On the way home from the luwak coffee plantation, our driver offered to stop at the Bat Temple so we could check it out on the way back to Ubud. I figured it would be a cool temple with maybe some bat sculptures or something, so I agreed, and was excited to visit.
We arrived at the temple walls, it was across the road from a beautiful black sand beach, and it looked similar to other temples we’d visited in Bali, maybe a bit busier.
I made my way inside, stopping to chat with a few people and getting a sacred belt that everyone needs to wear in order to enter the temple. I wandered around the grounds for a bit, admiring the architecture, and eventually headed toward the main dais.
As I walked up the steps toward the altar, I heard a strange high pitch noise, but I couldn’t really tell what it was. I stopped about 10 feet away from the altar, which was positioned right in the entrance of the cave, and I thought it was strange that the beautifully carved figures and floral offerings on the altar were all covered in something white.
At about the same moment I realized that, I happened to glance just above the altar to the opening of the cave, and that’s when I saw the bats. Thousands of bats, hanging together, moving, squeaking, occasionally flying back into the cave.
It was quite literally horrifying, especially since my attitude toward bats can basically be summed up thusly:
To quote Ace Ventura, “Have you ever seen a bat? They’re hideous! Lifeless, beady eyes; clawed feet; huge, grotesque wings, and fangs! They give you rabies, you know!”
It was kind of like a car accident, I couldn’t look away, but I did manage to take a few pictures and get a video. I didn’t think anyone would believe me if I didn’t have evidence.
The temple is actually very sacred, you can learn more about it here, and the architecture is beautiful. The temple grounds isn’t very big, so it doesn’t take long to see the whole thing, and it’s definitely not something you’ll soon forget.