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Romantic Getaway to Bali: Temples
In this, the second of four articles about our 30th wedding anniversary Romantic Getaway to Bali, we take a look at Bali Temples.
I wasn’t sure what to expect of Bali but I had the idea that it would be all about the beaches. Boy was I surprised! Yes, there are fabulous beaches, particularly on the south coast around the capital of Denpassar. But what I hadn’t expected was the impact that religion would have on the island.
In a survey in 2000, over 90% of the Bali population adhered to Bali Hinduism. As a result, there are Hindu temples and shrines everywhere: spectacular temples on cliffs, in the monkey forest and ‘floating’ on a lake.
The Balinese offer small offering baskets called ‘canang sari' to their Gods three times a day and these can be seen in all temples, shrines, sidewalks outside shops and even on the dashboard of their vehicles.
We had the opportunity to visit many Bali temples during our stay and some of our favourites are shown below. There is usually a small fee to enter the temple grounds and both men and women are expected to dress appropriately. This means covering up bare legs by wearing a sarong and sash. Fortunately, these are usually available to borrow at the entrance of the temple grounds.
Ulun Danu temple
Set in a park in Bedugul, by the edge of Beratan Lake, the Ulun Danu temple appears to be floating on the lake. One of Bali's most famous tourist sites, it is surrounded by spectacular hills and surrounded by beautiful gardens.
The Uluwatu temple is truly spectacular, perched on the top of limestone cliffs on the Bukit peninsula, overlooking the Indian ocean.
For a small fee, you are free to walk around the temple grounds but the central courtyards can only be entered during special rituals.
Like many of the temples in Bali, Uluwatu is home to a large number of monkeys, who can be quite aggressive and which are adept at snatching visitors' bags, cameras and eyeglasses. We were advised to carry a stick to scare them away although we didn't encounter any problems on our visit.
Tanah Lot temple
Situated on a rocky outcrop in the Indian Ocean, cut off from the shore at high tide, Tanah Lot temple is probably the most famous Bali temple. Particularly popular with photographers, the beautiful sunsets at Tanah Lot are spectacular.
This sunset photo was taken after a dramatic one hour taxi drive to the beach in a race against time. When we first got in the taxi, it was cloudy but as we got closer to the beach we could see that the sun would drop below the clouds and give us the perfect photo opportunity. When we arrived, with just minutes to spare, we had to run along the cliff top to find the perfect spot for the photo. This photo truly was breathtaking in every sense of the word!
Taman Ayun temple
Taman Ayun temple is a landmark in the village of Mengwi. The temple ground feature courtyards and garden landscapes with lotus and fish ponds.
Monkey Forest temple
Monkey Forest temple: The forest surrounding this temple is teeming with monkeys. They will eat from your hand but can be aggressive, particularly towards each other. It was fascinating to see them playing in a local drainage channel – who knew that monkeys could swim? I must admit that walking around the temple walls, with monkeys sitting watching over us, reminded me of the classic Hitchcock movie ‘The Birds’ and I was relieved to escape alive.
I hope you found our Romantic Getaway to Bali: Temples interesting and I invite you to take a look at my other articles in this series:
Please feel free to leave comments, particularly if you have visited Bali and want to share your experiences.
You might also be interested in other Romantic Getaway Ideas. And for those of you with a wedding anniversary this year, here are some Wedding Anniversary Ideas that will help you to celebrate in style!
Happy travels, Geoff