Mengwi The Ancient Capital Of Bali: Your Complete Guide To What’s There

Mengwi is both a district and a village in Bali and it offers a more traditional experience of the island than the beach towns and even Ubud can offer.

Our guide to Mengwi will show you what to expect if you visit the area and how much fun you can have by getting a little bit off the beaten path here in Bali.

Where Is Mengwi?


Mengwi Province can be found between Denpasar and Tabanan and it runs from Seseh Beach to almost halfway to Ubud.

The village is found almost exactly in the centre of the province.

How To Get To And Around Mengwi?

Anonymous driver at steering wheel and riding car in summer

Given that the place covers a large area, it’s probably best to either use the services of a private driver who can take you from location to location on your trip without any hassle or to rent a scooter (something we just don’t recommend because it’s too easy to have an accident and insurance can be a nightmare).

When Is The Best Time To Visit Mengwi?

Given the variety of things to do in the area, there’s no bad time of year for a trip to Mengwi. The wet season will see the lush countryside in full bloom and the waterfalls at their most powerful.

The dry season will offer less rain and a cooler climate ideal for visiting the temples.

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The Major Tourist Attractions In And Around Mengwi

Taman Ayun Temple “Mengwi Royal Temple”

taman ayun temple bali indonesia

Pura Taman Ayun Temple is a compound that features both a Balinese temple and a delightful and beautiful garden with some incredible water features and wooden carvings.

The researcher, Henk Schulte Nordholt, claims that the temple of Taman Ayun was fully renovated in 1750.

It is part of the only official UNESCO World Heritage site listing in Bali and has been featured in the TV program Around the World in 80 Gardens! Bali temples don’t get much better than this.

Pererenan Beach

pererenan beach

This black sand beach is a lovely stretch of about 500 meters of coastline. It’s one of the nicest black sand beaches for water sports.

Surfers love the breaks here in the Indian Ocean and many visitors come just to appreciate the dramatic sunset from the shore.

Seseh Beach

seseh beach 12

This is one of Bali’s more traditional golden sand beaches and it’s also very popular with surfers.

The waves tend to be soft and fun and beginners will appreciate the chance to improve their skills after mastering the challenge of Kuta Beach.

Taman Anyar (Traditional Balinese Village)

This charming agrotourism location is set up to try and help tourists better understand what it is to be Balinese.

You can learn about the culture and history of the land and see how the farming process works. It’s also a great spot for photography. We’d also recommend taking your drone if you have one (just make sure to read up on the use of drones in Bali, first). 

Ogoh-Ogoh Museum

what is ogoh ogoh

The Ogoh Ogoh are effigies of demons and monsters that are paraded through the streets of Bali before Nyepi (the day of silence) and they traditionally meet their end on a bonfire as the parades come to a conclusion.

If you want to see them at any other time of year, this charming little museum is the perfect place to come.

Tanah Wuk Lookout

Most people only come to the Tanah Wuk lookout for a quick snap (which is worth the 10,000 IDR entry fee – this is a very pretty place).

However, if you follow the stairs down the hill here, you can also enter an interesting cave complex which makes for even more great photos and your entry fee for Tanah Wuk covers this cave complex too.

Pura Gede Luhur Batu Ngaus

This 17th-century temple is often considered to be a mini-Tanah Lot and despite the fact that it’s equally charming, it gets far fewer visitors. Temples like this surrounded by nature are one of the reasons we love Bali so much.

If you want that dramatic Bali sunset image of a temple at sea, you could do much worse than visit Mengening Beach and take it here.

Crocodile And Reptile Park (Indonesia Jaya Park)

Fresh water crocodile native animal in northern Australia, stu

This is a relatively small park and people often combine a visit here with a visit to the nearby Bali Bird Park.

You can see many of the native reptiles and some saltwater crocodiles. It takes less than an hour to tour the exhibits unless you really like creatures with scales.

Manusa Yadnya Museum

This museum was established in 1974 and it aims to help visitors to the island better understand the different Hindu rituals that a Balinese person will participate in during the course of their life.

It’s actually in the same complex as Taman Ayun Temple, so if you think it sounds interesting, you won’t have to go out of your way to enjoy it.

Sadha Temple

This temple has an interesting outer wall made of red brick. It was built in the 18th century and would have been an important sanctuary for the royal family of the old kingdom here.

The 54 shrines behind the main temple are dedicated to 54 locals who are said to have fought to bring home the ashes of one of the rulers and perished while doing so.

It’s not one of the most important temples in Bali but there’s no doubt that it’s one of the most interesting.

Pura Taman Beji Waringin Pitu

This is a place for water purification rituals and it’s just outside of the Kapal Village.

The waters of the Yeh Penet River flow nearby and everyone is welcome to bathe here and find some spiritual peace.

Junglegold (fromerly Pod Chocolate Factory & Outlet)

If you love boutique chocolate made in a European style and want to eat it sat outside the factory in a bamboo-fronted cafe, you’re going to love this place.

Tanah Lot

Pura Tanah Lot

If you love amazing temples, you’re bound to love this place. At low tide, you can walk out to the island and see the temple in all its glory.

As the sun sets, you can get one of the best photographs of temples anywhere in Bali as this temple situated on an island glows in the light breaking over the ocean.

Jatiluwuh Rice Terraces

rice terraces in the summer unesco world heritage 2023 11 27 05 15 02 utc

These UNESCO-listed rice terraces are among the most awe-inspiring natural sights in Bali. The irrigation system used here is one of the oldest in continuous use anywhere in the world.

Take a camera, for sure, but stop to talk to the locals and you will learn an immense amount about Bali’s agricultural life.

Pengempu Waterfall

This small and secluded waterfall offers the chance for some dramatic Instagram moments and it’s also one of the less visited waterfalls here in Bali.

That means you can often enjoy the spectacle all to yourself, particularly, if you get there in the early part of the day.

Cycle Tours

Woman is riding bicycle by narrow country road

This is a great region for a cycle tour as the roads through the villages and rice paddies tend to be less busy than they are elsewhere on the island.

Badung Market or Pasar Badung

This is the busiest traditional market in Bali and if you want a truly authentic Balinese shopping experience, it’s unmissable. Be prepared to haggle though if you want a bargain, it’s not for the faint-hearted.

Sunset Dinner Cruise

Why not arrange a different view of Bali and book a sunset cruise to enjoy dinner while floating down the coastline? Talk to the Bali Res Centre (details in the FAQs) to book.

Where To Stay?

If you want an excellent hotel in Mengwi, you won’t have any problems finding a comfy place to stay and you will be surrounded by natural beauty.

Wasabi Hotel

It’s a short walk to Pererenan Beach from this hotel and it’s very popular with surfers. The outdoor pool area at this hotel is lovely and there’s a decent bar too.

Where Is It? Jl. Pantai Pererenan, Pererenan, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80351, Indonesia

Sukhavati Ayurvedic Retreat And Spa

This is a very exclusive private villa retreat and they have a range of salt-water pools and a really good Ayurvedic Spa for top-quality treatments.

Where Is It? Br Bebengan, Jl. Raya Tangeb, Abianbase, Badung Regency, Bali 80351, Indonesia

Desa Hay

There are only 6 villas to choose from at this lovely boutique resort and they have done a great job of integrating it with the local community.

Where Is It? Jl. Raya Tumbakbayuh – Pererenan No.Raya, Canggu, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia

Amar Boutique Hotel

This family-run hotel was built entirely from local materials and the hotel is in a beautiful spot overlooked by the two most famous volcanoes in Bali. The rooms are great.

Where Is It? Jl. Munduk Kedungu No.11, Pererenan, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80351, Indonesia

Sejuk Beach Villas

This beachfront resort has a range of luxurious villas to choose from each with a private pool, fully equipped kitchen and more. You won’t believe you’re just a 20-minute drive from Seminyak here!

Where Is It? Jl. Pantai Seseh, Munggu, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80391, Indonesia

Shanti Toya

This exceptional yoga retreat is a tranquil sanctuary in the natural world that offers an escape from the trappings of modernity.

Where Is It? Tebe Kurung, Br. Umahanyar, Penarungan, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80351, Indonesia

Angin Sepoi Resort

This is an exceptional villa estate with direct access to the beach and some of the best surf breaks in the world.

Where Is It? 84XF+3MG, Banjar Pengembangan, Desa Pererenan, Badung, Bali, Indonesia

Kayu Bali Cemagi Guesthouse

This lovely spot has four authentic Javanese wooden houses for you to stay in and you will find yourself perfectly located for hikes through the rice fields.

Where Is It? cemagi, Jalan raya, Cemagi,Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80351, Indonesia

Balam Bali Villa

This resort is very close to Taman Ayun Temple and it’s set amongst some truly lush greenery. It’s got some major history too as it was once a pirate lair in the 17th century!

Where Is It? Jl.Teleng no.100, Baha, Banjar, Bali, Cengkok, Bali 80361, Indonesia

Amabalama Bali

Designed by the world-renowned architect Ernesto Bedmar this villa complex is gorgeous. The infinity pool view here is quite something.

Where Is It? Jl. Pantai Mengening, Cemagi, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, Indonesia

Where To Eat?

There are plenty of great places to eat located in Mengwi and around the area including:


If you love wraps and Mexican food, you should love this place. It’s the best fast-food place in the area.

Where Is It? Jl. By Pass Tanah Lot, Cemagi, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80351, Indonesia

Warung YESS

This is a great warung for authentic Balinese food and the hospitality you recieve here is first class. They make some excellent cocktails too.

Where Is It? Mengwi, Kuta Utara, Jl. Pantai Pererenan, Pererenan, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80351, Indonesia


Sawah Bali

This hidden gem has some of the most incredible views of the local countryside out there. The food is top notch too.

Temporarily Closed: As we go to press this popular destination is closed for refurbishment. Please contact the restaurant in advance before you travel to ensure that it has reopened.

Where Is It? Jl. Raya Tangeb No.45, Kapal,Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80351, Indonesia

Warung Sushitoo

If you really want some sushi during your visit to the province, you can’t go wrong with the low-cost but high-quality sushi here.

Where Is It? Jl. Raya Munggu Jl. By Pass Tanah Lot No.depan, Cemagi, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80351, Indonesia

Beer E Pizza

This is a great place for casual international dining, there’s nothing authentically Indonesian on the menu, but sometimes, that’s just fine.

Where Is It? Jl. Pantai Pererenan No.172, Pererenan, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80351, Indonesia

Babi Guling Jero Kawan

As you can tell from the name of the place, this restaurant specializes in suckling pig and it’s very, very good. Vegans might want to give it a miss though.

Where Is It? 94PJ+M4M, Jl. Raya Munggu No.6, Munggu, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80351, Indonesia

Wasabi Sushi Bar

Yes, a second excellent Japanese restaurant in the province! The sushi here is very good and portions are generous to a fault.

Where Is It? Jl. Pantai Pererenan, Pererenan, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80351, Indonesia

JIB Fusion

Some of the best Indian food you’re likely to find in Bali and at very reasonable prices. You can’t go wrong with JIB.

Where Is It? Pererenan, Badung Regency, Bali 80351, Indonesia

Warung Bamboo

This BBQ restaurant absolutely nails the pork ribs and sate and you will be hungry to go back for more.

Where Is It? Jl. By Pass Munggu, Tanah Lot, Munggu, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80351, Indonesia

Warung Alus

This chilled-out beach bar is a great place for a bit of fresh seafood and an old-school Balinese vibe. Highly recommended.

Where Is It? Jl. Pantai Seseh, Munggu, Kabupaten Tabanan, Bali 82121, Indonesia

Other Interesting Places To Visit Outside Of Mengwi

Kumbasari Art Market

This is a popular place nearby that draws people looking for local arts, handicrafts and souvenirs such as contemporary paintings, batik clothing, etc.

Sanur Beach

sunrise over fishing boats on Bali

Sanur Beach is one of the most pleasant beaches in Bali and you will find that you can escape the crowds and enjoy some quiet time here.


How Long Should I Spend In Mengwi?

If you just intend to visit the village and Taman Ayun Temple grounds with its exquisite architectural features then half a day is probably sufficient to see what you’ve come for, buy souvenirs, and move on.

However, the sacred area covered by the old Mengwi Empire has some of the most beautiful temples in Bali and there’s an extensive variety of things to do here.

The area won’t ever be featured in a Bali shopping guide or a list of the best shopping centers but we think that’s one of the reasons it’s such a lovely place to visit.

The Badung Market is the best shopping area in the region and it’s one of the most popular places with tourists too.

However, you can buy the best fresh produce from the local markets, and pick up some Ikat weave clothes in the village and nature lovers will be thrilled with the lush greenery hereabouts.

Is Bali Over Touristed?

No, but there is definitely an argument to be made that some of the most popular places in Bali such as Kuta or Seminyak can be too busy during the peak season.

However, if you get out of the beach towns and head up to places like Mengwi, you will soon discover a different side of the island.

Away from the modern shopping centers and nightlife, there’s a calmer, more spiritual side to this heavenly place and it’s the reason that so many people have fallen in love with Bali over the years.

The beaches are fantastic in Bali but visitors deserve to see more of this land than just beaches and once you’ve seen the sunset over the rice fields, you will want to escape the crowds more often and enjoy some of the top attractions inland too.

If every trip to Bali took a more balanced approach to seeing the island, the visitors would be far more spread out and claims of overtourism would rapidly disappear.

What Is The Most Northern Town In Bali?

Singaraja is the most Northern town of consequence in Bali and it’s also the second biggest city in the land.

Mengwi is in the center of the country and it’s about a 2 hour drive from Mengwi to Singaraja.

How To Book A Holiday In Mengwi?

No matter where you want to visit in Bali, we always recommend you book your holiday through the Bali Res Centre.

They can ensure your holiday is full of exactly what you want from your break in Bali from artful jewelry to yoga studios to trips to Taman Ayun Temple or Besakih Temple, they’ve got you covered.

They are a local travel service that specializes in Balinese holidays which means you always get competitive prices from them and that every penny you spend with them, stays on the island.

Final Thoughts On Mengwi

Mengwi is a charming part of the island which not every tourist will get to see.

We think it’s a lovely place to spend some time on your Bali holiday, particularly if you’re looking for a change of pace from the beach towns.

Of course, before you leave the beach towns, you should drop in at FINNS, the world’s best beach club, to have a drink for your future endeavours.

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