Information before you go
The Buleleng temples are located in the North-East of Bali in the Buleleng region. This region is known for its quiet farmer villages, black beaches and its beautifully decorated temples. Some of Bali's finest temples are found here.
When you drive around the island you might see there are some differences between the temples in the south and north of the island. The reason for the big difference is the type of stone from which the temples of Buleleng are built.
Beautifully carved out of volcanic sandstone
In the north there is availability of volcanic sandstone, which makes carving easier.
Sandstone has enabled the Balinese craftsmen to sculpt all kinds of decorations in the temple walls some of which are very complex, such as three-dimensional demons.
The wall sculptures are traditional pictures of daily or religious stories; however the Balinese love caricatures which has resulted in many funny depictions as well.
Dutch colonists with music instruments
There are even carvings that show how life was not so long ago: boats of the Dutch occupier being attacked by sea monsters or their airplanes falling from the sky and, funny but true, sculptures of fat Europeans.
After a closer look you can see that many of these stone carvings are very detailed and show real complicated craftsmanship.
The most amazing and funny temple decorations can be found in Sangsit, Jagaraga, Kubutambahan and Yeh Sanih.
Funny depiction at the Pura Dalem
All these villages are located on the east side of Singaraja and are easy to reach, whether you travel by public bus or with your own transport.
In Sangsit you can find the Pura Beji. This temple was built in the 15th century during the highlight of the Majapahit and is considered one of the oldest temples in Bali.
The Pura Beji is a subak temple, which means that it is dedicated to the goddess Dewi Sri who protects the irrigated rice fields. This temple if fully decorated with wall sculptures of demons, snakes and devils.
Pura Beji, dedicated to the goddess Dewi Sri and one of the
oldest temples in Bali
Not far from this temple is another one that is worth visiting. At the Pura Dalem you can see wall sculptures of scenes of punishment in the afterlife. These stories are humorous and erotic which are meant to scare away demons.
The unusual Pura Maduwe Karang is located in Kubutambahan. This temple is “the temple of the landowner” and here the gods are worshiped to ensure successful harvests of crops on un-irrigated lands.
Monico, my sister and me at the Pura Maduwe Karang
The temple is one of the biggest in Bali and it is often said to be one of the nicest as well. Like the other temples, the wall sculptures are really nice to see.
The most famous wall sculpture is of a Dutch man riding a bicycle with wheels of flowers. The cyclist is W. Nieuwenkamp, a famous Dutch painter who in the 20th century cycled around the island.
The painter Nieuwenkamp on his bicycle at the Pura Maduwe Karang
If you are travelling along the coast of North Bali than you should try to stop at least at one of the temples in the Buleleng regency to see the beautiful and surprising carvings in the temple walls.
Mount Batur is one of the popular mountains for hiking. But if you are not into hiking you can also head to Kintamani to admire the wonderful view over the crater and lake.Read more
Up for a refreshing experience? Head to the Sing Sing Waterfalls near Lovina. Here you can jump into the small natural pools and swim under the waterfalls.Read more
Not far from Bedugul within the Botanical garden you can find the Bali Tree Top. Here you can climb up trees, walk over ropes and admire the forest from above.Read more
Now and then people send us inspiring emails and this generates even more enthusiasm to share all of the things we know about this lovely island in the hope that you can plan your tropical holiday properly and have as such a great time as we always have. Hope to see you there!
When I wrote the mail I never really expected a reply. I might have expected a computer generated but never a personally written one. The information you provided is invaluable, thank you so very much. I have been using your website as a bible through Bali. Through your recommendation, I will be heading to Ubud then follow the sightseeing route to the coast of Candidasa.
WOW...what an awesome website. I could only dream that there would be a website like this for all our travel destinations! You guys have done an fabulous job and now, I am sooo excited about our upcoming trip to Bali. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure Bali was the place for us considering some of the travel warnings (we are Americans). But I can tell from your experiences that the Bali people are so very kind and peaceful.
hi and congratulations on the blog it s brilliant and helpful....we are going to Bali in September with my family (including 2 little girls) so we need to have nice spaceous rooms garden and pool access rooms preferably in Semikyak but not too far from it all...I hope you can recommend a great place thats not full of Australian crowds as we like meeting people from other countries.
Hi, I have been travelling for years and I want to say that this website is the best I have EVER come across. It is easy to navigate, it is really descriptive, gives all the info that you could ever want and is accompanied by the best photos and advice. GREAT.