Goa Gajah translates directly as ‘elephant cave’ and is an ancient archeological site named after the statue of Ganesha, a Hindu god . It is unknown just how old the site is but it was part of the religious grounds during the Balinese empire of Bedahulu that ended sometime during the 14th century.
Located about 4kms south of Ubud, Goa Gajah consists of a series of tunnels and underground caves with interesting hand carvings throughout. Being a shrine featuring many ancient gods, there are lots of different sized statues that have been adorned by the locals in special coloured and patterned fabrics.
The site is incredibly serene; lush rainforest and beautiful native flowers are a recurring theme, with piles of moss covered rocks with faces carved in them that will haunt you at every turn. Extensive networks of bridges and stairs connect different pockets of the Goa Gajah grounds and will lead you through the dense jungle.
You will need to purchase a ticket to enter and there you will also have the option to pay a local to act as a guide for your time visiting Goa Gajah, just make sure you agree on a set priced before embarking on a tour. Entry fee for children is IR7,500 and IR15,000 for adults. You will be expected to dress very modestly (chest, shoulders and knees covered) as a sign of respect, so of course there is sarong hire available on arrival. Also, like many ancient temples in Asia, ladies are encouraged not to attend if it is that time of the month. To access most of this site you will need to have a moderate level of fitness as there are lots of steep moss covered stairs.