I spent a day touring around Bali’s Central Highlands region (also known as Bedugul), hiring a driver and car for around $25 for the day. This was after spending a few days in the beautiful Munduk region and before visiting the new Unesco World Heritage Site at the Jatiluwah Rice Terraces, en route to spa bliss in Ubud.
The road from Munduk to Bedugul rides a ridgeline alongside a chain of three lakes, set deep and sparkling in steep, thickly forested mountains. There is still plenty of agriculture going on this high, with hydrangeas and piles of mandarins for sale at the roadside.
Lake Temblingan is the most beautiful, with shores that seemed uninhabited. After a photo stop to enjoy the views (see above) we carried on down past Lake Buyan to Lake Bratan, the ‘Lake of the Holy Mountain’ in the valley near Candi Kunung.
Candi Kunung itself has a good market and a European-style bakery. The horticulture in this region is lively at 1,200 metres above sea level. The crops are diverse, from strawberry fields to flowering plants such as marigolds.
On the edge of Lake Bratan is one of Bali’s most iconic temples – the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan. It’s on the 50,000 Indonesian Rupiah note and was built in 1663. Bedecked with colourful parasols and gold-painted wood carving it is quite lovely, even if the lake level was low so it didn’t quite manage the floating illusion you see in the tourist brochure photos.
The Eka Karya Botanical Gardens are also in Bali’s Bedugul region at Candi Kunung and these are pretty and peaceful but not unmissable. The cactus and orchid collections are impressive and the extensive parkland is a lovely place to while away a hot afternoon.
The scenery around the lakes in central Bali is really stunning but I felt I only scratched the surface with my day trip there. I would have loved to do some walking and explore more of this region.
By Natasha von Geldern
Have you been to the Bedugul region of Bali?