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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.