Travel

Bali: Temple Run

You can not go to Bali and not visit one temple. After all, some of the must-visits in this place are temples and for sunset-suckers, 2 temples are good vantage points for the famous Balinese sunsets.

Temples are a Balinese way of life. There must be thousands of temples in all of Bali as each household has one, each community has one.

So here’s a list of the temples that made it to our Bali Temple Run edition. Note that we did not cover all these in a day but was spread throughout our stay.

  1. Uluwatu Temple

Our first temple for the trip. Made it to our itinerary for two reasons: its famous sunset and the Kecak Dance.

There is a minimal entrance fee collected which comes with free rental of sarong (if needed). I am not sure whether we are lucky or not to have not been disturbed by the aggressive Uluwatu monkeys who snatch your belonging. It would have been an experience of its own.

We arrived in the temple to have enough time to go around before the Kecak Dance* starts. We enjoyed the amazing view of the cliff and the sea. Just before sunset, the Kecak Dance started in the open amphitheater. The show was very entertaining and was very unique. What distracted me from the show was the majestic sunset and trying to take good shots from my camera.

*There is a separate ticket for the Kecak Dance

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Kecak Dance by the Temple
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Amazing view at Uluwatu
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The glorious Uluwatu sunset makes a perfect backdrop for the Kecak Dance

2. Taman Ayun Temple

It was perfect to have been here early in the morning. The first in our itinerary for the day. No crowd to spoil the calm and peaceful nature of the temple, which added to its charm.

The temple complex is surrounded by a moat and a green courtyard that gives it an inviting feel. The inner courtyard contains pagodas and we even saw a priest giving his offering and probably saying his morning prayer.

*Minimal entrance fee is collected.

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Jump shot!
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Calm and relaxing atmosphere of the temple in the early morning
  1. Temple Ulun Danu Bratan

This has got to be my most favorite temple of them all. A garden/park greets you as you enter the grounds. When we were there, a small Balinese community was there to make offerings in the temple.

The temple has a portion of it extending through Lake Bratan. The mountain in the backdrop and the cloudy skies give it a mysterious yet calm atmosphere. The weather was cool that time, with the whole setting reminding me of Baguio City, Philippines (minus the lake).

*Minimal entrance fee is collected.

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The portion of the temple extending through Lake Bratan
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The “floating” Temple
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Balinese assembling for their offering/ritual

4. Tanah Lot Temple

One of the most popular icons in Bali, our visit to Tanah Lot, though with its touristy side, did not disappoint.

Tanah Lot stands on top of an offshore rock. During high tide, the rock is inaccessible to visitors and can only be viewed from afar. However, we went at the right time on a low tide. We were able to partake in the holy water blessing in the cave beneath the rock. Grains of rice will be placed in your forehead and frangipani behind your ear. (Donations are requested)

We waited for a while for another glorious Balinese sunset. There are food stalls close for refreshment. There is a viewing deck for a good vantage point of Tanah Lot with the sunset as the backdrop.

There is also Kecak Dance being held here.

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Tanah Lot sunset
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Falling in line for the holy water blessing beneath Tanah Lot rock

There is another temple in Tanah Lot complex that greets you first as you arrive – Batu Bolong Temple. It is also located on top of a rock which is connected to the mainland with an arched walkway. The location offers a majestic view of the sea and is also a good backdrop for the sunset.

*Minimal entrance/parking fee collected

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Batu Bolong Temple
  1. Goa Gajah

I missed to visit this temple, only my brother went inside. Here are few of the photos he took.

*Minimal entrance fee collected

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6. Tirta Empul Temple

I was excited when our van dropped us off at the entrance of this temple. Locals dressed in traditional Balinese dress, some with offerings, were making their way to the temple. I admire the Balinese for being not losing this tradition and for the unity that comes with observing the tradition.We enjoyed the local and traditional “scene” during our visit. We were the only foreigners around.

Tirta Empul is believed to be a place of purification and locals come to bathe in the springs for cleansing of the Spirit and collect holy water for use in local ceremonies.

*Minimal entrance fee collected which includes free rental of sarong

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Locals bathing in Tirta Empul’s spring
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Balinese community coming for their offering/ritual

A visit to these temples afforded us a glimpse of Balinese ordinary day-to-day life. It is amazing how they are able to carry on with their traditions and religious beliefs. We see a sense of solidarity and unity in their way of life, how each one fits in their community.

For us tourists, these temples may just be a usual stop in our itinerary. For the locals, these are a way of life.

Tips when Visiting Temples

1. Females are not allowed entry during their menstruation period

2. Wear appropriate clothing. It is wise to bring your own sarong for cover, just in case.

3. Respect the religious and cultural atmosphere of the place

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