Danau Bratan travel and tourist guide
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan has a unique tiered design
Situated on the main north-south highway linking Denpasar and Singaraja, Danau Bratan is one of north Bali’s most scenic regions. It is the second largest lake on the island and descends to a depth of over 35 metres. At an altitude of over 1,000 meters the climate is pleasantly cool and it is surrounded by lush rolling hills, rice fields and the imposing volcano of Mount Catur. Danau Bratan is just one of three volcanic crater lakes in the immediate area. Just four miles west lie the less visited but equally dramatic lakes of Buyan and Tamblingan.
The gateway to Bali’s very own ‘lake district’ is the town of Bedugal and the entire area is often referred to simply as the Bedugal region. Primarily a day trip destination, Danau Bratan has a diverse range of attractions and activities on offer and is a good place to break up the journey en route to the beaches of Lovina in the north.
The lake itself is a relatively tranquil spot but does get inundated with local day trippers at weekends to indulge in water sports and hiking. The Bedugal Recreation Park is located on the southern shore and provides water skiing, parasailing and rowing boats.
On the western shore is perhaps Bali’s most photogenic temple complex called Pura Ulun Danu Bratan. There are a series of spectacular multi-tiered shrines situated on small islands and at certain vantage points have the illusionary effect of floating on water. A short walk away is the village of Candikuning, famed for its wonderfully atmospheric daily market and a popular stop on the tour bus circuit. The market is awash with pungent spices, fruits, vegetables and flowers and combines well with a visit to the nearby Botanic Gardens. Within the expansive grounds of the Botanic Gardens is the Bali Treetop Adventure Park, a great distraction for energetic kids.
All these attractions are located close together and can all be enjoyed on foot, but with your own transport there are several other interesting natural sights that are worth visiting in the area. The sister lakes of Danau Buyan and Danau Tamblingan are a short drive west and offer even more ‘get away from it all’ tranquility. The area is surrounded by dense primary rainforest, giving way to rolling clove and coffee plantations. It is a good place for horseback riding and mountain biking and heading towards the spectacular waterfalls of Munduk, bird and mammal life is rich and diverse.
Not one for people with vertigo!
Bali Treetop Adventure Park
This popular child friendly attraction is located in the grounds of the Bali Botanic Gardens among lush woodland. It features lots of canopy walkways, zip lines and Tarzan swings with plenty of supervised activities for all ages. It is an excellent place to spot some of Bali’s most colourful birdlife. (Open: 08:30–18:00 (daily); Eka Karya Bali Botanical Gardens, tel: +62 361 852 0680, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.balitreetop.com)
A couple of miles west of Danau Tamblingan is arguably Bali’s most dramatic waterfalls. Sheltered by dense forest, a series of multi-tiered falls reach a crescendo resulting in a near 100 metres drop into a foaming river basin. It is an impressive sight that is all the more spectacular during the rainy season. It can be combined with a rewarding horse riding trek from the village of Munduk.(Munduk Village, admission rp5000)
Where to stay in Danau Bratan
There are a dozen or so budget home stays situated in the village of Candikuning or directly at the water’s edge. This is complimented with a handful of boutique bungalow resorts and even a couple of lavish holistic retreats. There is excellent value in all prices brackets although very few travellers choose to stay here overnight. No accommodation has heating and nights can be chilly, so an extra blanket and warm clothing is advisable.
Cempaka: convenient for the Botanic Gardens, this small family run guest house has attractive terraced rooms in a tranquil setting. All are nicely furnished and spotlessly clean and have sizeable verandahs or balconies. prices are US$7 including breakfast. (JI Kebun Raya, Bedugul, tel: +62 362 21 042)
Bedugul Hotel: a classy mid-priced hotel affording a fine location right by the water’s edge at Danau Bratan. Room rates are US$31 which include attractive air con cottages with hot water and TV. The friendly staff can arrange trekking and tours in the area. (Taman Rekreasi, Bedugul, tel: +62 368 26 593)
Ashram Guest House: this rambling budget guest house has several rooms facing the shoreline of Danau Bratan. Rooms are simply furnished in bamboo and set in a pretty landscaped garden. There are also a couple of larger rooms with hot water and prices range from US$6-US$13. (Candikuning Bedugul, tel: +62 362 21 042)
Getting to Danau Bratan
The area is well served by local buses from Denpasar and Singaraja in the north. Journey times in either direction are similar at around 90 minutes. Shuttle bus operator Perama (Sari Artha Inn, Tel: +62 368 21 011) has a service each day direct from Kuta, Sanur and Ubud for rp100,000 one way. There are no metered taxis based in the area but local transport operators are plentiful in Candikuning.
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