Tanah Lot like Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is one of the most famous water temples in Bali. However, unlike Pura Ulun, it doesn’t sit on a lake but right by the ocean. Just a short drive away from Canggu in South Bali, it makes for a great afternoon trip. To make the most out of you visit, here are practical tips.
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Why Should You Visit Tanah Lot Temple?
Tanah Lot is one of the best known temples in the Canggu region and part of the of seven sea temples in Bali. It is dedicated to the deity of the sea, Dewa Baruna/Bhatara Segara.
The water temple sits on a rock off the coastline of Tabanan. On it, Pura Tanah Lot is located, which translate to “Land in the Sea Temple”. It serves as a major Hindu pilgrimage site.
Read this too: How to Get to Pura Ulun Danu Bratan
As the rock on which the temples sits is subject to weather and the tide, it changes form over the course of years and almost threatened the existence of Tanah Lot temple. Thanks to restoration efforts, its preservation was successful.
According to legend, counsellor to the king, Dang Hyang Nirartha, was so in awe of the beautiful rock that he slept on it overnight. In the morning he instructed local fishermen to erect a shrine.
Tanah Lot – How to Get There
Tanah Lot Temple sits a 30 minute scooter ride outside of digital nomad hub Canggu in Southern Bali.
The main road north of Canggu is hard to miss. It is always rather busy and leads pretty much close to Tanah Lot. The name of the road changes to By Pass Tanah Lot as well. Signs will guide you to where you need to turn towards the ocean and Tanah Lot.
Address: Beraban, Kediri, Tabanan Regency, Bali
Opening Times: 7AM-7PM, daily
There are plenty of parking spots around Tanah Lot and you have to pay the Tanah Lot entrance fee of 60,000 IDR (30,000 for kids) and parking fee before you can park. Parking a scooter costs 2,000 IDR and for a car it’s 5,000 IDR. There are two entrances to the parking.
You can rent a local scooter. (Ask your accommodation for recommendations to avoid scams.) The roads are pretty much even and well laid out but can busy during rush hour (between 5 and 8PM).
Did you know? You can buy my Tanah Lot photos as prints
Alternatively, rent a car from Sixt, for instance, or get a taxi from Blue Bird or Gojek. However, know that unless you want to use the car for more day trips, it’s not really worth the drive as you will get stuck in traffic.
Scooters are much faster. Take a Go-jek through the free app if you aren’t comfortable driving yourself. You need wifi to use the app, so don’t forget to pack your portable hotspot. (This is the one I have been using worldwide.)
Can You Visit Tanah Lot Without a Guide?
Currently, there is no need for a guide when visiting a Balinese temple. However, seeing the latest developments of disrespectful behaviour of tourists around holy sites, there might be changes coming.
Should You Book a Tanah Lot Temple Tour?
Tanah Lot is easy to access and the area isn’t huge. So it is entirely possible to do it by yourself, especially if you just want to visit to see it for yourself.
However, if you would like more background information by a knowledgable guide and travel southern Bali and its attractions in comfort, tours are the way to go.
For instance, you can easily combine a private guided tour with other UNESCO heritage sites, such as Bedugul and Jatiluwih and make it a full on day tour. You can really learn more about Balinese culture and religion this way. Plus, during peak season when a small queue might line up for tickets, you can just pass as tickets are included in the tours.
Alternatively, other famous temples you can combine with a Tanah Lot tour are famous Uluwatu and Jimbaran. Get picked up right at your hotel or villa, stroll down Padang Padang Beach, dine on the fresh catch of the day in Jimbaran Bay and see a kecak dance to the background of an Uluwatu sunset! Check availability in advane to avoid any surprises as the tour books is a bestseller.
Also easily selling out is the Sacred Temple Tour. This will give you access to both Goa Gajah Temple and Gunung kawi Temple. Plus, you will receive a holy water blessing at water temple Tirta Empul. Check here if the tour is still available during your Bali travel times.
What Is the Temple Etiquette at Tanah Lot?
Generally the temple dress code is to dress appropriately. This includes a sarong and scarf around your hips and a shirt covering your upper body and arms. Furthermore, you need to take off your shoes at the temple entrance.
BUT: Unless you are entering the actual temple, there isn’t a specific temple etiquette to adhere to. (Note: You have to be Balinese to be able to enter. Foreign tourists aren’t allowed entry anyway.)
As with all Balinese temples, never stand taller than a priest, don’t walk in front of a procession or point your feet towards holy objects or figures.
If you are bleeding – be it due to menstruation or a wound – or if you are pregnant or have given birth in the past 6 months, you cannot enter.
What Is the Best Time to Visit Tanah Lot Temple?
With Tanah Lot there are two things that have a major influence on your experience and both have to do with time of day.
If you can manage it, arrange for a Tanah Lot temple sunset. It is then that the soft orange light really transforms the lone rock island and the sky shines bright orange, creating an eerie glow. It’s absolutely beautiful!
Read this too: Why You Can’t Travel Bali during Day of Silence
That being said, you might end up seeing Tanah Lot not as a floating temple but in low tide. If it’s more important to you to see Tanah Lot in the water than at sunset, check current water tide times in advance.
Bali has two seasons, dry (March-October) and rainy season (November-April). Your chances of epic sunsets are greater during dry season. Plus, it might rain during rainy season when you visit. However, it’s busier during dry season, especially in July and August.
What to Bring to Tanah Lot Temple?
As with any trip in Bali, prepare for Balinese sun. This means, wear at least +30 sunscreen, have sunglasses and lose clothing to keep cool on warm days. If you are travelling during rainy season especially, a rain poncho should be with you at all times. The clouds open up almost instantly and downpours are near torrential.
If you are going on a scooter, wear long pants or skirt. Otherwise, place a sarong or scarf underneath you to prevent skin irritation. Those seats can get heated up and sweaty!
In case you are planning on entering the temple during low tide, dress according to temple etiquette. Moreover, it can get quite cool by the sea at times, so have a light cardigan or jacket with you. You can store it in the seat of your scooter if you rented one.
Read this too: What to Pack for Bali – Female Packing Essentials
Have enough cash on you to pay parking/Tanah lot temple entrance and snacks in the area. I believe you can use credit card at the entrance but don’t rely on it. Plus, it’s safer not to use credit cards too often because of credit card skimming incidents.
Photographers, come prepared for sunny, cloudy or rainy weather. You are by the seaside, so this will definitely be very weather dependent. If you are flexible, watch the weather a few hours in advance before making it over to Tanah Lot.
To really crank up the gorgeous sky effect (clouds or no clouds), use your a polarising filter. Should you want a tripod, I recommend the handy Joby gorilla tripod I am using as you can get amazing low perspective shots no matter the surface. And the set up is super quick. (Which is key with so many other people around, walking into frame.)
As far as I know, drones are still allowed but you might find local opportunists who will charge you quite a lot if they see you with a drone.
Read this too: How to Take Pro Holiday Photography
What Else is at Tanah Lot Temple?
On your way from the parking lot to Pura Tanah Lot, you will see another Hindu temple, just on top of the cliffs. If you ask me, Pura Batu Bolong is just as stunning. (And it makes for maybe even greater sunset photos. Plus, not many tourists were crowding it when I was there last.)
If you are hungry, there are lots of snack shops and restaurants around. In fact, to get to the Bali sea temple, you need to pass plenty of shops and vendors. You can also do your souvenirs shopping here.
Also, I saw a snake watching attraction in a cave at Tanah Lot beach. So if you’re into that, it might still be there.
Can I Stay at Pura Tanah Lot?
A temple stay isn’t possible. However, there are nearby hotels that you can check into. You don’t have to go all the way to Canggu if you want to experience both sunset and sunrise by staying close to the action with a Tanah Lot accommodation. (You’d have to pay twice though.)
Right by the temple complex you can find two hotels. These have the best strategic location for a Tanah Lot visit. (Plus, they are a good starting point to see other nearby sea temples.) One is Dewi Sinta Hotel and Restaurant.
The hotel style is typically modern Balinese with wam colours, traditional decoration and local paintings. From the hotel, it only takes around 20 minutes to Canggu and 40 minutes to Kuta. There is an outdoor pool and the onsite restaurant serves Indonesian cuisine. Check availability in advance.
Address: Taman Wisata Tanah Lot, Kediri, Tabanan, 82171 Tanah Lot, Indonesia
The other one is Natya Hotel Tanah Lot. Staying at the hotel, you can save the parking fee and enjoy an outdoor pool as well as a modern hotel design. Rooms are spacious and stylish. The restaurant serves both Indonesian and Western fare. Check prices now.
Address: Kawasan Wisata Tanah Lot, 82171 Tanah Lot, Indonesia
Is a Day Trip to Ulun Danu Beratan Temple Worth It?
That depends on your expectations. If you you are picturing some seriously stunning, untouched towering rock with breathtaking backdrop.
You should know that next to the temple, the area has become a seriously touristy site. It’s very popular and thus crowded, both along the cliffs and down around the rock.
Getting photos without people in it is a challenge, if that’s what you’re after. Getting into the temple is only possible for Balinese people during low tide. Tourists cannot.
Sunsets are truly stunning if the weather allows and are well worth it. Just don’t expect the tide to be in and water engulfing the sea temple Tanah Lot.
When are you planning on visiting Pura Tanah Lot? Drop me a comment.
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