Temples of Bali !

Its is said there are over 20,000 pura (means Temple in Balinese) in Bali alone. So no visit to Bali is complete without doing a trip to Hindu temples of Bali! I had only two days in Bali, so I could visit only popular temples. My two weeks vacation in Indonesia was coming to an end with these two days in Bali. I had already spent some amazing time in Crystal clear water of Gili Island, Trekked another active volcano (Mount Rinjani) and Lombok so I was looking for some slow paced plan. Since I am not not too religious, my only intention was to shoot sunsets on sea sides temples.

While I was traveling from Gili Island to Bali, I checked for online last minute deals on hotel. Luckily I found a nice deal on Pandok Mirah. While there is nothing fancy to write about this guest house, it is a no non sense option. Budget friendly, right near Kuta market, clean linen, big rooms, clean restroom, aircon, all in 15 K IDR per day. Isn’t it a deal? Bali has no dearth of budget stay options and food is also economical.

I rented a motor bike from Kuta and headed to first temple.

Pura Luhur Uluwatu

Located at a distance of 22km from main Kuita market Uluwantu temple is lies on the southern most point of Bali. Temple itself is created on a cliff facing Indian Ocean.

The Sad Kahyangan Jagad or the “six sanctuaries of the world” are the six holiest places of worship on Bali. Uluwantu Temple is one of these six sanctuaries. No doubt this temple has very high regards among Bali Hindus.

Temple has an entry fees of 20 K IDR pax. Infact all temples in Bali, big or small charge entry fees. Visitors are required to wear a sarong (provided at entrance) before entering the temple.


A perfect sunset scene for photographers


Beautiful hues as sun takes a dip


What an amazing sunset. Another day in a travel photographers life

Uluwantu Temple is also a site of nightly Kecak Dance. This dance is actually a Ramayana scene enacted by half naked men and other characters such as Ram, Sita, and Hanuman etc These half naked men keep chanting chak chak chak. This symphony is said to induce a state of trance in those men. There are no external music played. A pamphlet is provided to every viewer which details the drama plot in English. Being Indian, I knew what was being enacted. Many people seem to be dejected as they were not able to understand what was happening.

Kecak Dance has a entry ticket of 10 K IDR pax.


Half naked men chant “Chak Chak Chak” to induce trance


Actor portraying SIta


Characters from the drama, Ram and SIta


Scene when Hanuman burns up Lanka

Taman Ayun Temple

Taman Ayun literally translated means beautiful garden. This temple is situated in the village of Mengwi, 18 km west of Denpasar. This is a small temple and not much tourist flock in here. I could have given it a pass but since I had to spend the day before reaching Tanah Lot for sunset, i decided to give it a shot. Entrance fee to the Taman Ayun Temple is a modest Rp. 3,000-4,000. I spent 30 minutes here as it was quite hot and humid.

The first courtyard after entrance is open and grassy expanse and the inner courtyard has a many multi-tiered shrines known as Meru. Lotus-blossoms fill the pools.


Amid first courtyard and lush green garden, marvelous piece of Balinese architecture



Towers known as Meru are surrounded by Lotus ponds

After resting for a while under tree shade and giving my head some relief from scorching sun, I headed to the most photogenic temple of Bali!

Pura Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot is probably the most shot temple of Bali. It is highly popular among tourists and commercialized as expected.Tanah Lot means “Land in the Sea” and is said to be built in 166th century. It is located about 20 kms from main Kuta market and took me around one hour by motor bike to reach. I have been using google maps for navigation so finding ways too difficult. For once Google aunty directed me to pass through a university campus and I gathered a lot of stares. Fortunately, I wasn’t lost and decided to stick with the suggested route. I reached around 4PM just in time giving me enough margin to visit the market and shoot sunset. Shared taxis and private cabs are the best way to reach here.

An entry ticket of 30 K IDR pax is charged for this temple. A large market of souvenirs and food stalls leads tourists to beach where temple is built on a huge rock formation. As temple faces Indian Ocean, sea is very rough and you can see huge waves crashing on the shore. Entry to temple is only possible at time of low tide. So you plan to go inside temple, know the time of low tide.


A 3 minute exposure to smoothen Sea waves and Clouds. Getting a sharp image is critical here as sea waves where crashing over my tripod legs.


Another Sunset view of Tanah Lot

Really a photographer paradise. I would have loved to spend a few sunset/sunrise clicking is amazing temple. Perhaps some other time 🙂

I had a evening flight back to Singapore next day so I spent the day exploring Kuta Market and beach.

7 thoughts on “Temples of Bali !

  1. Andapo

    Lovely, picture…especially the last temple the 3 minute exposure one(: … yes temples is more than just dieties I am convinced…it is also the surroundings… the natural elements…also there should be a story about it with some interesting facet like the architecture or historical fact… makes the visit more meaningful (: …nice complete holiday then in Indonesia and Bali…some very interesting different experiences…stars, valcono hike, visiting shy tribal area and more…nice…

    1. Ankur Post author

      I am glad you liked my pictures in this post and for following my journey so far.
      Best thing about temples is that they are our window to the past. They are preserved heritage of this society. and as you put it, every temple has story. These temples also have a mythological story behind them. Bali Hindus worship Gods known to us Indians as well so we find easy to relate.
      Some people have religious sentiments, for me it was photogenic appeal of these temples 🙂

  2. Aasiya

    Hey Ankur, Pretty fascinating blog. I enjoyed reading it. Could you please share your itinerary with me? I’m planning for a three week trip myself.
    Also, do indians need an international driving license to ride in Indonesia?

    Thanks much!

    1. Ankur Post author

      Hello Aasiya,
      I am glad you found my blog helpful. Readers like you inspire me to write more 🙂
      I appreciate you are planning a three weeks trip to Indonesia. Indonesia is a beautiful country and three-week is a minimum if you want to get the jibe.
      May I suggest to start your journey from Bali and end it at Jakarta or vice-versa. A rough plan may look like
      Bali – 2/3 Nights
      Gili Island – 1/2 Nights
      Hike to Mt Rinjani in Lombok – 2 Nights
      Explore Lombok – 2/3 Nights
      Back to Bali – 2 night
      Visit Mt Bromo – 1 Night
      Visit Kawah Ijen – 1 Night
      Catch a local train and go to Borobodur temples, Yogyakarta – 2/3 night
      Explore, eat, shop in Jakarta – 2/3 nights

      Interested in seeing human eating Komodo dragon? check this link for more details

      Indian do need an International driving license to drive/ride in Indonesia. Though no shopkeepers ever asked me to show my IDL. No one really bothers about driving laws in Indonesia but if are stopped by local policemen they might harass you if you do not have IDL. Better to have it in hand before you go.

      1. Aasiya

        Hey Ankur,

        Thanks so much for your prompt response and your suggested itinerary. I’m travelling in August and will be landing in Jakarta from where I will immediately travel to Yogyakarta. My itinerary may be like this- Chennai-Jakarta- Java- Bali- Flores-Lombok-Bali-Chennai. I’m not very thrilled about visiting over packed Bali. May spend 2/3 days in all there including Ubud. However I do not want to miss Kelimutu or Padar in Flores ( don’t mind taking a one way flight). I think I may give Gilli a miss. My main interest is mountains and want to as many treks as possible. I know the itinerary seems a bit packed but travelling solo helps me cover more and I prefer quieter spots where time seems to stop. Please give me your views on this.

        I’ve recently discovered SCUBA and do want to give it a shot, although I have no experience. Any chance newbies can dive there?

        I will definitely get hold of an international driving license now to be on the safer side.

        Appreciate your time and help.

        Keep travelling and blogging more!.


        1. Ankur Post author

          Well, you can reduce your time spent in Bali. But you can not avoid Bali as it will be used for transitioning anyways.

          For going to Flores please book return flights as boat journeys in Indonesia are quite infamous for negligent laws and protocols. I have read various accounts of boat wrecks and issues due to choppy sea.

          Gili is a quaint little island with no vehicles. You can go around the island on foot. And do some snorkeling But it has no trek. It is a quite little place with no husble and busle of Bali.
          As you are interested in treks may I suggest Mt Rinjani in Lombok (requires a decent level of physical fitness) and Mt Semeru trek near Mt Bromo. Both are great treks with incredible views. You will be camping all the way.

          If you are interested in SCUBA you need a divers license before you can do actual diving. It takes 3-5 days of training to get a divers license. Alternatively, you can do a Discover SCUBA session (mini for of SCUBA) or snorkeling in multiple places. I would suggest stick to later. Either get a license and do full scuba dives else ignore them as agents/touts will try to persuade you into unworthy/unsafe dives.


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