Lake Bratan

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Home Page > Travelogues > Indonesia > Bali > Lake Bratan


Lake Bratan -- Volcanic Lake


Bali is a volcanic island dominated in the north by several high peaks.  Other travelogues here mention the dominant Mount Agung overlooking Besakih.  Several peaks of altitude over 1800 meters line west from Agung, from Batur to Catur to Lake BratanPohen in the north-northwest.  These peaks are all inactive volcanoes, whose past fury provide the hardened stone used now in the many Hindu temples on the island.

Several of these volcanic peaks now harbor large lakes.  Mount Batur, for example, is home to the large of these lakes, Lake Batur, which feeds more than twenty of Bali's rivers and provides the lion's share of fresh water to the people.  The lake covered in this travelogue, Lake Bratan, is one of a series of the three lakes around Mounts Pohen and Lesong.

Lake Bratan is the most popular lake destination in Bali because among the volcanic lakes it is the most accessible -- by a steep, windy, treacherous drive, but still accessible.  The lake is surrounded by marinas and small towns loaded with restaurants, shops, and galleries.  Private boats to rent are plentiful as well.

The first photo shows the view from the east side, pointed towards the south.  I was standing on a dirt path that encircled the lake along a ridge.  The villas below me were one of the aforementioned towns that clearly catered to tourists.  The souvenir shop, for example, was a massive warehouse-sized place -- too bad most of the goods were what I considered to be lower quality.

Pura Dulu Ulum BatanThe main attraction at Lake Bratan was the scene in the second photo, caught in the middle of a rainstorm.  The Pura Dulu Ulum Batan is the lake's primary temple and most picturesque scene.  Pictures of it are available on most of the postcards printed of Lake Bratan (though normally with a blue sky as a backdrop.  Not surprisingly, the temple has an accompanying tourist village, with a huge restaurant where I took refuge as the rainstorm went full force.

I did find spots that were not overly touristic.  In the first photo, there is a white building in the center that is the town mosque for one of the villages.  I found it to be quite a normal, friendly village that was more charming than, say, the village with the warehouse store in it. 

The scenery surrounding the lake and on the drive up is great, but if you come to Bali during the rainy season, be advised that most of the rains will originate high in the volcanic lakes, meaning that you must get to Lake Bratan very early in the morning if you are to enjoy it much, because believe me, when it rains there, IT POURS!!!

Trip taken 22 January 2002 -- Page last updated 28 October 2006

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