Information before you go
Tanah Lot temple is the most photographed temple in Asia and the biggest tourist attraction in Bali. Not surprisingly as it is located on a rock that is only accessible during low tide.
Sunsets at Tanah Lot are amazing and most travellers make sure that they go to the temple to be part of it. The Hindu temple is just 13 km south-west from Tabanan city, the capital of the Tabanan Regency and a short drive from Kuta beach when you don't get stuck in traffic.
Tanah lot means 'Land in the water' and is one of the important directional temples in Bali and also part of the string of 7 sea temples along the west coast.
This string of temples is built to worship the protectors of the sea. When standing inside one of the sea temples, it is possible to see the next one in the far distance. However as a visitor you will not be able to see Pura Uluwatu from Tanah Lot because, like many other temples this is only reserved for Hindu Balinese.
Even though the temple is visited frequently by tourists many Balinese come here often to attend ceremonies. It is not unusual to see a group of colorful dressed women with baskets or offerings on their heads and men in white strolling to the temple.
It is said that the temple was built in the 16th century after Dang Hyang Nirartha, Bali's famous priest, rested on the island for a night and told local fishermen to built a shrine here in honour of the sea gods.
The guardians of the Tanah Lot temple are poisonous snakes that are considered sacred. The Balinese believe that they are the descendants of the Snake God, Basuki. Basuki is the Protector of the sea temple and the meru with 5 roofs is built to honour this god.
Don't worry about the snakes because they are asleep most of the day in the ridges of the cliff and there is always a local Balinese man to watch over them. Only at low tide do the snakes move towards the temple to eat from the offerings placed by the Balinese people.
Don't confuse these sacred snakes with the big Boa Constrictors. These are found just a couple of meters from the temple and for a couple of Rupiah you can have them on your neck for a picture.
It is also possible to stroll around the well maintained garden. Unlike the area at the entrance, there are no souvenir shops on the temple complex. So you can fully admire the sight of the temple and make pictures from every corner without being persuaded to buy more souvenirs.
Great view from the cliff...
The stairs up the cliff from across the Tanah Lot temple lead to an area with plenty of sunset restaurants. This is the place to be at the end of the afternoon. You must be early for a front row seat because it can get really busy.
Another unlikely place for viewing this sea temple is from the Le Meridien Nirwana Golf & Spa Resort Hotel which was built illegally under the Suharto regime and is still owned by the Suharto family. This place is the perfect example of what's wrong with Bali today; as long as you have influential friends who don't care about sacred sites, religious zoning rules or the future of the island, you can do anything you want.
Just like Tanah Lot, this temple is a sea temple and is located at a unique location. Right on the tip of a cliff where you have endless views over the ocean.Read more
Also a temple not to be missed. Located nearby Ubud, you will very likely pass it when doing a day trip. An incredible sight if there is a temple ceremony going on.Read more
Religion and daily life is intertwined in Bali. Life is set according to special days, ceremonies, gods, prayers and offerings. You will surely be enchanted by it.Read more
Now and then people send us inspiring emails and this generates even more enthusiasm to share all of the things we know about this lovely island in the hope that you can plan your tropical holiday properly and have as such a great time as we always have. Hope to see you there!
When I wrote the mail I never really expected a reply. I might have expected a computer generated but never a personally written one. The information you provided is invaluable, thank you so very much. I have been using your website as a bible through Bali. Through your recommendation, I will be heading to Ubud then follow the sightseeing route to the coast of Candidasa.
WOW...what an awesome website. I could only dream that there would be a website like this for all our travel destinations! You guys have done an fabulous job and now, I am sooo excited about our upcoming trip to Bali. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure Bali was the place for us considering some of the travel warnings (we are Americans). But I can tell from your experiences that the Bali people are so very kind and peaceful.
hi and congratulations on the blog it s brilliant and helpful....we are going to Bali in September with my family (including 2 little girls) so we need to have nice spaceous rooms garden and pool access rooms preferably in Semikyak but not too far from it all...I hope you can recommend a great place thats not full of Australian crowds as we like meeting people from other countries.
Hi, I have been travelling for years and I want to say that this website is the best I have EVER come across. It is easy to navigate, it is really descriptive, gives all the info that you could ever want and is accompanied by the best photos and advice. GREAT.