Flo and Silv’s Bali Temples Run
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Flo and Silv’s Bali Temples Run: Our must-sees!
After checking out of our cozy homestay in Padang Padang we decided it’s time for some touristy stuff. Yeah! Since we eventually also needed to get from South Kuta to Ubud, we not only rented a car for the day, but also added a driver for the day. If you’re looking to be mobile whilst on Bali and trying not to tear your hair out due to the crazy traffic, I’d hightly recommend a car + driver combo to take the edge off and relax a bit. In our case, this allowed us to reach most of our planned stops and also gave us a way to get to Ubud. Being on this lovely island for the first time, though, we definitely didn’t want to miss out on some of the architectural and cultural hightlights. And thus commenced our Bali temples run.
DIy Bali temples sightseeing: How to go about it
Hiring a driver is gerally a good way to see things around Bali, since public transit is limited, and taxis will cost you a bit more. I prefer this method of getting around also to taking tour shuttles because you will likely hit a lower price point, plus you’ll be more flexible. Going through one of the car rental companies will also get you a better deal than hiring random private drivers off the street for a bloated price (Bali doesn’t have a good public transport system, and thus there are all kinds of official and unofficial ways for getting around). In our case, 350,000 IDR got us the several hours of being driven around, which was an excellent deal. However, our expectations that the driver would be able to give us some background information on where we are (sort of a tour guide lite) was met with a bit of disappointment – he didn’t speak much English and was rather grumpy. But I guess such things are hit or miss; I’ve also read several reviews of people praising the driver-guides for being MOST excellent.
Our Balinese temple highlights
Being a predominantly Hindu community, you will see temples, big and small, pretty much anywhere on Bali. Villages or bustling areas like Kuta or Seminyak. YOu’ll also notice that pretty much every house has at least one small shrine, and the smell of incense and frangipiani flowers of the daily offerings will hit your nose each morning, like clockwork. The bigger temples that we visited are on many travel bucket lists – and for good reason. Each was stunning not only thanks to the architecture, but the gorgeous nature that surrounds it.
This one is about 5 km away from Padang Padang beach, so it’s actually easily accessible by motorbike as well, if you’re staying in that area. (It is most definitely not a walkable route, though.)
We arrived here at 9.30 in the morning, so it was not crowded yet (there are regular organized tours which let you visit the temple and then watch the Kecak Dance in the temple amphitheater).
There are monkeys in the area, so do watch out if you come here during the main visitor hours. They are notorious for stealing stuff and for being a general pain in the butt.
20,000 IDR will get you inside the temple complex, and you will also be given a sarong, in case you are not covered up enough, and a scarf to tie around your waist. To get into the temple itself (and this goes for every temple), you have to wear traditional Balinese outfit – which we obviously didn’t have.
Tanah Lot Temple
Next up was another beautiful temple on the west coast of Bali, north of Seminyak. Here you pay 3,.000 IDR for an entrance fee, but it’s a place that is well worth a visit. Apart from the stunning cliffside/temple on a rock combination, the whole complex includes a market with very reasonable prices, and the food stands are also quite cheap.
Here, as well as at the Uluwatu temple, you will get an amazing view of the Indian ocean. AND, it looks even more impressive during high tide. For me – this one was my favorite of the day.
You can also get blessed with holy water in the cave under the main temple (of course, for a donation), and you can also have an old man in another cave show you the ‘magic snake’ (also for a donation) – whatever that might mean. ?
Ulun Danu Bratan
Our last stop before we got all templed out was the Ulun Danu Bratan Temple, at Lake Bratan, north of Ubud. This was my favorite stop of the day. The temple complex boasts gorgeous architecture and is surrounded by beautifully-kept gardens. The nature around it evelops you like a gorgeous blanket and lests you feast your eyes on the sprawling lake and dramatic fog-clad mountains around it. On top of it all, the Ulun Danu Bratan temple seems to have more of a community feel to it. There are plenty of playgrounds and green areas for families to hang around and kids to play soccer or fly kites.
Similarly to Tanah Lot, the main temple sits on a rock off the lake bank. At the time of our visit the water was low, but during rain season you actually have to use a small bridge to access the front steps.
Since the roads in Bali are nuts – there are barely any traffic lights and there seem to be no traffic rules, other than to drive on the left-ish side – it actually took up almost the whole day for us to drive a total of around 120 km, with three stops. We unfortunately didn’t make it to the Gigit Waterfall, but therefore arrived in Ubud a bit earlier and still had an hour of daylight to familiarize ourselves with the place after checking in to our bungalow.
Are you up for your own Bali temple hopping tour?
Whether you prefer a DIY sightseeing trip or find comfort in organizing a full day’s tour with your hotel, I would definitely recommend investing the time and effort into visiting at least one or two of these flagship temples. You’ll be welcomed by amazing landscapes and architecture and get to know a bit of Balinese life while driving around. There are TONS of amazing accommodation options on Bali, so I would choose a location based on how easy it might be to organize your Bali temple hopping adventure. Look for hubs like Ubud or Kuta to maximize your options and find the best deals to satisfy your thirst for budget travel! If you have any additional questions or comments, share those with us in the comment section below!