There are actually more than 6000 temples on the Bali island, central to the cultures and traditions of the Balinese people.
And apart from the usual temple up on the cliffs, or those you may chance upon along the streets, did you known that there are seven notable sea temples in Bali?
They are founded in the 16th Century by a Majapahit monk named Nirartha to honour the Hindu sea gods.
Legend has it that each sea temple is visible from the next, forming a chain stretching around Bali’s coast that must be seen to be believed.
1. Bali’s First Sea Temple: Pura Gede Perancak
A stunning temple that greets visitors with white stone entranceways, the Gede Perancak Temple is known as the place where the monk Nirartha first set foot in Bali so many years ago.
Overlooking the river Perancak, the temple is located close to a village of the same name, Gede Perancak, which was once an abandoned ruin.
Photograph by Budi Astawa at Kirara Photography
Now after rebuilding, it’s standing proudly in all its former glory, and more.
Getting There: The temple is located in Jembrana Regency, 10 km west of Tegalcangkring Village. There is no entrance fee for praying, but if you are not dressed in a sarong you can rent one for around Rp. 20,000 each.
Where to stay: Find hotels near Jembrana on Booking.com
2. The Magic Lock of Hair: Pura Rambut Siwi
The Rambut Siwi Temple comes with an unusual history.
When the monk Nirartha visited the spot in the 16th Century and proclaimed it holy, he left something behind – a lock of hair, which was donated to the villagers.
The villagers then built a temple around it and named it Pura Rambut Siwi, which literally means ‘The Temple For Worshipping The Hair’.
Despite its strange past, the Rambut Siwi Temple – one of the largest Hindu temples in Bali – remains a wondrous sight, settled on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean.
Getting There: The Temple is located about 8km from Perancak Temple, or around 87km from Denpasar. Its entrance costs incurred Rp. 20,000 with guides available for extra.
Where to stay: Find hotels near Jembrana on Booking.com
3. Bali’s Favourite Sea Temple: Pura Tanah Lot
Tanah Lot (which in Balinese means Land in the Sea) is certainly one of the more well-known seaside temples in Bali.
Featuring heavily on postcards as well as in Balinese mythology, Tanah Lot Temple is famous for its magnificent sunsets, photographic potential, as well as for that large population of poisonous sea snakes, believed to guard the area from evil spirits.
Getting There: Tanah Lot is about 45 minutes by car north west of the main southern tourist areas of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. Parking is available on site for a small fee (Rp.5,000 for a car), and both tourists and locals must pay an entrance fee. For tourist it is Adults Rp. 30,000 Child Rp. 15,000.
Where to stay: Find hotels near Tabanan on Agoda
4. To-Die-For Clifftop Views: Pura Luhur Uluwatu
The Luhur Uluwatu Temple, often known simply as Uluwatu Temple, is another Balinese coastal temple famous among both visitors and locals.
Perched on the edge of a high ocean cliff, this temple offers visitors an unforgettable stunning view of the horizon that you won’t want to miss.
Photo via Suphakaln Wongcompune
And do stay for the popular evening Kecak Fire Dance (a Balinese dance and music drama), set against a backdrop of Uluwatu’s breathtaking cliff edge views.
Hanuman being burned in Lanka, a Ramayana episode in Kecak dance performance
Not only is the temple known for its many photography points, gorgeous sunset vistas, but you may also have heard of the occasionally pushy group of monkeys that call the temple home.
Remember to watch out for your belongings – these mischievous little creatures would love to pick your pockets!
A meditating women had her slippers stolen by a monkey
Getting There: Uluwatu is located in Pecatu Village, which is around 25km south of Kuta. It usually takes around one hour to get there, and parking is available on site for a small fee (usually Rp.5,000 for a car). Visitors must wear a sarong and sash, they can be hired for an additional fee on top of the Rp. 20,000 entrance fee.
Where to stay: Find hotels near Uluwatu on Agoda
5. Bali’s Hidden Gem: Pura Mas Suka
Probably one of the least known of Bali’s seaside temples, even the most dedicated visitor will find little information on Mas Suka Temple.
But did you know, the temple is actually a spectacular sight?
Isolated on the edge of a high cliff overlooking the beautiful Indian Ocean, Mas Suka Temple appears as though it suddenly stops at the edge of the abyss, with amazing ocean vistas on show for its few foreign visitors.
Getting There: The temple is located at the southern tip of Bukit Peninsula, near Green Bowl Beach. Although signs are not clear, locals can help with directions. There is no specific parking area, and small fees may be charged for sarong and sash rental.
Where to stay: Find hotels near Ungasan on Booking.com
6. The Unknown Treasure: Pura Sakenan
Located on the small Serangan Island, Sakenan Temple is popular with locals, but rarely visited by outsiders despite its stunning surroundings.
Nestled on the coastline, with the serene ocean at its back, the temple is also an epitome of gorgeous traditional architecture.
The best time to visit Sakenan Temple?
During the Balinese festival of Kuningan, which actually coincides with the anniversary of the temple!
Getting There: The temple is located on Serangan Island, which is accessible from Sanur and Kuta via the Bypass road. There is no specific parking area, and small fees may be charged for sarong and sash rental.
Where to stay: Find hotels near Sanur on Agoda
7. The Unknown Monkey Temple: Pura Pulaki
Pulaki Temple, located near Pemutaran, is a beautiful temple with a strange and amazing myth.
When the monk Nirartha visited the temple in the 16th century, legend goes that he was guided by monkeys through the thick forest.
So as he went on to establish the Pulaki Temple, it’s no surprise that he gave the monkeys guardian status.
Visitors can still see the large group of monkeys today as they explore the magnificent temple, which sits just 25 metres away from the sea.
But keep a watch out though. These agile and naughty monkeys love anything shiny and will try to steal them.