Watching the sunset at Tanah Lot is a must in Bali. And I’m saying that as someone who didn’t have the weather gods on her side.
So, even if the clouds don’t cooperate during your visit, visiting the Tanah Lot Temple is still worth it. There’s something about seeing a 16th-century temple surrounded by the Indian Ocean that inspires awe.
Pura Tana Lot (Tanah Lot Temple) is one of seven sea temples in Bali. Read on for tips about visiting this majestic shrine at sunset.
Accessibility Note: Head to tip #8 for details on wheelchair accessibility at Tanah Lot.
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Tip #1: Know the Sunset Season
The best time to watch the sunset at Tanah Lot is June, July, and August. These are the driest months in Bali, so you have a higher chance of a cloud-free experience when watching the sunset over the temple.
So, what’s the worst time for watching the Tanah Lot sunset?
December, January, and February.
But the reality is that monsoon season in Bali lasts from October to April. So, seeing the sunset over Tanah Lot during any of these months without clouds and rain blocking your vision is hit-or-miss.
I visited Bali from the end of October to the end of November. During that time, heavy rain was most common in the afternoon, and it was rare to have a total wash-out day.
But clouds were usually present in some form every day by the time sunset rolled around.
Tip #2: Check the Tide Schedule
Aside from the sunset, there are two other popular times to visit Tanah Lot:
- High tide
- Low tide
Each has its unique features, with high tide making Tanah Lot appear like a shrine in the middle of the ocean. The water surrounds the temple, making it inaccessible to visitors but offering excellent views from the safety of the paths on the mainland cliffs.
In contrast, low tide, which is when I visited, offers the opportunity for you to walk up to the base of the temple.
Along the way, you’ll encounter tide pools, giving you a glimpse of marine life in the Indian Ocean.
Bali experiences three to four tides per day. You can view this tide chart for details on the tide times in Seminyak, which is essentially the same for Tanah Lot.
So, if you’re in Bali for a while, it’s worth timing your Tanah Lot Temple sunset visit around high or low tide.
Of course, you could always arrive at Tanah Lot earlier in the day and stay to watch more of the tide cycle. There isn’t a limit to how long you can stay at Tanah Lot within the site’s operating hours (6:00 am – 7:00 pm, Monday – Sunday).
But people usually only stay a couple of hours max, given that there’s only so much to do there.
Tip #3: Wear Shoes With Good Grip
I’m not about to tell you to wear sneakers during your Tanah Lot visit. I can feel athlete’s foot coming on just thinking about it.
But if you visit Tanah Lot during low tide, put on your sturdiest sandals.
You’ll walk on top of an uneven layer of rocks to arrive at the temple’s base. Making matters more slippery, the rocks are wet and covered in patches of seaweed.
Watching the Tanah Lot sunset from the base of the temple is a favorite spot among visitors. It would be a shame to miss out on the sunset action by getting cut up from a fall.
Tip #4: Be Mindful of the Waves
There’s a reason surfers make a beeline to southern Bali—the waves at Tanah Lot are no joke.
Pictures don’t do justice to the waves that crash against the rocky shore around the temple, but I’ve tried to give you a glimpse of the action in the photo above.
Remember, when it comes to tides, what goes out must come back in.
I saw many tourists lean over the side where the rocks drop steeply off into the ocean, nearly being dragged out to sea when a wave suddenly came up and struck it.
You won’t have to worry about getting too close to the waves during high tide, given that the Tanah Lot temple is inaccessible. But stay back from the waves if you visit during low tide, especially if you’re there when the water starts rolling back in.
Tip #5: Pick a Restaurant Early
It’s common to believe that the sunset at Tanah Lot is best seen from the temple’s base.
Don’t get me wrong—that truly is a great place.
But if you’re at the Tanah Lot temple during high tide, or even if you’re there during low tide, watching the sunset from one of the restaurants on the cliff along the mainland is an excellent option.
Tanah Lot receives thousands of visitors per day during the high tourist season.
So, if your visit falls during high tide and during high season, I recommend snagging a restaurant table early.
Personally, I think these restaurants offer a better view than from the base of the temple, given that you have a clearer perspective of the whole shrine.
Tip #6: Don’t Wander Into Private Property
If you walk past the restaurants, you’ll arrive at a well-manicured open field atop a cliff.
That used to be Donald Trump’s land and remains private property to this day.
The idea behind the originally Trump-backed investment was to build Lido City, a 7,400-acre upscale area boasting resorts, country clubs, and entertainment venues.
Somewhere along the lines, something fell through. And now, Lido City remains an untouched piece of land that tempts tourists looking for the best sunset point at Tanah Lot.
There’s a sign but no gates to physically stop you from entering that massive area.
But don’t try it. There are plenty of gorgeous areas where you can watch the Tanah Lot Temple sunset from within the complex without risking legal trouble.
Tip #7: You Can Visit Without a Sarong
Tourists can’t enter the Tanah Lot Temple. So, you don’t have to wear traditional clothing.
That means you don’t have to wear a sarong to visit Tanah Lot.
Of course, you’re welcome to wear a sarong, and you’ll fit right in with the locals.
But the bottom line is that as long as you watch the sunset at Tanah Lot with clothing on, you’ll be allowed to access all areas around the temples.
Tip #8: Wheelchair Access Is Limited
Wheelchair users and people with limited mobility can visit Tanah Lot. But the access is limited, particularly for wheelchair users since ramps are few and far between.
You’ll find a ramp to the far left side of the Tanah Lot entrance area. It’s tucked away, so it’s best to ask an employee to show you the way. The ramp is steep; manual wheelchair users will likely need support pushing back up it.
The ramp will lead you to an area beside a temple on the mainland, along with an excellent viewing area over Tanah Lot.
From there, you’ll be able to explore the paved paths that wind through the area.
These paths also have some inclines, though they’re not as steep as the ramp you’ll have used to arrive there.
Unfortunately, there isn’t wheelchair access leading from the cliff down to the water for exploration around the Tanah Lot at sunset during low tide. Nor did I encounter an accessible restroom.
Tip #9: Be Prepared for Vendors
The vendors at Tanah Lot are rather persistent about getting you to buy things. This is especially true when walking from the parking lot to the ticket area.
So, if you think you’ll want to buy something, pack some small change in your pocket before you arrive at the temple.
That way, it’ll be easy to access and easier to barter, which is expected in Bali (and something that I continue to be terrible at).
The good news is that once you’re at Tanah Lot temple for sunset, no one will bug you.
A few vendors have tents set up by the paths on the mainland. But they’re clustered together and easy to avoid if you don’t wish to buy anything.
Tip #10: Try Klepon
One item I highly recommend buying during your Tanah Lot Temple visit is klepon. This bright green shredded coconut-covered dessert contains no artificial dye.
Instead, its green color comes from suji or pandan leaves.
Locals make klepons by combining rice flour with coconut sugar. They then roll them in shredded coconut and place these pop-in-your-mouth balls in a cup made from banana leaves.
The rice flour is usually white, although you’ll sometimes encounter black rice klepons.
Several locals sell klepons in the tourist stalls between the Tanah Lot parking lot and ticketing area.
As a warning, klepons are addicting. So don’t be surprised if you buy some before and after your Tanah Lot sunset visit!
Psst! You’ll be eating a lot of rice in Bali, so why not check out some rice terraces to learn how it grows? My guide on nine rice fields in Bali will give you a foundation of the must-sees.
Tip #11: Don’t Forget About Batu Bolong Temple
Tanah Lot Temple is the focus of most tourists’ visits to the area. But Batu Bolong Temple is well worth your time.
And it’s included in your entrance ticket.
Batu Bolong is the temple that sits on an arch to the right of Tanah Lot, when you’re facing the ocean. A scenic paved path will lead you to it, from where you can appreciate views of both it and Tanah Lot.
In fact, you can get such good views of the sunset at Tanah Lot that many visitors choose to watch the sunset from Batu Bolong.
Just be aware that the path leading to Batu Bolong is narrow and can get congested during peak times.
Best Places For Sunset Photos at Tanah Lot
Below are the best places to see the sunset at Tanah Lot Temple:
- Restaurants on cliff terrace
- Beach at Tanah Lot
- Rock arch at Batu Bolong Temple
- Beach at Batu Bolong Temple
These places are quite spread out from each other, with Tanah Lot Temple being between the restaurants and Batu Bolong Temple.
So, instead of trying to hit all of them as the sun sets, I recommend arriving early to scope out the area and choosing your favorite place to base yourself.
Getting to Tanah Lot for Sunset
Because Bali sits only eight degrees south of the equator, there’s not a massive fluctuation in sunset times throughout the year. Nevertheless, you can check this chart for details on sunset times at Tanah Lot for your travel dates.
Traffic can be standstill in Bali, and you’ll want to ensure you give yourself time to explore Tanah Lot before sunset.
So, below are details about the travel times from popular tourist areas to Tanah Lot.
|Starting Destination||Time to Tanah Lot|
|Kuta||1 hour, 5 minutes|
|Ubud||1 hour, 15 minutes|
Keep in mind that these are approximate travel times. It’s always best to allow wiggle room to avoid missing the sunset at Tanah Lot.
Tanah Lot Sunset Tour
As a solo traveler, I had difficulty booking a group tour in person upon my arrival in Bali. And the one time I managed to land a group tour, a driver took us to different sites rather than a guide as we were promised.
So, I turned to the Internet and ended up booking my group Tanah Lot sunset tour with GetYourGuide.
Even though no one else booked my Tanah Lot tour on the date I choose, GetYourGuide still honored the tour and group rate price.
And equally important, my guide was with me every step of the way, giving me insights I couldn’t gain by touring on my own.
This is the exact tour I booked, should you be interested.
FAQs About the Sunset at Tanah Lot
If you still have questions about visiting Tanah Lot at sunset, I’ve put my intuitive powers to the test to answer them. But if (and when) I miss something, leave your question in the comments section at the end of this article.
What is the best time to visit Tanah Lot?
The best time to visit Tanah Lot is at sunset during the months of June, July, and August. But if you want to avoid the crowds, visiting earlier in the day any time of year is an excellent option. Tanah Lot opens at 6:00 am.
When is the sunset at Tanah Lot?
The sunset time at Tanah Lot varies according to the time of year. You can view this website for the exact sunset time on your travel date. Tanah Lot stays open until 7:00 pm, closing shortly after sunset.
Is there a dress code for Tanah Lot Temple?
There’s no dress code for Tanah Lot. You don’t have to cover up at the Tanah Lot Temple because visitors can’t enter it. So, you’re welcome to wear shorts and have your shoulders exposed. Just arrive with something on your body; nudists will surely be turned away.
Is Tanah Lot worth visiting?
Tanah Lot is very much worth visiting. Even if you aren’t there for sunset or if it’s cloudy at sunset, you’ll still get to appreciate the beauty of the temple sitting atop a rock in the ocean.
Can you swim at Tanah Lot?
Swimming at Tanah Lot is discouraged. Surfers sometimes head to a specific area between Tanah Lot and Batu Bolong to catch some waves. But, similar to most beaches in Uluwatu, you must have outstanding swimming skills, as the currents are strong and the waves are rough.
Get Your Camera Ready
Even though it was too cloudy on the day of my visit to see a proper sunset over Tanah Lot, I’m glad I visited. And you can bet your klepon dessert that my camera remains ready, should I have the opportunity to return.
Do you have questions about visiting Tanah Lot? Leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help. I’d also love to hear about your experience after your visit.
Did you get to see the sunset? Are there any other tips you’d add to this list?
P.S.—If you plan on spending time in Ubud, check out my 15 tips for visiting Ubud Monkey Forest.
Laura has been wandering the globe for over a decade. She's an early bird and backpacker at heart and can often be spotted with a dog or ten that she's befriended along the way. Much of the content Laura writes on A Piece of Travel includes details on solo female travel and wheelchair accessibility, with the support of her brother-in-law and sister.