Besakih is known as the Mother Temple of Bali. Besides being the most important temple for the whole of the island, another attraction of Besakih, actually a complex of temples, is its dramatic location on the southern slopes of Mount Agung, Bali's tallest mountain.
Like most major temples in Bali, the area surrounding Besakih is starting to take the shape of a small town, with many souvenir and eating shops.
Besakih is located in the eastern Bali regency of Karangasem.
The usual way to get to Besakih is from Semarapura or better known by its old name Klungkung. Besakih is about 20km north of Klungkung and the road is winding at several stretches.
There is also a "back" road to Besakih from Kintamani and the hour-long drive is beautiful as you pass through forests, villages and fields as you move from the slopes of the Batur caldera to that of Mount Agung. The road meets the main Besakih-Klungkung road just before the entrance to Besakih.
If you are coming from the eastern end of the island, such as from Amed, Tirta Gangga or even Candidasa, you can also get to Besakih by taking a smaller inland road from Amlapura. The road goes through small villages like Selat and the Bukit Putung lookout, and meets the Besakih-Klungkung road at Rendang, where you turn north/right to head to Besakih.
By public transport
The only way to move around the temples of Besakih is on foot. The complex gradually rises up the slopes of Gunung Agung and there are countless flights of steps. Be ready with a pair of comfortable shoes.
Most temple areas will be off-limits when religious events are being held. When there is nothing happening, you will probably be able to go in and look around from the side of the temple compound.
Warning: Besakih is overrun by aggressive touts and souvenir peddlers. As you leave the parking area, you will be stopped at a post and asked to make a donation and assigned a guide. This is on top of your Rp 10,000 entry fee. The donation book will show many people donating huge amounts but please bear in mind that it is easy to scribble names and numbers with lots of zeros. The people collecting the donation can be quite pushy and will not think twice asking for more money. You could try refusing to pay or try Rp 20,000 as your "first offer". While you may dislike guides, one may be quite useful as he will give a fairly good explanation of Balinese Hinduism and the various temples of Besakih. He can also show you how to pray (they say it does not matter what your religion is) at any of the temples if you so wish. And your "donation" covers the cost of a guide.