The Besakih Temple is known as the “Mother Temple of Bali“, located 1000 metres high on the slopes of Mount Agung. It is the most important, the largest and holiest temple of Hindu religion in Bali, and unfortunately, it’s also a place where tourists are scammed and ripped off.
About Pura Besakih
Pura Besakih is a complex of 23 separate temples, the largest and central is the Pura Penataran Agung. The complex is located in the village of Besakih in eastern Bali, Indonesia.
The Pura Besakih complex hosts countless rituals and ceremonies every year, so it’s quite easy to step into one. Each temple has its own odalan (temple festival), based on the 210-day Pawukon calendar. They also celebrate the full moon each month as well as major holidays.
If you visit the complex during a ceremony expect large crowds dressed in traditional clothing.
What to expect
It’s possible to visit Pura Besakih on a day trip from Ubud, without being part of a tour, but be extra careful at this place since there are numerous stories of scams here. Because of this many people had a disappointing experience and wished they didn’t have visited the Pura Besakih complex.
I knew about this before, so I was aware of the scams beforehand. I didn’t have any problems but I saw many tourists being hassled. Visiting Pura Besakih can be definitely frustrating but for me was still worth the visit. Although its difficult for me to say, that you should visit the temples after all I read and saw.
Entrance fee: RP.60,000 ($3.95) (the most expensive temple I came across in Bali)
What you need to know before you go:
- You do not need a guide, kindly say no and ignore them. You can visit the complex on your own even during ceremonies. Don’t believe if they say that there is a special prayer and it’s closed to tourists but the guide can help you visit the temple.
- Don’t believe when they say the temple is closed for ceremonies, you can always walk among the temples and there’s no guide that can get you into a closed temple.
- You can go anywhere you like, since you paid the ticket but not to the shrines.
- Donations are not mandatory (you give money if you want to) that’s why they are called donations and not entrance fee.
- If you want to give a donation do not believe the donation amounts that are in the guestbook. They are known to add a zero or two to entries, so you feel bad if you don’t give the same.
- Bring your own sarong to avoid having to rent or buy one. The Sarong is not included in the ticket price.
- At the parking lot, sellers will try to sell all sorts of stuff saying that you need it to enter the temple or ceremony you do not need anything except a ticket and a sarong.
- Don’t accept the offer “come and pray with me” if you enter in a forbidden temple you can be fined.
- Don’t allow anyone to keep your ticket, or you will need to buy another one.
Keep all the above in mind and you will be fine 🙂
photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha