We spent three glorious weeks in Singapore and Indonesia as part of our honeymoon and spent a few days towards the end of our trip in Seminyak, Bali and visited the famous Tanah Lot temple.
Tanah Lot is believed to have been founded by Dang Hyang Nirartha, a Shaivite priest, from a tradition of Hinduism which reveres the god Shiva.
During Niratha’s travels, he rested on this rocky outcrop. The following morning as fisherman brought the priest gifts, Niratha encouraged them to build a shrine on this holy spot to worship Bali’s sea god, Dewa Baruna. And he was a god you wanted to keep on side, as he rode the oceans on the Makara – a half fish, half sea creature.
Pura Tanah Lot built in the 16th century forms part of a chain of sea temples spread out around the island’s coast. Supposedly each temple can be seen from the other – and I’m told on a good day you can just make out the cliff top site of Uluwatu.
It’s believed that the temple is still protected by a giant sea snake which was created from Nirartha’s sash or selendang and small venomous snakes inhibit the watery shallows around the island ready to pounce on unsuspecting intruders.
We visited at high tide which meant we weren’t able to walk over to the rock, but this did mean we were able to get a photo without all the tourists. Tanah Lot is still an important pilgrimage destination as well as a significant cultural site; a whole tourist complex has sprung up around the Tanah Lot temple site, but it’s no worse than any other touristy haunt.
The site of Tanah Lot is under constant attack by the Indonesian Ocean, wind force and coast abrasion threatens the very rock where the temple stands. In 1980, a 130 million US dollar conservation project embarked to restore the rock and today over one-third of Tanah Lot’s ‘rock’ is actually cleverly disguised artificial rock.
Seminyak was actually the last stop of our honeymoon. We have a couple of nights at the DevinSky Hotel, which was actually our least favourite stop, we had issues with our air-con and all that, but I shan’t bore you with it. It did have a nice rooftop restaurant which was a good spot for breakfast.
We picked Seminyak because we were told that it had that cool, hipster beach vibe and was less the party town of nearby Kuta. And it was exactly as described, its streets host independent boutique shops and cafes. Sisterfields would not be out of place in Shoreditch and is an Australian favourite with ‘travelling foodies’ (I suppose that counts as me and Tom.) It’s a good place for fancy all-day breakfasts.
We also headed to Motel Mexicola for our last night. A proper party place, worth booking a table in advance. I’d recommend giving your dietary requirements to the waiting staff and letting them sort you out a feast.
And what did we do on our last day in Bali? Potato Head Beach Club. Get there early if you want a lounger, or like me and Tom, settle down into one of the comfortable cushioned seats, people watch, walk along this fantastic stretch of sand and drink plenty of coconuts.