Goa Gajah The Elephant Cave at Gianyar Bali
Goa Gajah or Elephant Cave is one of the iconic tourist attractions in Bali. It is located near Ubud and most travel companies include this tourist attraction for part of Ubud tour.
To travel smart in Blai, it is recommended to hire a private van with drive which cost around 300,000 RP and above a day. Usuually, the driver can speaks fluent English and we tipped them at the end of the day as they don’t really earn much.
Goa Gajah is built in the 9th century as a sanctuary. This site is mentioned in the Javanese poem Desawamana in 1365 and the place is fully restored in the 1950s.
The bathing place is built to ward off evil spirits as the locals believed. Goa Gajah is added to UNESCO World Heritage List on October 19, 1995 as part of the Cultural Category.
Everyone has to pay a small entrance fees and you are required to wear a “sarong” (kilt) if you are wearning shorts or mini skirts. This is a norm for most temples in Bali and it is a formality to respect the temple.
This was the bathing area. It was rumored that the “maharaja” (great king) used to bath here so the water here considered very “pure” or clean.
The bathing area was built in more than 700 years ago and it is restored to its best. You can spot the natural erosion on the stones but most of the structure is still intact.
The water in the bathing area is believed as its purest form and it can fend off “evil” spirits or bad luck (for some). Thus, we took a few sips fo the water and washed our faces. This natural water is very clear, cooling and refreshing. The locals will bath with this water.
The highlight of the Goa Gajah is the Elephant Cave. It is a beautiful cave entrance with stone carving from the past. The sculptures are piece of art and it has been there for centuries and taken its beating through the weather and natural erosion. Everyone can enter the cave.
There are also smaller pieces of sculptures around the temple and most of them are still well preserved.
This the huge tree we spotted in Goa Gajah and it has been here for some time. If you notice that there is a cloth with bleck and white checker wrapped around the tree. It is believed to protect the tree from curses, black magic and evil spirits. If you travel around Bali, you will spot more trees with cloths like this.
The iconic Balinese arch part of the local architecture can be spotted here.
Tips for first timer to Bali. There will be “guides” at the front of the entrance or in the compound who will approach you nicely and explained the history of the place. If you follow them, they will ask for “tips” as part of their service. You can always ignore them by walking away.
When you exit the Goa Gajah, there is a small shopping market selling souvenirs, shirts and such. This is a common sight in Bali and you can bargain the price with them.
We hope you enjoy our story on our experiences and tips on Goa Gajah. Happy holiday in Bali!