Pura Tanah Lot is undoubtedly my favourite Balinese temple. The reason for that decision is not just the coastal location and the relaxing (usually) sound of the waves crashing on the rocks beneath you. It’s also for the quiet assuredness the temple has without ever needing to be pretentious. I would even go so far as claiming Tanah Lot is every bit as special as Candi Borobudur over in Java.
As mentioned before, the location of Tanah Lot is incredible (further reading: how to get to Tanah Lot). The temple itself sits on a huge rock situated just offshore. The rock, as you can see from my photo above, has been shaped by the ocean waves and by the weather down the years, hence its fantastical appearance. In ancient fable, Pura Tanah Lot is meant to be a strategically sacred place at which to worship the Balinese Sea Gods. It is also said that highly venomous sea snakes swim at the base of the rock to protect it from evil spirits.
As with ALL of Bali, Pura Tanah Lot is now very touristy and donations to enter the area are required. Although tourists of any religion and faith can visit the temple, it is predominantly a Hindu temple, in keeping with the general make-up of the island itself and its people.
Tanah Lot is a superb place at which to experience an iconic Balinese sunset. In addition to experiencing the sunset, most people plan their trip here to coincide with low tide, as only at low tide can the temple be accessed. There are no boats to the island, it can only be reached by foot. The waves around this area of Bali are usually very rough, and the tide can rise very quickly.
Tanah Lot is a must-see when you are in Bali, despite the rough waves and the mischievous monkeys! There are numerous tours and guides that can take you to the site, and I found it was around a 45 minute leisurely drive from the Kuta/Denpasar area of the island. Please be advised that it is not easy to find taxis within the compounds of Pura Tanah Lot, so if you hire a public taxi to the site then ask the driver to wait in the car park for you so you can be driven home.
Whatever you do – don’t forget your camera!