Lake Bratan is Bali’s second largest lake and a peaceful retreat away from the beer-swilling hordes who stay in Kuta and other places in the south of the island.
It’s cool up here as the lake is over 700 meters above sea level but, to be honest, it’s a bit of a disappointment overall and not a patch on the much more spectacular Lake Batur, which is not that far away.
The problem is that there is simply not that much to do! Yes, you can walk around the lake, and perhaps if you’re daring (or foolish), try to rent one of the boats – although the astronomically high price demanded will probably put you off. Still, it’s nice to get some fresh air in your lungs – especially if you spend most of the year living in a large city like I do.
Located on the west side of the lake, however, is one of the most iconic of all Bali temples – second only to Tanah Lot.
It’s called Pura Ulun Danu Bratan (Lake Bratan Temple) and gives the impression to the causal observer that it is actually floating on the water. It’s pretty old, being built in 1633, and it may come as little surprise to learn that it’s a tribute to Ida Batara Dewi Ulun Danu, the goddess of the lake.
Besides Lake Bratan, there are two other lakes in the area: Lake Buyan and Lake Tamblingan, and if you have a liking for flowers and plants, there are also some botanical gardens nearby.
Although it’s not really worth staying here, the area around the lake (called Bedugul) is certainly worth seeing if only for its natural beauty.
And getting here is damn easy. All you need is a decent map and reasonable navigation skills and you can’t really go wrong (but don’t blame me if it does).
From Denpasar in the south, you’re looking at an hour and a half journey on the main road which connects south to north Bali. From Lake Bratan you can continue your journey all the way up to Singaraja, and perhaps then to the laid back Lovina beach which is nearby.