Literally means “Land in the Middle of the Sea” in Balinese language, Tanah Lot has an exotic and scenic appeal making it a popular destination for tourists, both locals and foreigners. It is home of the famous Hindu pilgrimage temple, Pura Tanah Lot, located on a rocky formation surrounded by the open sea.
We booked a half day tour to Tanah Lot to specifically view the stunning sunset, but this place has other interesting things to offer. There are several temples built in the entire complex that are worth visiting. In the vicinity of Tanah Lot, you can also spend time shopping in a variety of art shops selling traditional Balinese souvenirs or enjoy an authentic Balinese cuisine in one of the restaurants there.
Our visit to Tanah Lot was a very timely one! We were fortunate enough to witness the various ceremonies coinciding with the World Hindu Summit in Bali, including musical performances and a procession of Hindus from different parts of the world.
Aside from being a tourist attraction, Tanah Lot is often used as a site to perform religious activities and rituals. It is a sacred place for Hindus and many people go there to pray, meditate, and conduct ascetic practices. It is believed that Pura Tanah Lot was the work of a priest from East Java named Dang Hyang Nirartha who was traveling east to spread Hinduism. It is one of seven sea temples, perhaps the most famous, around the Balinese coast.
At the north of Tanah Lot Temple is a cliff temple called Batu Bolong, which sits on a cliff protruding into the sea. This temple is connected to the land and looks like a bridge from afar. Another equally important temple is Pura Melanting, which also offers a good panoramic view of the coastline. Notably, it is a popular spot for couples who want to have their pre-wedding photos taken against the beautiful sunset as their backdrop.
We spent about four hours walking around, shopping, and taking lots of photographs in Tanah Lot. Not only is it strikingly picturesque but the walk around the temples affords stunning views of the shoreline and rock formations.
Don’t miss the hike on the cliffs as far as the restaurant as you’ll get the best panoramic view from that vantage point. I highly recommend booking a day tour to Tanah Lot if you visit Bali!