Tanah Lot

Weather :

Timings : 7:00 AM - 7:00PM

Entry Fee : Indonesians:
Adults: IDR 20,000,
Children: IDR 1,500,
Adults: IDR 60,000,
Children: IDR 30,000

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Tanah Lot, Bali Overview

Located on a beautiful offshore rock in Tabanan regency, Bali, Tanah Lot or 'Land on the Sea' is a Hindu shrine believed to be about 500 years old. An amalgamation of Balinese and Hindu mythology, the temple's base is carved with sea snakes and offers a natural source of holy water. Foreigners are not allowed inside the temple but you can walk across to the main temple and watch the sunset.

The Tanah Lot temple can be found some 300 metres (over 980 feet) off the island shore. It is one of seven temples along the Bali coast. In fact, from this beautiful rock temple, you can see the Pura Ulu Watu temple site on the cliffs to the south, and a long sweep of azure waters to the west, near Negara.

Visiting the top of Tanah Lot is reserved for priests and Bali locals, but tourists are allowed to wander the base of the temple and receive blessings from the small shrine there. Because of its astounding architecture and intricate rock faces, set against the breath-taking Indonesian waters with a clear sight of the sun as it sets, Tanah Lot is considered a photographer's paradise.

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History of Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot, a 16th Century Hindu-Balinese Temple
Tanah Lot, a 16th Century Hindu-Balinese Temple (Source)

Tanah Lot is believed to have been conceived by a 16th-century Hindu traveller and a religious figure called Danh Hyang Nirartha. While travelling through Bali, he sought shelter on a rock on Tabanan's coast. This rock was locally known as 'Gili Beo'. While resting there, he was visited by local fishermen who offered him food and gifts. After spending a night on the rock, and being overwhelmed by the calming spirit of the area, he told the locals to build a shrine there to worship the Balinese sea gods. At first, Nirartha's idea for a temple saw resistance from the local chieftain.

However, Nirartha is believed to have won him over through the miraculous act of moving Gili Beo out to its current position in the sea with his own hands. It was on this rock that the temple Tanah Lot was built for the deity Dewa Baruna, the sea god. Before leaving, Nirartha gifted the local chief with a kris (also spelt keris), an asymmetrical Indonesian dagger that was believed to have magic powers.

Restoration of Tanah Lot

In the 1980's, there were signs of erosion on the stone temple and it began to slowly crumble. Much of this is attributed to its location on the ocean, the rock facing rough tides for decades. Through a loan from the Japanese government, Bali authorities began restoration of Tanah Lot. Much of the eroded rock was replaced with artificial rock and other supervised renovation. Until 2014, the inside areas of the temple were out of bounds as well because of restoration work.

In 1986, concrete supports were installed along the Tabanan shore as protection, along with concrete tetrapods to redirect waves further down the coast. Unfortunately, not only did this impact the aesthetics of the temple area, but it caused an accumulation of sand along the shore that affected biological life. Through assistance by the World Monuments Fund, there have been changes implemented such as fencing around the temple and creation of 'zones'. The main zone includes the sacred building, the middle zone for religious activities, and the low zone specifically designated for tourists.

Best Time to Visit Tanah Lot

The temple is open all day for prayers but tourism timings are from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM, all year long. If you would like to enjoy the temple surroundings with searing heat and crowds, it is best to visit before 9:00 AM. If not, catching the sunset here is hugely popular. Every evening, the kecak dance (a form of Balinese Hindu dance) is held after sunset at 6:30 PM that lasts for almost an hour. It is a fierce and passionate dance performed mainly by men to the rhythmic voices calling out a beat. You'll require tickets to catch this performance.
On certain festivals during the year, Tanah Lot becomes a sought-after destination. It sees large crowds on Kuningan, the end of the popular Gulangan festival, when it is believed that ancestral spirits are leaving earth and returning to heaven. On the day of Odalan, an occasion for the village community to gather and invite the gods to their homes, you'll see rows of Balinese women making their way to Tanah Lot with offerings.

Things To Do at Tanah Lot

Sunset at Tanah Lot (Source)
As you go downwards, you'll get your first sight of the temple from the cliff-side. During sunsets, this pathway is full of locals and tourists who are enjoying the sunset. Indeed, the sight of the sun setting in the horizon behind Tanah Lot is quite a spectacular sight. A similar sight can be caught every morning as the sun rises without the crowds.

Beach Near Tanah Lot (Source)

At the temple's rock base, there is a fountain called Tirta Pabersihan that is believed to spout holy water. You're bound to find priests there, sprinkling this holy water on visitors. On the same rock base are the temple's guardian snakes, living in the crevices.

A pathway exists to reach the temple from the shore. During low tide, you can easily cross this and make your way. Do watch out for large waves near the rocks that can be dangerous. As a safety measure, there are lifeguards who keep a watchful eye of the traffic from the shore to the temple. During high tide, it is practically impossible to cross. The waves reach incredible heights with the power to sweep off anyone trying to reach Tanah Lot. Instead, during high tide, pilgrims visit Penyaweng temple or Batu Bolong that is linked to Tanah Lot through a pathway with well-kept gardens on each side.

Dress Code at Tanah Lot

There is a dress code that is informally enforced at Tanah Lot. Women are required to cover their legs, usually with a sarong or a kebaya (native Indonesian dress) along with covering their shoulders (such as the use of a scarf). Men must follow the same rules, along with wearing an udeng (Balinese headdress made from folded clothes). This is considered ?appropriate? temple attire that will help you fit in without raising any eyebrows. There are some tourists who have visited the temple without following these unofficially dress norms, but it is considered disrespectful by the locals.

Tips on Visiting Tanah Lot

1. In recent years, this area has become highly developed for visitors, comprising a parking area, toilet, restaurants, information centre, and other services. Parking charges are IDR 5,000 for four wheelers and IDR 2,000 for two-wheelers.

2. Because of the unpredictable nature of the waters en route to the sea temple, this entrance fee includes insurance coverage. In addition, a small donation is generally expected in order to get blessings from the priests.

3. There are taxis available as well, but they are known to inflate prices. Thus, it could cost you anywhere between IDR 100,000 to IDR 300,000 depending on your skill of bargaining. There is public transport in the form of app-based cabs like Uber as well. They can be easily booked to drop you to the location for a fee of around IDR 200,000, but keep in mind that they cannot be booked to leave the location. Instead, local cabs ply. They tend to charge high prices from a set price list of around IDR 275,000 to Ubud, but the rates are slightly cheaper to reach Kuta and Denpasar. You can always take a bus from Kuta to Tanah Lot, but they do not operate post 5:00 PM.

Shopping Around Tanah Lot

Stairway of Tanah Lot (Source)
In order to reach the Tabanan Beach below, you will have to cross the local Balinese market leading towards the sea. There are dozens of shops and stalls selling souvenirs, budget clothing, and delicious Indonesian snacks. Some traditional snacks to try here are the jaja kelepon (sugar-filled gelatinous rice balls coated in coconut) and es kelapa muda (chilled coconut). The market is always lively, with plenty of loud banter, bargaining, and announcements on the loudspeakers.

How To Reach Tanah Lot

Because it is an important tourist destination, Tanah Lot is easy accessible. If you are using public transport, it is just a 45-minute drive from Kuta or Seminyak and a 30-40 minute from Ubud. During the pre-sunset and post-sunset rush, these timings can extend by almost an hour because traffic builds up and it stretches for kilometres on end with bumper-to-bumper traffic. We'd suggest that you plan your travel in such a way that you avoid these traffic hours.

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