Everyone knows that Bali, the Indonesian island, is known as the ‘land of the Gods’ but did you know that it is also called the ‘land of a thousand temples’. Yes, not one or two thousands but a whopping 20 thousand temples in all shapes and sizes. With so many amazing temples to explore, what is it that makes Tanah Lot different from the other temples? 

The mysterious looking Tanah Lot temple in Bali draws thousands of tourists from all over the world because of its unique offshore settings and beautiful sunset views. The natural allure and architectural grandeur of this ancient Hindu shrine is one of the most iconic sights in the whole of Bali that’s not-to-be-missed. So here’s a quick guide that will take you through the history of Tanah Lot, what to expect from this visit and everything else you need to know that will help enhance your exploration.

History Of The Tanah Lot Temple In Bali

best time to visit tanah lot temple is between september to December
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The Tanah Lot temple history is filled with a lot of adventure and sacrifice by a high priest known as Dang Hyang Nirartha. It all started in the 15th century when Dang Hyang Nirartha traveled along the south coast of Bali from Majapahit Kingdom in East Java to spread Hinduism and its beliefs. Finally he arrived at a picturesque rock in the sea in the Tabanan area not far from the village of Baraban. He believed that this was the holy place for worshiping the Balinese sea god Baruna. Though the high priest had to face strong opposition from the village chief, he was successful in sharing his teachings with the Beraban villagers. The rock on which he mediated and attained moksha is the Tengah Lod, which means ‘land in the sea’.

Over a period of time the village chief too acknowledged Nirartha’s powers and that’s when the high priest had some local fishermen and loyal followers build a shrine on the rock. This is how the iconic Tanah Lot temple in Bali was born and it is today one of seven sea temples built along the coast of Bali.

The rock that sits on the water has been molded by the tides and waves over the years into a beautiful sight. Even today the temple is considered a site of religious significance and an important pilgrimage temple to the people of Bali.

What To Expect At Tanah Lot Temple

tanah lot temple tour is a must on your Bali vacation
Beautiful Tanah Lot Hindu temple in Bali during sunset.

The very first thing you get to see when you set foot on Tanah Lot in Bali is the unique architecture and traditional stone temple surrounded by black volcanic sand and the sea. In the backdrop you can see the magnificent orange sunset with breathtaking views. The holy temple is believed to be guarded by the black and white colored sea snakes that live across the temple in the caves. Though the temple is built on a rock about 300 meters from the coast, one can get to the temple only during the low tide. During high tides Tanah Lot temple gets completely submerged under water. However there are a few hours in a day when it’s possible to get to the temple by walking in knee deep water. A flight of stairs carved from the rock takes you to the temple but visitors are restricted from entering the temple. 

For best views of the temple and the Island, get to the cliff terrace near the temple. You can also catch a beautiful sunset from here. One can also visit other temples such as Pura Batu Bolong, watch the fire dance show, known as kecak, and shop at the nearby local market for souvenirs, paintings, statues and other items inspired by Balinese culture.

Best Time To Visit Tanah Lot Temple 

tanah lot temple entrance fee is different for adults and children
The welcoming gates of the Tanah Lot in Bali

The temple is open throughout the day for prayers however for tourism it’s open only between 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM, all year long. After coming this far how can one go back without witnessing the mesmerizing sunset from Tanah Lot! To catch the temple silhouetted against the vibrant glow of the sinking sun, it is advisable to come one hour before sunset. As all tourists come here to witness this magnificent scene, be ready for a big crowd but the gorgeous colors of the Tanah Lot temple sunset shimmering across the water is worth all the efforts. 

Mid-January until the end of June and from mid-September to mid-December is considered to be the low season in Bali. The weather can play a spoilt sport as it is known for being a bit rainy during this time of the year. And do keep in mind, Tanah Lot temple is not accessible during high tides, so check the weather updates and tide schedules before planning your visit. However, for people who want to save money on tickets and accommodation, this is the best time. 

How To Get To Tanah Lot Temple In Bali

As Tanah Lot is an important tourist destination and located only around 30 km away from Denpasar Airport, it is well connected and easily accessible to all. It takes just about an hour from places like Kuta, Seminyak, Ubud and a 20 minute drive from Canggu. The best way to get here is to rent a scooter, a private car, by bus or shuttle service. It is during the pre-sunset and post-sunset time that traffic builds up, so plan in such a way that you avoid these peak hours.

What To And What Not To Wear While Visiting Tanah Lot

Since it is a sight of great religious significance, people are expected to come modestly dressed to show respect to the place and its people. Women are required to cover their legs and their shoulders usually with a sarong or a kebaya. The same rules are applicable to the men too. 

Things To See At Tanah Lot 

tanah lot temple history is quite adventitious and mystic
The connecting bridge on the sea that leads to a small place of worship.

Holy Shrine

The main temple (Tanah Lot Temple) which is on a small island just a few meters away from the shore. Though there is no access to the inside of the temple, tourists can admire and capture the ancient stone carvings and sculptures on the temple from the outside. 

Holy Water Cave

The Holy water cave just below the Tanah Lot Temple is accessible only during the low tide season. The holy water is guarded by the priests and if given a chance you can ask for the holy water to drink and sprinkle on your head.

Holy Snakes

Just across the temple there lives a few sea water snakes in the caves. According to beliefs the sacred snakes guard the Tanah Lot temple from negative things. Hence the black and white colored snakes are considered very sacred.

Sunset Terrace

This is the place from where one can catch captivating views of the sunset. This viewpoint is just a few minutes walking distance away from the temple.

Kecak Dance

Watch the traditional dance performance called the Kecak, Ketjak or Ketjack by a group of young dancers. It is the dramatic depiction of a scene from the epic Ramayana in the dance form. Typically the performance starts only after sunset. 

tanah lot temple sunset are to die for
Tanah Lot Temple on sea at sunset in Bali Island, Indonesia.

Suggested Reads: Make The Most Of Your Vacation With These Top Things To Do In Bali

Over 5,000 tourists come in every day to visit this important pilgrimage temple. So now that you have a handy guide, exploring Tanah Lot temple in Bali will be a piece of cake for you. Book your Tanah Lot temple tour soon as an impeccable experience is waiting for you!


Which is better, Tanah Lot or Uluwatu Temple?

Both Tanah Lot and Uluwatu are great spots with their own unique characteristics. At Tanah Lot you can see a temple on the unique rock formation and a stunning sunset with orange sky and blue sea. However Uluwatu offers panoramic views of the vast southern ocean along with lovely sunsets. 

What is the curse of Tanah Lot temple?

The most iconic landmark has been cursed by a princess whose marriage did not happen as her prince broke the promise just before the wedding. In anger the princess cursed that all unmarried couples who visited the temple will have a breakup within 6 months of visit.

Are there any festivals or ceremonies at Tanah Lot Temple?

Tanah Lot temple located in the south of Tabanan in Beraban village hosts numerous festivals all year long. However a temple festival that takes place every 210 days on “Rebo Keliwon Langkir ” is the biggest of them all.

Is there a Tanah Lot Temple entrance fee?

Visitors to Tanah Lot Temple are required to pay an entrance fee of IDR 60,000 or USD 4 for adults and IDR 30,000 or USD 2 for children.


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