Ever since my first visit to Bali, seeing a sunset at Tanah Lot seaside temple has been something I have been itching to do. However, up until recently, the guarantee of enormous crowds of other tourists has kept me away – who really likes enormous mobs of other people?
But I had been wanting to do it for long enough, so this time round I decided to bite the bullet and brave the crowds. After all, that many people wouldn’t be visiting unless it was a truly spectacular sight.
After paying the very reasonable admission fee of around $3 in we went! After getting a close-ish look at the temple, it was time to suss out the best spot to base myself for the sunset. I wanted to get some beautiful photos and had to find the perfect place to get them!
We spotted a bunch of cafes and bars to the left of a temple a little walk away, and quickly decided that this would be a good place to search for a sunset spot. To get to these cafes we had to walk through a bunch of little shops and markets and on the way we spotted a few luwaks hanging out in the stalls! Luwaks are the animals that are involved in the controversial practice of producing luwak coffee.
Animal rights activists condemn the practice due to the confined and often poor conditions in which the luwaks are kept. I honestly have not read enough about the practice to pass judgement, but it certainly was nice to see a few of these animals not be caged or chained up.
There are quite a few different little restaurants to the left of Tanah Lot. I went through and looked at heaps of different tables before I decided on one. I had to have the optimal view after all! Once I had settled in and set up my camera, it was time to chill out with a beer and wait for the spectacular sunset that I was sure would be inevitable.
By the time I was tossing back the last few sips of my San Miguel, Tanah Lot started to produce the goods that we had come for. The sky turned a rich gold and the temple jutted out above the line where the ocean meets the sky.
With each small descent of the sun, the sky would change. It would turn from a pure gold to a mix of bright oranges and pale denim coloured blues. The clouds seemed to turn black and the temple, which in daylight had been beautiful but not magnificent, suddenly became the definition of glorious.
Despite me complaining about getting sunburned (hazard of spending time with me in hot weather) and some random getting in the way of his otherwise perfect time lapse of the sunset, Mister Matt seemed to be enjoying himself.
Although, with views like this, it isn’t hard to see why!
I had not brought my tripod with me on this particular day, so I ended up using this cement block in the fence as a makeshift tripod, which actually worked out quite well.
There are quite a few little cafes along this stretch of coast by the temple, but all of the tables directly next to the fence filled up fairly early. So if you want to nab some good seats and a good vantage point from which to take photos, I recommend getting here early and relaxing with a beer or three while you wait for the sun to do its thing.
Cause when the sun does do it thing, it is pretty likely to take your breath away for a moment or two.
As the sun completely disappeared behind some clouds, the skies opened up and the reason for the clouds looking so dark became glaringly obvious. Time for the rain to come! Mother nature has such amazing timing though, she made sure to wait until the sun had totally gone away. Very considerate of her.
Luckily, we had Made waiting for us at the entrance, ready to drive us back to the comfort of the Dusun Villas in Seminyak, but while we were waiting for him to pull the car out of the parking area, we encountered a few people not quite so lucky. Apparently it is a not so uncommon scam for drivers, especially unmetered taxi drivers to collect payment for the trip to Tanah Lot in advance, and as soon as the paying customers have disappeared from sight, to desert them!
Getting cabs from Tanah Lot back to Uluwatu or Seminyak is quite pricey, so if you want to do this trip, it is worth making sure that you have a trustworthy driver.
As I have written numerous times before, I 110% recommend Made Paul Artawan. He is the only driver I will ever use when in Bali. He is friendly, honest and can navigate his way around Bali with ease. For details on how to get in contact with him, check out ‘The Lowdown’ below.
Tanah Lot was just as beautiful as I had imagined, and by paying for a beer at one of the cafes overlooking the coast, we were able to avoid the majority of the massive crowds – definitely worth the few rupiah!
T H E L O W D O W N
Getting to Bali: Flights to Bali are frequent, check out adioso.com to find the cheapest dates to fly
Getting to Tanah Lot: A 40-60 minute drive from Seminyak, click here for directions
Tanah Lot: Entrance is about 30,000 rupiah ($3)
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1 with M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2.8 lens
Made Paul Artawan: The best driver in Bali! Click here to get in contact
Remember: Once you go down the steps towards the temple, take a left and go through the market to find the cafes. Go early and nab a prime position!
Don’t forget to add me on Snapchat and Instagram – @wwellend – for more foolishness and travel adventures!