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While spending a month in South Bali, I made a couple day trips to the surrounding attractions. After already having had a good time in Uluwatu, I decided to head to another one of the sea temples along Bali’s coast: Pura Tanah Lot. 

As soon as I scootered up to the entrance, I could tell that the place was going to be a zoo. Dozens of tour busses and hundreds of scooters and cars cluttered the parking lot and to get to the temple, I had to walk through a big tourist market with the usual array of trinkets, souvenirs and cheap clothing (“Yes please, buy postcard? Very cheap!”). The area is obviously highly commercialized, not only with the stores and stalls covering the roads all the way down to the temple, but also with a whole array of restaurants catering to tourists. The temple itself turned out to be less impressive than anticipated – while still beautiful, it’s basically just a small rock formation in the water with some buildings on top of it, and lots of visitors surrounding the island and taking photos.

After spending a quick 10 minutes looking at the Tanah Lot temple itself, I decided to go exploring around the perimeter, which is where I discovered the more interesting stuff: the beautiful coastline, a colourful procession heading to a Hindu ceremony, a very green and manicured golf course and a couple of smaller temples along the water.

I also spent quite some time posing in pictures with Asian tourists, who were obviously very excited to have my sweaty, helmet-haired self in their photos. It was strange to say the least, but also kind of fun. 

Hindu prayer at the Tanah Lot temple

Hindus praying at the Tanah Lot temple

The temple island

What the fuss is mainly about: the rock formation with a temple perched on top of it.

Holy snake

A legend tells, that the black and white striped snakes which inhabit the area protect the Tanah Lot temple from evil. This sign is pointing to one of the snakes in question. Unfortunately it was hidden under a chicken in a crate – probably its afternoon snack.

Coastline near Tanah Lot

While the temple isn’t as spectacular as I had hoped for, the coastline is breathtaking.

A golf course next to Tanah Lot temple.

A golf course next to the Tanah Lot temple.

Hindu procession.

A Hindu procession – probably the most interesting and colourful thing I saw in Tanah Lot.

The colours are amazing!

The colours are amazing!

Procession near the sea

The procession has reached the sea – it’s time for the worship now.

Two men with traditional flags.

Two men in their ceremonial gear.


A statue in the rocks.

Offering to the gods

Offerings to the gods.

A minor temple next to the big one.

The Pura Batu Balong, another small temple found in the area.


The main rock formation in Tanah Lot is extremely busy, and lots of tourists as well as locals come to the temple for a day trip or to participate in the prayers.

A man sitting on a rock in the sea, observing the main temple in Tanah Lo

A man sitting on a rock in the sea, observing the main temple in Tanah Lot.

About The Author

Tiffany is a Swiss travel writer, digital nomad, and photographer, who, after a fateful journey through Africa, has decided to get her passport renewed, sell all her junk, and live out of a suitcase in various corners of the world, as well as share the experiences with other travel enthusiasts. This blog is intended to inspire you to pack your bags, leave everything behind for a while, and make you go discover the world. Check her out on .

6 Responses

  1. Calli

    Great photos as usual – really, really beautiful! I epecially love the “offering to the Gods” and the coastline is spectacular.

    Are you loving Bali? Or just more “meh” about it? I’d love to make it there someday although I’m not sure if the reality would stand up to the idea I’ve created in my mind.

    • Tiffany

      I definitely feel a bit “meh” about Bali. The areas in the south around Kuta are absolutely overrun with tourists, it’s dirty, full of fast food and fairly primitive behaviour. I did find some beautiful spots in Bali towards the centre of the island and in the north, but for that you do have to travel a bit off the beaten path as usual and go early in the morning to avoid the crowds (they seem to show up absolutely everywhere in their tour busses). I’d say visit if you’re ever in the area, but don’t go out of your way to get there, there are many way more beautiful places around.

    • Tiffany

      Thank you Katie. I agree, it takes away so much of the incredible atmosphere. As usual the trick is to go very early in the morning when the party tourists haven’t rolled out of bed yet.


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