Is Gunung Kawi Sebatu the Prettiest Temple in Bali?

Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu

I was on my way to Pura Tirta Empul, the famous water temple, when I chanced upon Gunung Kawi Sebatu near Ubud. I was stunned! Already from a bird’s eye view driving down the windy mountain roads you can see how magnificent this little temple complex looks. But when you step onto the temple grounds, you will be even more charmed. Here’s what you can see.

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Is Gunung Kawi Sebatu Bali’s Prettiest Temple? Here Are 10 Photos

What Is the Gunung Kawi Sebatu Entrance Fee?

Entrance to Gunung Kawi Sebatu costs 30,000 IDR ($2) and you are required to wear temple appropriate attire. This means, your shoulders need to be covered. Sarongs and belts can be rented at the entrance for free.

There are a few sarong shops in front of the parking area in case you want to bring one home as a souvenir or rather have your own sarong ready for upcoming temple visits. Remember, in some temples you are not allowed to wear anything other than Balinese temple outfits.

Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu

How to Get to Gunung Kawi Sebatu?

The best way to visit the temple Gunung Kawi is by making your way to Ubud if you are in South Bali. Coming from the North, aim for Tegallalang rice fields and make your way to village Sebatu. You can easily include them as well as the Tirta Empul Temple in your trip. You won’t spend too much time here.

Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu

How Long Should You Stay at Gunung Kawi Sebatu?

The temple complex is medium sized and you should explore it fully. It really is pretty. But you will definitely not spend more than an hour here. Even 30 minutes is quite enough if you aren’t an avid travel photographer wanting to capture details and various angles.

Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu

To Whom is the Temple Dedicated?

Temple Gunung Kawi Sebatu was built to honour Hindu deity Wisnu (विष्णु), who represents water and creation. As with many other deities, he has multiple names and avatars as well. In Vaishnavism, he is also referred to as the Brahman, the supreme, the Svayam Bhagavan. He is typically drawn with pale or blue skin and four arms.

Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu

When Should You Visit Gunung Kawi Sebatu?

Since the temple near Ubud isn’t nearly as popular as its nearby water temple, you don’t need to get up super early. I visited over lunch time and there were only a handful of people quickly shown around by a local guide. They looked at everything and then left. So I pretty much had the place to myself.

If you can, time your visit for the temple anniversary, which is on the first full moon of the Balinese calendar. For 2019 that is 16 July and for 2020 it is 5 July. The temple grounds will crowded with dancing and singing locals and pilgrims then.

Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu

What Can You See at the Temple?

First and foremost, it’s not the Kings Tombs, which are also known as Gunung Kawi! They are situated in a close by neighbourhood, so you can visit both Gunung Kawi.

The full name of the temple is Pura Tirta Dawa Gunung Kawi Sebatu. That’s quite a handful, which is why it is often just referred to as Gunung Kawi Sebatu. On the temple grounds you can find both gardens and bathing pools next to the shrines.

Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu

To your right after you enter, you can see a small carp pool and the statue of Hindu goddess Sarasvati. She represents the arts, knowledge and wisdom. Next to her is a “floating” hall, known as Wantilan hall. Buy carp food from a table nearby for 5000 IDR (35c) to feed the fish from there.

A little further, on each side of the temple, you can see the bathing pools. Locals and pilgrims alike use them to freshen up and get blessed with the holy water. You need to pay in a donation box and come wearing a swimsuit. Dressing rooms and toilets are close to the entrances.

Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu

The actual Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple is the centrepiece of the area. You are reminded that you can only enter in Balinese temple wear – even if your clothes are long enough. Inside, there are various smaller shrines, the main one is called Taman Suci.

Do you like animals? If you’re lucky, you will run into some. They are walking around freely and include geese, fowl, chicken and occasionally deer.

Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu

Are There Tours?

As the water temple isn’t that popular, there aren’t many Ubud tours that include it. However, I have found one. Why do a tour in the first place?

For one, you have a local guide who will tell you all about the details and history and take care of the driving and routes. He knows the best photo spots and can help you take photos (photos can be hard as a solo traveller).

Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu

Also, if you are not a confident (scooter) driver, it can be challenging to go up and down the mountains and along the windy roads. Traffic in Bali is very busy and scooters are constantly zipping inbetween cars.

The Sacred Temples and Sunset Tour focuses on various important religious sites. You will get to see Gunung Kawi Temple, Goa Gajah and of course Pura Tirta Empul. Secure your seat here.

Is Visiting Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple Worth It?

I say it absolutely is. You will most likely visit the rice fields and the water temple anyway, so including this makes total sense. It’s an easy drive and the temple is just too pretty. Don’t forget to bring your camera and wear a pretty outfit.

Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu

Would you want to visit Gunung Kawi Sebatu ?

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Is Gunung Kawi Sebatu Bali’s Prettiest Temple? Here Are 10 Photos

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It had to happen, after ditching the 9-5 for a prolonged break, Annemarie's wokaholic tendencies led her to start a daily blog about her adventures. Realising how much travel has helped rebuild her confidence and and general #GirlBoss-iness, Travel on the Brain released a book about her adventures in Down Under and New Zealand and creates quirky video series focusing on story telling in destinations around the globe.
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