Bali is advertised as the island of Gods and quite the nature paradise and honeymoon destination. And it is. But there is a lot that is going on underneath the surface and as any other country really, it has quite the fascinating history, including local lore and creepy supernatural sightings. Heck, there are a lot of secret places in Bali with abandoned buildings and objects. Time to get into Bali adventure mode!
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20 Strange or Secret Places in Bali
Ghost Palace Bali
Bayung Gede Placenta Graveyard
Tanah Lot Snake Temple
Bat Cave Goa Lawah
Padang Padang Haunted Shipwreck
Pemuteran Underwater Temple Garden
Symon’s Art Zoo
Abandoned Karangasem Temple
Bounty Beach Club in Gili Meno
Pura Paluang Car Temple
The PI Bedugul Taman Rekreasi Hotel and Resort promised glam and buzzing business when it was erected during the 1990s. But then strange things happened and it was never quite finished and left to the forces of nature.
Urban lore has various explanations but nothing seems quite conclusive. Some tales tell of cursed developers and bankruptcy others say all staff disappeared overnight but most agree on evil spirits haunting the place.
It would really be quite the beautiful site if not for the eerie feeling and abandoned buildings now dark from rain and mud. Inside, it appears still quite new, which adds to the feeling of unease around the place. Entry seems possible through the main gates with a small bribe to the “security guards”.
Address: Batunya, Baturiti, Batunya, Baturiti, Kabupaten Tabanan, Bali 82191, Indonesia
Entry: 10,000 IDR bribe
Fancy seeing a Balinese ghost town? Taman Festival might do just the trick. This abandoned theme park in Bali is both super creepy and fascinating. Fun fact: it was here that the first inverted rollercoaster was opened and hosted the biggest swimming pool in all of Bali.
What took the park down was an unlucky mix of economic recession and lightning striking the main attraction (a laser show) on a Friday 13th (for real) in 1998. The park closed down two years after and has been abandoned ever since.
The place isn’t left entirely to its own devices. Locals and adventurous travelers alike come here to roam the tall grass and stare at or add to the graffiti. Also, evil spirits are said to have set up base here, making it one of the most haunted sites in Bali. Entering is possible with a little bribe to local “gatekeepers.”
Address: Jl. Padang Galak No.3, Kesiman, Denpasar Tim., Kota Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia
Entry: 10,000 IDR “parking fee”
Read this too: 12 Questions Around Taman Festival Answered
Bali has its own airplane graveyards if you will. There are multiple locations in Bali for abandoned planes. The first one is located in an otherwise empty lot near Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai between the airport and Nusa Dua, near Dunkin Donuts.
The other abandoned plane in Bali can be found in a somewhat more spectacular setting, namely below a giant limestone wall in a little valley off the Raya Nusa Dua Selatan Highway. It’s close to Pandawa Beach and set on private property, so you can’t actually go down.
What happens when the interest in the plane gets quite big is that they get turned into quirky restaurants. The first abandoned plane with became an AirCREW Sensation attraction soon. What that will look like can be seen at Keramas Aero Park. It’s already an airplane turned restaurant.
Address: Jalan Bypass Ngurah Rai, Jimbaran & Kutuh
In some cultures, it is custom to bury the placenta after a child is born as a way to bring about good luck, a connection to earth (New Zealand) or sense of home (Navajo).
According to Balinese culture the placenta is seen as a protecting spiritual “sibling” spirit to the child, are washed in a special ceremony and buried in a coconut shell in the family’s garden.
In the village of Bayung Gede, however, this is much more communal. They share their own placenta cemetery. The local bukak trees are hung with these placentas.
Address: Jl. Bayung Gede, Kintamani, Indonesia
Tanah Lot is a popular tourist destination and absolutely great for epic sunset shots. (There is a nearby waterfall too if you visit during rainy season.) The temple’s origins are shrouded in folklore but the main purpose is clear: it is dedicated to spirits of the sea.
Some such sea creates actually live at Tanah Lot and when I visited I had no idea why it was advertised as an attractions to see a snake. (You can receive a blessing from it, too). But the caves around the sea temple are actually inhabited by venomous sea snakes. It is said that they are protecting the temple from evil.
But the most important snake of them all cannot be seen and may have never been seen by humans. According to local legends, a giant sea snake is lurking in the deep waters, protecting Tanah Lot from evil spirits and intruders. Dang Hyang Nirartha, who “commissioned” the temple in the 16th century, reportedly created it from his sash.
Address: Beraban, Kediri, Tabanan Regency, Bali, Indonesia
Entry fee: 60,000 (plus 2,000 IDR scooter parking, 5,000 car parking)
Read this too: How to Get to Tanah Lot
Another local village that has an interesting way to bury their dead is Trunyan up in North Bali. Instead of following the general Hindu ceremonies of the rest of Bali, residents of Trunyan Village wrap the bodies of their dead.
A boat takes them to the graveyard by the lake to be laid down around an ancient taru menyan tree. (A cage protects the carcasses to be devoured by animals.) Stairs at the graveyard are decorated by bones and skulls.
Address: Trunyan Village, Batur, Kintamani
Do you like bats or find them spooky? Maybe you want to find out at the Temple of Goa Lawah (“Bat Cave Temple”) in Klungkung. It is one of Bali’s holiest temples and built around a cave. During the day, naturally the nectar bats are resting inside. But at dusk, they become active and start flying about.
The temple itself dates back to the 11th century by one of the first Hindu priests in Bali. The entire temple complex is divided in three parts with outer, middle and inner sanctum. The latter is where smaller shrines are located and the bats mingle.
Address: Jalan Raya Goa Lawah, Pesinggahan Village, Dawan District, Klungkung
If you’ve ever stayed in Bali during the Balinese New Year’s ceremony (16 March), Nyepi, then you would have seen the giant Ogoh-Ogoh dolls. Getting closer to the date, you can see them being created and painted all over villages in Bali.
The doll creation is an art form and they are entirely handcrafted, quite heavy and larger than (human) life. During Nyepi they are traditionally carted around each respective village to scare off evil spirits and then are set of fire. Though that latter part isn’t practiced everywhere anymore.
The forms of Ogoh-Ogohs are taken from Hindu mythology and gods. If you visit Bali outside of Nyepi, you can see them all year round in the Ogoh-Ogoh Museum. Like the Krampus in Austria, they can be quite scary looking.
Address: No 1, Jalan AyodyaMengwiIndonesia
Read this too: See Ogoh-Ogoh’s in Action
There’s a another animal cave and this one’s called “Elephant Cave” though not at first apparent why. You can find it near Ubud. But don’t expect clarity on its history, the exact origins are far from clear.
What is known is that it dates back to the 9th century and added on in the 11th century. It most likely served as a place for meditation. According to local legend, it was created from giant Kebo Iwa’s fingernail.
Not sure if that is why the entrance is carved like a giant gaping mouth of a devilish creature. (It hurts to part with your finger nail!) Again, the scariness probably is meant to keep evil out. Fun fact: the cave contains both Hindu and Buddhist images.
Address: Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Iceland has its abandoned shipwreck on its shores and so does Bali. Or did. This one was found stuck on the reef off of Padang Padang Beach in the South of Bali.
But it was actually fire that made it sink. The ship was an illegal fishing boat that is said to have been connected to more crimes than just that, such as murder. Before it could yet again evade the hands of justice, someone burnt it down.
It was found on the morning of famous suing competition Rip Curl Padang Cup in 2008. After the investigations were concluded, it was removed. But now the place is believed to be haunted. There are reports of occasional sightings.
Address: Pecatu, South Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali, Indonesia
If you are claustrophobic, skip this one because it will take you down into an underground building. The original plan was to make it into a labyrinth but instead, walls and chambers were carved out of the limestone in the 60s.
The story goes that the owner Made Byasa created his home with just his chisel as a hiding cave inspired by the Mahabharata epic. There are lamps downstairs but you don’t want to see the crooked stairs too well lit either. Just in case, bring a small torch or your phone to light up rooms where the lamps went out.
Unlike the underground homes of Coober Pedy in South Australia, this home doesn’t offer a refreshing breeze and isn’t a common thing in the area at al.. The house is still privately owned and if you want to see it you have to pay a fee, which seems to vary quite a lot depending between 25,000 and 100,000 IDR.
Address: Lembongan island, Jungutbatu, Nusapenida, Kabupaten Klungkung, Bali 80771, Indonesia
This underwater temple in Bali can only be accessed – you guessed it – by diving. It is a small temple complex with statues of Buddha, the god Ganesha and turtles. But don’t be fooled, it never really was a drowned religious site.
The underwater site was built by local businesses and artists and is pretty new. The statues, gate and stupas are 30 metres below and sealife has already incorporated it pretty much. They are already covered quite a bit.
You can join local snorkel and diving tours to get there or take a local guide. They will take you with their boat to the Mangrove Center at the northern end of Ceningan Island.
Address: Jl. Singaraja-Gilimanuk, Pemuteran, Gerokgak, Kabupaten Buleleng, Bali 81155, Indonesia
This one reminded me a lot of the strange Heyri Art Village north of Seoul. Similar to the South Koran artist village, this one space is part of an artist community, however mostly displaying the odd and quirky art of American artist Symon.
He describes his style as Balinese Pop Art and once met Andy Warhol. Symon actually lives here and you can tell he loves colour. All his sculptures are vivid and the walls of his home are just as bright. There are plenty of paintings by him and other local painters, too.
If you are lucky, he is onsite and will happily show you around and explain his artworks. You can also purchase art from him.
Address: JL.Raya Air Sanih, Kubutambahan nahe Singarajah
Another creepy cave, Goa Peteng is hidden away on a local farm near Ayana Resort and Spa in Jimbaran village. Its name translats to “Dark Hole”. To get here, you have to travel across country paths.
Inside, the cave is pitch black and slippery and you have to walk down the steps about ten metres. Of course, there are bats again so be careful where you light your torch or phone!
If you are allowed to enter you might be able to join in a praying and/or ablution ceremony inside. You can combine your visit with next door Lemeng Cave with an underground river through which you have to pass to get to the end of the cave.
Address: Jimbaran, Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Last but not least a temple that is no longer used. While the caves mentioned earlier are religious sites that are still well visited, the abandoned temple in Karangasem is left to nature. You can find it hidden away on a hill and well reclaimed by shrubs and vines.
The little village is close to Denpasar and while its village goes by the name of Tista, that of the temple is unknown. Some say the temple is dedicated to God Ciwa, the creator.
Address: Tista village, Abang district, Karangasem regency
Not actually on Bali. But since many visitors to the island also engage in some island hopping to the nearby Gili islands, you might include a visit to this abandoned site. The former holiday bungalows are left abandoned and derelict.
What happened is unclear. Maybe the hotel finances went critically red after the Bali bombings and the hotel was closed down. Then, there are also rumours of the owner’s untimely death. In any case, apparently the dead founder is haunting the premises.
Address: Gili Meno, Lombok, Indonesia
While the underwater temple garden was artificially created, the shipwreck off of Tulamben happened more “naturally.” The shipwreck’s name is USAT Liberty and it once belonged to the US navy.
But after being torpedoed by the Japanese, it was left on the beach in 1942. When Mt Agung erupted in 1963, the ship finally sank and is now a prime diving spot.
Address: Tulamben, Kubu, Karangasem Regency, Bali 80852, Indonesia
One of the oddest temples in Bali you can visit is the Pura Paluang Car Temple on Nusa Penida. Make your way to the edge of Karangdawa village. Overlooking the ocean you will find the whith sandstone buildings of the temple, which looks quite normal at first glance.
Inside, though, there is a small shrine between two colourful cars. The locals claim it was erected long before cars came to Indonesia. Apparently, there are also car sounds to be heard at night.
Address: karang dawa,nusa penida, Klungkung, Bali 80771, Bunga Mekar, Nusapenida, Kabupaten Klungkung, Bali 80771, Indonesia
This cave is a wonderful place full of mesmerizing stalactites and stalagmites. The cave isn’t a huge tourist hotspot so drive up to the Batu Ngongkong village and look out for the red cat statues at the cave entrance. (Check out this blog post.)
Note that you can’t just enter the cave as you need the supervision and approval of the local priest for that. If he is present and gives his consent, he will lead you down the stairs into the cave with its amazing otherworldly rock formations. They are illuminated in everchanging colours.
The name for the cave is derived from the massive central stalactite being used as a gong during special ceremonies and rituals. If you want to make sure to experience that, visit for the temple anniversary.
Address: Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
This isn’t an actually creepy place but there’s something odd about this village. And that is the fact that for generations, an unusually high percentage of villagers have been born deaf (kolok). If you are asking around for the village, it is often referred to as “Desa Kolok” (Deaf Village).
As a result, the village communicates in their own sign language, called Kata Kolok. Even their religious dances and rituals are signed. Everyone is treated equally. The villagers believe a Deaf God is responsible for the fate of the village and is revered both by hearing and deaf locals.
Address: Bengkala Village, Kubutambahan, Buleleng, Bali
Bonus: Udayana University Museum
Construction started in 2011 and stopped two years later. Funding wasn’t enough and so the construction of the Udayana University Museum was never completed. You can see its sad skeleton in front of the Udayana University Institute for Peace and Democracy.
Address: Jl. Prabu Udayana No.100, Jimbaran, Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361
Best Time to Visit Bali
Bali’s year is divided into two seasons: dry and rainy season. Dry season is the more popular season for obvious reasons. It runs from May to September. The climate is hot and humid, skyies are usually clear and sunsets epic.
Dry season bring torrential rains and plenty of clouds between October and April. But it’s not all grey, there are sunny times throughout the day and especially towards the end and beginning of rainy season, sunsets are even more vivid and dramatic. Wet season is perfect for seeing waterfalls and water temples.
How to Get Around Bali
You can rent cars from typical dealers, such as Sixt online or through the trusted dealer of your hotel reception. Avoid scams by not simply accepting any local vendors offer. You can also try to negotiate.
If you rely on taxis, go for the the local BlueBird with the signature bird logo. Just make double sure it’s the actual company and not a counterfeit logo. Insist on taximeters or, even better, book through the free My BlueBird or Go-Jek app.
For long trips, such as airport transfers or long day trips, it’s better to negotiate with local taxi drivers via whatsapp or messenger about day rates and what you want included.
Bali doesn’t have a public bus system. You can only find set expat-run buses for South Bali major party and drinking hubs.
The main means of transport on Bali is scooter. You can book a ride via Go-Jek (they also do food delivery). Just make sure you are in areas where they are allowed to pick you up. You can tell by the huge and very clear signs at village entrances.
Renting a scooter costs between 50,000 – Rp. 75,000 IDR per day, 300,000-400,000 IDR per week or 600,000-1000,000IDR per month. Always wear a helmet and bring your international license. You might be stopped by police anyway to pay a fee right on the spot. Make sure you don’t have your wallet stuffed with bills otherwise they will be confiscated as the penalty fee.
Top 5 Items to Pack for Bali Trips
Read this too: What to Pack for Bali – Female Vacation Edition
Is Visiting Abandoned Places in Bali Worth It?
That depends on what you want. If you are a photographer and have a thirst for lesser known an dramatic spots, then absolutely! If you like everything familiar and predictable, then no. You need to have a certain thirst for adventure to go to these places but the rewards are great.