On all of our Bali cycling tours we start off with a loop from Canggu to Tanah Lot as the views on the quiet roads and rolling terrain is the perfect way to ease into cycling in Bali. With Pura Tanah Lot at the halfway point of the ride, it’s an incredible way to get connected with Bali as the sounds of the waves crashing against the rocks, mixed with the gentle ringing of ceremonial bells, certainly calm the mind.

Tanah Lot – Land in the Sea

In Balinese, Tanah Lot means ‘Land in the Sea’. It is believed that in the 16th century Dang Hyang Nirartha saw the rock-island in his travels there, and rested, spending the night on the small island. Local fisherman saw him there, and brought him gifts. Feeling that this rock was a holy place to worship the Balinese sea gods, he advised the fisherman to build the shrine, or Pura, that we see today.

The main deity worshipped there is the sea god Dewa Baruna, and Nirartha is worshipped there too. Mythology says a giant snake created from Nirartha’s selendang (sash) protects the temple from evil spirits.

Visiting Tanah Lot Temple

At low tide it is possible to walk across the rocks and right to the steps of the temple where the guardian sea snakes of old legends protect dwell by the Tirta Pabersihan fountain. Guests make a donation and receive a traditional blessing from the priests who sprinkle holy water over their heads to purify them before they walk up the stone steps to view the temple. It is no longer possible for visitors to enter the temple.

UpShift Tours || Pura Tanah Lot at low tide

There are a number of restaurants, known as warungs, on the cliffs overlooking the temple. This makes it one of the most popular, and stunning, places to watch a Balinese sunset. It is also possible to try the local delicacy jaja kelepon, palm sugar-filled gelatinous balls rolled in grated coconut, sold by vendors in the gardens surrounding the temples.

After cycling to Tanah Lot we refuel with Pocari Sweat and bananas, refill our bidons, then ride back into Canggu for coffee and a swim.