Tanah Lot is the "must see temple" for most visitors to Bali and this becomes disappointingly obvious when you arrive at the toll booth to the car park. Surrounding the car park are hundreds of food and drink stalls as is common at many of the important temples in Bali as they serve mainly local clientele.
But step beyond these stalls and you feel as if you are stepping back into Kuta with masses of commercialised shops selling everything from fake Ralph Lauren to Crocs. There is also a line of art and craft shops selling tacky souvenirs which you are mandatorily funnelled past despite it being the indirect route to the temple.
After surviving the shopping onslaught, you are greeted by the temple itself, perched on a rock surrounded by the ocean. Those with visions of grandiosity will sadly leave wondering what all the fuss was about as there are many more visually appealing temples in Bali.
Everyone else will just stand there and have their photo taken with countless domestic tourists wishing to pose with a Westerner. The crowds are large in the morning — in the evening it's peak hour and be prepared for traffic jams to and from the temple and a communal observation of the sun setting behind the temple.
If it's not clear already, this is a tourist trap and you should not feel guilty if you don't visit. For a temple with so much hype, it really is that disappointing.
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Text and/or map last updated on 17th June, 2011.
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