Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali

Arguably the most popular temple in Bali, Tanah Lot definitely lives up to its fame, with its dramatic setting. It is one of the six revered, cardinal temples of Bali and is dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea. Tanah Lot means “Land in Sea” in the Balinese language.

Tanah Lot is located at the edge of the rocks, giving it a breathtaking view and look, especially during sunset. The temple itself is 100m offshore and is only accessible to the Hindus. It cannot be reached by anyone during the high tide. The cliff-side path to the north passes the Pura Enjung Galuh temple (behind which are the best views of Tanah Lot) and then some steps down to the beach and onwards to Pura Batu Bolong temple perched atop a rocky headland.

Nowadays, there are many souvenir stalls surrounding the area, catering to the tourists. There are also some eateries that will open up for sunset drinks and meals.

Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali, Indonesia

Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali. Photo by Madeleine Deaton

History and facts

Tanah Lot temple was built back to 500 years ago by a Javanese priest and has been part of the Balinese mythology, venomous sea snakes are believed to guard the temple.

Where is it

Pura Tanah Lot temple is located in Tabanan at the north-west of the southern part of Bali, about 20 km from Denpasar or Kuta.

Side view of Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali, Indonesia

Side view of Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali. Photo by Vladimir E

Why visit

Although overrun by tourists, Tanah Lot temple is worth a visit just for its architecture, location and its significance as a very important worship place in Bali. The stroll over ragged ocean stones and the sunset cast over the whole setting will be unforgettable.

When is the best time to go

Carvings of Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali, Indonesia

Carvings of Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali. Photo by Ken Marshall


Many people come here during the sunset to catch the sun’s setting magic but if you want to avoid the crowd, early morning (before 9 am) is also a good magical time to admire the temple in silence.

Kecak Dance is held here every evening after sunset at 6.30 pm for 45 minutes. There is also a ceremony held here every 6 months, check with the place you stay.

Fees

The fee to enter the grounds surrounding Tanah Lot Temple is 60,000 Rp. (as of 2016). You’re not allowed to enter the temple except to pray. Parking fee for a car is 5,000 Rp. A guide is not necessary.

Opening Times

Open from 7am to 7pm for visitors. For worship purpose it is open for 24 hours daily.

Beach and sea, Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali, Indonesia

Beach and sea, Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali. Photo by Thomas Schlosser

Get in and get around

From Kuta or Seminyak – about 45 minutes drive
From Denpasar – public transport are limited and it is not available after sunset

Where to eat at Tanah Lot Temple

Recommended restaurant here is Melasti Tanah Lot. It is on the headland just north of the temple and has one of the most beautiful settings for a restaurant. Here one can enjoy candlelight dinner of fresh seafood while enjoying the famous sunset view. The meal may be a little expensive and the prime view tables are only reserved for evening diners.

Sunset at Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali, Indonesia

Sunset at Pura Tanah Lot Temple, Bali. Photo by koyne


Nearby tourist attractions

Taman Ayun temple at Mengwi – one of our top temples in Bali, this is more unknown but still a very beautiful royal temple.

Travel Tips

It is recommended to hire a car for the day in Bali for other excursions since all the tourists spots are far from each other. The road to Tanah Lot temple is also dangerous, so it is better to hire a car with a driver to take you there, or get a taxi and ask them to wait while you visit.

If you come early in the day, the paddy fields view along the way is worth the slow ride to take it in. A detour to the rugged beaches nearby such as Pantai Seseh is also recommended.

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Uluwatu Temple (Pura Luhur), Bali

Pura Luhur Uluwatu or Uluwatu Temple is a famous Balinese sea temple in Bali. It is one of the nine directional temples of Bali meant to protect it from evil spirits. This spectacular temple is one to marvel with as it perched at the edge of the rock overlooking the sea as if on guard.

The name Luhur means “something of divine origin” and ulu the “land’s end” and watu the “rock” in the old language. The name itself had aptly describe what this special temple is all about. Pura Luhur Uluwatu is regarded as one of the six most important temples in Bali along with Pura Besakih.

The inner sanctum of the pura (temple) is perched at the the edge of a steep cliffs which tower over Bali’s legendary surf breaks at the south. Most travelers enjoy the view of this temple from two different vantage points, from both northern and southern part of the area.

Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple, Bali Indonesia

Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple, Bali

History and facts

As one of the key nine directional temples of Bali, Pura Luhur Uluwatu is meant to protect Bali against the evil. It is expanded in the 11th Century by a Javanese sage, Empu Kuturan. Later another sage from East Java, Dnag Hyang Nirartha is credited to have constructed the padmasana shrines and claimed to have attained moksha here.

The temple is perched at a staggeringly steep cliff as tall as 70 m over the roaring Indian ocean waves.

Sunset view of Uluwatu Temple, Bali Indonesia

Sunset view of Uluwatu Temple, Bali

Where is it

It is located in Pecatu Village, Kuta South District. It is at the southernmost of Bali at a place known to tourists as Bukit Peninsula.

Why visit

Uluwatu Temple is one of the main temples in Bali and besides the dramatic view of a temple perched at the steep cliff over roaring sea is all reason enough to visit.

Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple's Old Gate, Bali Indonesia

Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple’s Old Gate, Bali

When is the best time to go

The best time to go Bali is July-August as it is the coolest and also driest but naturally peak with tourists. Generally all time is a good time to visit Uluwatu Temple though you may find some rain in the evening during rainy season. Come between March to September for the best chance of a clear sunset over Uluwatu.

Sunset at Uluwatu Temple, Bali Indonesia

Sunset at Uluwatu Temple, Bali

Fees

The entrance fee to enter Uluwatu Temple is 30,000 Rp (as of 2016). Sarongs are available for rental at the entrance if needed. Guide is not necessary.

Opening Times

Open from 9am to 6pm for visitors. For worship purpose it is open for 24 hours daily.

Get in and get around

Monkey at Uluwatu Temple, Bali Indonesia

Monkey at Uluwatu Temple, Bali

From Nusa dua to Uluwatu is 45 minutes drive

From Kuta – A taxi from Kuta to Uluwatu will take 30-40 minutes and cost about 150,000Rp one way. You can consider hiring a car for the day in Bali for other excursions since all the tourists spots are far from each other.

Nearby tourist attractions

Uluwatu Beach – well known among surfing enthusiasts as there are good surf spots like Uluwatu, Dreamland and Padang-padang. They are also part of the Top 10 Best Bali Beaches .

Tirtha Wedding Chapel – many people choose to marry here in Bukit Peninsula, Bali as the stunning and modern chapel comes with a romantic beach front. Numerous resorts offer wedding package to here.

Check out our Top 10 Must Visit Places in Bali and Top 10 Things to Do in Bali.

Uluwatu Beach, Bali Indonesia

Uluwatu Beach, Bali

Travel Tips

All travelers recommend the sunset trip to Pura Luhur Uluwatu. The sight of the sun setting over the dramatic temple by the cliff is a sight to behold.

A note of caution about the monkeys as if you are unlucky they will come and grab off your small belongings. Therefore, keep small things like sunglasses and camera in the pocket at all times.

There is also a Kecak Dance performance held everyday here at Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple and many travelers recommend it as one of the things you must do in Bali.

Kecak Dance Performance at Uluwatu Temple, Bali Indonesia

Kecak Dance Performance at Uluwatu Temple, Bali

Photo credits from top: melburnian, aishifu ash, Deni Saputra, Kevin Poh, Schristia, Dhi and Meru Muhammad

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Prambanan Temple Compounds, Yogyakarta

Candi Prambanan or Prambanan Temple Compounds, also known as Candi Rara Jonggrang is a well known ancient Hindu Temple in Java, Indonesia. This 9th-century temple built by Trimurti as an expression that God is the Creator (Brahma), Preserver (Vishnu) and also the Destroyer (Shiva) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Most travelers will gape at its magnificence as they approach the temple from the walkway as it loomed nearer. This is one structure to be noted with, being one of the the biggest Hindu Temple in Southeast Asia. It towers at 47 m high with a wide compound surrounding it inclusive with many temples arranged all around.

Entering to Prambanan Temple Compounds, Yogyakarta

Entering to Prambanan Temple Compounds, Yogyakarta

History and facts

Prambanan is the largest Hindu temple in ancient Java and this royal temple is probably built during the Hindu Sanjaya Dynasty. Historian suggests that this temple marks the return of the Hindu Sanjaya Dynasty to power in Central Java after almost a century of Buddhist Sailendra Dynasty domination. It also signifies the focus from Mahayana Buddhism to Shivaist Hinduism.

Upclose with Prambanan, Yogyakarta

Upclose with Prambanan, Yogyakarta

In the Prambanan Temple compounds, there are 3 Trimurti temples – Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma, 3 Vahana temples – Nandi, Garuda and Hamsa, 2 Apit temples , 4 Kelir temples, 4 Patol Temples and 224 Pervara temples. There are also many reliefs on the walls of these temple that depicts many ancient stories.

This temple is also known for the Rara Jonggrang legend, where it is said that Prince Bandung Bondowoso fell in love with Princess Rara Jonggrang, daughter of King Boko. The princess rejected his marriage proposal because he had killed her father but after his insistence, gave him an impossible condition – to build thousands of temples in one night. With the help of supernatural beings, the prince managed to build 999 temples but the princess fearing his success, had the village maids to began pounding rice and set a fire in the East to fake the sunrise thus cheating the spiritual helpers to leave. The prince was furious about the trick and cursed Rara Jonggrang into a stone which she became the last and most beautiful of the thousand statues. According to the legend, this last unfinished thousand temple is the Sewu temple (means thousands) nearby to Prambanan and the Princess statue is in the north cell of the Shiva temple in Prambanan.

Where is it

Prambanan Temple compound is located 18 km east of Yogyakarta in Central Java, Indonesia.

Why visit

For the magnificence of one of the largest Hindu Temple in Southeast Asia and the rich legend behind these foreboding temples of ancient times.

Reliefs / carvings on Prambanan Temple, Yogyakarta

Reliefs / carvings on Prambanan Temple, Yogyakarta

When is the best time to go

Most times is good for visiting Prambanan, whether it is the dry season (April – October) or wet season (November – March) of the two seasoned Indonesia.

Dry season will have a peak of tourists and also can be really hot while wet season will see rain later in the day so go early for your visit.

Fees

The entry fees for Prambanan is 30,000 Rp for Indonesian adult and 12,5000 Rp for children. For foreigners it is 18 USD for adult and 9 USD for children under 6 (as of 2016).

Opening Times

6am to 6pm daily.

Inside Prambanan Temple Compounds, Yogyakarta

Inside Prambanan Temple Compounds, Yogyakarta

Get in and get around

Best way to get here is first fly to Yogyakarta, and then use the Transjogja public bus to visit Prambanan. You can also hire a car from Yogyakarta to Prambanan and stop by various temples on the way.

Nearby tourist attractions

Candi Sewu – just 10-15 minutes walk from the Prambanan temple, it is worth a visit as the temple ruins are eerily captivating and as a good respite from the crowds in Prambanan.

Candi Sambisari – a good stopover temple on the way to Prambanan, it had been buried underground for more hundred years before the discovery in 1966. Reconstructed, it now stands as a testament to archeologists efforts to restore the glory of the past.

Borobudur Temple Compounds – A 9th-century Buddhist temple is the largest Buddhist structure in the world and is an Indonesia UNESCO Heritage site. It consists of six square platforms with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha status.

Yogyakarta – packed with all the intricacies of a good travel place with hidden treasures of bygone days, narrow alleys and main streets of delights, large array of delicious food to try, arts and cultures dotted everywhere and rich in history.

Prambanan Temple Compounds, Yogyakarta

Prambanan Temple Compounds, Yogyakarta

Travel Tips

Just like Borobudur, it is best to enjoy it at earliest hour possible to simply admire the grandeur in peace and quiet.

At night there might be a performance of Hindu Ramayana in the temple, you may check with the place you stay for an arranged tour.

Recommended tours:
Yogyakarta Cultural Tour: Borobudur Temple, Prambanan Temple and Merapi Volcano *

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Borobudur Temple Compounds, Central Java

Borobudur is not a stranger to the world traveling scene, being a unique Buddhist temple of Asia, it is also the largest Buddhist structure on earth. This 8th century stupa and temple complex in Central Java, Indonesia is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Many travelers came here to experience the wonders of this structure and note its unique differences with the other Buddhist temples in terms of architecture and also down to the details of its construction and also the grandness of it. Borobudur is also set against a backdrop of volcanoes enhancing the drama of the place.

Full view of Borobudur Temple Compounds

Full view of Borobudur Temple Compounds

History and Facts

There is no exact detail written record on Borobudur in terms of who built it and why is it created. It is theorized to be made as a religious site in 8th century during the Sailendra dynasty of central Java. For some centuries, Borobudur had been lost to Indonesia until following an Anglo-Dutch Java War, the British governor at that time, Thomas Stamford Raffles took an interest in the history and mystics of Java and therefore investigated and aid in unearthing this amazing monument once again. Raffles are also responsible for the re-discovery of Prambanan, another major religious structure, this one Hindu not far from Borobudur.

Statues and relief panels at Borobudur Temple

Statues and relief panels at Bormbudur Temple

Borobudur was given UNESCO World Heritage Site status at 1991 after it had been fully restored. It had become a major international tourist attraction with its 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues and also detailed wall carvings. Borobudur consists of six square platforms and the highest point is 35 m from the ground.

Borobudur consists of six square platforms topped by three circular platforms and is decorated with no less than 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues of various types. The main dome, located at the centre of the top platform, is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside perforated stupas. The square base is 118 m (387 ft) long on each side and the highest point 35 m (114 ft) above ground level. The distinctive shape and structure of Borobudur is the dome and its three circular symmetrical terraces. There are also six different postures of Buddha as you ascend the platforms. The wall reliefs are recounting the life stories of Buddha, from the law of Karma to birth of Buddha and his journey towards searching for the ultimate truth.

Relief panels / wall carvings of Borobudur Temple

Relief panels / wall carvings of Borobudur Temple

Where is it

It is located in Magelang district of Central Java, about an hour drive from Yogyakarta.

Why visit

Borobudur is the largest Buddhist structure in the world and it is entirely unique and different from the rest of the Buddhist temples around Asia.

When is the best time to go

Lanterns at night during Waisak in Borobudur

Lanterns at night during Waisak in Borobudur

If you want to experience Waisak in Borobudur, you should go around May, check for the exact dates of celebration for the year.

Else most times is good for visiting Borobudur, whether it is the dry season (April – October) or wet season (November – March) of the two seasoned Indonesia.

Dry season will have a peak of tourists and also can be really hot while the wet season will see rain later in the day so go early for your visit.

Fees

The entry fees to Borobudur is 20 USD for non-Indonesian Adult and 10 USD for children under 6 (as of 2016). It is 30,000 Rp for Indonesians or foreign holders of work permit.

Sunrise tour with the Manohara Hotel * is 400,000 Rp for foreigners, 270,000 Rp for domestic tourists and 250,000 Rp for hotel guest (as of 2016). This will get you in early to catch the sunrise and explore for an hour before the rest of the tourists flock the place.

To hire a guide to explain reliefs will cost about 95,000 – 120,000 Rp per hour. Agree on the price with your guide before starting and it is best to tour in the morning when it is not too busy.

Sunrise Tour at Borobudur Temple at Borobudur Temple

Sunrise Tour at Borobudur Temple

Opening Times

Open to public from 6am to 5pm but only those with sunrise tours can get in before 8am. For walk ins you can get in at 8am.

Get in and get around

Buddha statue against the sun, Borobudur

Buddha statue against the sun, Borobudur

From Yogyakarta to Borobudur, you can take the public bus or hire a car to get there.

From Wonosobo to Borobudur – catch a public bus heading towards Yogyakarta and drop off at Borobudur.

From Jakarta to Borobudur – take a train to Purwokerto and then connect with a bus to Wonosobo and onwards to Borobudur.

From Surabaya to Borobudur – hire a car to get there or take a bus/train to Yogyakarta before connecting to Borobudur.

Nearby tourist attractions

Prambanan – well known ancient Hindu temple built in the 9th century for Trimurti as an expression that God is the Creator (Brahma), Preserver (Vishnu) and also the Destroyer (Shiva). The temple compound lies just 18km east of Yogyakarta and would take 102 hours of car to get there.
Yogyakarta – head back or onwards to Yogyakarta as there are lots of things to do in Yogyakarta.
Mount Bromo – a volcano in East Java that is popular for the sunrise view of the crater. Many travelers attest to this one, don’t miss out!

Borobudur Temple Compounds upclose

Borobudur Temple Compounds upclose

Travel Tips

Try to go in at the earliest hours that it is opened to public to truly enjoy this massive and unique Buddhist temple. You will appreciate the serenity and peace and fully immerse in its significance without the hordes of tourists spoiling it. If you do not want to pay for the sunrise tour then get in at 8am once it is open for walk in, the effort is well worth it.

Photo credits from top: Prayudi Hartono, Rachel, Rachel, Imam Hartoyo, Thrillseekr, Rachel and Rachel

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