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Sunset at Tanah Lot Temple, Bali

Sunset at Tanah Lot Temple, Bali

I write this as I’m sitting in a deserted warung overlooking Tanah Lot Temple, waiting for a sunset that seems destined to elude me. At least writing this post is distracting me from the wait.

The Tanah Lot Temple Experience

I’ll check back in on the sunset wait in a little while. My has coffee arrived, and I’m going to kill as much time as possible drinking it while taking you on a little tour of the Tanah Lot Temple complex.

Tanah Lot Temple (Pura Tanah Lot) is located on a tiny rock of an island, a few treacherous metres off shore. There’s more to explore though, from the tourist village which leads to the temple, to the clifftop views nearby.

A Short Walk

Before visiting the temple, it’s a good idea to turn right and check out some of the views. You’ll see the temple, and the colorful line of people walking to it, from various points along the way. There are some nice beach views too, as well as some smaller temples and shrines.

Tanah Lot Temple

Next up you’ll join the throngs of people — mostly locals — on their pilgrimage to the beach in front of the temple. There’s a “holy snake” hidden in a cave, which I refused to pay see — I thought I’d leave my readers a bit of mystery.

You can cross the Tanah Lot Straight  — it’s only 20 metres or so but it can get slippery and the water was around knee height. I didn’t want to take my shoes off and get my feet wet, but then I remembered I’m a travel blogger and a post about Tanah Lot Temple would be useless without going to the actual temple.

Once on the other side I was made to splash some holy water on myself in order to visit the temple. The guy in front of me did it, and then got a flower and a thing (bindi I think) on his forehead. Then he had to pay a small fee. “Just the water for me thanks”, I said, and I was off to the temple (no money required). A little way up the stairs I realised the gate was locked. No temple for me or anyone else, no matter how much they paid the guys below. This is a great reason to read travel blogs — we do these things so you don’t have to!

Note: I asked the driver about this later and he said it only opens for special ceremonies.

Sunset Update

An hour to go, and it’s still gloomy. A sliver of hope, or a small band of bright sky, can be seen in the distance. I’ve got a front row seat to the holy water scam, I kinda wish I could see their faces when they realise their cash only gains them entrance to a small set of stairs.

One hour to go — keep reading to witness the exciting climax. A few more people have showed up but it’s still quiet — clouds and Covid will do that (I visited in July 2022, not long after mass tourism started back in Bali). I should probably talk about the cafés and eating establishments (warung) — there’s a big row of them above the temple, making them the best places to watch the sunset. Overpriced of course, but that to be expected.

READ MORE: 32 of the Best Things to Do in Bali

Tanah Lot Temple: The Details

  • It costs 60,000 IDR to visit Tanah Lot Temple. A visit should take around an hour, assuming you don’t get there way too early and end up waiting for sunset. 
  • Getting there is the hard bit — it’s not close to any popular tourist area, so you’ll need a motorbike, private transport or a tour. You’ll be in for a long ride home too — it took my driver almost two hours to navigate the traffic and get me back to my hotel.
  • Sunset is a popular time to visit, but it’d still be worth it earlier in the day. It’s an interesting place with some good views, just a shame the actual temple wasn’t open. Don’t think this is a must-do or anything though. This my 4th time in Bali and the first time I’ve visited — make your own conclusions about that.

Final Pre-Sunset Update

That sliver of light and hope has grown, but I fear I may have chosen the wrong place to sit. I’m directly in front of the temple, and it seems like the sun might be setting right behind it. A move could be on the cards. Results soon.

Sunset Results Are In!

As I suspected all along, it didn’t amount to much. I could have added a sunset filter to my photos and tricked you guys, but that’s not my style. Hopefully the sun comes out if you decide to visit.

Are you planning on seeing the sunset at Tanah Lot Temple? Let me know in the comments below!

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who hates talking about himself in the third person and has no imagination when it comes to naming websites.