Goa Maria Selabih

THE ESSENTIALS

• You can visit the church grounds at any time, but the church itself is open only on Sundays.

• There is no charge to visit here, but donations are gratefully accepted.

Goa Maria Selabih

The hillside area of Selabih, just a few kilometres west of Balian, is one of Bali's few Catholic enclaves. Up here, there is a tiny church set in a pretty garden – and a carefully tended shrine of the Virgin Mary standing in an artificial "cave", which has stunning views across West Bali.  

The church

 

The small, simple church is open only on Sundays, but you are welcome to visit the grounds at any time. It is an intriguing combination of Western Christian architecture with Balinese trimmings, and inside the church is filled with rows of wooden pews. Walk behind the church and you'll see a path that leads to the Goa ("cave") Maria, where a statue of the Virgin Mary stands a few metres above the ground in a manmade "rock face". It's pretty up here, shaded by tall palm trees and shrouded in tropical plants. Turn around so that you have the same view as the Virgin Mary – and you'll have a spectacular lookout across West Bali.

The road

From the main Denpasar-Gilimanuk road look out for the sign to "Goa Maria Selabih". The road, which is unnamed (but accurately marked on the map here) winds steeply up and up for about two kilometres. It'll take you through plantations of what Indonesians call sawo – sapodilla plum – as well as clove and cacao groves, too. It's a scenic drive.

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