Pura Tanah Lot

One of the most widely used symbols of Bali is the temple of Pura Tanah Lot. The small structure is perched on top of a rocky islet about 100 yards from the mainland. A rock shelf provides access to the temple at low tide.

Tanah Lot
Tanah Lot from the cliff-top north of the temple.

The temple is a popular place for visitors at sunset, when hordes of tourists descend on the grounds. Its popularity can be gauged by the huge number of souvenir shops that surround the walkway leading to the temple.

Tanaha Lot
Tanah Lot as seen from the cliff-top restaurants.

For the best views of the temple, do not head straight for the beach, as many visitors do. Instead, turn right just past the stage near the entrance, and follow the path up to the rocky promontory that overlooks the temple. From here you not only get a good view of Tanah Lot, but also Pura Batu Bolong, a temple built on another rocky promontory to 'protect' Tanah Lot. Batu Bolong is interesting for the natural bridge that connects the temple to the mainland.

Batu Bolong
Pura Batu Bolong, a temple built to 'protect' Tanah Lot just a short distance to the north.

In a grotto beneath Tanah Lot, you'll see a gold umbrella, which marks the spot of a fresh-water spring. The spring was one of the reasons the temple was originally constructed on this spot. The temple is dedicated to both the goddess of the sea, Betara Tengah Segara, and gods of Bunung Batukau.

Although popular with organized tours as a sunset stop, to really see Tanah Lot, and photograph it, you'll want to avoid the crowds and arrive early. Note that even if you arrive at low tide, you can't ascend to the top of the temple. The sacred sanctuary is open only to true believers.