Pura Rambut Siwi

West Bali

Picturesquely situated on a clifftop overlooking a long, wide stretch of black-sand beach, this superb temple shaded by flowering frangipani trees is one of the important sea temples of west Bali. Like Pura Tanah Lot and Pura Luhur Ulu Watu, it was established in the 16th century by the priest Nirartha, who had a good eye for ocean scenery. Unlike Tanah Lot, it remains a peaceful and little-visited place: on non-ceremony days you'll just find a couple of lonely drink vendors.

Legend has it that when Nirartha first came here, he donated some of his hair to the local villagers. The hair is now kept in a box buried in a three-tiered meru (multitiered shrine), the name of which means 'Worship of the Hair'. Although the main meru is inaccessible, you can view it easily through the gate. The entire temple is reached by an imposing set of stone stairs from the parking area.

The caretaker rents sarongs for 2000Rp and is happy to show you around the temple and down to the beach. He will then open the guestbook and request a donation – a suitable sum is about 10,000Rp (regardless of the much higher amounts attributed to previous visitors). A path along the cliff leads to a staircase down to a small and even older temple, Pura Penataran.

The temple is located between Air Satang and Yeh Embang, 7km west of Medewi and 48km east of Gilimanuk. The broad 500m road to the site through lovely rice fields is well signposted; look for the turn-off near a cluster of warung on the Tabanan–Gilimanuk main road.