Exploring the Mystical Tanah Lot Temple in Bali

Immerse yourself in the captivating allure of Tanah Lot Temple, one of Bali’s most iconic and mesmerizing seaside temples.

With its rich history, fascinating legends, and breathtaking views, Tanah Lot offers an unforgettable experience of Bali’s spiritual and cultural beauty.

Overview of Tanah Lot Temple

LocationBeraban village, Tabanan Regency, about 20 km from Denpasar
SignificanceOne of Bali’s seven sea temples, dedicated to the guardian spirits of the sea
Historical BackgroundBuilt in the 16th century by the Hindu priest Nirartha
Unique AspectLocated on a dramatic rock formation, home to the legend of the sacred sea snake
Nearby AttractionsBatu Bolong Temple, Nirwana Bali Golf Club, Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest
Best Time to VisitEarly morning or late afternoon for fewer crowds; sunset for breathtaking views
Entrance FeeYes, supports maintenance and preservation
FacilitiesRestaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, ample parking, and restrooms

Key Highlights of Tanah Lot Temple

Iconic Sea Temple: One of Bali’s most famous and photographed landmarks, situated on a large offshore rock formation.
Spectacular Sunsets: Renowned for its breathtaking sunset views, creating a dramatic and picturesque scene.
Cultural Significance: An important pilgrimage site for Balinese Hindus, dedicated to the sea gods.
Scenic Beauty: Offers stunning views of the Indian Ocean and the rugged coastline.
Accessible During Low Tide: Visitors can walk to the temple during low tide, while high tide isolates it, adding to its mystique.

Pros and Cons of Visiting Tanah Lot Temple

Stunning Scenery: Provides some of the most beautiful coastal views and sunset scenes in Bali.Crowded: Can get very crowded, especially during sunset and peak tourist seasons.
Cultural Insight: Offers a deep understanding of Balinese Hindu culture and religious practices.Commercialised: The area around the temple is highly commercialised, with numerous vendors and tourist shops.
Photogenic Location: Ideal for photography, with dramatic ocean views and the temple’s unique setting.Limited Access to Temple: Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the temple itself, but can explore the surrounding area.
Visitor Facilities: Well-developed tourist facilities including shops, restaurants, and amenities.Entrance Fee: Requires an entrance fee, which some visitors might find relatively high.
Tide-Dependent Access: The experience varies with the tides, making each visit unique.Heat and Humidity: The site can be hot and humid, particularly during midday visits.

Amenities at Tanah Lot Temple

  • Parking area
  • Restrooms
  • Souvenir shops
  • Restaurants and cafes
  • Viewing platforms
  • First aid stations
  • Information booth

Nearby Attractions

Batu Bolong Temple: Another sea temple located nearby on a rock with a hole in the middle, providing stunning views and photo opportunities.
Nirwana Bali Golf Club: An 18-hole golf course with scenic views, located close to Tanah Lot.
Echo Beach: Known for its surfing, dining, and laid-back atmosphere, about 30 minutes away by car.
Canggu: A trendy area known for its surf spots, cafes, and vibrant nightlife, approximately 30 minutes away by car.
Taman Ayun Temple: A royal water temple with beautiful gardens and traditional Balinese architecture, about 30 minutes away by car.
Seseh Beach: A quiet and less crowded beach, ideal for relaxation, located about 20 minutes away by car.

Introduction to Tanah Lot Temple

Nestled on a dramatic rock formation off the coast of southwest Bali, Tanah Lot Temple stands as a testament to the island’s rich Hindu heritage.

This enchanting temple, known as Pura Tanah Lot in the local language, has attracted pilgrims and tourists for centuries due to its stunning location, unique architecture, and intriguing tales.

History and Significance

Dating back to the 16th century, Tanah Lot Temple was built by a Hindu priest named Nirartha, who was inspired by the island’s beauty and its spiritual energy.

The temple is dedicated to the guardian spirits of the sea and plays a significant role in Balinese mythology.

As one of Bali’s seven sea temples, it is believed that Tanah Lot serves as a spiritual fortress, protecting the island from evil sea spirits.

Sacred Sea Snake Legend

One of the most fascinating aspects of Tanah Lot Temple is the legend of the sacred sea snake. According to local folklore, a giant serpent named Bujangan guards the temple, protecting it from harm.

This mythical creature is believed to reside in a cave at the base of the rocky island, and some locals claim to have seen it, enhancing the temple’s mystical allure.

Temple’s Location and Surroundings

Situated in the Beraban village of Tabanan Regency, Tanah Lot Temple is approximately 20 kilometres from Denpasar, the capital of Bali.

The temple’s unique location on a rock formation surrounded by the Indian Ocean makes it a popular destination for tourists seeking unparalleled views and memorable photo opportunities.

Getting to Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot Temple is located in Tabanan, about 20 kilometres from Denpasar, Bali’s capital city.

To reach Tanah Lot Temple, you can rent a scooter, hire a taxi, or join a guided tour from popular tourist areas like Kuta, Seminyak, or Ubud. The journey typically takes about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic conditions.

There are also various shuttle buses that run between Denpasar and Tanah Lot.

Nearby Attractions

While visiting Tanah Lot Temple, you can also explore other nearby attractions to make the most of your trip. Some popular spots include:

  1. Batu Bolong Temple: Located just a little north of Tanah Lot, this temple sits atop a rock with a natural arch, offering picturesque views.
  2. Nirwana Bali Golf Club: Designed by Greg Norman, this renowned golf course offers a challenging yet scenic experience for golf enthusiasts.
  3. Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest: Home to hundreds of friendly monkeys and a lush forest, this site is perfect for nature lovers and families.

Tanah Lot Temple Complex 

The Tanah Lot Temple complex consists of several smaller temples and shrines, each with its unique characteristics and importance.

As you explore the area, you’ll discover the fascinating aspects of these sacred sites, which are deeply rooted in Balinese culture and history.

The Main Temple

The main temple, Pura Tanah Lot, sits on top of a rocky outcrop surrounded by the crashing waves of the Indian Ocean. This iconic structure is only accessible during low tide when a narrow sand path appears, allowing visitors to cross.

The main temple features a series of shrines dedicated to various Hindu deities, the most important being Dewa Baruna, the sea god.

Batu Bolong

Located just north of the main temple, Batu Bolong is another striking temple situated on a rocky cliff featuring a natural arch. The name “Batu Bolong” translates to “hollow rock,” which perfectly describes this picturesque site.

The temple is dedicated to the spirits that protect the nearby coastline, and its unique setting makes it a popular spot for photography enthusiasts.

Pura Batu Mejan (Pura Beji)

Pura Batu Mejan, also known as Pura Beji, is a smaller temple within the complex. Situated near a freshwater spring, it is believed to hold purifying properties and is often used for cleansing rituals by the local Balinese community.

Visiting Tanah Lot Temple

A visit to Tanah Lot Temple offers a unique opportunity to experience Bali’s spiritual and cultural aspects. To make the most of your trip, knowing the best time to visit, the fees involved, and the proper etiquette to observe is essential.

Best Time to Visit

The ideal time to visit Tanah Lot Temple is during the early morning or late afternoon, as the site tends to be less crowded, and the lighting is perfect for photography.

The most popular time, however, is during sunset, when the temple’s silhouette against the vibrant colours of the sky creates a breathtaking view.

Entrance Fees and Guided Tours

There is an entrance fee to visit the temple complex, which helps support the maintenance and preservation of this sacred site.

Guided tours are available, offering a more in-depth understanding of the temple’s history, architecture, and cultural significance.

Dress Code and Etiquette

As with all religious sites in Bali, visitors to Tanah Lot Temple should dress modestly, covering their shoulders and knees.

Sarongs are available for rent at the entrance if needed. It’s also essential to be respectful of the local customs and avoid disturbing worshippers during prayer times.

Highlights of Tanah Lot Temple

There’s more to Tanah Lot Temple than just its picturesque setting. A visit to this sacred site offers the chance to witness stunning sunsets, mesmerizing dance performances, and unforgettable cultural events.

Sunset at Tanah Lot

Watching the sun set behind Tanah Lot Temple is a magical experience that draws visitors from around the world. The dramatic silhouette of the temple against the vibrant hues of the sky creates a postcard-perfect, truly unforgettable scene.

Kecak Dance Performances

During your visit, be sure to catch a traditional Kecak dance performance held regularly at the temple complex. This captivating Balinese dance tells the story of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, and is accompanied by a mesmerizing chorus of chanting performers. 

Cultural and Religious Events

Tanah Lot Temple hosts various religious ceremonies and festivals throughout the year, such as the Melasti cleansing ritual and the Odalan temple anniversary. These events provide a unique opportunity to witness the rich cultural heritage of Bali and observe traditional customs, rituals, and performances.

If you’re fortunate enough to visit during one of these occasions, it will undoubtedly be a memorable experience.

Facilities and Amenities

To cater to the needs of both pilgrims and tourists, the Tanah Lot Temple complex offers a range of facilities and amenities that ensure a comfortable and enjoyable visit.

Restaurants and Cafes

Several restaurants and cafes can be found within the surrounding areas of the temple, offering a variety of local and international cuisines. These eateries provide the perfect opportunity to savour delicious Balinese dishes while enjoying the stunning views of the temple and the ocean.

Some popular options include the Dewi Sinta Restaurant and the Melasti Restaurant, both of which offer a mix of Indonesian and Western dishes.

Souvenir Shops

If you’re looking to take home a piece of your Tanah Lot experience, numerous souvenir shops are located within the temple complex. These shops sell a wide variety of handicrafts, traditional Balinese art, clothing, and other unique mementos.

By purchasing souvenirs from local vendors, you support the community and preserve the area’s cultural heritage.

Parking and Restrooms

Ample parking is available at Tanah Lot Temple, with designated areas for cars, motorcycles, and buses. The parking fee is included in the entrance ticket, ensuring a hassle-free visit.

Additionally, clean and well-maintained restrooms are available within the temple complex for the convenience of visitors.

Tips for Visiting Tanah Lot Temple 

To ensure an enjoyable and memorable visit to Tanah Lot Temple, keeping a few tips in mind is essential.

You can make the most of your time at this iconic Balinese site by being aware of tides, respecting the sacred space, and taking necessary safety precautions.

Be Aware of Tides

As Tanah Lot Temple is located on a rocky outcrop surrounded by the ocean, it’s crucial to be aware of the tides when planning your visit. The temple is only accessible during low tide when a narrow sand path appears, allowing visitors to cross.

Check the local tide charts or inquire at your hotel to determine the best time to visit.

Respect the Sacred Space

Tanah Lot Temple is a tourist attraction and an essential place of worship for the Balinese people. When visiting, ensure that you show respect for the sacred space by dressing modestly, covering your shoulders and knees, and remaining quiet during prayer times.

It’s also crucial not to touch or disturb any religious artifacts or offerings.

Safety Precautions

While exploring the temple complex, remember to take necessary safety precautions, especially when walking on the rocks near the ocean. The surfaces can be slippery and uneven, so wear appropriate footwear and exercise caution.

Also, be cautious around the monkeys that inhabit the area, as they can sometimes be aggressive in search of food. Keep your belongings secure and avoid feeding or interacting with them.

Overall Experience

Visiting Tanah Lot Temple offers a unique and memorable experience, combining cultural significance with stunning natural beauty.

The temple’s dramatic location on an offshore rock, coupled with its beautiful sunsets, makes it a must-visit destination in Bali.

While the site can be crowded and commercialised, the overall ambience and scenic views provide a rewarding visit.

Visitors should plan to arrive early or stay late to avoid the peak crowds and enjoy the changing tides.

Exploring nearby attractions such as Batu Bolong Temple and Echo Beach can further enhance the visit to this iconic Balinese landmark.


What is Tanah Lot Temple known for?

Tanah Lot is celebrated for its unique offshore setting and sunset backdrops, making it one of Bali’s most iconic temples.

Can I visit Tanah Lot Temple at any time?

The temple is accessible during low tide; it’s best to check local tide schedules for the ideal visiting times.

Is there an entrance fee for Tanah Lot Temple?

Yes, visitors are required to pay an entrance fee, which contributes to the temple’s preservation.

Are there any cultural performances at Tanah Lot Temple?

Traditional Kecak dance performances are regularly held, offering insights into Balinese culture and mythology.

What should I wear when visiting Tanah Lot Temple?

Modest dress is required; shoulders and knees should be covered. Sarongs are available for rent at the entrance.

Can I take photos at Tanah Lot Temple?

Photography is allowed, making Tanah Lot a popular spot for capturing the beauty of Bali’s landscapes and sunsets.

What other attractions can I visit near Tanah Lot Temple?

Nearby attractions include Batu Bolong Temple, Nirwana Bali Golf Club, and Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest.

Are there facilities and amenities available for visitors?

The temple complex offers various facilities, including restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, ample parking, and restrooms.