This mysterious complex, two km east of the statue
of the dancer in the Teges intersection, is probably
the oldest excavated relic of ancient Balinese art.
Epigraphs found at this site date Goa Gajah ('Elephant
Cave') with certainty back to the 11th century,
about the time of King Airlangga's reign in East
Until 1923 the site was known only to local people,
and only in 1954 was an elaborate and extensive
bathing place discovered nearby. Today it's a major
The easily accessible man-made cave lies below
the road between Peliatan and Bedulu, on the side
of a steep ravine. It can be a restful place, especially
when there aren't mobs of tour buses disgorging
passengers onto the mammoth parking lot.
It's best to visit Goa Gajah either in early morning
or late afternoon to avoid the tour buses arriving
from the southern resorts. Soft 'rindik' music and
lyrical flute melodies waft from two expensive tourist
restaurants, Puri Suling, above the cave with a
lovely location overlooking rice terraces, and Sari
Gading, at the other end of the parking lot.
To get there, take a 'bemo' from Ubud to Teges
(four km), then continue by 'bemo' or walk two km
in the direction of Bedulu. The road from Teges
passes over the Petanu River just before reaching
Once over this bridge you've entered the Old Kingdom
of Pejeng, a long tongue of land between the Petanu
and Pakrisan Rivers strewn with Bali's most famous
and treasured monuments and relics. If coming from
the other direction, it's two kilometers from Bedulu.
You know you've arrived when you see the rows of
tacky curio stands selling batik, leather goods,
garments, carvings, baskets, and the usual tourist
crap, plus fruit, snacks, and drinks. You have to
pay parking fee, entrance fee, plus sash/sarong
rental if your legs are uncovered.
Open every day during daylight hours. A long flight
of steps leads down to the site. It's possible to
go on foot to Yeh Pulu from Goa Gajah, but the way
along 'sawah' dikes is a little tricky. Ask a local
boy to guide you.