Known for its distinctive painting style, the village of Batuan, outside Ubud, remains an artists’ community. Unsurprisingly, Batuan Temple is a classic piece of Balinese architecture, with split gates, stone guardians, thatched shrines, and detailed carvings. It’s one of three village temples dedicated to the gods of the Hindu trinity.
As a classic example of a Balinese village temple trio that’s well located between south Bali and Ubud, Batuan Temple is a popular stop on Bali cultural and temple tours. (It’s possible, though unusual, to visit it independently.) A good Batuan Temple tour explains the traditional architecture of the Balinese temple. You can also expect to learn how Balinese Hindus build three temples in every village, one for the three gods of the Hindu Trinity: Shiva the destroyer, Krishna the creator, and Vishnu the preserver.
Things to Know Before You Go
- A visit to Batuan Temple is essential for fans of Balinese art.
- The small entrance fee includes renting a sarong to meet temple decency standards. Also cover your shoulders as a sign of respect.
- During the 1600s, Batuan was a powerful kingdom, controlling much of southern Bali. As with so many little kingdoms in Indonesia, it rapidly fell from grace—allegedly due to a priest’s curse.
How to Get There
Approximately 7 miles (10 kilometers) from Ubud and 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) from Seminyak, Batuan can be reached by bemo minibus from Batubulan if you have time and speak Indonesian. Most travelers find a Bali cultural tour or private driver far more convenient.
When to Get There
Most tour groups visit Batuan Temple in the second half of the day. As such, you stand a better chance of appreciating the site in its natural condition if you visit during the morning. As with all Balinese temples, Batuan Temple looks at its finest during Galungan, Kuningan, full moon, and new moon.
The Batuan School of Painting
Batuan is considered one of the key cultural villages around Ubud—others include Mas for woodcarving and Celuk for gold and silverwork—known for its artistic tradition in painting. Ubud museums such as Puri Lukisan and Neka track the evolution of Batuan style, from finely detailed paintings of scenes that might be a Hieronymus Bosch or a nightmare to even more startling representations of modern life invading traditional Balinese tropes. If you’re in town looking at the temple, take time to look at—and consider even buying—some art.