The stunning coastal temple of Pura Tanah Lot is located in Tabanan in South Bali and is an important part of Balinese spiritualism. Perched on an massive offshore rock, the dramatic location and myths surrounding the temple make it a must-see pilgrimage for countless local and international visitors every year.
Tanah Lot, meaning 'earth' and 'sea', is said to date from the 15th century and also has Hindu significance. Its precarious position has meant the site has undergone significant restoration to conserve the temple and rock since the late 1980s. Entry to the temple is forbidden unless praying however the temple backdrop, rather than the structure itself, is the main attraction especially at sunset. When the tide is high it can appear as if the temple is floating in the sea, whereas at low tide, a pathway allows people to walk to Tanah Lot. The erosion beneath the rock has given rise to the belief that the poisonous sea snakes which reside within the sea caves protect the temple. Tanah Lot is one of eight sea temples and monuments built around the Balinese coast.
To reach Tanah Lot, there are Balinese-style art markets with souvenirs and crafts to navigate through which cover each side of the path to the sea. The cliff areas near the temple are also home to several tourist facilities including a hotel, restaurants, two information centres, a rest area and the Surya Mandala Cultural Park, located 10 minutes from Pura Tanah Lot. The park hosts the nightly Kecak Fire Dance Performance of the Balinese folk dance at 7pm after the sun has set over Tanah Lot. Tickets are IDR50,000 each.
As it is a popular attraction, most tours include Tanah Lot in their itineraries. To visit on your own, Pura Tanah Lot is a 45-minute drive from Kuta, Legian and Seminyak in South Bali and 40 minutes' drive from Ubud. Entry to the temple area is IDR30,000 for adults and IDR15,000 for children plus parking fees.