Set on the shores of Lake Bratan (Danau Bratan), close to the town of Bedugul, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is one of Bali’s most photographed temples. Built, like Taman Ayun Temple, by the king of Mengwi, the combination of multi-roofed shrines with mountains and reflecting lake is incredibly photogenic—one reason it’s so popular with tourists.
Made up of five separate shrines, including one that’s actually in the lake and accessible by canoe, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan dates back to the 17th century. Around 4,065 feet (1,239 meters) above sea level, it’s a highlight of the misty Bedugul Highlands on the road to north Bali. Tours typically combine Pura Ulun Danu Bratan with other Balinese water temples, such as Tanah Lot and Taman Ayun, or with north Bali attractions, such as waterfalls and dolphins.
Things to Know Before You Go
- A regular scene on Bali postcards and, increasingly, Instagram, Ulun Danu Bratan temple is a must for aspiring photographers.
- If you choose to explore Bedugul, bring plenty of layers: Temperatures can drop so low that restaurants have open fires.
- It’s well worth buying fresh strawberries from the vendors: They’re locally grown.
How to Get There
Ulun Danu Bratan temple is in Bedugul on the main road north to Singaraja. The most convenient way for non-Indonesians to reach Bedugul independently is via the Perama shuttle bus from Kuta, Ubud, Sanur, Lovina, Padang Bai, or Candidasa. Some opt to self-drive, but the winding road can be tiring for a day trip, so many prefer a driver or an organized Bali tour.
When to Get There
Bedugul’s highland climate can turn surprisingly cold, particularly during the rainy season (roughly October through March). (Bedugul is cool and damp enough for strawberries to grow.) Arrive early in the morning to beat the worst of the crowds and have the best chance at a rain-free visit to Pura Ulun Danu Bratan.
Bali’s Subak System
Around 1,000 years old, Bali’s “subak” system of cooperative rice cultivation has been recognized with UNESCO World Heritage status. Water temples, such as Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, and the lake goddess Dewi Danu, play a major part in keeping the rice terraces growing—one reason you’ll see so many pilgrims here.