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.
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.
Hours & Entrance Fee
- Hours: 8 AM – 6 PM
- Entrance Fee (Adults): 50k IDR (~$3)
- Entrance Fee (Kids 5-11): 25k IDR (~$3)
This is the current Gunung Kawi ticket price and hours as of 2021, but it’s a popular temple so they seem to raise the entrance fee every year or two. The entrance fee includes a sarong to wear at the temple.
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.
From the parking area, you have to walk down 300 steps to reach the temples.
More Bali Temples
Looking for more information on the best temples in Bali, Indonesia?
Check out my Bali Temple Guide for a complete list with photos, maps, and more!
Bali Private Driver & Motorbike Rental
If you want to explore Bali in the comfort and safety of a private car with an English speaking driver, my top recommendation would be GetYourGuide.
Their price is 650k Rupiah ($45 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 great deal. They also offer affordable hotel transfers from the airport.
If you'd rather travel by motorbike, they have that too. Their scooter rentals start at 140k Rupiah (~$9) and include a helmet, rain coat, and free delivery in the south Bali area.
We've used GetYourGuide for lots of tours and activities around the world, and they're great! Highly recommended.
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