One of the first pictures that Kacy, Claire, Nicole and I saw on google images of Bali before we left, was Tanah Lot Temple. Each of us stared wide-eyed at the photo of the temple and agreed right then and there that we had to visit. After a day of relaxing at the beach and exploring our surroundings, we were ready to accomplish that goal.
We slept in until 10:30am. Our previous day of sun, sweat, and lots of walking had us exhausted and in need of a good nights sleep. Finally rested, we sat upstairs near our wifi-router (can’t escape technology anywhere these days…) in order to get the connection we needed to get in contact with Jeremy, Taylor, and Ellie. They agreed to meet us at a restaurant near our villa, so we got up and got walking. The girls and I browsed through the little sheet-seperated vendor stalls, talking to the store owners and enjoying the slow morning. Our driver, a friend of Asa’s, wasn’t going to pick us up until 3pm, so we were able to take our time. We had lunch and met up with the rest of our group a little while later and headed back to our place to show them around. We refilled our water bottles, reapplied our sunscreen, and charged our camera’s and phones as much as we could before our driver arrived. When he finally did, the seven of us climbed in the air conditioned car and sat back to enjoy the hour and a half long, stop and go drive to the temple.
We arrived at a large gravel parking lot, almost completely full of taxi cars and SUV’s shuttling in tourists just like us to see the sights. We walked a short way through some tourist-aimed buildings and pathways before reaching the first small temple.
Through the gates adjacent to this sign was a path that would lead straight out into the ocean if the little temple wasn’t in the way.
The stone architecture and ornate carvings in the rock were enough to take my breath away. To the right of the path to the first temple, you could see up the coastline of Bali as far as the eye could reach. To the left was a gorgeous view of Tanah Lot Temple.
We took in the sights and exited the little hindu shrine (most of the balinese people are hindu), eager to see the famous rock formation that we traveled so far to see.
The rest of the this blog post is mostly going to be pictures. I think they can speak better than words. Tanah Lot means “Land Sea” in Balinese because it can only be reached by foot at low tide. At high tide, the Temple becomes its own little island.
We walked down a series of stone stairs to the rocky Bali shore. The temple towered above us and old holy men in white clothing stood near the temple and talked to guests.
To the left of the massive structure was a little cave with a pretty interesting wooden sign posted above it.
A small group of people clustered around a little rock formation inside the cave. Curious, Claire and I went inside to check it out. One of the “holy men” was collecting donations, and an older man sat on a hip-height long curved rock. Inside the ‘elbow’ of the rock, if you will, was a little indentation. Inside, was a striped snake. It was curled around itself multiple times, its head in the back of its little cave. The old man smiled a big smile when it was our turn in line, and motioned for us to touch the closest part of the snake. “touch, touch” he said. “for good luck”. Somehow, his words comforted me enough to touch the warm, scaly snake. Exhilarated, Claire and I left the cave to get in line at the base of Tanah Lot Temple where people were waiting their turn to get blessed with fresh spring water from the underside of the temple by the holy men. Kacy and Nicole waited in the same line and we talked with the tourists around us while we crept forward.
When I walked up to the group of men in white, I was shown to the spring, where a little waterfall trickled over a tall rock into a pool at the bottom. One man gestured to wash my face with the water. I did so, thankful for the cool relief from the hot and humid day. The next man said a prayer and used his thumb to press ground rice between my eyebrows, another used grasses to distribute droplets of spring water over me, and the last placed a yellow flower over my ear. With my new blessings and adornments, I was then allowed to walk up part of the temple. I stopped on my way up to take a picture with an adorable old holy man who had spent his life at Tanah Lot.
Around this time, the sun began to set and the tide was rising. We gathered our group and made our way to a smaller rock formation to the right of Tanah Lot to watch the sun end its journey across the sky.
We enjoyed the sound of crashing waves and the beauty of the Balinese coast until the sun sank below the sea, snapping a few last minute pictures while there was still some light left.
We made our way out the way we had come in, stopping at a restaurant at the top of the cliff for some spicy noodles and refreshing Bintang, then returned to the parking lot. Ours was the last car in the lot and we were excited to relax after an evening of walking and sightseeing. We were dropped off at Jeremy, Taylor, and Ellie’s and after paying our driver (about $7 USD per person), we swam in the cold pool that they shared with other guests. A short time later, we left their place and walked down the ally that led to their place. Most of the locals had packed up their shops and turned in for the night, but a few were still out, standing around their food carts with friends, chatting in their native tongue. Kacy, Claire, Nicole and I reflected on our day as we walked, dodging trash, giant bugs, and stray dogs on our journey to a main road. Once we reached the populated street, it took less than 5 seconds for a taxi driver to happily agree to take us to our villa. 20 minutes later, we were getting ready for bed and preparing for the next days adventures.