Firstly, there are two must do's in Bali:
Learn how to negotiate:
In order to get a cab you HAVE to negotiate. The maximum you should pay for a private driver that takes you around to explore for 8 hours is 450,000 (around $30). If the driver is nice, you can give him a tip.
Buy a sarong:
It’s a must have to enter in the Hindu temples. You can rent one at the entrance, but if you are considering seeing many temples you should buy your own. You can find them for a really cheap price. They're also beautiful and they'll be a great souvenir to bring back home.
Bali is not about the beaches. Bali is about the temples.
You should see as many as you can. While the beaches are incredible, the island’s spiritual inspiration is the true reason why you should visit.
The Mother Temple
It’s majestic. It’s located on top of a hill. You have to get a ticket and a guide is mandatory to enter all areas. The reason for the elevated location is to ensure protection from natural forces. The temple is open for prayers and families often organize private ceremonies to worship their ancestors. The temple is built on seven levels and has many shrines dedicated to a specific Hindu Lord. You will see doors without tops (good and evil divided) and doors with tops (good and evil co-existing in human nature). Good is on the right and evil is on the left. Locals acknowledge both good and evil and have rituals for both. They pray to the God and the Lords and ask devils to stay away.
During the visit, our guide told us a sentence that I think embodies the spirit of Bali and I would like to share it with you: “Religion is a way to be harmonious with each other.” In a world of wars based on different values and beliefs, this is an important teaching.
Pura Tirta Empul
This is a temple dedicated to purification. You can take a bath in the sacred water (sarong is mandatory to immerse yourself). Locals pray for their families and ancestors, and they leave offerings.
Note: if you have a driver that takes you around he won’t be happy to have you wet in the car so don’t get into the water (you can dip your feet if you like).
Gunung Kawi is immersed in the jungle and rice patties. For some reason, it’s less famous than other temples on the island. We were amazed looking around. The shrines emerge out of the greenery, there are small waterfalls, water streams and ancient caves.
You can visit the three mentioned temples in a day hiring a driver for 8 hours, starting from Kuta/Sanur.
Pura Ulun Darun Beletan
This is a famous pagoda on the water that you can also spot on the RP 50,000 banknote. Its unique location gives it its special appeal. It’s probably the most photographed temple in Bali.
Pura Taman Ayun
This is the royal family temple. You can take a tour around the temple, but you can’t get into the complex itself. It’s a square shaped structure placed in the middle of gardens and there are shrines and a pagoda inside. The walls are not tall so you can take photos of the structures from the outside.
This temple is made up of five structure. The view of the mountain from Heaven’s Gate (divided door on the top of the hill) is, hands down, the most scenic view on the island. If you want to see the other temples you have to hike 2-3 hours and also prepare for possible monkey attacks.
You can visit the three temples in a day by hiring a driver for 8 hours, starting from Ubud. Lempuyang is quite far from Ubud (2 hours). If you have time you can stay for a couple of days in different places, Amed is the best starting point. If you go and you need a good driver to explore the temples using Ubud as starting point I recommend:
Wayan Suada – Whatsapp: +62 8133873530