Insiders Guide to Gianyar, Bali: Fascinating History & Natural Beauty

Gianyar Guide: Who should go to Gianyar and what are the best things to see and do in the area? Read on for the most exciting adventures and interesting cultural and historical sites in Bali’s second most populous regency.

What is Gianyar best known for?

Gianyars's landscapes range from beaches to rice fields, to waterfalls - perfect for adventurous travellers!
Gianyar’s landscapes range from beaches to rice fields, to waterfalls – perfect for adventurous travellers!

Gianyar is the second most populated regency of Bali and is home to the popular tourist destination of Ubud. Bali’s cultural capital is surrounded by many fascinating historic sites and areas of natural beauty, so Gianyar has a lot to offer adventurous travellers! From canyons to beaches, the landscape of Gianyar is beautifully diverse and just begging to be explored. If you plan to learn more about Balinese history, traditions and culture during your stay, Gianyar is also home to several art galleries and temples.

Price Good for Airport Kids Culture Beaches Dining Nightlife Surf Spa & Yoga
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Who should go to Gianyar

Gianyar’s diverse scenery and opportunities for exploration make the region ideal for adventurous travellers. Couples, groups and solo travellers will especially enjoy immersing themselves in Bali’s nature, culture and history!

When should you go to Gianyar?

For the weather

The annual temperature in Gianyar remains fairly stable throughout the year, hovering between 25 – 26 C ( 77 – 79 F). Rainfall can be heavy throughout December, January and February, however. For sunny days and lower humidity levels, visit in the dry season months from April to September.

To beat the crowds

Gianyar is fairly quiet throughout the year, with the exception of Ubud. This popular little town sees a large influx of visitors during the high season in July and August. To beat the crowds (and find cheaper accommodation) time your arrival for the low season months between October and March, or visit in May, June, or September.

For the coolest events
Festivals in Bali are always a lot of fun

Most of Gianyar’s biggest and most popular festivals take place in Ubud, the regency’s most popular tourist destination. Don’t miss:

Ubud Food Festival

Where? The Festival Hub (and various other venues around Ubud)

When? April

A three-day celebration of traditional Indonesian cuisine, the Ubud Food Festival is heaven for dining enthusiasts. Featuring dozens of culinary classes, workshops and thought-provoking presentations throughout the festival, this is a must-do for foodies in Ubud.

Ubud Writers & Readers Festival

Where? Jalan Raya Sanggingan

When? October

The world-famous Ubud Writers & Readers Festival brings together authors and literature lovers from around the globe. This 5-day October festival features stunning live performance as well as dozens of artistic and literary events.

Bali Spirit Festival

Where? Bali Purnati Center for the Arts

When? April

This 7-day yoga and wellness festival runs throughout the last week of April in Ubud and hosts internationally recognized yogis from around the world. Yoga, dance, music and spiritual healing are at the heart of the Bali Spirit Festival’s philosophy, and the event schedule is packed with activities, seminars and workshops. 

Things to see and do in Gianyar

Go surfing at Keramas beach

Bali’s volcanic, black-sand beaches have a unique beauty that’s quite unlike that of the golden beaches in the south. Keramas beach is one such spot and is a must-see for visitors to Gianyar. Located to the east of Denpasar, Keramas Beach stretches across 10 miles of inky-black coastline, as is especially breathtaking at sunset.

This beach is also one of Bali’s most famous surf spots, with a fast, powerful swell to challenge intermediate and advanced surfers.

Visit Keramas Beach in the south of Gianyar for unique scenery and epic surf!
Visit Keramas Beach in the south of Gianyar for unique scenery and epic surf!
Visit the Goa Gajah (‘Elephant Cave’) Temple

The Goa Gajah (or ‘Elephant Cave’) Temple is located just outside of Ubud and is one of the most popular religious sites to visit in Gianyar. This historic temple was built as a sanctuary for spiritual meditation and dates all the way back to the Bali Kingdom of the 11th century.

Intricate stone carvings around the temple and cave are what makes the place unique. The carvings of Goa Gajah depict both Buddhist and Hindu symbols and include images of Shiva and Ganesha.

This historic temple is a fascinating place to wander around and the grounds surrounding the complex are beautiful. Make sure you leave enough time to explore the waterfalls and ponds of the lush gardens after your visit to the temple!

The unique carvings of Goa Gajah are a must-see in Gianyar.
The unique carvings of Goa Gajah are a must-see in Gianyar.
Soak up some culture at the Agung Rai Museum of Art

The Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) can be found in the town of Ubud, one of the most popular places to visit in Gianyar. This art gallery and cultural centre is a celebration of both visual and performance art, so it’s the perfect place to learn more about Balinese culture and traditions while you’re in Gianyar!

ARMA houses a large collection of traditional and contemporary artworks, and their permanent exhibit features pieces from Balinese, Indonesian and international artists. The centre also hosts regular theatrical performances, dance, music and painting classes, as well as various other workshops and courses.

Pay a visit to ARMA while you’re in Gianyar, for a fascinating and immersive cultural experience in Bali.

Trek through Tjampuhan Sacred Hills

The Tjampuhan ridge passes through the Tjampuhan Scared Hills, high above the town of Ubud. The trail is best-known for its scenic views of the surrounding hills and fields, so it’s a great chance to immerse yourself in the greenery of Gianyar.

This rambling, 12 km trail meanders through lush fields, rice paddies and forests and concludes at the Tjampuhan Temple. The Tjampuhan trail is an easy trek, with art galleries, cafes and miles upon miles of sensational scenery along the way.

Take in Gianyar's sensational scenery with a walk through the Tjam
Take in Gianyar’s sensational scenery with a walk through the Tjam
Bali Pulina

Bali is famous for its Kopi Luwak, a type of coffee made with the help of the Asian Palm Civet. First, the berries are fed to the Civets, which pass naturally through their digestive tracts. These are then dried in the sun for one week. The resultant ‘cat-poo’ coffee beans are prized for their unique flavour and are widely considered to be the best in the world. To learn more about the production process and try the coffee for yourself, pay a visit to the Bali Pulina plantation in Gianyar.

Here you can take a tour of the stunning agro-gardens, take a look at the Luwaks and enjoy a coffee overlooking beautiful views of the surrounding rice terraces.

Kopi Luwak is one of the best (and most expensive...and most unusual) coffee in the world.
Kopi Luwak is one of the best (and most expensive…and most unusual) coffee in the world.
Batuan Temple

This traditional Hindu Temple in Batuan Village is well worth a visit while you’re in Gianyar. The elaborate sculptures and carvings of the Batuan Temple are typical of traditional Balinese architecture and date back 1000 years. This ancient and beautifully maintained temple is easily accessible by taxi from Ubud and is a great place to broaden your understanding and appreciation of Balinese culture.

Batuan Temple is home to many stunning examples of traditional Balinese architecture and carvings.
Batuan Temple is home to many stunning examples of traditional Balinese architecture and carvings.
Blangsinga Waterfall

Blangsinga Waterfall is located just 10 km outside of Ubud and is a great alternative to the beach in Gianyar. These powerful falls cascade into a large pool at the bottom, which is perfect for swimming and cooling off in Bali’s tropical heat!

Steep stone steps lead all the way up to the top of the falls, where you can enjoy spectacular scenic views. The best time to visit Blangsinga is first thing in the morning before the crowds arrive to escape the midday heat.

Off the beaten path…

Hidden Canyon Beji Guwang

For adventurous travellers, the Beji Guwang Hidden Canyon is an unmissable day trip in Gianyar! This breathtaking canyon, formed over millennia by erosion from the river, is a stunning example of Bali’s raw, natural beauty. Located in Guwang Village, the canyon can be a little difficult to find. As a result, the area is quiet, peaceful and unspoiled.

The best way to explore this hidden gem is through an organized trek, during which experienced guides will lead you through the canyon. Be prepared to scramble, slip and climb as you traverse the rocks and rivers of this deep and beautiful gorge! The Hidden Canyon’s magically diverse beauty is not to be missed and varies between rock cliff views, natural formations and lush rice paddies.

Where to eat in Gianyar

Warong Legong

Warong Legong is located near Keramas on the south coast of Gianyar and serves delicious food across a range of international cuisines. From Balinese to Italian, Warong Legong has something to suit everyone and their service and atmosphere are exceptional!

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Putu’s Wild Ginger

For simple, delicious and healthy food while you’re in Ubud, check out Puta’s Wild Ginger. This cozy spot tucked off the main road in Ubud has a welcoming atmosphere and touching backstory, not to mention outstanding food!

 

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Pica South American Kitchen

Pica can be found in the popular tourist town of Ubud and is the best place in Gianyar for Peruvian cuisine. The ceviche here is especially popular and all of Pica’s dishes are expertly prepared using the freshest of ingredients.

Where to stay in Gianyar

For convenience

The central town of Ubud is by far Gianyar’s most popular tourist destination, so it’s home to many of the regency’s restaurants and shops. It is easy to find comfortable and luxurious accommodation in the area and many of Gianyar’s main attractions are just a short drive away.

To be by the sea

If you’re more into oceans and beaches than forests and waterfalls, stay further south in Gianyar. Keramas is well-known for its incredible black-sand beach and is also great for surfing. This area also has plenty of shops, restaurants and bars, for a relaxing and convenient holiday in Bali.

Renting a villa in Gianyar

Gianyar is one of the best places to rent a luxury villa during your trip to Bali, especially if you plan to stay in Ubud. Villas like The Alamanda Villa are the perfect place to unwind, relax and share stories after a day out exploring Gianyar’s rugged landscapes!

Outdoor area at Villa Alamanda
Outdoor area at Villa Alamanda

Other places to stay in Gianyar