Lake Bratan’s temple, called Pura Ulun Danu Bratan and also known as the Floating Temple, is one of the most mesmerizing temples in Bali. It is also one Bali’s most underrated temple compared to Tanah Lot and Pura Luhur Uluwatu temples. Built over 350 years ago, this temple houses waterside gardens and meru shrines that are so well-known in Bali.
The gorgeous volcanic lake of Danau Bratan near Bedugul is also the favourite of many local tourists but not as well known with foreigners, therefore relatively still unknown, it is a true gem to discover. What makes it truly special is that since it caters for the local tourists, weekdays here would be the best time to enjoy the lake and the park at peace.
History and facts
This Hindu temple was built in the 17th century in honor of the lake goddess Dewi Danu, marking the significance of Lake Bratan as the main source of water in Bali. The history of the temple dates back to the Mengwi kingdom of that time. The 11 stories meru shrine here is dedicated for Shiva and his consort Parvathi. Ulun Danu itself literally translates to “head of the lake”. After several eruptions from Mount Batur, the temple has been shifted and rebuilt along with the village.
Pura Ulun Danu is the core of all the water temples in Bali. It is one of the main structure in the irrigation systems that draws the water from Lake Batur into Subak. This unique system is one of the many UNESCO World Cultural Heritage in Indonesia. It also serves as a symbol of social and religious unity in Bali.
Where is it
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is located at Lake Bratan in Bedugul Highlands of Bali. The lake is also worth a visit to take in the breathtaking views.
One of our top temples to visit in Bali but still relatively unknown to foreign tourists, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan has its own charmed with its interesting thatched roof layered with reminiscence of pagoda structure and located just at the edge of the temple, allowing chance of reflections of its grandeur.
When is the best time to go
If you are lucky and here during one of the many festivals held here at the temple, you will be in for a real treat. If not, you will still have a good time marveling at the beauty of this Hindu temple that is unlike the others.
How to get there
There are public transports that take you here to Lake Bratan from Denpasar or Lovina. There are also shuttle buses that run between the southern beaches and Lovina. It takes 45 minutes to get to the Pura Ulun Danu temple from Lovina. From Ubud, it will take a 1.5 hours drive and from Kuta, a long 2 hours drive.
Where to stay nearby
There are some hotels and resorts dotted along the beautiful Lake Bratan ranging from indulgent retreats to budget hotels. One of the popular and luxurious resort here is the Puri Candikuning and the nice budget options are Strawberry Hill Hotel and CLV Hotel and Villa *.
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Things to do
Taman Rekreasi Bedugul (Bedugul Recreation park) – one of the best places for water sports such as canoes, banana boating, parasailing and jet-skiing, minus the high waves and high prices compared to the southern beaches.
Souvenir shops – the many shops lined up here are a must to visit. It sells different brands of tacky stuff when shopping in Kuta or Seminyak and at fixed prices designed for the local Indonesians, hence no hefty tourist prices here.
Secret tiny temple – visit this one from the outside at the west-end of Pura Ulun Danu temple. Beware of the pesky monkeys!
Hike the walking path – there is a path that starts opposite the fruits stalls skirting the lake and heads along the ridge to the top of Mount Mangu. This is a six-hour beautiful return hike. Strawberry Hill Resort nearby the park can arrange guides for hikes to nearby waterfalls and vanilla plantations, and around Buyan and Tamblingan lakes.
Take a 15-minute speedboat ride on the lake, passing upmarket villas, strawberry farms and of course the temple itself.
Have lunch at Bedugul restaurant overlooking the lake and under the towering volcanoes. This restaurant is located at the southern end of Lake Bratan. Don’t forget to try fresh gurami (grouper fish) and udang (prawns) with various sauces.
Nearby tourist attractions
Try out the popular dolphin watching at Lovina.
Candikuning – sizeable Muslim community with farmers’ market.
Bali Botanic Garden – one of the only four in Indonesia and the largest, it houses the local flora and the famous Green Rose.
Wanagiri hidden hills for lookouts over the twin lakes of Buyan and Tamblingan and apparently good picture taking opportunities.
Jatiluwih rice terraces.