Situated in a crater of an inactive volcano, Mount Catur, this second largest lake in Bali is surrounded by the majestic mountain of Mount Bratan. It is recommended to hire a motorcycle to get there, but be warned that there will be many narrow mountain roads that you will have to navigate along the way. Alternatively, if you want to use public transportation, which can be unreliable at times, you can choose either from Singaraja’s bus station or from Denpasar’s Ubung station via minibus. It takes around 2-hour drive from Denpasar to arrive in Candi Kuning Village, Baturiti district, Tabanan, where the lake lies.
Located in Bali’s central highlands, this lake is a favourite tourist attraction. Its high altitude allows visitors to enjoy a respite from the hot and humid weather. The surrounding area is a natural spectacle offering splendid views of mountains and greenery. The lake is surprisingly shallow with a maximum depth of only 22 metres. Irises of a number of colours: yellow, fuchsia and magenta, dot the edge of the lake. The misty peak of dormant Mount Catur looms ahead of you.
Across the lake, there are three 25-metre-deep caves excavated by Indonesian slaves for the Japanese during World War II. There are also a few shrines worth exploring in the vicinity of Lake Bratan. Another popular sight is Bukit Mungsu Market, which located in Candi Kuning. Visitors can buy a variety of fresh spices, including nutmeg and turmeric, fruits and vegetables. Due to the cool weather there, you can also pick strawberries on the fields, a unique find considering Bali’s tropical climate.
There are so many activities you can do around the area. The surrounding mountains are popular destinations for hiking and trekking, offering routes of various levels of difficulty. Water sports lovers will rejoice with the abundance of water activities available. Boat rides on pedal boats, speed boats or traditional boats known as Jukung are all available. Other types of water sports that you can enjoy include water-skiing, parasailing, jet skiing and paddle sports. Swimming is permitted, of course, only if you can stand the cold waters.
Lake Bratan is considered to be the most holy lake in Bali, as it is a home to one of Bali’s most famous temples, the Ulun Danu Temple, which dates back to stories told in Balinese mythology. This beautiful 17th century temple of Ulun Danu, which appears to float on the water, is dedicated to worship Dewi Danu or the Lake Goddess. Offerings are made at the temple on special festive occasions, as it is believed will bring economic prosperity to the area.
The lake is a very important source of irrigation for many farms and rice paddies in the Bedugul region. Because of its surrounding temperatures and irrigation system, the area around Lake Bratan provides a high fertility rate, and for that reason Lake Bratan is also known as the Lake of Holy Mountain.