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Key Info

Banjar Penaka, Tampaksiring, Kabupaten Gianyar

Details

Natural Wonders, Hiking, Tours, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 4.0Value
  • 2.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Gunung Kawi refers to a set of 10 shrines that are cut from a rock face in Bali's lush Tampaksiring region. The shrines are each about 25 feet tall, and thought to be memorials to Bali's 11th-century royals. According to lore, they were carved from the cliff face in just one night by Kebo Iwa, a legendary Balinese figure. Visiting the site will include some exertion: there are 270-plus steps to climb. 

Some visitors recommend touring the memorial with a guide, who can offer the back story on the shrines. Others suggest bringing along your own water since the hike up can be quite strenuous, and the stalls located at the memorial can be expensive. All agree it is a must-visit when in Bali thanks to the beautiful scenery and serene temple. 

Gunung Kawi is open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and costs 15,000 rupiah (abut $1) for adults and 7,500 rupiah (about $0.50) for children. The price includes a sarong, which visitors will need for touring parts of the memorial considered holy. Parking costs an additional 2,000 rupiah (about $0.14).

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#1 Pura Tirta Empul

While Bali's other temples may be larger or more jaw-dropping, Pura Tirta Empul, which translates to "Holy Water Temple," possesses a unique serenity that cannot be matched. This active prayer site inspires both Balinese Hindus and visitors of different beliefs. While there are several shrines and other structures on the premises, the temple's tranquility is best seen in the large rectangular pool at the complex's center. You'll see worshipers enter the water to pray, so be respectful of the Balinese customs and do not disrupt them. Travelers, too, are welcome to enter the water, known for being a holy mountain spring. Keep in mind, though, that you're expected to enter the water fully clothed (and must wear a sarong as well; they are available to rent for free on-site), so visitors suggest bringing a change of clothes along. 

This ancient temple can be visited from about 7 or 8 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m. daily. Adults should expect to pay around 15,000 rupiahs (roughly $1) to enter, while children are charged about 7,500 rupiahs ($0.50). Travelers often visit Pura Tirta Empul on their way to or from the village of Kintamani or Gunung Kawi, another religious site. The site is most easily reached by car.

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