Tanah Lot, a place that’s much more than just a scenic spot in Bali. It’s a spiritual landmark, deeply rooted in Balinese culture and revered as a mystical sanctuary by the sea.
In this article, we’ll explore every aspect of Tanah Lot. We’ll delve into its rich history, marvel at the architectural beauty of Pura Tanah Lot, and discover why it’s such an important cultural icon. I’ll also guide you through practical tips for visiting this sacred site, including the best times to go and what to expect when you get there.
History of Tanah Lot
Tanah Lot’s story begins in the 16th century with Dang Hyang Nirartha. He is considered a revered Hindu scholar and spiritual leader. His journey across Bali was important in shaping the island’s religious landscape. When Nirartha arrived at the spot where Tanah Lot stands today, he was captivated by its natural beauty and serenity, choosing it as a place for rest and meditation.
The locals initially resisted Nirartha’s presence. However, his wisdom and teachings quickly earned their respect. He saw the spiritual importance of this place and asked the villagers to build a shrine on the rocky coast. This shrine grew into the Tanah Lot temple. It became a sacred site to honor the sea god, Dewa Baruna. Beside that it also is a place to reflect on the spiritual teachings of Nirartha.
Nirartha’s impact went beyond the creation of Tanah Lot. He introduced a form of Hinduism that blended well with Balinese traditions. (Source: Wikipedia – Tanah Lot)
Design & Architecture
The temple’s design is closely tied to its natural surroundings. Built on a rock that becomes an island at high tide, it looks like it’s floating on the sea. This offshore setting isn’t just for looks; it’s full of meaning. It represents the balance between the natural world and spiritual life, a key idea in Balinese culture.
The construction of Pura Tanah Lot is a blend of traditional Balinese and Hindu styles. Its pagoda-like tiers, typical of Balinese temples, reach towards the sky, symbolizing the connection between the human and spiritual realms. The temple’s location and design come together to create a place that feels both grounded and heavenly.
How to get to Tanah Lot Temple
First off, let’s talk about where Tanah Lot is. It’s on the western side of Bali, not too far from the popular areas of Kuta and Seminyak. If you’re looking at a map, it’s along the coast, just north of Denpasar.
Now, how do you get there? You’ve got a few options:
- By Car or Taxi: If you’re staying in one of the main tourist areas like Kuta, Seminyak, or Ubud, a taxi or a rented car is a convenient choice. The drive is scenic and gives you a glimpse of Bali’s beautiful landscapes. It takes about an hour from these areas.
- By Scooter: Feeling adventurous? Renting a scooter is a popular way to explore Bali, including Tanah Lot. It’s affordable and lets you experience the island at your own pace. Just be sure you’re comfortable with the local driving conditions. You would need to pay a small parking fee, around IDR 5000,-
- Guided Tours: Many tour operators in Bali offer trips to Tanah Lot, often combined with visits to other nearby attractions. This is a hassle-free way to get there, especially if you’re short on time or prefer a structured itinerary.
Tanah Lot location on a map in Bali
Tanah Lot is located slightly above Canggu on the mid west coast part of Bali. Even though Canggu is close, going from Canggu to Tanah Lot can easily take an hour due to traffic conditions.
How much does Tanah Lot cost (price is for 2024)
|Entrance Fee (IDR)
|Domestic Tourist – Adult
|Domestic Tourist – Child
|Foreign Tourist – Adult
|Foreign Tourist – Child
Best time to visit
Tanah Lot is a must-visit destination in Bali, and knowing the best time to go can enhance your experience. The temple is open daily from 7am to 7pm, and the ideal times to visit are early in the morning or later in the afternoon. These times help you avoid the larger crowds and allow you to experience the serene atmosphere of the temple in a more intimate setting. The early hours offer a peaceful ambiance, while the late afternoon provides a chance to witness the stunning sunsets that Tanah Lot is famous for.
Tanah Lot is beautiful all year round, but some times are extra special. If you’re looking to catch those famous sunset views, late afternoon is the time to go. The sky’s colors change beautifully as the sun sets behind the temple, creating a stunning backdrop. It’s a photographer’s dream!
Now, what about the seasons? Bali is great to visit any time, but the dry season, from April to October, is ideal for clear skies and sunny days. This means your sunset views will be even more breathtaking.
So, is Tanah Lot worth visiting? Absolutely! Whether you’re there for the spiritual experience, the cultural richness, or just the natural beauty, it’s a place that leaves a lasting impression. The peaceful atmosphere, combined with the scenic views, makes Tanah Lot a must-visit spot in Bali.
When visiting Tanah Lot, it’s important to dress respectfully, as it is a sacred site. This means wearing clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. A simple guideline is to dress modestly, similar to how you would when visiting any place of worship. This not only shows respect for the cultural and religious significance of Tanah Lot but also enhances the spiritual experience of your visit. Sarongs can be provided if you do not meet the dress code so you can still enjoy this sacred place. (Source: Indonesia Travel – Tanah Lot)
What can you do here?
First, you can see special sea snakes (Banded Sea Krait). They live near the temple and are part of the local stories. It’s exciting to watch them. There is a security sitting next to it. I was encouraged to touch it but didn’t like touching a wild poisonous snake. Yes it was sleeping, but I don’t and should not disturb sleeping reptiles.
You can also get a blessing at the temple. The priests there do traditional blessings. It’s a peaceful and special part of visiting.
For those who like taking photos, Tanah Lot is perfect. The temple looks amazing with the sea around it. Try taking pictures from the cliffs or the beach. Sunrise and sunset are the best times for great photos.
Near the temple, there are markets too. You can buy handmade things and souvenirs. It’s a fun way to see Bali’s art and culture.
Some of these places have voluntary donations boxes. If you feel generous you can donate 🙂
Nearby Tanah Lot
Close to Tanah Lot, you’ll find beautiful natural sites and interesting cultural spots. For nature lovers, the rice terraces nearby are a must-see. They show you the traditional way of farming in Bali and are super peaceful. If you’re into culture, check out the smaller temples and local villages around. Each place has its own story and vibe.
- Beraban Village: Just a short distance from Tanah Lot, this traditional village offers a glimpse into the daily life and culture of Bali.
- Batukaru Mountain: For the more adventurous, a trip to nearby Batukaru Mountain provides breathtaking natural scenery and a cooler climate.
- Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest: A sanctuary for monkeys and a sacred forest, it’s a unique place to experience Bali’s wildlife and spiritual connection with nature.
All that exploring can make you hungry. Good news – there are lots of places to eat near Tanah Lot. You can try some local Balinese food or go for something more familiar. Many restaurants have great views, like looking out over the ocean or across the rice fields. It makes eating there really special.
- Melasti Tanah Lot: Known for its traditional Balinese cuisine, this restaurant offers a taste of local flavors with a view of the temple.
- Warung Disini: This cozy eatery serves a mix of Indonesian and Western dishes, perfect for a relaxed meal after temple exploration.
- Yeh Panes Hot Spring Restaurant: A short drive away, this restaurant not only offers delicious food but also the experience of dining near natural hot springs.
Shopping souvenirs near Tanah Lot
Want to take a bit of Bali home with you? The markets and shops near Tanah Lot are great for this. You can find handmade crafts, cool textiles, and unique souvenirs. Buying stuff here also helps the local artists, and you get to keep a piece of Bali’s art and culture.
- Tanah Lot Art Market: Right near the temple, this market is ideal for picking up souvenirs, from handcrafted jewelry to Balinese textiles.
- Pasar Seni Kediri: A local art market in the nearby town of Kediri, where you can find a wider range of crafts and artworks.
- Joger Bali: A famous store in Bali known for its unique and humorous souvenirs, a short drive from Tanah Lot.
10 Frequently Asked Questions about Tanah Lot
What is the significance of the sacred snakes at Tanah Lot?
The sacred sea snakes at Tanah Lot are believed to be guardians of the temple, protecting it from evil spirits. They hold significant spiritual importance for the Balinese people.
Are there any specific rituals or cultural activities to participate in at Tanah Lot?
Visitors can witness or participate in purification rituals involving holy water from the temple’s natural spring. These rituals are a deep part of Balinese Hindu culture and provide a unique spiritual experience.
What is the best time to visit Tanah Lot for fewer crowds?
For a quieter experience, it’s recommended to visit Tanah Lot in the morning. Late afternoons, especially during sunset, tend to attract more crowds.
How do I get to Tanah Lot?
Tanah Lot is accessible by car or scooter from most parts of Bali. Public transportation options may be limited, so hiring a taxi or driving is usually the most convenient way to get there.
Can I enter the Tanah Lot temple itself?
The main temple at Tanah Lot is not typically open for tourists to enter, as it is a sacred site. Visitors can explore the grounds and enjoy the surrounding views.
What should I wear when visiting Tanah Lot?
It’s recommended to dress modestly out of respect for the cultural and religious significance of the site. Comfortable walking shoes are also advisable.
Is Tanah Lot accessible for visitors with mobility issues?
While Tanah Lot is generally accessible, the terrain can be uneven and challenging, especially during high tide when some pathways may be submerged.
Are there food and drink options available at Tanah Lot?
Yes, there are several local markets and stalls around Tanah Lot where you can buy snacks, traditional Balinese food, and drinks.
Can I visit Tanah Lot during any time of the year?
Yes, Tanah Lot can be visited year-round. However, the dry season from April to October is generally more comfortable for visitors, as the rainy season might hinder outdoor activities and views.
I hope you found my guide useful! Let me know if you want to add something to this guide via the comments.
Hi I am Dwi. I am a blogger, travel agent and a mom of a lovely daughter and wife to a supportive husband. I customize and plan tours in Bali and islands nearby for a living and have been doing this for more than 14 years. Get in touch via contact [at] taletravels.com