Temple scams

Pura Besakih Travel Blog

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Scenery around Tulamben

People i met here who contributed to, and improved my trip: Julia (Russia)

The journey from Tulamben to Pura Besakih was a struggle, especially after having done 2 dives in the morning. Thankfully the weather was fantastic and the scenery equally pleasing. Our journey took us past lush rice terraces and up steep mountain roads, until we eventually reached our destination some 3 hours later.

When we arrived on site, we were greeted by official ticket sellers offering us a guide service, which we politely declined. They then insisted we had to rent sarongs and seemed annoyed when we pulled 2 out of our day bag. Not to be detered from trying to get our money, once we had entered the temple complex, we were approached by a 'temple guardian' who offered to accompany us.

Pura Besakih Temple
We explained we didn't want a tour and just wanted to walk around on our own. He then informed us that we couldn't approach the temple without a 'temple guardian' and if we ignored this advice then we could be arrested! I knew that we couldn't enter the temple - its the same at all Hindu temples - but told him i was sure we could at least walk around. He told us we couldn't, so i said that we would rather leave than been bullied into a tour.

After this, he told us that he would do it for free, but we told him we just wanted some peace and quiet to walk around and how it was pretty disgraceful that they could sell tickets and not inform you that you couldn't actually see the temple without paying more! He then told us to at least go to the temple gate with him and we agreed to this.

After a couple of minutes he finally cottoned on that we really didn't want him there and he told us that he had in fact been lying.

Pura Besakih Temple
He said it was fine to walk around the temple but we were not allowed to tell any other tourists that it was just a scam!!! He said that if they knew that it wasn't illegal, then they wouldn't get as much money, and it was their job afterall! This really incensed me and as we walked around the temple, we saw many other people in similar arguements over the issue, almost all of whom buckled and took the guide.

The temple itself is set over 100m up Gunung Agung, Bali's largest volcano. It is composed of 35 seperate temples and we spent our time looking around (the outside of) each one thoroughly. In the central temple, there were locals making offerings and once you got away from the touts, it was a pretty peaceful place to be. Sadly, time was once again ticking on and we had to make it all the way back down to Kuta in the south of Bali. I contemplated complaining on the way out about the guides, but i think the ticket sellers/sarong renters were all in it together, so didn't even bother.

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Scenery around Tulamben
Scenery around Tulamben
Pura Besakih Temple
Pura Besakih Temple
Pura Besakih Temple
Pura Besakih Temple
Scenery around Tulamben
Scenery around Tulamben
Pura Besakih Temple
Pura Besakih Temple
People going to Pura Besakih Templ…
People going to Pura Besakih Temp…
Pura Besakih
photo by: Deats