One of my favorite temples in Bali is Pura Gungung Kawi Tampaksiring. Despite the fact that no one warned or prepared me for the hundreds of steps one needs to walk to get to this magical area, I still rate this one of the most memorable attractions in Bali.
The path was very scenic so we stopped a few times to take some pictures or cool off under a tree overlooking the valley and rice terraces. On my way down, I passed other visitors dripping with perspiration and walking out of breath. I thought the blazing sun was the reason for their exhaustion but that was only part of the reason.
It felt like forever before I reached the end but after 20 minutes, I finally arrived at the temple entrance lined by tall carved rock walls. A bowl of water and plumeria flowers stand at the front entrance. It is used to cleanse yourself before entering the temple.
I couldn’t decide where I wanted to explore first. There were towering carved statues in the cliff walls, waterfalls, a beautiful river and tropical foliage everywhere! 4 carved shrines stood on the left path near the path entrance so I checked them out first. I can’t even describe how impressed I was with the rock carvings, I was speechless!
I could see a small waterfall on the other side of the Pakerisan River and quickly crossed the bridge to head over there. I discovered a path to the river and passed 5 more shrines to the waterfall.
I saw a really cool tunnel carved in the wall, but was told I couldn’t explore it because it was sacred. Darn! I love caves and tunnels.
According to some legends the 11th Century statues were carved out of the rock face in one hard-working night by the fingernails of Kebo Iwa, a strong giant that could’ve accomplished the deed with his size and strength. It remains a mystery of what the statues were actually used for and what happened in this sacred temple hidden deep in the valley.
There are lots of small vendors on the path to the temple, selling water, food and souvenirs. Here’s a tip, grab some bottled water to keep hydrated for your trip to the temple and back, and check out what kind of food and snacks you may want while walking down to the temple. Purchase souvenirs on your way up!
I’ll definitely return for a second visit and will be better prepared to enjoy this beautiful oasis. I plan to bring lunch, some chilled beverages and swimwear too. I will devote more time to spend as well, there are so much more to explore and experience. If you’re in the Ubud area make some time to hike down to the Valley of the Kings!
Entrance Fee – 15000 idr (approximately $1.50 USD) per Adult