Gunung Kawi Temple – Ancient Royal Tombs Near Ubud, Bali

The Pura Gunung Kawi Temple is a bit like Bali’s own Valley of the Kings, where ancient royal tombs were carved into a steep cliff wall at the bottom of a river valley.

Gunung Kawi is a great spot to soak up some interesting culture and history, and you can get some good photos too. It’s one of the most famous tourist attractions near Ubud, Bali.

This travel guide will explain how to get there, and everything you need to know before you go!


Where To Stay
 
Facts & History

The 10 shrines/tombs at Pura Gunung Kawi Temple were carved out of rock in the steep cliff face during the 11th century.

It’s believed each of the candi (shrines) were dedicated to different members of the ancient Balinese royal family, starting with King Udayana and his wives and sons.

There are 4 monuments on the left as you first enter, and then 5 more on the east bank across the Pakerisan River, which is considered sacred by the locals.

The 10th monument is hidden in the south part of the river valley and you can reach it on a short walking path.

Pura Gunung Kawi Temple in Bali
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Pakerisan River at Gunung Kawi in Bali
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Pakerisan River in Bali
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Rice terraces at Gunung Kawi in Bali
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Gunung Kawi Temple – What To Expect

Gunung Kawi sits at the bottom of a river valley, so you’ll have to walk down (and back up) nearly 300 steps. It can be a bit tough in the midday heat and humidity.

On the way down to the temples, you’ll pass some rice terraces, souvenir shops, and small cafes and restaurants overlooking the rice paddies.

At the bottom of the steps, turn left to see the first 4 shrines of Gunung Kawi, then head south to find one more hidden shrine. Lastly, cross the bridge to see 5 more waiting on the opposite side of the river.

You’ll notice the shape of the shrines has an uncanny similarity to Prambanan Temple in Java, which is not a coincidence of course since the Hindu people of Bali came from Java.

Gunung Kawi is a neat glimpse into ancient Indonesian civilization, and the river and jungle add to an overall atmosphere that’s just special. You feel like you’re stepping back in time.

All in all, it’s one of my favorite cultural/archaeological sites in Bali.

Cliff shrines at Pura Gunung Kawi Temple in Bali
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Shrines at Gunung Kawi Temple in Bali
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Royal tombs at Gunung Kawi Temple in Bali
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Temple complexes at Gunung Kawi in Bali
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Hours & Entrance Fee
  • Hours: 8 AM – 6 PM
  • Entrance Fee:* 50k IDR (~$3)

*Free sarong is included in the ticket price

How To Get There

Gunung Kawi Temple is located in Tampaksiring, near the famous Tegalalang Rice Terrace in central Bali.

It’s about 30 minutes northeast of Ubud, or 1 hour from the touristy areas of south Bali, like Sanur, Canggu, and Kuta.

The best way to get there is to rent a scooter or hire a private car and driver (both of these can be booked online).

From the parking area, you have to walk down 300 steps to reach the temples.

Rice terraces at Gunung Kawi in Bali
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Hidden jungle temples in Bali
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Bali Private Driver & Motorbike Rental

If you want to explore Bali in the comfort and safety of a private car with a driver, my top recommendation would be Klook.

Their price is 450k IDR ($30 USD) for a full day of driving and sightseeing in Bali (up to 10 hours) for 1-5 passengers. That's the total price for the whole car + driver + petrol! It's a steal.

If you'd rather travel by motorbike, they have that too. Their scooter rentals start at 85k IDR (~$6) and include a helmet, rain coat, and pickup in the south Bali area.

We've used Klook for lots of tours and activities around the world, and they're great! Highly recommended.

Book Now: Bali Private Driver / Scooter Rental

Ubud Hotels
 
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