Tirta Empul Temple at Tampaksiring

The Tirta Empul temple in Tampak Siring is built around a sacred spring on a steep slope. The water flows down into two pools, one for men and one for women, and is believed to have special healing powers that can cure a variety of diseases. For over a thousand years the Balinese have come here in search of purification and healing for body, mind and spirit, and there’s a very special atmosphere here. You’ll come away feeling rejuvenated.

Tampak Siring is about a 30-minute drive from Ubud. Don’t forget to wear correct temple clothes because this is a sacred site (see our ‘Local Etiquette’ page under ‘Ubud Info’).

Kintamani and Lake Batur

Kintamani is built on the edge of a caldera, or volcanic crater, and looks over the active volcano of Mount Batur and the splendid Lake Batur below. Although a visit here is spoiled by the large number of hawkers trying to force cheap goods on you, and a lack of good food in the area, the panoramic view is nonetheless spectacular.

The lake itself, covering an area of around 18 square kilometres, is the largest in Bali and is an irrigation source for all farms in the area through an underground network of springs and streams, as well as a good source for fish. It’s believed that the goddess Dewi Danu, who provides water to the rice fields, resides here.

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Mount Batur

About an hour’s drive north of Ubud, Mount Batur is a volcano that’s been frequently active since its first documented eruption in 1804. The most serious recent eruption was in 1917 when more than 1000 people were killed.

In acknowledgment of the awesome power of the volcano, the Balinese make offerings each day in a bid for harmony and peace.

Climbing the volcano is a glorious experience that’s not to be missed. The best time is at sunrise before the heat of the day sets in. The climb takes around two hours and isn’t too taxing but will require sensible walking shoes. It’s possible to have breakfast at the top, though at tourist prices. Take a guide and bottles of water with you. See also Lake Batur

Mount Agung

Mount Agung, dramatically visible from Ubud on a clear day, is the holiest mountain in Bali. The Balinese see it as a representation of Mount Meru, a sacred mountain in Hindu and Buddhist cosmology that’s considered to be the centre of the universe.

An active volcano that last erupted in 1963, Mount Agung rises 3,148 metres above sea level, making its peak the highest point on the island. Situated to the north-east of Ubud, the mountain plays an important role in Bali’s rainfall; to the west it’s green and verdant whereas to the east it’s dry and barren.

It’s possible to climb Mount Agung but in order to take advantage of the views from the top before the clouds set in, you’ll want to be there before 8am. This involves setting off well before daylight. Using a guide is highly recommended, and you’ll need a torch, water and food, something warm to wear and good walking shoes.

The slopes of Mount Agung are home to the most important and sacred temple on the island, the Pura Besakih or “Mother Temple of Bali”. Dating back to as early as the 10th century, this temple unifies followers of the Hindu tradition from all different castes, and many Balinese make a special pilgrimage here. The temple has been nominated as a world heritage site.

Agung at Dawn