Dedicated to the Hindu goddess of learning, wisdom, music, and art, Ubud’s Saraswati Temple is a beautiful spot for worshippers and visitors alike. Water gardens and lotus ponds flow up to the elegant structure, which is enriched with ornate carvings. The temple makes an atmospheric setting for Balinese dance performances.
Set bang in the heart of Ubud, Saraswati Temple is easy enough to visit independently. It’s also one of the most magical venues at which to watch Balinese dance. Kecak dance-drama performances are held every Tuesday and Thursday evening, and the plastic chairs don’t detract from the majesty of the setting. Most visitors arrive independently, but some Ubud tours stop here for brief photo ops, and private guides with a focus on history and culture can explain the meanings of the elaborate temple carvings.
Things to Know Before You Go
Saraswati Temple is lovely for fans of Balinese culture and temple architecture.
There is no fee to enter the temple, though donations are appreciated.
Wear a sarong for modesty reasons, and note that these are not always available at the door.
Only the temple’s entrance and initial path are accessible to wheelchair users; beyond that there are steps.
How to Get There
Saraswati Temple is centrally located within Ubud, right by the Ubud Palace, so it’s an easy walk from many downtown accommodations. If you’re coming from outside Ubud, Perama runs tourist shuttles from the airport, Kuta, Amed, Padang Bai, Sanur, and beyond, while the Kura Kura tourist bus has connections via Kuta from across south Bali.
When to Get There
Ubud is at its most appealing early in the morning before the big buses hit town—and that’s also a great time to soak up the lotus views at the Saraswati Temple. But Saraswati is the goddess of dance, so also make time to catch a dance performance one Tuesday or Thursday evening.
Ubud and the Goddess of the Arts
It was Ubud’s royal family who made Ubud the arts and cultural hub of Bali that it is today. As patrons, they spared no expense in honoring the goddess of the arts, Saraswati. The temple you see today was built by I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, famed for his ink drawings and paintings but also a court architect. Some believe he made it all the way to 115 years old before dying in 1978.