A royal water temple, built for the kings of Mengwi, Taman Ayun Temple (also known as Pura Taman Ayun and Mengwi Temple) forms part of Bali’s UNESCO World Heritage Site. With some 50 buildings, including many tiered shrines, a moat, river, park, gardens, and streams, Taman Ayun is one of Indonesia’s most beautiful Hindu temples.
Most often visited as one stop on a day trip from south Bali or Ubud, Taman Ayun Temple—dating back to 1634—is designed to symbolize the mythological home of Hindu gods, Mount Meru, floating on the sea of eternity.
The vast grounds are much less busy than other popular Bali temples, such as the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, Tanah Lot, or Uluwatu, although it is a regular destination for Bali cultural tours. A guide is not required but can improve the experience as Balinese Hindu beliefs are complex.
Things to Know Before You Go
- A must-do for fans of history, culture, and architecture.
- Sarongs, a must at most Balinese temples, can be rented on-site.
- The busy local market by the temple is a good spot for great-value local bites.
How to Get There
About 5 miles (8 kilometers) from Tabanan, just outside the bustling town of Mengwi, Taman Ayun Temple is on “bemo” minibus routes and some bus routes from Denpasar, but these can be hard to access if you don’t speak Indonesian. Whether coming from Ubud or south Bali, most prefer to self-drive, hire a private driver, or enjoy the convenience of an organized Bali tour with round-trip transport.
When to Get There
Taman Ayun Temple is open year-round and at its most colorful during the major Balinese festivals and specific celebrations unique to the temple itself. It is generally quieter during the morning, which is also a good bet for avoiding showers during Bali’s rainy season (roughly October to March).
Bali’s Water Temples
UNESCO recognizes Bali’s rice terrace landscapes and water temples with a World Heritage listing. Taman Ayun Temple is the most architecturally important of the temples, which include Ulun Danu Bratan. To put Taman Ayun Temple in context, it’s worth making a stop at another water temple, perhaps Tanah Lot.