Tanah Lot Bali | Temples Bordering the Indian Ocean

Tanah Lot Bali | Temples Bordering the Indian Ocean

Tanah Lot Temple in Bali

Do not miss to visit the Temple of Tanah Lot in Bali, Temple of legend, and essential of the island! This iconic sea temple is perched on a rock formation just off the coast, making it one of Bali’s most photographed sites, especially during sunset.

Built in the 16th century by order of the priest Nirartha, who came to meditate on an isolated rock in the sea, the temple of Tanah Lot now overlooks this rock. Its name means “land in the sea” in Balinese. According to popular beliefs, the base of the temple is invested by a giant sea serpent which protects the sacred place from intruders.

What is it?

Head for the Indonesian archipelago, where the wonderful island of Bali is located. Between its idyllic beaches, its luxuriant nature, its breathtaking rice fields, its impressive volcanoes, its mystical and authentic culture and the gentleness of its inhabitants, it is truly a dream destination!

But the charm and beauty of Bali also reside in its collection of temples, each more incredible than the next, starting with the Temple of Tanah Lot.

This temple is one of the most famous on the island, because of its location: the Temple of Tanah Lot in Bali is “set” on a small rock in the middle of the ocean, about 100 meters from the coast, accessible at low tide. The spectacle of this temple in the middle of the waves at high tide is just magnificent!

So to help you visit the Tanah Lot Temple in Bali, we have prepared a mini-guide for you with all the important information you need to know.

Read also: Useful Tips for Visiting Temples in Bali

A legendary Tanah Lot temple

The temple has acquired its notoriety partly thanks to its particular architecture: located on a rocky promontory, it is cut off from the rest of the island twice a day, at each high tide.

The temple has acquired its notoriety partly thanks to its particular architecture: located on a rocky promontory, it is cut off from the rest of the island twice a day, at each high tide.

Legend has it that the sage once went to the rocky promontory that was then Tanah Lot, connected to the moor by a natural stone bridge.

Captivated by the spectacle of the ocean caressing the banks and by the backwash of the waves, the man would have decided to spend the night there… And in the early morning, in total harmony with the sea stretched out in front of him, he decided to build the temple to pay homage to this element of nature. Even today, the caves dug by the waves at the foot of the cliffs that surround it are said to be inhabited by sacred serpents, descendants of the former protectors of the site.

Pura Tanah Lot, Bali, Indonesia, 20220827 1029 1193
Tanah Lot Temple at high tide, Bali, Indonesia. Jakub Hałun, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Myths about Tanah Lot

The myths and legends associated with this sacred place are almost as beautiful as the temple itself. The story goes that the holy priest Danghyang Nirarta spent the night here and the people of Bali decided to build the Tanah Lot temple on his resting place.

It is also said that at the time, there was a bridge between the continent and the temple, but that it was destroyed by the force of the sea. Another interesting detail: there is under Tanah Lot a cave sheltering a source magical. Curiously, the spring water is fresh while the temple is surrounded by the ocean and its salty waters.

The sunset in Tanah Lot Temple Bali

The sunset in Tanah Lot Temple Bali. User: Pinterpandai, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tourist flows

The temple of Tanah Lot has thus become one of the 7 temples of the Sea which border the island of Bali. These seven temples have the function of protecting the island of the Gods from any bad influence coming from the waves, and have the particularity of being always visible from at least one of the other temples of the Sea.

Today, Pura (temple) Tanah Lot is one of the most popular religious buildings on the island, and also the most visited. Right next to the temple, a “tourist village” has been created in order to stem the flow of daily visitors to the sacred site.

Read also: Useful Tips for Visiting Temples in Bali

Sportswear shops, crafts, various clothes, the main street offers everything you need for an entire afternoon of shopping! The sunset is a particularly appreciated moment on this site, which also offers the possibility of enjoying a dinner in a restaurant in height.

Tanah Lot odalan ritual
The Odalan ritual on Tanah Lot temple. Okkisafire, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Our little secret…

Shhh, don’t tell anyone! The Pura Batu Bolong, located 10 minutes walk from the Tanah Lot temple, is just as impressive as its neighbor and much less crowded! Of more modest size, it is perched on a ledge plunging into the Indian Ocean.

During the Melasti celebrations, a few days before the Balinese New Year, hundreds of pilgrims come to deposit earthly offerings intended for the marine deities.

Visit the temple of Tanah Lot: Variable hours, expect about 2 hours to spend in this area.
Price: Allow IDR 20,000 to enter the temple, IDR 20,000 more to touch the tail of a small sacred reptile.

Read also: 2 Weeks Itinerary in Bali | What to do and visit in Bali for 14 Days | Best Itinerary

Discover Pura Batu Bolong: Follow the path that runs along the cliff to the west of Pura Tanah Lot: the site is open every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and admission is free.

Tanah-Lot Bali Indonesia Pura-Tanah-Lot-01
Tanah Lot temple, Bali, Indonesia. Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons

TANAH LOT: How to get there?

Tanah Lot is easily reachable from any locality in South Bali (Sanur, Kuta, Seminyak, Legian or Canggu), or from Ubud, both by your own means (scooter) and by car (taxi or Go-Jek application).

From the latter you can therefore go there for the day, without sleeping there.

From other tourist locations such as Uluwatu, Munduk or Amed it seems complicated and a shame to go there for the day, since you would spend too much time on the road.

It will therefore be necessary to book a room in the surroundings (see below), for at least one night.


Please note that these times are estimates and can be subject to change depending on traffic conditions and other factors. It’s advisable to plan your journey accordingly and consider allowing extra time for unforeseen delays.

Reading sources: CleverlySmart, PinterPandai

Photo credit: www.Pinterpandai.comPinterPandai via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Best Temples in Bali | You need to visit one of them at least once during your stay in Bali

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