RELIGION IN BALI
Compared to Indonesia, where the majority of the population is Muslim, Bali stands out as the only island where 84% of the population is Hindu. The Balinese Hinduism is a unique Hinduism in the world full of peculiar and beautiful rituals and ceremonies.
Religion is important for the Balinese. Therefore it is very present in their daily life. In every house, there is a small altar, which is usually placed in the northeast corner of the house, where they can pay homage to the gods, the spirits, and the ancestors. Also, each locality, however small, has at least 3 temples where one can pray and make offerings.
The temples (pura in Balinese) are the essential element of society as they are sacred places where the locals go to perform their rituals. It is estimated that there are over 10,000 on the island. They are said to protect the island and its inhabitants from evil spirits. They also stand out as one of the most famous tourist attractions on the island. Still, you have to visit them with as much respect and education as possible to try to enjoy responsible tourism.
The most important temple is the Pura Besakih, also called the Mother Temple. It is the most sacred and most significant temple of all the temples of Bali. On the island, there are many temples and seeing them all can take a long time. We have focused on the most prominent. You can read more details of each in the article of the temples of Bali. Anyway, we provide a map at the bottom of this page.
To enter the Hindu temples it is mandatory to wear a sarong to cover the legs (a sarong to cover the impure area of the body). If you don’t have one, you may not be allowed to enter, or you may be rented one when you join (sometimes it is included in the price of the temple entrance). We recommend you to buy one when you arrive in Bali and that you always carry it with you if you plan to enter the temples.
You can buy a sarong in any town or tourist area, and its price may vary depending on the quality and design (from 25,000 to 100,000 rupees). We recommend you to ask in different shops before buying it and even haggle in case there is no price displayed.
The entrance to the temples is quite affordable and, depending on the temple, it is usually between 10,000 IDR (€0.6) and 50,000 IDR (€3) the most known.
*Prices are from May 2020. Please note that they may vary. IDR = Indonesian Rupiah.
To avoid organized groups of tourists and enjoy a visit with peace of mind, we recommend you to go to the most famous temples first thing in the morning. The temples can be reached by renting a motorbike, a car, or a car + driver service. If you choose the latter option, keep in mind that you are the one who decides the itinerary and the places to visit. Still, you have to negotiate the price before leaving.
First of all, we would like to make sure that you follow these tips when visiting the temples:
- Be respectful. The Balinese are very open-minded people and respect all other religions. There is no problem in observing their rituals, but you must respect them while they are being performed.
- Don’t take off your sarong at any time while you’re in a temple. Both men and women must wear them throughout the visit.
- Wear your own sarong. You can save money by buying your own at the beginning of your journey to the Island of the Gods. There are many temples where you are charged to rent the sarong you need to enter.
- Be discreet when taking pictures. It is allowed to take pictures, but remember that you are in a temple, a sacred place for the locals.
- Don’t stress if you don’t have time to see all the temples you would have liked. Remember, you are in Bali, where people are calm and happy.
- Be a responsible tourist in all aspects (cleanliness, silence, respect).
- Be careful not to step on the offerings that the Balinese present to the spirits every day.
- If you are going to visit the most famous temples and you want to enjoy it peacefully, go first thing in the morning. Tourists usually go all day, even in the afternoon.
In Bali, you will find temples for all tastes, highlighting some for their importance in Balinese Hinduism and others for its location. Before you decide which one to visit, it’s good to know a little more about the characteristics of some of them. There are so many, and it’s challenging to discover them all in one trip.
We have created a list of the most important ones so that you can later choose which one to visit according to your preferences, time, and location.
- Besakih Temple: the Mother Temple, the largest in Bali. Admission fee: 60.000 IDR – to be paid before arriving at the parking.
- Ulun Danu Beratan Temple: the temple on Lake Bratan. Admission fee: 50.000 IDR.
- Lempuyang Luhur Temple: the temple of the Gates of Heaven. Ticket Price: FREE, although it is advisable to leave a small donation.
- Tanah Lot Temple: the temple on an islet in the sea. Ticket Price: 60.000 IDR plus 2.000 IDR for the motorbike parking.
- Tirta Empul Temple: the sacred temple, where the locals come to purify themselves. Ticket price: 50.000 IDR. Green Sarung for bathing: 10.000 IDR. Rent for ticket office: 15.000 IDR.
- Luhur Uluwatu Temple: the temple located on a cliff of 70 meters. Ticket Price: Temple: 40.000 IDR.
- Taman Tirta Gangga Temple: the temple of the Water Palace. Ticket Price: 30.000 IDR. Supplement for a bath: 10.000 IDR.
- Goa Gajah Temple: the Elephant Cave Temple. Entry fee: 15.000 IDR.
- Taman Ayun Temple: the temple of the Beautiful Garden. Ticket Price: 20.000 IDR.
- Gunung Kawi Temple: the temple of the kings. Ticket Price: 50.000 IDR.
- Taman Saraswati Temple: the temple dedicated to the goddess of wisdom and art. Ticket Price: FREE.
- Ulun Danu Tamblingan Temple: the temple on the shores of Lake Tamblingan. Ticket Price: FREE.
- Brahma Vihara Arama: the Buddhist temple in Hindu Bali. Ticket Price: FREE, although a donation is recommended.
- Pura Luhur Batukaru Temple: the temple at the foot of the Batukaru volcano. Admission fee: 30.000 IDR if you do not bring your own saron.
- Pura Kehen Temple: the smaller version of the Besakih mother temple.
- Ulun Danu Batur Temple: the temple at the foot of Batur volcano. Ticket Price: 50.000 IDR.
- Goa Lawah Temple: the bat cave temple. Ticket Price: 15.000 IDR.
We invite you to read more details about each in the article of the temples of Bali.
In the following map you can find all the temples mentioned above. You can use the map to organize your routes in Bali.