Monday, June 9, 2014



The orchid enclosure at Bedugul Botanic Gardens.

I've passed thru the Bedugul-Lake Bratan area several times, stopped twice for a meal or an overview of one of the crater lakes, but have never stayed in the area. So in May 2014 I made sure I spent a few nights there.

Bratan-Bedugul is in mountainous central-north Bali about 60km north of Kuta. It is on the main road from south Bali to the north coast - Bali's old capital Singaraja and the Lovina tourist strip, so the road is busy with trucks, buses and local traffic - the last can be horrific in the first 20km Kuta-Denpasar strip. As a result you are looking at 2 hours+ in the day time. Add 20 minutes from the airport.

This area has 3 crater lakes surrounded by towering cliffs or volcanic cones - collectively known as the Bedugul caldera. The original cone and its explosion must have been huge. 
Our digs, Pacung Indah at bottom, was according to booking site Agoda's map within walking distance of Bedugul. Nope - it turned out to be in the roadside village of Pacung, 10km south, a bit far to walk. This is the 3rd time Agoda's maps have let us down.

Oblique shot of Bedugul caldera from the north. Note the main west-east road from Munduk and beyond passes around the rim of the crater from alongside the L Tamblingan place-marker far right to the gap some distance below the UG of "BEDUGUL" towards bottom left. Some magic views along here.

Lake Buyan from the west. There are pix and info of Lake Tamblingan on the Munduk page.

Note that the temple is actually in neighbouring Candikuning. This merges into Pancasari further north which extends around the northern shore of L Bratan and across to the south-eastern end of Lake Buyan. The whole conurbation is about 7 km long. However not all is housing - at least 50% is given over to market gardening and similar activities.

This area is a major vegetable and fruit growing area so there is no shortage of produce stalls. Plenty of clothing and other retailers too. However it is smaller than I expected for a pretty major mountain center.

This is the top right hand (south-west) corner of the markets. Place with TOILET sign at left is a real nice cafe with good hot and cold drinks at fair prices and okay music. The toilet is spotlessly clean. It doesn't sell food. The guide books mention the place upstairs at the end as an Aussie-run tourist restaurant - however it was closed for renovation. Plenty of other places to grab a feed, but all orientated towards locals rather than tourists. Result - yummy food at low low prices in pretty basic seating areas.

The main road outside the markets is super busy with passing traffic and people. I sat here for 15 minutes and watched the passing parade.

We came the 10km up the hill from Pacung village on a local bemo (public minivan bus). Seat in front loaded with produce from Pacung markets which looked bigger and busier than Bedugul's. Woman with produce hopped off and went into her house near Bedugul market. Suggests price competitiveness is maybe lacking at the latter.


The side road from just south of the market to the Botanic Gardens' entrance takes less than 10 minutes to walk. Along it are several budget homestays, restaurants, flower and produce stalls and this bunny rabbit retailer. Cute. Could't help notice the restaurants had rabbit on the menu - not all that common in Bali.

Entry into the Gardens is only a few dollars. They are pretty big at around 160ha and have a bunch of different attractions. I reckon if you moved fast you could cover them in a half day. We had less than 3 hours and had to be a bit selective....

No Bali attraction is complete without a temple. This is the Batu Meringgit temple not far from the entrance.

The cactus house had examples from all over SE Asia. Click expand shot for detail.

The interior of the orchid house was as exotic as the exterior (see shot top of page). 

A winding lane replicates a path thru a typical highland tropical forest (the area has an altitude of 1250-1450m)

The Treetop Adventure Park was entertaining a group of senior Indo schoolkids. There are 7 circuits here to suit a variety of ages from quite young up. I notice this area is rated "#1 Bedugul attraction" by Trip Advisor contributors. The tariff seems a bit steep at $US 24 for an adult - no doubt these kids got a big discount.

Getting onto some of the take-off platforms was an adventure in itself

If you have the time there is also a bamboo display, rose garden, aquatic garden, fern house, begonia house, bamboo collection, a giant rainforest tree, lots of traditional statues plus a number of places to eat and take it easy - and lots more.

Now here's a cop out. Bali has temples wherever you look and in 20 visits I've seen hundreds, including this one several times in passing transport. I'm suffering big-time from temple fatigue and decided the crowds of visitors and the fact that there is no entry did not make the half hour walk from the Botanic Gardens worthwhile.
But it sure is pretty - one of the most photographed and visited in Bali. It figures on the Indo 50k rupiah note. I ripped this shot off the Bali Tourism Board's site

Pacung (say Pachung) Indah would have been just about perfect by our budget standards if it was positioned closer to Bedugul. Agoda's location map had it 5km south and I mapped out a good trek up to the crater by a scenic backroad - in reality it was another 5km down the main road. 

At about $US21 including breakfast in shoulder season May 2014 our room was very good value. Recently renovated, it was spacious, clean, had a jug and flatscreen tv (all Indo channels). The mattress was old but comfy, the fan quiet (don't need aircon this high) and the rooms were far enough from the road for noise not to be an issue. The bathroom was spacious and had good hot water. If you click-expand you may be able to see the individual courtyard outside which appears new and eliminates one reviewer's moans about lack of privacy.

These 2 shots show the outlook from Pacung Indah's large roadside restaurant. Nice, but we were less impressed than we should have been because we had just come from Aditya Homestay in Munduk with its fabulous outlook.
The restaurant is set up to serve passing daytripping buses, vans and cars and could probably seat 200+ people. Food seemed good at prices above Bali budget levels but pretty good by western standards - one good deal for staying guests was the impressive luncheon buffet reduced from 8Ok idr (abt $US7) to 60k. All prices have a 21% tax added. The inclusive breakfast was not buffet but the "Australian breakfast" choice was pretty good - basically an American breakfast plus cereal and milk.
I strolled 10 minutes up and down the road and couldn't find any budget restaurants in this southern part of Pacung village.

The main road here runs up a ridge towards the Bedugul crater rim - so there tends to be pretty good rural views each side. The road is very busy during the day with slow vehicles lumbering up the hill backing up long lines of traffic. The cops up road (click-expand) didn't help by periodically stopping traffic so buses and other vehicles could enter and exit the even bigger LABHAGGER PACUNG restaurant. Joint must have some push to get the local cops doing this.

Lebhagger was on the other side of the road and the westward view was more impressive - some pretty nice rice terraces. There would be views of some volcanic peaks when the cloud cleared. Wide angle shot reduces depth/height and steepness of slopes. I like to explore areas like this but couldn't find any side lanes either side of the road within easy walking distance. 
Restaurant prices seemed much the same as at Pacung Idah.


This area is another place often visited by Bedugul tourists. It is about 25km ssw of Bedugul, is rated the best in Bali and is an UNESCO heritage area. I had seen the best in East and West Bali so I was pretty keen on checking the best of the lot. One advantage of Pacung's southern location was that Jatiluwih was only 14km away and I intended to do a detour on my trip down to Sanur on exit day. Unfortunately logistics interfered - maybe next year. Image from

There's a lot more to do in the general Bedugal area - water sports on the lake, visits to market gardens, fruit and coffee growing areas, climbing, cross country cycling. yada. A visit to the Git Git waterfall a short walk off the main road as it descends to the north coast is time well spent - there is a pic on the main Bali page. -------------------------------------------------------



1 comment:

Asia Bali Tour said...

Nice Post, thank you for review best place in Bali to your blog, surely you enjoyed your holiday in Bali. One correction the title seem wrong should be "Bedugul and Lake Beratan"
Thanks and Best Regards
Bali Tour, Bali Driver