Pura Ponjok Batu is a little removed from the tourist trail and offers a more personal experience than the other temples that I visited. My visit started with a sprinkling (an excessive sprinkling) of holy water by an ancient priest with coke bottle (really thick) glasses. He then pressed some rice into my forehead and chest. He became frustrated when it wouldn’t stick due to my sweatiness ( a long motorcycle ride). It was quite common to see Balinese with bits of rice pressed into their forehead at any time and any place (for example hotel reception). I quite enjoyed the whole process even though I had water in my ear and a fair amount of rice falling down my shirt.
The 500 year old temple itself is a physically imposing complex built of volcanic rock. It is spectacularly built on a thin piece of land between the north coastal highway and the ocean. According to legend a Lombok fisherman’s boat sank and he was helped ashore by a priest. Afterward they carved a boat statue that remains slightly offshore to this day. Unrelated to the temple they found a 5000 year old sarcophagus during the 1990’s renovations.
How to get there – It is located 15-20 kilometers east of Singaraja on the main road.
What to see – It is a physically imposing temple that isn’t full of tourists. Outside of the temple there is a 500 year old boat statue 10-20 meters offshore. There is also a big festival during the July full moon that was recommended by the guide.
Entrance cost – donation – I hired a guide (donation) and you write the amount in a ledger so everyone gets their share. I didn’t feel I was ever given a choice in hiring the guide but he was quite respectful and interesting and didn’t try to negotiate a higher donation (a common tactic in Bali).
Special requirements – all visitors must wear a sarong, sash and a head wrap (provided)
GPS – S8.092013 E115.272280
Date visited – 6/21/2015