Tanah Lot Sunset

Escaping The Sunset Crowds At Tanah Lot Temple

We found a way to escape the sunset crowds at Tanah Lot in Bali, Indonesia. It required that we break a little rule, but the reward was one of our most exotic and memorable sunsets. It was worth it!

We found a secluded beach surrounded by horseshoe cliffs, gentle waves, and an ancient temple towering above. As we strolled along our “private” beach, we couldn’t help feeling like renegades and VIP’s. With Balinese sand in our toes, and the Indian Ocean splashing our ankles, we enjoyed a sunset better than we dreamed.

With Balinese sand in our toes, and the Indian Ocean splashing our ankles, we enjoyed a sunset better than we dreamed.

The Layout of Tanah Lot

To understand our story you have to understand the layout of Tanah Lot. “Tanah Lot” is sometimes used as a general term for the vicinity, but Tanah Lot Temple is a specific Hindu temple. It is the biggest and the most beautiful.

Tanah Lot is clearly the main attraction of the area, but there are several other sea temples in the immediate vicinity. Tanah Lot Temple is the one perched on a picturesque rock island, cradled by craggy cliffs, and surrounded by the gorgeous Indian Ocean.

A couple hundred yards northwest is Enjung Galuh Temple, which sits on a little peninsular cliff that juts out into the Indian Ocean. This cliff is one of the typical viewpoints for Tanah Lot. A couple hundred yards northwest of that is Batu Balong Temple, which sits on the end of a more dramatic peninsular cliff that has a natural arch.

Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot seen from Enjung Galuh cliff.

Tanah Lot

Enjug Galuh cliff is on the left. Batu Balong cliff is on the right

Finding a Secluded Spot Close to Nature 

Like thousands of other visitors, we came in the late afternoon to catch the sunset. The plan was to spend some time exploring the different temples, walk along the cliffs, find the best viewpoint, and enjoy the sunset. We began our visit at the main attraction, Tanah Lot Temple.

Tanah Lot was gorgeous and amazing and worthy of its legend. But the crowds were massive. We don’t often gripe about crowds, but in this case, crowds dampened the mood we wanted for the sunset. We came to Tanah Lot seeking a magical mix of ancient spirituality and awesome natural beauty. And we wanted to sneak in a few sunset kisses. We didn’t want to share the experience with thousands of other visitors. So we decided to scope out the best places to watch the sunset, hoping for the least crowded spot. We knew the 3 typical viewpoints.

Tanah Lot was gorgeous and amazing and worthy of its legendClick To Tweet

The 3 Typical Viewpoints

Terrace Cafes – There was a large and well-developed terrace on the cliffs directly above Tanah Lot temple. It sat just east of the temple, so it had a great angle to view the sunset. The several cafes here were a convenient way to toast the sunset with a few drinks. Great option, but on that day, we wanted to get away from people and be closer to nature.

Tanah Lot Temple itself – The flat rocky reef surrounding Tanah Lot temple had several nice spots, right next to the temple. This was very close to nature and very beautiful, but people were everywhere.

The Cliffs of Enjung Galuh Temple – This spot had the advantage of overlooking both Tanah Lot Temple on one side and Batu Balong Temple on the other. We could walk back and forth to enjoy both views, but this was also crowded and too far removed.

Good choices, but not quite what we wanted. As we surveyed the Tanah Lot area from the central location of Enjung Galuh, we started to feel a little disappointed. We debated going back down to Tanah Lot temple for the iconic yet crowded sunset. As we spoke, we kept looking down at the beach between this cliff and the cliffs of Batu Balong.

Tanah Lot

Empty Beach under Batu Balong Temple


We noticed it before, but we took the bright red STOP sign to mean that the beach was off limits. Unhappy with the other choices, we started to question if it was really off limits. Then we just smiled at each other and made our decision without words. We had found our spot

It was perfect – sheer cliff walls all around, a “private” beach to ourselves, and the natural arch to frame the sunset. The only problem was that bright red STOP sign. We wondered if we’d get in trouble for climbing down to the beach.

Tanah Lot

Dangerous Cliff?

Hmmm? A forbidden path, down a cliff, to a secluded cove beach? Nothing was going to stop us. We reminded each other to be super careful, quickly looked around for any officials, and hopped the sign.

The path down was actually pretty safe. There were a few bad spots, but no real challenge. We didn’t understand why the path was forbidden, but we were so glad it was. When we got to the bottom, we were giddy with excitement. This was a different world from the tourist-packed cliffs above.

Tanah Lot

Escaping the crowds

Beautiful Sight

It was a beautiful sight, but the peace and quiet impressed us the most. We weren’t that far away from everyone, but we couldn’t even hear the chatter of the crowd. The cliffs around this beach form a tight horseshoe. Maybe they were an echo chamber for the waves that blocked out the noise above the cliffs. We don’t know exactly why, but all we heard were peaceful ocean sounds.

Tanah Lot

It was our own private paradise. The rock formations were beautiful and inviting. We climbed on several boulders testing different views. We spent some time in a cave, surrounded by little crabs, watching the waves roll in. Mostly we just sat on the sand, captivated by the dramatic setting. The cliffs under Batu Balong temple had a natural arch. It was the perfect frame for the falling sun.

Tanah Lot

View a from nearby Cave.

Snuggling on the sand and sneaking kisses, we marveled at this impossibly romantic sunset. It was an intoxicating moment. We imagined the millions of years, and billions of waves, that carved out this gorgeous setting. We knew better, but we felt like all of it was just for this moment, just for us.

Tanah Lot

Epic View through the Natural Arch

We were elated with this spot. This view isn’t possible up at Batu Balong temple itself or the cliffs or anywhere else around. It could only be seen from the beach – and we had it all to ourselves!

Tanah Lot Bali

Enjoying the magical sunset!

Magical Sunset

We left before the sun disappeared into the sea. That would’ve been spectacular, but we didn’t want to climb back up in the dark. We also wanted to catch the last moments of sun at Tanah Lot Temple. The sunset at Tanah Lot Temple is breathtaking. It should not be missed, but the crowds and commercialism partially undermine the serenity and sacredness of Tanah Lot. The sunset from the beach under Batu Balong temple is exponentially better.

In our opinion, the best plan is to see some of the sunset at Tanah Lot Temple, but also find a solitary spot away from everyone else. Even if that spot doesn’t have a view of Tanah Lot Temple itself. As long as its stays “forbidden” and untouched the cove beach we found between the cliffs of Enjung Galuh and the cliffs of Batu Balong is the most magical spot around.

Escaping the crowds at Tanah Lot allowed us to recapture a sense of the promised serenity and sacredness. We imagined what the monks must have felt when they built their temples so long ago. The combination of ancient temples and natural beauty was romantic, overwhelming, and inspiring. This was the magic we hoped for.

How to find the path

It’s very easy.

Find Enjung Galuh Temple (remember it’s on the cliff between Tanah Lot and Batu Balong).

Face away from the temple and walk about 35 feet.

The path will be on your left.

*If you take the path, be very careful and take it slow. Make sure it looks stable to you. It may be degrading over time.

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  • Chris
    Posted at 15:25h, 26 November

    Such a beautiful spot!

    Given the Indonesian authorities reputation for corruption, I’m very glad you weren’t caught!! 🙂

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 15:38h, 26 November

    Hi Chris. Yes, it’s absolutely breathtaking. At the moment, we weren’t thinking about the authorities and so glad we didn’t get caught. I would hate to think what they would do. Luckily, we got out safe and sound.

  • Anosa
    Posted at 12:53h, 27 November

    It seems it was worth it jumping the red sign but glad you were not caught either. Such great view and breathtaking moments.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 13:05h, 27 November

    Hi Anosa. Yes, it was definitely worth jumping the red sign. Luckily, we weren’t caught. I’m not sure what would happen in that case and I don’t think I want to find out. If was definitely an awesome experience, though!

  • Rose
    Posted at 19:04h, 27 November

    You definitely found a beautiful spot and captured some stunning photos. I’m glad you were safe and to wonder why the sign was there is a good thing. Maybe it’s more of a warning. (people with kids) then a stop don’t cross thing. You guys will hard the best memories from this story!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 19:15h, 27 November

    Hi Rose. Yes, we felt so lucky to have had the opportunity to visit such an incredible place! You’re right. It would definitely be too dangerous for kids to try to climb down without getting hurt which would make sense on why the sign is there. You need to be cautious on your way down and when walking on the rocks since they are REALLY slippery but it is definitely worth it!

  • Debbie J.
    Posted at 19:19h, 27 November

    This looks absolutely beautiful. I can only imagine the sunset in person. I definitely would love to visit.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 19:27h, 27 November

    Hi, Debbie. We had heard that the sunsets in Bali were magical and had even seen pictures. But of course,there is nothing like the real thing. It was even better than we expected it to be! We hope you get the chance to visit someday soon.

  • Olivia Douglass
    Posted at 20:35h, 27 November

    Wow!! What a stunning place to visit – I want to go someday! I bet you had a blast!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 20:40h, 27 November

    Hi, Olivia! Yes, the Tanah Lot Temple in Bali is a fantastic place to visit not to mention the rest of Bali. Yes, we had an absolute blast! I hope you will get the opportunity to visit someday soon. You will absolutely fall in love with it!

  • reynnadelacruz23
    Posted at 21:46h, 27 November

    Lovely reflection of what the area is like! The photos are absolutely breathtaking!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 21:55h, 27 November

    Hi Reynna, thank you for your kind words! Yes, Bali is definitely a magical place.

  • farmfitliving
    Posted at 22:06h, 27 November

    What a gorgeous vacation spot! The secluded spot would be just up my ally.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 22:15h, 27 November

    Hi! Oh it was a dream come true! Getting to enjoy the sunset “all by yourself” is magical.

  • Lennae Stubbs
    Posted at 03:53h, 28 November

    Wow, it looks beautiful!!!

    Lennae xxx

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 04:14h, 28 November

    Hi Lennae. Yes, it was definitely beautiful!

  • Bethanny Sudibyo
    Posted at 16:01h, 28 November

    I love reading about other travelers visiting my country. I haven’t gone home for a few years and I miss it so much. So glad you had a great time, and thanks for the additional info to find the path. It would be super useful for other travelers.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 16:10h, 28 November

    Hello Bethany. Thanks for the encouragement. We loved Bali very much. If they had better internet, we might live there for a year or so. Hope you get a chance to go home soon. Theres a lot to miss.

  • Lennae Stubbs
    Posted at 22:54h, 28 November

    I’m glad you didn’t get caught breaking the rules, although it doesn’t hurt to break the rules every now and then. Especially for a beautiful view like pictured above.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 22:58h, 28 November

    Hi Lennae. Yes, sometimes rules are meant to be broken and I can honestly say this had to be one of those times! It was TOTALLY worth the risk. The view was incredible. :-*

  • Blair Villanueva
    Posted at 00:24h, 29 November

    Wow I admire your persistence! I might be having a second thought of crossing the NO line but hey sometimes that’s more fun, right?! Lovely story and your photos are so great 🙂

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 00:30h, 29 November

    Hi Blair. Thank you for your kind words. I guess at the moment we didn’t even think of the consequences of getting caught. All we were thinking about was ‘How can we get the best view of this gorgeous sunset without people all over us?’ This was definitely worth the risk! 🙂

  • Healthwealthbridge by Dr.Amrita Basu
    Posted at 15:05h, 29 November

    Travel broadens the mind and keeps us happy.Travelling is fully able to plan great holidays. Enjoy the beauty everywhere.That why I loe reading travel .This temple I haven’t seen .Will check it out

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 15:12h, 29 November

    Hi. Yes, travel opens infinite opportunities.

  • Neha Verma
    Posted at 05:39h, 30 November

    Amazing sunset pictures. I know it becomes difficult to enjoy even the most scenic places when there is too much crowd. That is why sometimes we love to travel in off season

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 05:47h, 30 November

    Hello Neha. That’s a great strategy. We use it as much as possible too.

  • Nikolina Osburn
    Posted at 07:01h, 30 November

    Love this! We are thinking about going to Bali for our honeymoon in November or October! I normally jump red signs all the time and live my life in the “grey” area but after all the research I have been doing about Bali makes me a little scared on how strict they actually are. Im very glad you shared this tho because, I hate crowds and maybe going for sunrise is a little less crowded. Since not everyone is so excited to wake up at 4am 🙂

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 07:05h, 30 November

    Hi Nikolina. How exciting – CONGRATULATIONS!!! Bali is absolutely gorgeous – definitely a honeymoon spot. I’m sure it would be a lot less crowded at 4:00 AM. 🙂 Also, the October/November timeframe is a good choice. It is considered low season so everything should be less expensive (accommodations, etc) and the weather was perfect.

  • livelaughhlovee5
    Posted at 11:04h, 30 November

    Aghh, such amazing pictures love that first picture in the post before you start to write. Amazing.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 11:15h, 30 November

    Hi. Thanks for the compliments! Bali is absolutely gorgeous. We have literally thousands of pictures of this amazing place! ?

  • Vyjay Rao
    Posted at 01:21h, 01 December

    What a lovely place. And yes forbidden fruits do seem to taste sweeter. Going beyond the STOP sign to where no man or woman had ventured before, you were able to get your own personal slice of paradise and capture some stunning shots! Worth the risk I must say 🙂

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 01:33h, 01 December

    Hi Vyjay. You are absolutely right! It felt like our own personal slice of paradise. It was definitely worth the risk although we might not have felt the same had we gotten caught. ? Luckily, we weren’t and were able to get the mesmerizing views that we were hoping for! ?

  • sculture di qualità artistiche
    Posted at 13:08h, 30 January

    Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful post.

    Thank you for providing these details.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 13:11h, 30 January

    Hello Sculture. Thank you. It’s great to hear you liked it.

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