Sunset at Tanah Lot Temple + 4 ways to avoid the crowds

The beauty of the Tanah Lot sunset is literally a must on any Bali bucket list! Tanah Lot temple is one of the most unique and beautiful Hindu temples on the island because it’s perched on a rock above the Indian ocean.

It’s easy to walk to this Bali temple by the sea from the shoreline making it accessible for the majority of the day, but as soon as the tide comes in, the rocky perch is completely covered making it appear as though the temple is floating on water.

Imagine that cultural beauty whilst watching the sun go down? Absolutely stunning!

With its bountiful trees and tiered pagodas, this incredible sea temple resembling a ‘life-size floating bonsai garden’ provides a jaw-dropping silhouette to any sunset scene.

Panoramic picture of Purah Tanah lot sunset at the ocean shore with sunset lighting
Panoramic shot of Tanah lot temple at sunset at the ocean shoreline

It’s, therefore, no surprise that this travel activity is crowded on any given day you visit, but a Bali city trip isn’t complete without it

Tanah Lot Bali being this popular of an attraction, means you need to be fairly astute when it comes to visiting to avoid crowds and get the best sunset view.

This article will outline as much information as possible for you to have the best possible sunset at Tanah Lot.

Where is Tanah Lot

Tanah lot temple is also known as Pura Tanah Lot is located on the South-Eastern side of Bali in Beraban, Kediri, Tabanan Regency. Check out the Tanah Lot Bali location here. 

Looking for more temples to visit in Bali?
READ: 10+ Must-See Temples in Bali 

aerial view of Pura Tanah lot temple Bali Indonesia
How to get to Tanah Lot

There are a few options to get to Tanah Lot temple:

USE A TOUR

HIRE A CAR/MOTORCYCLE AND DRIVER

USE A TAXI SERVICE

RENT YOUR OWN CAR/MOTORCYCLE

TRAVELIST TIP: My recommendation is to use a tour (as we did) or even a private car and driver. It’s honestly the best way to see more than one place with someone who knows the roads and can also give you some local insights into the places you’re visiting. 

WARNING: I never recommend using a motorcycle and driving yourself unless you have the correct driving license to do so and have driven a motorcycle in Indonesia or another population-dense, traffic manic Asian city before.  The motorcycle skills needed to drive in Indonesia are insane. I strongly recommend you DON’T drive a motorcycle in Bali if you do not have the RELEVANT LICENSE, EXPERIENCE, AND TRAVEL INSURANCE. I’ve heard of and seen countless tourists being injured and dying due to motorcycle accidents. Also, note that hospital care may not be at the same level as your own home country so these are all factors to consider. 

Check out travel insurance options here

panoramic of tanah lot temple landscape at sunset with Pura Bolong and pier
Panoramic view of Pura Batu Bolong next to Tanah Lot (often mistaken for Tanah Lot)

How long it will take will depend on where about you are in Bali. These are the approximate distances depending on where you are based (as per Google maps):

Canggu to Tanah Lot – 10.8 km
Seminyak to Tanah Lot – 17.1 km
Ubud to Tanah Lot – 32.9 km
Kuta to Tanah Lot – 21.5 km
Nusa dua to Tanah lot – 35 km

Check out this well reviewed Bali: UNESCO World Heritage Sites Small Group Tour

SIDE NOTE: Something that must be mentioned here and that you need to take heed of in Indonesia, is that like other major cities in South East Asia, the traffic can be INSANE! 5 to 10 km might seem like not very far, but in Bali in the mornings or the evenings, traffic can be a nightmare of more than 60+ minutes.

We stayed in Kuta and even though it was only 20 km away, we were sitting in traffic for almost 2 hours!  Getting out of Pura Tanah Lot was a bit of a nightmare if you’re not prepared.

crowds at Pura Tanah lot temple before sunset and tide
People examining Tanah Lot before sunset and the tide comes in

TRAVELIST TIP: I’d strongly suggest either having dinner at the restaurants there or grabbing a snack at the endless vendors! Also, squeeze in a bathroom break before you head out (just in case)!

There’s plenty to do at Tanah Lot temple in Bali, before and after sunset, so it makes sense to embrace all you can and leave after the first masses have headed out.

Looking for a Bali Bucket List experience? READ: 20+ Places to find the Best Floating Breakfasts in Bali

Things to do at Tanah Lot

There are some great places near Tanah Lot temple Bali. I highly recommend making the most of your time in the Tanah Lot area by checking out some activities below:

Spa Treatments

Being in Bali (actually anywhere in South East Asia) means there are going to be spas galore and Bali is no different! There are a number of spas in the area of Tanah Lot temple, so why not have a great massage or facial before heading to the shore’s edge to watch the Tanah Lot temple sunset and tide come in. There were previously a lot more Tanah Lot day spas in the area before COVID-19, but now there is the option to do some wonderful spa treatment and Tanah Lot sunset tours.

Tours with spa treatments

Tanah Lot Sunset and Spa Tour from Bali

Sunset at Tanah Lot Temple and Spa Tour

Eat some local cuisine

Many of the Tanah Lot restaurants serve western and local cuisine. It just seems fitting that if you’re at this magnificent site, why not embrace the culture and try a local dish. There are a number of restaurants and even more local vendors serving all types of delights! Make sure to try something and support local!

Satay Indonesian food at Tanah lot sunset restaurants

These are some of our top picks

Galang Sunset

Naty’s Restaurant

De Jukung Resto and Bar

Dewi Sinta Restaurant

Photography

Whether you’re a seasoned photographer with a tripod and fancy gear, or simply a person with a camera phone, your Tanah Lot photos are bound to be incredible! The photos that you able to take at sunset offer the perfect lighting and it’s almost completely impossible to get a bad shot.

Pura Tanah Lot sunset photography with pink and orange sunset lighting

Check out this highly recommended Bedugul and Tanah Lot Tour

Kecak Fire Dance

This is something to do after the sunset. The Kecak dance performance is held at the open stage Dewi Sinta Hotel & Restaurant Tanah Lot. It takes place every day at 18.30. Tickets can be bought at the information office near the beach or can be obtained directly at the Dewi Sinta. There’s also the option to buy them online or include them with your tour guide/company.

Purah Tanah Lot temple Kecak fire dance tanah lot sunset

Best Time to Visit Tanah Lot

I’d strongly recommend making sure you’re there for sunset. Tanah Lot sunset Bali hours are any time between 18:00 and 18:30. However, if you want to physically go down to the temple, you’ll need to visit anytime before during low tide.

In terms of when to visit Tanah Lot within the year, Indonesia is a tropical island, there are only two seasons, the wet season and dry season. Visit during the dry season which is from May to November.

Looking for other places to visit in Indonesia? READ: The Best East Java Itinerary (Volcanoes, Waterfalls, and Temples)

What to Wear to Tanah Lot

Dress etiquette at Tanah Lot is slightly different from other temples on the island of Bali, There are typically no restrictions because you are not physically entering the temple.

As you will most likely be there from late afternoon into the evening, you’ll most likely be in summer clothing, but keep a shawl on hand or lightweight cover/ jacket for when the sea breeze chill hits in the late evening.

Woman standing in Purah Tanha lot temple at sunset with Batu Balong temple in background with sunset lighting
man standing in Purah Tanha lot temple at sunset with Batu Balong temple in background with sunset lighting

Also, be careful if you’re on the rocks as the Tanah Lot tide comes in, you may need more secure shoes besides flip flops as the rocks start to get extremely slippery.

Woman standing in front of Tanah Lot temple at sunset with moss covered rocks and ocean sunset in the background
The moss-covered rocks and filled rock pools make for a VERY slippery experience when trying to get back to land at sunset – be careful!

What I love about the Tanah Lot temple grounds is that there are plenty of vendors selling clothes, hats, shoes, dresses, etc. So if you want an outfit on the fly, you could literally buy it there!

Check out this awesome Ulun Danu Beratan, Jatiluwih Rice Terraces and Tanah Lot Day Tour

Temple Etiquette

Dress Code

Even though you are not entering physically entering the temple, it’s only polite to be respectful as it is a temple by dressing appropriately: Wear a top that covers your stomach and appropriate length shorts

Photography

  • Drones are prohibited from all temples in Indonesia
  • Take photos from a respectful distance

If you are watching a ceremony

  • Never sit higher than the priest
  • Wear a sarong to cover your knees
  • In the Hindu culture, it is prohibited to attend a ceremony or religious activity if you are menstruating
  • Avoid walking in front of or through religious ceremonies

How to Avoid Crowds at Tanah Lot

tanah lot bali temple floating on ocean with trees and ocean backdrop

Arrive Early

Most people are arriving for sunset between 18:00 and 18:00, so it makes sense if you want to explore the temple grounds with minimal crowds, I’d recommend arriving at least an hour or 2 before sunset.

Find alternative places to watch the sunset

A great place to watch the sunset is at one of the hilltop restaurants. They have a number of Tanah lot sunset terraces. Depending on your photography needs, you may want to be closer to the ocean to do your photography, but if you’re there for the experience a hilltop restaurant is a great option to get some local cuisine with a view and enjoy the Tanah lot sunset with a sunset cocktail!

Head to a nearby spa first

As mentioned above, there are great spas in the immediate vicinity of Tanah Lot, so if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with the crowds that flock just before sunset, head to the spa to get your zen on and head back to catch the tail end of the sunset or vice versa!

aerial view of Batu bolong temple at Purah Tanah lot temple in bali
Aerial view of Batu Bolong temple at Purah Tanah lot temple in Bali

Check out the Tanah Lot markets

As you walk through the main entrance, you can lose yourself in one of the numerous lanes lined with souvenir shops, clothing, shoes, food, etc.

Tanah Lot Entrance Fees

Tanah Lot Entrance Ticket Prices

Foreign adult: IDR 60 000

Foreign children: (6 to 12 years old) IDR 30 000

Domestic adult: IDR 20 000

Domestic children: (6 to 12 years old) IDR 15 000

Tanah Lot Parking Fees

  • Two wheels (Motorcycle): IDR 3 000
  • Four wheels (Car): IDR 5 000
  • Six wheels (Bus): IDR 10 000
Purah Tanah Lot sunset Bali Indonesia with ocean waves and sunset lighting

Tanah Lot Opening Hours

The Bali Tanah Lot temple opening times are between 7:00 to 19:00. Sunset Tanah lot temple timings are between 18:00 to 18:30.

About Tanah Lot

This is a bit of the Tanah Lot temple history sourced from tanahlot.id. The words Tanah Lot means ‘island in the sea’ in the Balinese language and the temple itself forms an important part of Balinese spiritualism and mythology.

Dating back to the 15th century, Bali Tanah Lot is said to be the work of revered Hindu priest Nirartha. According to legend, Dang Hyang Nirartha was a high priest who travelled from East Java to Bali in 1489 to spread Hinduism.

He arrived in the Tanah Lot area and established a site honouring the sea god Baruna. While attempting to share his teachings with villagers, he faced opposition from the chief, who gathered followers to drive off Nirartha.

The priest opposed and it is said he displaced a large rock on out to sea and transformed his sashes into sea snakes to guard it.

gorgeous tanah lot temple sunset taken from afar with pink sunset lighting

Today, crevices at the base of the temple caused by long-term erosion do hold a number of sea snakes and they are still considered to be the temple’s defenders.

Almost a third of temple Tanah Lot’s rock base is artificial after being fully restored due to the threat of collapse from erosion.

Recommended Tanah Lot Tours

There are a number of tour companies that offer private and group tour options. I highly recommend a Tanah Lot sunset tour. We managed to do a day tour whereby we visited many other temples during the day ending with the Tanah Lot temple sunset tour at the end of the day. The Tanah Lot sea temple sunset is truly the best way to end off a temple-hopping day trip.

Check out these recommended tours and providers: Get Your Guide and Klook

Bali: Sacred Temples and Sunset Private Tour

Ubud: Monkey Forest, Rice Terrace & Tanah Lot Private Tour

Best of Bali Tour Package – 3 Days

Bali UNESCO Heritage Sites Tour with Photographer

Tanah lot water temple in Bali

Accommodation near Tanah Lot

Great areas to stay near Tanah Lot are Kuta, Canggu, Seminyak as the travel times are the closest after sunset. Travel time from Tanah Lot to Seminyak is approximately under an hour. Check out these recommended hotels:

Canggu

Tapa Tepi Kali by Pramana

Agoda.com

Theanna Eco Villa and Spa

Agoda.com 

The Apartments Canggu

Agoda.com 

Kuta

Maharani Beach Hotel

Agoda.com 

Satriya Cottages

Agoda.com 

Kuta Seview Boutique Resort

Agoda.com

Seminyak

Wina Holiday Villa Hotel

Agoda.com

Astagina Resort Villa and Spa

Agoda.com 

IZE Seminyak

Agoda.com 

Tanah Lot FAQ

Travel Insurance

If anything, this should be a given for any trip you take! But be sure to keep a copy of your insurance details. If Indonesia is not your home country you need to be prepared for anything. All of these experiences have risks.

Check out World Nomads for amazing travel insurance options

Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links in the article have affiliate links, what this means is, if you click a link and make a purchase I may earn some money to buy a coffee (whoohoo!). Thanks for the support, I’d love to keep making this content freely available to all. As always opinions and thoughts remain my own.

Sunset at Tanah Lot temple was way up on my Bali Bucket list! it’s most certainly worthy of being on the Must-see temples of Bali list too! I highly recommend adding it to yours too!

HAVE I CONVINCED YOU TO VISIT TANAH LOT? HAVE YOU VISITED ALREADY? I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!

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