breakfast

Tanah Lot Temple

Tanah lot water temple in Bali
The floating sea temple Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot is probably the most well known and popular of the must-see temples in Bali given its easily accessible location and awe-inspiring oceanic landscape backdrop.

This water temple in Bali is perched atop a coral rock and is only accessible to close up view during low tide. Once the tide comes in the surrounding rock is covered by the ocean and gives the impression of the sea temple floating on the ocean.

Check out my full guide on Tanah Lot
READ: Sunset at Tanah Lot + 4 ways to avoid the crowds

Check out these Tanah Lot tour Bali options

TANAH LOT TEMPLE
Location:
Tanah Lot is located in Beraban, Kecamatan Kediri, Kabupaten Tabanan, Bali
Entrance fees: IDR 60,000 for adult foreign visitors and IDR 20,000 for adult domestic tourists
Opening times: Tanah Lota temple opening hours are 7 am to 7 pm
Best time to visit: Tanah Lot Temple Bali Indonesia is best visited in the afternoon before sunset. You’ll be able to see the evening sky adorned with pink and purple hues with the dark silhouette of the Tanah Lot temple. This sunset scenery in Bali Tanah Lot is truly unique and makes is honestly one of the most famous Hindu temples in Indonesia. This temple’s photos truly make for an amazing shot during the golden hour!

Pura Tanah Lot sunset photography with pink and orange sunset lighting
The stunning silhouetted outline of Tanah Lot temple at sunset

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The upper part of the temple cannot be visited. You can get the best views from a distance and at sunset of the water temple. Bali Ubud Pura like this one is not to be missed!

Get blessed: When the tide is low, you’ll see a cave where the holy priests bless you by placing some grains of rice on your forehead in exchange for a donation.

panoramic of tanah lot temple landscape at sunset with Pura Bolong and pier
Panoramic view of Pura Batu Bolong next to Tanah Lot (often mistaken for Tanah Lot)

ALSO ENJOY
Batu Bolong: Equally beautiful to the other temples in Bali is Batu Bolong, located on a stone bridge, it is often confused by travellers thinking this is the temple that they came to see for sunset.
Kecak Fire Dance: You can also enjoy the daily evening Kecak dance at this water temple, similar to that of the Uluwatu temple
Shopping: this temple complex has restaurants, curio and souvenir vendors, cloths and food galore. Make sure you arrive early enough to enjoy all before sunset!

Check out these great Temple tours of Bali from Get Your Guide

TRAVELIST TIP: Due to its sunset popularity, this is not really a place for peace and tranquility. Most temple visitors are there for the view, if you’re looking to avoid the crowds, visit first thing in the morning or the afternoon. This is truly a one of the top temples in Bali.

Besakih Temple

Besakih temple mother temple bali Indonesia must see temple in bali
Pura Besakih Temple is considered to the the largest temple in Bali (also known as the Mother Temple)

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Perched on the slopes of Bali’s largest volcano, Mount Agung, lies a collection of temples that make up Indonesia’s most prominent temple complex.

Considered to be the holiest of all temples in Bali, Besakih ‘Mother Temple’ is located some 3000 ft (914m) up Gunung Agung in East Bali.

Just like the mountains that defend it, the Besakih temple Bali boasts sensational magnitude that will overwhelm you at first glimpse. It is on 6 levels and comprises 23 temples, with their core being Pura Penataran Agung.

Visitors who visit the temple of Besakih usually only visit the Penataran Agung temple (the Great Temple of the State). Penataran Agung temple is the principal and most significant temple in the area of the Besakih temple complex and intended to worship the gods Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu.

INTERESTING FACT: In 1963, a number of Mount Agung volcanic eruptions took place that killed more than 1600 people. Even with this incredible lava flow so close to the temple, the entire structure remained intact. The event was considered a miracle, therefore the locals strongly believe that the Gods wanted to make a demonstration of their power without destroying the sacred monument.

Besakih temple mother temple bali Indonesia must see temple in bali
Aerial view drone photography Besakih temple mother temple bali Indonesia must see temple in bali
Aerial view of Besakih temple in Bali, Indonesia.

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BEKASIH TEMPLE
Location:
Besakih Temple (Pura Besakih) is in the village of Besakih, Rendang Sub-district, Karangasem District, Bali.
Entrance Fee: The entrance fee to the Pura Besakih temple is IDR 60 000
Opening times: Daily from 8 am to 6 pm for tourist and 24 hours for worshippers.
Best time to visit: The best times to visit the temple complex is in the early morning or later in the evening as the complex tends to be less busy during these times.

ALSO ENJOY: Mother Temple Bali’s position grazing the clouds means that it offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountainous landscapes, streams and picture-perfect rice terraces. Take your time here and take in as much as you can at different levels. This Hindu temple in Indonesia is a must-visit!

Check out this recommended tour of temples and waterfalls Tukad Cepung Waterfall – Tirta Gangga – Lempuyang Private Guided Tour with Free WiFi

Looking for other things to do in Bali?
READ: Check out my article on the Ultimate Bali Bucket List

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple

Pura Ulun danu beratan lake temple in Bali
Pura Ulun Danu Temple on Lake Beratan

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With red floral lined gardens, lush grassy shores and a mountainous landscape with skies sprinkled with clouds aplenty, this picturesque water temple makes for a postcard-perfect destination.

Located up in the mountains, approximately 1200m above sea level, this temple complex is truly a natural haven for serene and tranquil vibes. Nestled under the shadow of Mount Batur, this is a surprisingly cool location in comparison to the sweltering humidity of most of the other temples.

Pura Ulun danu beratan lake temple in Bali
Pura Ulun danu beratan lake temple in Bali

Ulun Danu Bratan temple Bali is partly located on the mainland, while a significant section appears to float on Lake Bratan Bali. It’s set on an island just off the mainland temple complex. An 11 tired roof Meru (pagoda) sits on the island section, This is a towering beauty surrounded by a placid lake.

The name of this temple is derived from Dewi Baturi Ulun Danu meaning goddess of lakes and rivers and really is a heavenly spot to visit.

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ULUN DANU TEMPLE
Location
: This Bali temple on the water is located in Danau Beratan, Candikuning, Baturiti, Tabanan Regency, Bali
Entrance fees: This Mengwi Temple Bali entrance fees to visit one of the best Bali temples is IDR 50 000
Opening Times: 7 am to 7 pm for this Bendugul temple Bali hosts.
Best time to visit: Try to visit Pura Ulun Danu Bratan Bali in the early hours of the morning to enjoy its real beauty and stillness of the environment. Also, the late afternoon would also work to avoid the crowds of midday.

Because it is in the highlands, the region of Ulun Danu Beratan Temple Bali very often shrouded in mist and fresh air. This stunning lake temple Bali hosts is truly postcard perfect.

Pura Ulun danu beratan lake temple in Bali

ALSO ENJOY: Besides seeing the beautiful scenery of Ulun Danu Beratan temple, tourists can also try some lake water activities like renting a boat to get around Beratan lake.

Some temples can be seen in a single trip (Try a day trip to Tanah lot temple, Ulun Danu Beratan temple, Taman Sari and Taman Ayun or visit Tirta Empul and Pura Gunung Kawi Bali)

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Batuan Temple

batuan temple in bali pura puseh batuan temple in ubud
Batuan Temple is also known as Pura Puseh Batuan Temple in Ubud

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Pura Desa Batuan Temple Bali is one of the most popular and beautiful village temples which forms part of three major temples called Tri Kahyangan. It’s designed with the signature Balinese architecture with split gates, stone guardians, thatched shrines and detailed carvings.

The Batuan Temple, referred to locally as Pura Puseh Batuan is a central landmark in the namesake village of Batuan, well-known for its traditional Balinese arts and paintings. This is one of three village temples dedicated to the gods of the Hindu trinity.

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BATUAN TEMPLE
Location:
 Jalan Raya Batuan, Batuan, Kec. Sukawati, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali.
Entrance Fee: There are no specific entrance fees, but a donation is highly recommended
Opening times: 9 am to 6 pm
Best time to visit: Anytime during opening hours, as this temple is not ever overcrowded.

batuan temple in bali pura puseh batuan temple in ubud

ALSO ENJOY: The sculptures, the ambience is enough for you to walk through a time which is three hundred years back. Everything is built using red bricks, lava stones and wood and the roofing is done with bamboo leaves.

Lempuyang Luhur Temple

Pura Lempuyang Temple in Bali is must see temple in bali
Pura Lempuyang temple is the infamous Instagram worthy temple which hosts the photo with the ‘Gates of Heaven’ and mirror-image ‘lake’

Lempuyang Luhur is one of the most photographed temples in Bali. This social media craze started with the first ‘Gates of Heaven’ shot with Mount Agung in the background.

Pura Lempuyang Bali, dedicated to the God of Peace, is 3200ft (975m) above sea level and presents an interesting challenge to those visiting.

TRAVELIST INSIGHT: SPOILER ALERT!!! The infamous photo in which you can see Mount Agung in the background and the Gates of Heaven reflected in a ‘pond’ IS NOT REALit’s actually just a dirty puddle of water but the ‘pond’ is created by a mirror held by a Balinese local who will charge take the photo for you.

Instagram shot of Gates of Heaven Bali Pura Lempuyang Temple
Creative Instaworthy shots at Lempuyang Temple
Instagram shots of Gates of Heaven Bali Pura Lempuyang Temple with mirror glass image
Stunning ‘created’ shots using piece of mirror and filters to get the perfect Gates of Heaven Instagram moment

Reaching the top means conquering approximately 1700 steps that are carved into the mountainside jungle. This takes about an hour and a half of serious climbing! This stairway to heaven Bali shot makes for incredible work that is totally worth the reward.

Pura Luhur Lempuyangan bali showing staircase and stairs
Conquer these stairs at Pura Luhur Lempuyangan first, to get to that coveted photo spot!

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LEMPUYANG LUHUR TEMPLE
Location
: Bunutan, Abang, Seraya Bar., Kec. Karangasem, Kabupaten Karangasem, Bali.
Entrance Fees: IDR 10 000 will get you in to visit Pura Lempuyang temple Bali.
Opening Times: Bali Lempuyang temple is opened from 7 am to 6 pm
Best time to visit: Well depending on what photo you’re looking for, however as we know the photo is somewhat faked, so major editing is already on the cards for this shot. Anytime during opening hours is recommended especially since you’ll need some time for the walk up as well as to wait in line.

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With the fast-growing tourism in Bali and the rising popularity of the Balinese temples, there are now significant lines to take the infamous photo that has made this Bali Lempuyang temple one of the best temples in Bali.

image depicting what you will really see at Pura Lempuyang Pura Luhur Lempunyangan Gates of Heaven instagram spot
The reality of what you will see at Pura Luhur Lempuyang Temple – the coveted Instagram destination

ALSO ENJOY: Apart from just taking the incredible albeit ‘doctored’ photo, also take some time to explore the temple in all its glory, meditate, pray or watch a ceremonial priest-led chant.

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TOP TIP: Wear comfortable shoes to visit Lempuyang Temple Bali for the 1 and half hour hike! Mostly paved by will require time!

Tirta Empul

Tirta empul temple in Bali holy spring temple
Tirta Empul temple – the holy spring temple

The sacred spring that feeds Pura Tirta Empul Bali provides holy water for priests and a dip here is also believed to bring good fortune and health. It’s also known as Tampaksiring temple

The Balinese visit to purify themselves in the waters of a spring that comes out from twelve pipes.  This water is considered to have healing properties. I suggest seeing the religious rituals performed in this temple.

Having a bath is allowed in only 10 out of the 12 pipes, as the other two are reserved for the deceased and their families.

People being blessed and taking a bath in the holy spring at Tirta Empul temple in bali
Pspout of water in the holy spring at Tirta Empul temple in bali

Indonesia Bali temples like this are not to be missed and definitely should make your Bali Bucket list.

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TIRTA EMPUL TEMPLE
Location:
 Jalan Tampaksiring, Manukaya, Tampaksiring, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali.
Entrance fee: The entry fees for the holy spring temple Bali is IDR 15 000 
Opening Hours: The opening times for Holy water temple Ubud are 7 am to 5 pm
Best time to visit: Early morning or late afternoon is best to avoid the crowds.

Bali Tirta Empul is one you absolutely have to make the effort to visit.

ENJOY: Visitors to Tirta Empul temple Bali can cleanse their bodies and spirits by bathing in the natural spring flowing through the temple.

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People taking a bath and blessing from the holy spring at Tirta Empul temple in bali

TRAVELIST TIP: An offering must first be made before you can climb into the long main pool to bathe and meditate at this holy water temple. It’s also highly recommended to be in modest swimwear and wear your covering/sarong into the water. 

Pura Taman Saraswati Temple

Pura Taman Saraswati Temple in Bali must see temple in bali for Hindu goddess Saraswati
Pura Taman Saraswati Temple for Hindu goddess Saraswati

Taman Saraswati is the temple of Bali that honours Saraswati, goddess of knowledge, literature, and art. It is located on the main street of the cultural capital of Bali, Ubud, so visiting this water temple Ubud is, without a doubt, the best thing to do in the area.

The breathtaking Saraswati Temple Ubud is located in the heart of the area and stands out mostly because of its lotus pond and water gardens.

Although the temple is on a busy street, the atmosphere inside of the compound is enigmatically calm. It is an extremely small but beautiful Saraswati temple Bali will not take you more than 10 minutes to visit.

The highlight is its entrance, flanked by the two ponds filled with lotus flowers and water lilies. Truly one of the most tranquil and best temples in Ubud.

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Pura Taman Saraswati Temple in Bali must see temple in bali for Hindu goddess Saraswati

TAMAN SARASWATI WATER TEMPLE
Location:
 Jalan Kajeng, Ubud, Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali
Entrance Fees: Free entry is noted for this Ubud water temple
Opening hours: 7 am to 5 pm
Best time to visit: The best time to visit Pura Taman Saraswati Ubud is early in the morning or visit during the evening when the temple is lit up.

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ALSO ENJOY: You can also watch the Kecak fire dance performance which happens twice a week

Goa Gajah

Pura Goa Gajah Temple in Bali with elephant rock carving at entrance of temple
Intricate carvings at the entrance of the Goa Gajah Temple

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Goa Gajah temple Bali is known as the Elephant Cave or Elephant Temple Bali, and it is one of the most interesting temples to visit in Bali. The interesting part of this temple is in the name itself as it lacks any elephants. Its name is derived from the proximity of the Elephant River which too is free of any elephants.

The Elephant cave Bali is carved from a rock wall face resembles the huge mouth of an intimidating demon. Inside the temple, you’ll find a statue of the Hindu god, Ganesha. This is the true attraction.

Legend says that Goa Gajah Bali sanctuary was created by the nails of a giant, whose name was Kebo Iwa.

Elephant temple Ubud is supposed to date back to the 11th century. This is one of the most unique and interesting temples in Indonesia.

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GOA GAJAH
Location:
It is located in Bedulu, Blahbatuh, Gianyar, Bali, a 20 minutes drive from Ubud and one of the unique temples of Bali.
Entrance fees: IDR 15 000
Opening hours: The temple is opened 24 hours.
Best time to visit: Anytime

Taman Ayun Temple

Taman Ayun Temple in Ubud Bali
Taman Ayun Temple in Ubud Bali

Taman Ayun temple Bali gets its name from the fact that it is a beautiful garden. It also has a moat surrounding the temple and the lush vegetation of the area.

Unfortunately, access to the sacred religious area is forbidden for tourists, so when visiting, you will have to walk around it. Despite the short wall around the area, it still allows very detailed views of the numerous merus that are inside.

Taman Ayun Temple in Ubud Bali
Taman Ayun Temple in Ubud Bali

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TAMAN AYUN TEMPLE
Location:
Jalan Ayodya No.10, Mengwi, Kec. Mengwi, Kabupaten Badung, Bali
Entrance Fee: The entry fee for Pura Taman Ayun Bali is IDR 20 000
Opening Hours: The opening hours for this Mengwi temple is 8 am to 6:15 pm
Best time to visit: Anytime during opening hours

Gunung Kawi

Pura Gunung Kawi Temple holy spring temple in Bali
Pura Gunung Kawi Temple holy spring temple in Bali

Gunung Kawi is an ancient temple complex and is a unique archaeological site in Bali. The uniqueness is in the reliefs of the temples carved on the rock cliff.

Known for its “Candi”, which are shrines carved into the rock that serve as spiritual representations of the tombs of the royal family (the bodies are buried in a nearby cave).

To be able to reach the location of Gunung Kawi temple from the parking lot, visitors must walk by the footpath and approximately 371 stairs.

As you walk along the route and stairs, you can enjoy the scenery of rice fields and valleys with green trees.

Set in a ravine between rice paddies, this Indonesian gem’s main features are the stone carvings and the river running close to the temple lends to its sacred location in the Valley of Kings. These carvings honour the Kings and Queens of the 11th century.

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GUNUNG KAWI TEMPLE
Location:
Sebatu, Tegallalang, Gianyar, Bali.
Entrance fee: IDR 50 000
Opening hours: The opening hours for this Sebatu temple is 8 am to 6 pm
Best time to visit: Anytime, this is a much less crowded option for those looking for a holy bath

Pura Gunung Kawi Temple holy spring temple in Bali

ALSO ENJOY: This is also considered to be a holy spring, therefore if you are looking for the holy water properties, take a dip in the holy spring water here

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TRAVELIST TIP: Come dressed appropriately, with footwear for the 371 steps as well as appropriate attire for the dip in the holy bath.

Tirta Gangga

Tirta gangga water palace Woman feeding colorful fish in pond at Tirta Gangga Water Palace in Bali, Indonesia.
One of the most Instagramworthy moments at Tirta Gangga Temple

Tirta Gangga is one of the most popular temples in Bali Indonesia and again has become so due to some incredible photos making the rounds on social media.

This temple’s name means ‘sacred water of the Ganges’ and it’s known for its exquisite gardens brimming with exotic plants, rock sculptures, stunning ponds and fountains.

The most impressive area is a koi pond! This is the most coveted Instagram shot too! Here you’ll find small platforms over the water which allow you to step through to the majestic fountain of eleven falls.

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TIRTA GANGGA
Location:
Jalan Raya Abang Desa Adat, Ababi, Abang, Kabupaten Karangasem, Bali.
Entrance fee: IDR 50 000
Opening hours: 8am to 7pm
Best time to visit: Early morning or late afternoon

Tirta gangga water palace Woman feeding colorful fish in pond at Tirta Gangga Water Palace in Bali, Indonesia.

Although today Tirta Gangga is not a temple but a royal palace it still makes the list of must-see temples in Bali.

ALSO ENJOY: The scenery, the stunning landscaped garden, the delightful koi pond and platform. It’s truly an Instagrammer’s dream! They also have a stunning restaurant called Tirta Ayu.

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TOP TIP: You can also purchase some fish food to feed the koi in the pond, This could make for some very Instaworthy pics!

Goa Lawah

Goa Lawah temple bat cave temple
Bats of Goa Lawah Temple

The temple of Pura Goa Lawah also known as Batcave temple Bali in East Bali is centered around a cave inhabited by thousands of bats.

In front of the Goa Lawah temple Bali, which is across the main road, there is a black sand beach. From the beach shoreline, you can see the island of Nusa Penida.

One mystery that’s yet to be solved is whether the legend that tells of the secret cave passage through to Besakih Temple, some 25 km northeast at the foot of Mount Agung, is true.