The Tanah Lot Experience in Bali

Admiring Bali’s Most Iconic Temple

Tanah Lot is easily one of Bali’s most iconic temples. Truly one of a kind, it features a small shrine complex on an islet, set against a dreamy ocean backdrop. We set out on a short tour to explore this famous site. Your holiday in Bali will be incomplete without visiting this landmark.

Besides the showpiece temple complex that is surrounded by the Indian Ocean, one among our popular temple tour itineraries also includes a stopover at another regal site – an idyllic temple complex called Taman Ayun that is surrounded by a spring-fed freshwater moat rather than crashing waves.

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Starting off in the early afternoon from Kuta Beach, we head north on our combined tour to first reach Taman Ayun Temple. This significant temple complex is located in the village of Mengwi, an hour’s drive north. A remnant of the old Mengwi kingdom, the 17th century temple stands gracefully with its four different divisions and palatial surroundings.

The complex features terraced courtyards set in well-kept grounds with manicured lawns, and which is surrounded by a large manmade moat. The overall atmosphere is a soothing one and you can easily lose a sense of time here. Also, don’t miss the bell tower with ladders you can climb up for a spectacular birds’ eye view!

After a good hour enjoying the gorgeous surrounds of Taman Ayun, we set out west entering the Tabanan regency, with a stop at Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest. Alas Kedaton is a 12Ha nutmeg forest that is home to hundreds of grey long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis). Within the forest is also a temple, and out on the perimeter are art shops and small restaurants selling refreshments.

Then, we head towards the highlight of our tour: Tanah Lot Temple. Various art shops and galleries displaying knick-knacks line the meandering sidewalks, and approaching the coastline, the sea temple comes to view. At low tide, you can walk down to the rocky shore alongside Tanah Lot for a closer photo shot of this breathtaking structure.

The rock base is where the legendary ‘guardian’ sea snakes dwell in crevices around the Tirta Pabersihan fountain, which is a natural spout and source of holy water for all the temples in the area. A priest usually stands by to bless visitors with a sprinkle of this holy water over their heads. Entry to the rock temple is normally restricted only to praying pilgrims.

During high-tide, the western seas are rough and extra caution must be taken near the crashing waves and wet rocks, but you can still capture some great images and enjoy the spectacle, as the best views are indeed from a distance, onshore. There are also many other side highlights to be viewed here, including numerous smaller temples that host prayer sessions for various aspects of agrarian life, from good rice harvests to rites of passage.

To sum up, this tour offers a great half-day (approximately six hours) to see three of Bali’s iconic temples – one placid and green and surrounded by still freshwater, another in a lush nutmeg forest 'guarded' by monkeys, and another surrounded by crashing blue waves. You are sure to experience sights that will be embedded in your memory for a lifetime.

The Tanah Lot Experience

  • Location: Mengwi, Badung - Tanah Lot, Tabanan
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