Tanah Lot is merely a rock formation with a temple on top.
And some of the rock is not even original. In fact, around one third of it is artificial. It was placed there when restoration of the site was undertaken in the early 1980’s.
For the Balinese, the temple is undeniably of great importance – many come here to make a pilgrimage.
Even so, the Tanah Lot complex is also a prime example of how a religious site has been denigrated by commercial exploitation. To get to the site, for example, unhelpful and arrogant complex guards make sure you walk through a complex of carefully placed souvenir shops that cover either side of the path down to the sea. It doesn’t get much more crass than that.
But why do so many tourists come here though? After all, there are thousands of temples spread across Bali. And in many cases, they are much more aesthetically impressive than Tanah Lot. Well, perhaps it’s because of the incredible sunset views that can be seen here on the cliff ridge just behind the temple.
So enjoy the sunset if you can. But just remember that you don’t have to pay an exorbitant price for a can of coke from one of the cafes that hog the cliff edge. Because you can always stand!