10 Spiritual Experiences in Bali

Things to Do for Bali Spiritual Travellers

Spiritual experiences in Bali are scattered all over this special island, and you'll no doubt stumble upon your own little moments of tranquillity without trying. But if you’re looking for things to do on the island that can either help you reconnect with Mother Nature, or discover some of the island’s ‘treasures’ and spiritual vibes at some destinations lesser travelled, this list is for you.
 
Visit some centuries-old temples at the base of lush hillsides; immerse yourself in the scenic presence of a magnificent waterfall in the remote highlands, or visit an ancient village where some earliest traditions live on. While some of these spiritual experiences in Bali require a considerable amount of effort, such as climbing flights of steep stairs up a forested mountain face and complemented by occasional sightings of shy macaques and tropical birds along the way, what awaits you at the end of your discoveries can truly be remarkable, and above all, spiritually rewarding. Here’s a collection of things you can do in Bali if discovering the island’s magic is among your top lists.

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    This infrequently visited temple 12 km north of Ubud is lush and scenic, thanks to its forested hillside setting and abundant water features that include mountain spring-fed holy water sources, water shrines surrounded by giant carp and blooming lotuses, ornamental fish ponds with statues, and bathing spots that all surround its magnificent main temple complex. The tranquil setting of Gunung Kawi Sebatu provides a soothing retreat, far away from the streets and bustles of Ubud town. Not far from here is the Pura Dalem Pingit, revered among local Balinese Hindus as a purification spot, where you’d descend a hillside in line to pray, then immerse under a small waterfall. If you’re a staying guest at the Puri Gangga Resort, you can ask for spiritual tours that they regularly arrange to these highlight spots. Read More...

    • Location: Sebatu Village, Tegallalang, Gianyar (12.8km north of Ubud town)
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    This other ‘Gunung Kawi’ is perhaps more famous than the one above, and chances are your booked tour will regularly take you here first. Gunung Kawi Temple is famous as among Bali’s most unique archaeological sites, featuring a set of gigantic ancient stone shrine reliefs carved right into a cliff face. The main site overlooks Bali’s sacred Pakerisan River, which also flows by the Tirta Empul Temple (see below) a kilometre up north. Across the river from the ancient reliefs is a temple courtyard featuring old Hindu shrines in a more contemporary architectural style. The impressive site, the lush forested river setting, and the 300 paved steps down that’s complemented lush paddy views make this spiritual tour which transports you back in time and away from modernity. Read More...

    • Location: Tampaksiring, northeast of Ubud
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    An important temple complex that’s best known for its holy mountain spring and purification pools, Tirta Empul has been a spiritual destination for both local its Balinese Hindu pilgrims and foreign visitors. As a visitor, and by following a strict set of rules and codes of conduct, you’re welcome to experience a purification ritual in the pools yourself. A natural spring inside its main temple complex feeds the various purification baths, pools and carp ponds surrounding the outer perimeter, which all eventually flow into the Tukad Pakerisan River. Read More...

    • Location: Manukaya village, district of Tampaksiring, Gianyar
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    4

    Trunyan Village

    Batur Lakeside, Kintamani

    This ancient and remote Balinese lakeside village is best known for its odd burial rites – and its magical tree which gave the village its name. Locally known as the Taru Menyan, the tree grows in the village’s open-burial cemetery and exudes a strongly fragrant resin akin to benzoin or frankincense, which in turns neutralises the odours of the decomposing bodies. The quietness of the remote area, and the chilling sight of the skulls and bones in the graveyard can be unnerving, but your first-hand encounters of the ancient and upheld traditions can be a truly one-of-a-kind experience. Read More...

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    The old Balinese village of Tenganan Pegringsingan is within only a 15 minutes' drive north from the main Jalan Raya Candidasa road. Many hotels along the Candidasa coast, such as Alila Manggis, Candi Beach Resort and Spa, and Rama Candidasa, often provide shuttle transfers, especially during such major calendar events, to the village as part of their guest activities and tour options. One highlight event is the Perang Pandan ‘battles’. This age-old tradition is unique only to this village and it’s a mass coming-of-age ritual, dedicated to the Hindu god of war and the sky, Indra. Friendly duels between all male villagers take place, each armed with a small rattan shield in one hand and a tied packet of thorny 'pandan' leaves in the other. Tenganan is also famous for its Geringsing cloth, an ancient double-ikat weave produced only in this village, hence its name ‘Pegringsingan’. Read More...

    • Location: Tenganan Village, Jalan Raya Nyuh Tebel, Karangasem
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    6

    As Bali’s most popular waterfall, Gitgit offers both serves as a scenic natural attraction and a spiritual destination for inclined visitors. The falls are only a 10km drive south of North Bali’s capital town of Singaraja, and is accessible from the south via the main Bedugul-Singaraja route. Upon reaching the base after a few minutes’ trek by foot, you can instantly enjoy the spectacular 40m tall twin spouts that constant crash into a rocky pool below. Interestingly for spiritual travellers, a bonus waterfall awaits not far from the Gitgit twin falls, known as the Jembong waterfall, which is a place for spiritual healings and purifications. Forested pathways clad by cacao trees lead you down to this site. Read More...

    • Location: Jalan Raya Bedugul-Singaraja, Sukasada, Buleleng, North Bali
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    7

    Lempuyang Temple sits at the top of a mountain of the same name in the village of Bunutan in East Bali. It’s one of Bali’s oldest and most highly regarded temples, believed to predate most temples on the island. It’s at 1,175m above sea level, and is accessible only by foot, up a steep paved path of over 1,700 steps – not for faint-hearted. Your climb along the way is highlighted by several other temples including the towering Pasar Agung temple with its dragon staircases. Its gateway overlooking the blue skies and clouds (heaven) is truly a remarkable sight, so keep your camera at hand. Sightings of tropical birds and macaques complement your further climb to the temple at the top, where you a priest can reward you with blessing sprinkles of cool and refreshing holy water. Locals believe, those who set out with heavy hearts can never make it to the top. Read More...

    • Location: Mount Lempuyang, Bunutan Village, Karangasem, East Bali
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    8

    Batukaru Temple

    Tabanan, West Bali

    At the foot of the mountain of the same name in West Bali, Batukaru Temple is surrounded by dense forests and provides pleasant sightseeing for both nature lovers and spiritual travellers. The island’s most impressive expanse of rice paddies, Jatiluwih, is only a two-kilometre drive southeast from the temple, often making the two a single-trip package when you choose for excursions to these central-west highlands. The 11th century temple complex is filled with ancient structures and statues heavily covered in green moss. Although the temple’s inner sanctum is usually off-limits to non-pilgrims, you can admire its overall ancient beauty set against one of Bali’s most remote and pristine areas. Read More...

    • Location: Mount Batukaru, Jalan Pura Batukaru, Penebel Village, Tabanan
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    The Bali Spirit Festival is an annual event with dates usually announced for the midyear. The event gathers like-minded yoga instructors and practitioners of all different levels from Bali and around the world, with arts, dance and music presented through colourful concerts and performances. A packed agenda features numerous health and wellbeing workshops held in various yoga centres in Ubud and with side events in various other venues around Bali. You can sign up for full yoga workshops, a Dharma Fair with health product bazaars and local organic food stalls, and a stage that showcases various world music bands and soloists who help keep up the vibes throughout the daytime gatherings. The festivals are organised by Bali Spirit, a holistic enterprise in Ubud. Read More...

    • Location: Bali Spirit, Jl. Hanoman, Ubud
    • Tel: +62 (0)361 970 992
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    10

    Get Blessed by a Balinese Priest or Spiritual Healer

    Various

    Engage and connect with the island’s spiritual and cultural side with a temple prayer and blessing from a Balinese priest. Most temples welcome you if you don customary temple attire that usually comprises a sarong and sash around the waist, and if you follow the codes of temple conduct closely. Attending a temple prayer can be a highlight of your visit, topped by receiving sprinkles of floral-infused holy water and cupping your hands for swigs at the end. You can also opt to visit Bali’s youngest high priestess, Ida Panditha Mpu Budha Maharsi Alit Parama Daksa, of the Griya Agung Buddha Salahin in the village of Bangli, a 25km drive from Ubud, for a purification ritual known as ‘melukat’, for aural cleansing and to reconnect with your inner self.

    • Location: Griya Agung Buddha Salahin, Susut, Bangli Regency
    • Tel: +62 (0)813 3893 3570
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