Unmissable Tanah Lot Temple and Batu Bolong Temple in Bali

Add Beraban village of the Tabanan regency to your list of must visit places in Bali because you get to see two beach temples in one go. Tanah Lot Temple and Batu Bolong Temple are majestically located here, on rock forms in Indian Ocean south of Bali. Trust me the photographer in you will be pleased beyond words.

Tanah Lot Temple

Tanah Lot temple is one of the most visited and photographed temple of Bali. It is on a huge rock island and that makes it so photogenic especially during sunsets. We too reached during the final hours of 21st Nov 2017 with all plans to photograph the golden hour there. Unfortunately sky was cloudy that day and all I got was grey skies. As it was low tide we could walk across the rocky beach and get to the temple base. During high tides Tanah Lot Temple is inaccessible by foot. Pilgrims then offer prayers at Penyawang Temple on the coast. The disappointment is you have no access to main deity worshiped there. To maintain the purity of the temple they don’t allow the tourists in. Only temple priests have access to interiors of temple.

Entrance to Tanah Lot Temple

Entrance to Tanah Lot Temple

However there are 2 attractions to compensate for this loss. In one of the caves there is a sea snake. The local priests allow you to see it for a small price and feel blessed. In another cave right below the temple there is a spring of sweet water which you can take a sip. Locals consider it holy, they take a sip and dab some on their heads. It surprised me how sweet water springs of the rock with salty sea around it.

Sadly most of the sculpted works have eroded off. One can’t fight off nature’s and time’s deteriorating effects. Definitely worth a visit before time makes irreversible damages to the temple.

Eroding away slowly - sculpture of lion at entrance to Tanah Lot temple

Eroding away slowly – sculpture of lion at entrance to Tanah Lot temple

Eroding away slowly - Rock carvings and structures

Legend around Tanah Lot Temple

Dang Hyang Nirartha, a high priest from the Majapahit Kingdom in East Java traveled to Bali in 1489 to spread Hinduism. He established the site honoring the Sea God, Baruna. He shared his teachings to Beraban villagers. However the village chief felt threatened by his popularity dispelled Nirartha. It is believed that as the priest resisted, he shifted the large rock he meditated upon out to sea and transformed his sashes into sea snakes to guard at base.

Finally the village chief acknowledged Nirartha’s powers and vowed allegiance. Before setting off, Nirartha gifted him a holy Kris dagger. This is now among the sanctified heirlooms of the Kediri royal palace. Pilgrims bring these relics each Kuningan day by foot on an 11km pilgrimage to the Luhur Pakendungan temple, the priest’s former meditation site.

(Tanah means a reef looking like isle, Lot means sea. So the word translates to “small island floating on sea”.)

Tanah Lot Temple and Batu Bolong Temple

Tanah Lot temple on a rock accessible during low tides only.


Could he be Saint Nirartha? If any reader knows the identity please update through comments.

8 Temples near Tanah Lot

There are 8 holy temples near Tanah Lot Temple 1. Pakendungan Temple 2. Tri Antaka Monument 3. Batu Mejan Temple 4. Enjung Galuh Temple 5. Batu Bolong Temple 6. Jero Kandang Temple 7. Penyawang Temple 8. Penataran Temple. Of these Batu Bolong Temple has the most scenic location. Suggested read: Why Bali has So Many Temples

Batu Bolong Temple near Tanah Lot

Batu Bolong is very close to Tanah Lot temple in Lombok island along Sengigi Beach. This temple is perched on a hillock connected to mainland in such a manner that there is a hollow beneath the overpass. Batu Bolong means rock with a hole and hence the name. Again you are not allowed inside the temple. Just be content photographing it from outside. At one side there is a flight of stairs to the beach. During sunset the whole landscape turns magical. Locals and tourists arrive just before sunset to see and capture both temples during these magical hours.

Tanah Lot Temple and Batu Bolong Temple

Batu Bolong Temple near Tanah Lot

Batu Bolong Temple Bali

The narrow passage over the long rock form to the Batu Bolong Temple.

Activities and Facilities in Tanah Lot Temple Complex

  • Lots of souvenir shops along the way from the entrance of the temple complex till the temple gates.
  • There are eateries too selling local stuffs Do try their famous coconut ice cream which is served in a coconut shell.
  • There are good toilet facilities too.
  • Though there are no deep sea activities there, but tourists and locals do indulge in swimming activities there.

Location of Tanah Lot Temple and Batu Bolong Temple

Both Tanah Lot Temple and Batu Bolong Temple have the same entry point. The temple is located on a rock in coastal side of Beraban village, Kediri sub district and Tabanan Regency. It is situated in 30 Km from airport in west side of Denpasar town and about 11 Km in south side of Tabanan town. You can walk to the temple built on the rock which is just 20 meters from the coast.

Entry Fee: IDR 30,000 for adults, and IDR 15,000 for children
Timings: 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM

It was little disappointing to arrive at a destination well known for glorious sunsets and find the sky dull. The grey clouds made the line of horizon almost invisible. However here are few captures of Tanah Lot Temple in its full glory. I have given the relevant links.

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Some etiquette to follow in Bali temples

  • Wear a sarong or scarf, ladies to cover shoulders.
  • Take off shoes before entering temple
  • Don’t enter temple when bleeding from wounds or menstruating.
  • Don’t use left hand to accept offerings or donating.


Unmissable Tanah Lot Temple and Batu Bolong Temple

I was Bali on invite from Indonesia Tourism.
Needless to say all opinions are mine.

Memories of Stay at Anvaya Beach Resort, Bali Indonesia
Why Bali has So Many Temples?

65 Responses to “Unmissable Tanah Lot Temple and Batu Bolong Temple in Bali

  • I never realised that Tanah Lot meant small island on the sea. It’s a lovely place to visit, and I never knew anything about the history when I went. The statues here are wonderful, and in still pretty good condition considering how old they are!

  • I went to Bali last year and instantly fell in love with it. I am not a temple person but I loved the temples of Bali. Just like you, I loved Tanah lot a lot. Your pictures and description is so vivid. Love it.

  • Annika Ziehen
    1 month ago

    Tanah Lot is one of the few temples I haven’t been to but it looks beautiful! Mind you, I don’t mind that some areas are closed off to tourists – after all it is a temple first and foremost and not a tourist attraction. Also, I have seen a lot of tourists behave quite badly at holy sights so I am not surprised they implemented that rule.

  • This is probably the most beautiful temple in Bali.

  • Sindhu Devi K
    1 month ago

    I was surprised to see the large number as entance fee and googled only to get more surprised! 1 INR equals to appx. 212 IDR!!!
    Heavenly places and stunning clicks! The sculptures at temple entrances are so unique! Thanks for sharing less known information about a lovely eastern land.

  • I have never been to Tanah lot temple myself but yes I have seen quite a lot of picture of it. I guess it is very touristic place becauae Tanah lot temple and the setting is incredible beautiful! I am sorry to hear that you didnt get to see the temple as you was hoping for but atleast I hope you had a great time!

  • Tanah Lot looks wonderful. I love that you can touch the sea snake and feel blessed! I’m not so sure I’d want to though. Batu Bolong also looks amazing – such a feat to build a temple there!

  • I do recognize the Tanah Lot temple from Instagram – it always amazes me that there are no people in the background, as I imagine when visiting there will be thousands. It’s a shame it was cloudy when you visited – I’m sure the golden hour must be spectacular there. It’s interesting to learn a little bit about the religious purpose of the temple and that it’s more than just something to pose with.

  • I remember when I went there with my girlfriend, we were so blown away big the sunset at Batu Bolong Temple that we spent a long time there and when we finally decided to walk to the main Tanah Lot Temple it was already night and we didn’t see much of it! It was interesting to read about the history and meaning of Tanah Lot. It’s too bad you didn’t get one of those amazing sunsets, a good reason to go back!

  • Bali is at the top of my must-visit list. These photos are so beautiful!


  • The temple’s legend is quite intriguing. It looks like a unique place to explore in Bali. It’s a shame that so many of the structures are eroded by the sea environment.

  • I had no idea that accepting an offering or donating with your left hand is not allowed, I am left handed, so that’s some awesome information to have when I visit Bali! I have it way up there on my bucket list, so I’ll definitely make sure I add these awesome temples when I build my itinerary! Thanks for the awesome information on them.

  • Oh! That’s interesting! Though disappointing, its interesting to see how they follow their tradition. That’s something similar to our concept of Sabarimala Iyappa! Batu Bolong (Rock with the hole) is just so picturesque! I’ve seen a similar structure in London called Durdle Door.

  • This is a wonderful guide with great useful details like there being plenty of toilets at Tanah Lot (always a major concern when I sightsee lol!) I look forward to trying the coconut ice cream too! Interesting how the translation of the temples name – Tanah Lot – describes what to expect if you’ve never seen it before ie an island temple On the sea.

  • I’m really not that into visiting temples, but the Tanah Lot temple looks so amazing! I’m sorry you had dull skies during your visit though! While I don’t think I would want to drink from anything (even holy water) that many other people have been sticking their hands and faces in (I have the immunity of a small child), I would definitely want to see the sea snake to feel blessed!

  • I love the entrance and the legendary history of this place! 🙂 certainly, worth exploring in future…

  • Abhinav Singh
    4 weeks ago

    So you visited Tanah Lot on my birthday! It is easily the most recognized and click place in Bali. I am sure the sunset here makes it all look even more dramatic. I loved that sculpture of lion. Hope they do something to preserve it before it erodes more.

  • Tanah Lot was one of the temples I missed in Bali, it wasn’t recommended by my driver because it was too crowded so we settled to see other ones. Ideal conditions — this is the challenge of travel isn’t it? We don’t always have that dream shot we think about — and have to deal with the realities. Regardless this post shows the reality and I appreciate the slide show at the end!

  • Tanah Lot temple’s entrance looks unique. Also the batu bolong hole looks stunning and really at the time of sunset it must be more splendid. I would love to take sip of sweet water springs and also love to dab on head. Useful tips on Tanah lot temple with valid recommendations.

  • Abigail Sinsona
    4 weeks ago

    Your Bali posts are making me want to go to Bali even more than I already do. I remember when you posted about the temples of Bali, I said that the temples are one of the reasons why I wanted to visit this place. I love that it has so much culture about it, which I really love!

  • I just wonder why not really allowed or prohibited to enter a temple when menstruating? Haven’t heard of that before which kinda interests me. I have not been on this part of Bali, only on Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak but one common beautiful thing about Bali is the stunning sunset that you shouldn’t miss to capture.

  • I remember telling you that one of my best travel place in Bali was Tanah Lot and tides – high or low cannot take away its loveliness. Glad you managed to get there and see it for yourself. I did not get to do Batu Bolong temple there , instead did something called as the Monkey temple. Always another time!

  • I love taking picture at Tanah lot. The view is awesome but how I wish there were lesser people during the time that we visited. It seems like there are few people at Batu Bolong. I should know this before and visited this place when I was in Bali.

  • It seems like a day doesn’t go by that I don’t get some reason to visit the Philippines. There are so many places there I want to visit. Batu Bolong Temple looks exceptionally beautiful. Hopefully I’ll make it there in 2018.

  • I have seen the image of the Tanah Lot Temple a lot on instagram, but did not realise it was so close to the water. It’s a shame it is wearing away. It is annoying when you expect blue sky’s and you get a grey day! Your photos still look very nice.

  • Thank you for telling the history/tale behind Tanah Lot Temple! I find that a lot of travel bloggers miss this opportunity whenever they write about tourist destinations, especially those that are hidden gems. This temple is gorgeous! I love visiting temples whenever I’m in Asia — I find them so inspiring and literally leave me breathless. Also, thanks for ending the post with some common sense tips about visiting temple — a must read!

  • I have no idea, so why can’t you enter when women are on their periods? Who would even know but that woman? I’ve never heard of such a thing, so I’m just curious since you mentioned that in your etiquette tips.

  • Megan Jerrard
    4 weeks ago

    Tanah Lot Temple and Batu Bolong Temple both look incredible – I didn’t realize that Bali had temples on the beach! I can definitely see how Tanah Lot would be photogenic at sunset – hopefullyI’ll have the chance to visit before nature erodes too much of the island. Cool to know that there are a lot of other temples nearby too.

  • It seems to be a great place and lesser known.Thanks for sharing.

  • I’ve heard alot about the beautiful temples of Bali, but have not yet had the chance to visit them personally. Tanah Lot Temple and Batu Bolong Temples look majestic and magnificent. Even though you had cloudy skies, you did a phenomenal job capturing their beauty. Love the legend of the Tanah Lot Temple, always interesting to read the origin stories. Can’t wait to visit Bali soon!

  • Tanah Lot looks absolutely beautiful! I’d love to visit, especially to photograph it at sunset. I’m not much for coconut, but I think my husband would love to try some of that coconut ice cream as well–sounds like a great snack in hot and humid Bali!

  • Wow these are great ideas & tips for travel in Bali! thank you because I have always wanted to go to Bali!

  • Thank you sharing the tips on visiting a temple. It’s so important to be respectful when visiting religious locales.

  • Your pictures are so mesmerizing. I would love to visit Bali someday and Tanah temple will definitely be on the top of the must-see attractions.

  • I so want to visit Bali and explore its amazing temples. These are so beautiful, and I just love seeing the architecture and the gorgeous scenery surrounding it.

  • Tanah Lot Temple seems like it would be a lot of fun to photograph. There were several reefs of the coast of San Diego that, when the tides and sun cooperated, were absolutely incredible. I think my ideal shot would have the tides covering the base so the scene stayed empty and you could catch the waves breaking they steps. I would put on a neutral filter and try to have a 3-5 second exposure so the individual waves smooth into a mist around the base.

  • It is many years since I visited but it was stunning and we did get a great sunset. My personal favourite in Bali is Uluwatu although it is a pain to get to. Happy New Year

  • I went to Bali many years ago for my honeymoon and loved it. I have always wanted to go back and explore more and see places like the Tanah Lot temple on a rock accessible. I have seen it is no many pictures and wished we could have seen it ourselves. Some interesting rules about not entering the temple when bleeding from wounds or menstruating and not to use left hand to accept offerings or donating.

  • There are so many temples in Bali and they are all so unique! I love the inspiring atmosphere, you can feel it everywhere around the island. That is why I am living there a couple months every year. Cant wait to go back, hope the rainy season is over asap!

  • Bali has been on my list for so long – your beautiful photographs just moved it up on the list! It’s so hard travel that far from North America if you only have a week. Hopefully 2018 will bring some longer vacations my way!

  • Bali certainly has no shortage of beautiful temples does it? The photographer in me is drawn to Tanah Lot but Batu Bolong uggs stunning as well.

  • I think it’s kinda good that they only let priests in the heart of the Tannah Lot Temple. I didn’t know that Tannah means a reef looking like isle and Lot means sea, but it fits perfectly 🙂 I really love how they named the temples. “Rock with a hole” suits the Batu Bolong temple perfectly as well 😀

  • We’ve never been to Bali, but will definitely go there in a couple of years. The fact that tourists cannot access the Tanah Lot Temple during high tides sounds pretty normal to me. Not only that it’s truly inaccessible, but I think that temples should first and foremost “used” for their right reason and not as a tourist attraction. That some people go there too is OK, but not if this puts the whole architecture in danger. And here, it seems like the more people get on this small island, the faster it will deteriorate. Honestly, I think it’s impressive too to see the temple from the outside and to enjoy the sunrises and sunsets, and sometimes it should be good enough for tourists. 🙂 Hopefully, the government and local cultural heritage services will do something to keep tourists off this spectacular temple.

  • Tanah Lot looks beautiful! I’d love to see what’s inside, but I understand they don’t want people coming inside. That view of the ocean is incredible!

  • Thanks for the great recommendation and even giving a little bit of history on the place! I have always thought the temples of Bali were just absolutely amazing. I think it really gives you a connection to and understanding of the culture! Will definitely check this one out when I’m there!

  • Kudos for a comprehensive post on Tanah Lot and the temples nearby. I have been there and also touched the big white snake …eggh… For want of time we did not go inside the temple.
    Happy New Year!

  • Haven’t read a detailed post on Tanha Lot temple before this… Lovely read. I love Bali and on our last trip we did visit Tanha Lot temple, loved the place during sunset. We missed other nearby temples though …

  • I was pretty lucky when I visited Tanah Lot a few years ago; I was able to get some pretty great sunset photos. I think what makes it extra intriguing to people is the fact that you can’t always access it. And that tide comes back pretty quick, so people should definitely respect it.

  • I visited Tanah Lot Temple back in 2013, and I can concur it is a truly special place….especially when the tide is high and it’s surrounded by water. wow. And don’t worry, we also didn’t get the magic hour 🙁

  • Yogi Saraswat
    3 weeks ago

    Tanah Lot Temple is actually the face of Bali and I think it represents Bali in a better way . Beautiful post and photographs. few of my colleague visited there and they are still talking about it . 🙂

  • Wow this temple is so stunning! I have never heard of it before, but it is definitely on the bucket list now. I love the way it is built in to a cliff and interacts with nature. That really sets it apart from other temples I have seen. it’s a shame that is starting to erode! I guess I will have to make an effort to see it soon.

  • Glad to read about this beautiful temple, you have captured it so well

  • I was wondering why the Tanah Lot Temple was sounding so familiar, and then when I saw your pictures, I realized why. The entrance is so beautiful and I’ve seen so many wonderful pictures of it. I can understand why the temple would be closed during high tide, and I agree with some of the earlier comments that temples should be kept for the use of patrons above tourists. I can’t wait to see it for myself some day!

  • It’s a shame the historical temples are eroding, but you are right – one cannot fight off the effects of nature. This temple does look stunning though, I really hope to visit Bali soon, before the temple disappears.

  • These temples are so beautiful. I would love visiting Indonesia. Thanks for sharing.

  • Tanah Lot looks really mysterious and gorgeous at the same time. I really have to convince myself to head to Bali. So far, I have just made it to Yogyakarta and back. The traditions and culture of Indonesia are so beautiful. Cheers!!

  • Vrithi Pushkar
    2 weeks ago

    I love the intriguing history behind the temple. I had no idea that Tanah Lot meant “Small floating island on the sea”. I had visited it long time ago but we couldn’t make it for the sunset. We plan on going back to Bali again, I hope we get lucky this time. But this time I will have all this information. Thanks for sharing.

  • What a beautiful temple! I have never had the pleasure of traveling so far from home, but this looks beautiful.

  • Thanks for the history lesson! This is so beautiful I’ve always wanted to go to Bali!

  • What amazing temples. I can completely understand why the priests don’t allow tourists inside. The lack of understanding of culture can lead to issues. And now you have photos of the sculptures before nature reclaims them back for herself. What a wonderful experience, which I’ll look forward to experiencing when making it to Bali.

  • Tanah Lot Temple is one we wouldn’t want to miss on a trip to Bali. It’s sad to know that the sculptures around the temple are eroding away. We would love to visit other temples around too. Thanks for the info.

  • I loved visiting Tanah Lot temple in Bali when I was there a couple of months back. I didn’t however know the legend behind it and it was interesting for me to read it. It was a rainy day when I went and the rock was surrounded by high tide and we couldn’t enter which was a pity. Also I couldn’t catch the sunset because I went during the day and they say tanah lot as beautiful sunset views !

  • Often people say that Tanah Lot is over rated…and I disagree. I think its stunning and your picture say the same. Its is such an amazing place to witness the sunset. Thanks for sharing the list of the surrounding temples…makes the trip so much more fruitful

  • This such a complete guide! I have always wanted to visit Bali and the temples are one of my main reasons. It’s good to know that you can’t enter all of them or take pics. Thanks for the tips about the coconut ice cream and the entre fees!

  • Wow what an awesome temple Tanah Lot is! Bali has been on my bucket list for so long and I remember why now! I definitely need to book a trip here, it looks gorgeous!

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