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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Open from 7am to 7pm for visitors. For worship purpose it is open for 24 hours daily.
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.
Nearby tourist attractionsTaman Ayun temple at Mengwi – one of our top temples in Bali, this is more unknown but still a very beautiful royal temple.
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.