The Bedugul Highlands in North Bali are among the least explored parts of the island, and one of the key attractions in the Bedugul region is the Ulun Danu Beratan Temple.
This temple stands on beautiful grounds and is surrounded by an area of outstanding natural beauty, too.
We love how it speaks to us of the island’s mysterious and exciting heritage and the spiritual nature of Balinese life.
It’s often called just “Ulun Danu” by locals, and it’s one of the most significant places to worship in Bali.
It’s a shrine to Dewi Danu. That’s the Balinese Goddess of Water, and she is said to protect Lake Beratan/Lake Bratan (the two are interchangeable) and the farmlands around it.
Given how important agriculture has been in the development of Bali, Dewi Danu is one of the most important Gods and Goddesses worshipped here.
You might think of Ulun Danu Beratan Temple as the farmer’s temple or the harvest festival temple, given its importance in local hearts for a great harvest.
Where Is The Ulun Danu Beratan Temple?
The Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is in the Bedugul Region. That’s in the North Bali, and it’s quite a long distance from other more touristed parts of the island.
It is on the shores of Lake Beratan, or Lake Bratan, as it’s often called.
The temple’s address is Danau Beratan, Candikuning, Kec. Baturiti, Kabupaten Tabanan, Bali 82191, Indonesia
Please Note: This temple can also be known as Ulun Danu Temple, Bratan Temple, the Water Temple, Bedugul Temple, Pura Ulun Danu Beratan, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, Lingga Petak Temple, the prominent Lingga Petak Shrine, and Ulan Danu Bratan Temple, and these terms are all entirely interchangeable.
To help you get used to this, we’ve included all these terms throughout the article.
How To Get To The Ulun Danu Beratan Temple
Given the travel distances required to see the temple, we’d recommend that you set off the day before and stay in Bedugul or Munduk overnight before you visit Ulun Danu Beratan temple in the morning.
You will need to either join a tour party to this part of the island, hire a private driver and car, take a taxi, or drive a scooter.
We would note that we do not recommend using a scooter for this drive. Balinese roads are never great, but in this remote location, they’re very bad indeed.
You’re much better off allowing a local driver to get you there in one piece, even if it does cost a bit more.
Approximate travel times are:
2-2.5 hours from Ngurah Rai International (Denpasar) Airport
1.5 -2 hours from Ubud/Central Bali
1.5 -3 hours from Kuta, Legian, Ubud and Canggu (this depends heavily on traffic – the worse the traffic, the longer the journey)
For this trip, we’d recommend booking a guided tour (see how in the FAQ section) because a local guide is going to add a ton of value to your experience at this temple.
They can also help you see how the local community benefits from tourism in Bali and explain religious ceremonies, the sacred buildings, the Balinese calendar, and more.
How Much Is The Entrance Fee To Ulun Danu Beratan Temple?
Entrance fees are, of course, subject to a price rise at any time. However, as we go to press, the entrance fees for Ulun Danu Bratan Temple are as follows:
Adults pay 75,000 IDR per person
Children per 50,000 IDR per person
If you want to park at the temple, you should be aware that there are parking fees at Ulun Danu Beratan Tempe, too, and they are currently:
3,000 IDR for a motorbike or scooter
5,000 IDR for a car
Given that there are currently 15,000 IDR for a single US dollar, these parking fees are very reasonable.
When Is The Best Time To Go To Ulun Danu Beratan Temple?
If there’s one thing you’re going to learn quickly in Bali, it’s that you get up early to beat the crowds.
There’s a real incentive to do this at Ulun Danu Beratan Temple because the sunrise is spectacular here and will really add a ton of value to any photographs that you take here.
Mornings are also a bit cooler, thanks to the breeze coming off the lakes.
Oddly, the best time of year to visit this temple is the wet season! This is because the water level in Lake Beratan rises, and this water temple appears to be floating on the surface of the lake at a distance!
That makes for some very cool photographs, indeed, and it’s always nice to have a cool atmosphere rather than to sweat as you wander around temples.
What Are The Opening Hours Of Ulun Danu Beratan Temple?
The opening hours of Ulun Danu Beratan Temple are officially 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. but don’t worry if you get there early. The best time to take photos is as the sun rises, and you won’t want to be inside the temple for that time.
You’ll want to be back by the lake so you can get a shot of this amazing place and its reflection in the water.
The temple is actually open 24 hours a day for Balinese Hindus who have come to worship and take part in the ceremonies and festivals at this site.
That often means that some of the visitor facilities remain open for longer hours than the official temple opening hours.
You can often get a coffee or rent a boat to go out on Bratan Lake before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m.
What To Take To Ulun Danu Beratan Temple?
You don’t need to pack a lot to visit this temple, but it’s a good idea to take the following:
A lightweight jacket or hoodie – it can be surprisingly cool in Bedegul, and it’s positively nippy compared to the rest of Bali, having the facility to wrap up warm in the early mornings and late afternoons is a real blessing.
A camera – it’s not essential, and we don’t recommend allowing the lens to distract from the experience of your visit to Bratan Temple, but it is one of the most photographed temples in Bali for a good reason. Bratan Temple will look awesome in your Instagram feed, guaranteed.
Food and drink – there are food stalls near the Bratan Temple, but if there’s anything you particularly want to eat, then bring it, and it never hurts to have some drinks on you in Bali in case you can’t get them for any reason when you arrive.
The Ulun Danu Beratan Temple Dress And Etiquette Code
While this may be one of the favourite sightseeing spots for tourists, thanks to the reflections of this striking temple on the smooth reflective surface of Lake Beratan, it’s one of the holiest places in the country for the locals.
This Hindu temple demands your respect, and so do the local people who use it. Please ensure that you dress properly while at Bratan Temple and this means:
Ladies and gentlemen should both ensure that they are dressed modestly. This means you ought to cover both your shoulders and your knees. The locals do this by means of a shawl and a sarong. You can buy these at the temple or elsewhere if you don’t bring suitable clothing with you.
Ladies should not enter any sacred buildings while menstruating. This is because this time of the month is considered unclean, and you would be committing sacrilege by doing so.
No public displays of affection. You wouldn’t go to a church and cathedral and get hot and heavy, it’s best not to do it in temples or mosques either.
What Should You Expect At Ulun Danu Beratan Temple?
Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is one of the most strikingly beautiful places in all of Bali.
You can sense its cultural and spiritual significance, and you may even get goosebumps as you appreciate it for the first time.
It stands on the shores of Lake Beratan or Lake Bratan (Beratan and Bratan are entirely interchangeable with respect to both the lake and the temple) with a gentle backdrop of mountains.
The temple itself is something of an architectural wonder, and you can’t help but wonder what lies inside when you set eyes on it.
Inside The Temple
As you head into the complex, you will find endless amounts of local symbolism and cultural heritage to enjoy.
There are shrines and meru towers (these are wooden pagoda-like structures that are the main shrines of a Balinese temple, it is called a pelinggih meru in Balinese).
Every shrine and meru tower has a specific purpose, and if you have a local guide with you, they can help you to understand the importance and relevance of these items.
The Main Shrine
The primary shrine sits on an island in the lake, and you can almost feel the spiritual aura of the place as you look upon it.
You can’t go to this shrine as a non-Hindu individual, but you can rent a small boat and venture out onto the lake to get a closer look at it.
If you’re a photographer who has photographed temples in the past, you may be surprised at just how many amazing photographic opportunities there are at this temple.
The reflection of the temple in Lake Beratan is worth pursuing from a few different vantage points before you even get started inside.
Other Features Of Bratan Temple
Then, there are the immaculate curated gardens with gorgeous and colourful local flora that a macro photographer might fall in love with.
The traditional Balinese gates are also a big hit with Instagrammers as they provide the perfect backdrop for a social media story.
And if you arrive on a day when a religious festival or ceremony takes place, then you can gain an even deeper insight into the spiritual bond between the Balinese people and this temple.
They will be making offerings in order to seek the blessings of the goddess for their farms and future prosperity.
Given that this is a popular tourist destination, there are plenty of facilities at Bratan Temple.
These include restrooms and cafes that serve local snacks and cold refreshments.
However, it’s worth noting that Bratan Temple gets very busy, indeed, and you may find that, like the temple itself, these facilities are crowded and not as pleasant as they might be.
You will get more out of a visit to Bratan Temple if you visit in the early morning and, ideally, on a weekday.
About The Temple Complex – Its History
This temple was built in 1633 and was dedicated to Dewi Danu from the outset.
Lake Beratan is one of the main sources of irrigation water for the fields of Bali, and thus, Bratan temple was one of the most important places on the island.
The central pelinggih meru, which is 11 storeys tall and stands on a small island in the lake, is to worship tri purusha shiva.
That is, it’s for the worship of the God Shiva (the most senior member of the Hindu trinity) and his consort, Parvathi.
Sometimes, it’s known as the Bali Temple on the Lake, as it can appear like it’s floating on the waters of Lake Bratan when the waters rise.
You will find the temple facing South, and it is laid out as specified in the ancient texts of Bali.
That is, it has three courtyards, and they are separated from each other by low walls. There are ornate gateways in each wall to allow movement between these courtyards.
The outer courtyard is used almost entirely for secular things, and you can find meetings and people relaxing (including local musicians and performers) on festival days.
Sometimes, the outer courtyard will have food stalls set up to help feed large volumes of visitors, too.
The next courtyard is where the human and the divine meet, and the priests will prepare temple offerings here and store the instruments used in temple rituals in this part of the courtyard.
Then, the inner courtyard is the most sacred space with merus and other sacred shrines.
Each shrine has a different number of roofs (to symbolize the god that the shrine is dedicated to), and the number is always odd and never even.
The Legend Of Ulun Danu Beratan Temple in Bali
In the highlands of Bedugul, it’s said that there was once a good and devoted king of the Mengwi Kingdom called I Gusti Agung Putu.
I Gusti Agung Putu was blessed by Dewi Danu, and thanks to this, his lands were fertile, the harvests were rich, and everyone thrived.
The legend of Bratan Temple says that there was a time when his kingdom was facing a harsh drought. The fields began to wither, and the king was worried that his people would starve.
So, he sought advice from the gods. He meditated and fasted and waited for a revelation.
After days of this, the goddess came to him in a dream. Dewi Danu, the lake goddess, said that she was the source of the waters of the region and that if the king wished to continue with her blessings, he would need to build a temple to the lake goddess at Lake Beratan.
The king was so relieved to learn that he could save his people that he immediately took this message to his people.
The folk of the Mengwi Kingdom responded to his call and gathered on the shores of Beratan Lake to build the Bratan Temple.
It would have taken several years for the Bratan Temple to be completed, and it is seen as a testament to the love between the king and the people.
It is said that as soon as Dewi Danu saw the Bratan Temple, she was overcome with love for these people and sent the rains immediately.
Thus, the people knew that they had done well and that the goddess would protect them and the kingdom and ensure that they would always have holy water to bless the land.
The Buddhist Stupa At Ulun Danu Beratan Temple in Bali
There is an unusual feature at the Bratan Temple, and that’s a Buddhist Stupa.
A stupa is said to signify religious harmony and contains a relic of the Buddha.
It’s not often that you find a place of Buddhist worship so close to the site of Hindu worship in Bali. It’s another reason that the Lingga Petak Temple is so unique.
You can find it slightly outside of the main part of Bratan Temple, and it’s definitely worth a quick visit if you’re in the area.
Where To Stay Near Ulun Danu Beratan Temple?
This is a quiet corner of the island, and there are fewer places to stay than in Canggu or Seminyak.
However, you could enjoy any of these options that are not too far from the temple:
Handara Golf & Resort Bali – this luxurious golf course and hotel is not a cheap option, but you can have a suite or private villa and, of course, play golf on their course. It’s home to the iconic Handara Gate, too.
Bedugul Lake View Residence – this residence has some amazing views over Lake Beratan, and the rooms are comfortable and modern.
The Lavana Villa Kubu D’Bedugul – this is a nice 2-bedroom private villa that has a fully-equipped kitchen and all the amenities you need for a home away from home.
Strawberry Hill Hotel – if you need a budget-friendly option, there’s this lovely hotel in the strawberry fields of Bedugul!
Where To Eat Near Ulun Danu Beratan Temple?
There is no shortage of nearby warungs and restaurants to enjoy while you visit the temple, and we can recommend:
Lakeview Restaurant – yes, it has the best views of Beratan Lake, and it has some excellent food, too. There’s a mix of Indonesian classics and International favourites.
Baturiti Resto – this very family-friendly place is all about local cuisine, and if you want some authentic Bedegul food, it should be near the top of your list of places to eat.
Bedugul Food Market Stalls – you can’t beat these little stalls for value, and the food is excellent. The satay is particularly good with a very flavourful peanut sauce.
Warung Rekreasi Bedugul – if you want to sit in a lush tropical garden while you dine, this is the place to go. The food is local and very good. We love a small restaurant like this one.
Warung Di Ulun Carik – if you want to try a Balinese stuffed chicken (that’s ayam betutu), this is the place to do it. It’s awesome.
What Other Attractions Are Near Ulun Danu Beratan Temple?
If you’ve come all the way up North, we recommend that you get some more value out of your visit and try some (or all) of the following too:
Beratan Lake – it’s right there, next to the temple. Rent a traditional paddle boat and take some awesome shots out on the water.
Bali Handara Gate – it might be part of a golf course, but this gate is one of the most desirable Instagram shot locations in Bali
Munduk Waterfall – take a stroll through the rainforest and coffee plantations to see this awesome waterfall
Gitgit Waterfall – this is one of the most famous falls in Bali, and the walk here is lovely. You can’t fail to be impressed by the scale of this waterfall when you arrive
Buyan & Tamblingan Twin Lakes – these are a short drive away and offer spectacular natural beauty
Bedugul Botanical Gardens – this is a lovely way to learn about Balinese flora in a charming setting
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces – it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and the most photogenic set of rice terraces on the island
Tips For Making The Most Out Of A Visit To Ulun Danu Bratan Temple
We have a few tips that will really enhance your trip to this area of natural beauty and the temple itself:
Make sure to follow the dress code – causing a scandal won’t be fun, and recent developments in Bali mean it might even get you deported
Keep an eye on the weather – this part of Bali is often cooler and wetter than the beach areas you’re probably used to
Get there early – the crowds in Bali always turn up later in the day, so to beat them just means getting out of bed earlier than they do
Respect local customs – if in doubt, ask a temple official and follow any instructions given to you by temple staff
Visit other places nearby – you will get more out of your time here if you include more places to see in your visit
Try the Bedugul food – there are local differences to Balinese food, and where else can you get authentic Bedegul food?
Stay in the area – it’s much easier to get up early and enjoy your time at the temple if you’re sleeping nearby
Keep an eye on your possessions – sure, it’s a temple, and that means you’re going to be physically safe, but occasionally, somebody can’t resist an opportunity to enrich themselves, either
Respect the environment – don’t litter, do follow paths, be responsible, and you’ll have a great time
A Photographer’s Brief Guide To Ulun Danu Beratan Temple
Ulun Danu Bratan Temple is a photographer’s dream, and you can get some amazing shots at any time of day at this iconic temple. However, if you want the best shots in Bratan Temple, here are some tips for you.
Firstly, time your visit for either sunrise or sunset. Sunrise is amazing as the sun breaks over the mountains and sets the holy water of Lake Beratan sparkling and shimmering and bringing out the colours in the temple buildings.
Sunset is also a magical time at Bratan Temple, and, in fact, the skies can be incredible at this time of day. However, the increased volume of tourists at this time of day can often make it hard to use a tripod or get an obstructed shot of the temple on Beratan Lake.
You might consider bringing ND filters and a Circular Polarizer to get the best shots at either time of day, as this will allow you to carry out long exposures and accentuate the colours in the lake and sky.
This technique can also give the water of Beratan Lake a glossy, calm look even when there are ripples and other disturbances in the water. It can also enhance the intensity of reflections on the surface of the holy water.
We’d say that you should definitely bring a tripod. This will give you much greater control over the shots you can take and allow you to shoot when the light is not strong enough to handhold.
You should also be aware that it’s considered extremely rude to use flash anywhere within the temple grounds, and it’s absolutely forbidden in the sanctuaries and buildings themselves.
It’s important to know that you can’t move anything on the temple grounds apart from litter and other people in your party.
We know it’s very tempting to try and shift a statue or something impeding the perfect shot, but it’s just not done. You may get the shot you want, but only by upsetting somebody local, and you don’t want to do that, do you?
What Is Ulun Danu Beratan Temple Known For?
It’s known for its spectacular location and beauty. It’s also well known amongst the local people as a source of a plentiful harvest as long as the water goddess is kept happy.
Is It Worth Visiting Ulun Danu Temple?
Yes! It’s one of the best cultural sites on the island, and it’s worth the trip up to the North of the island all by itself.
However, we recommend you visit some of the other amazing sites that we’ve listed above to have an even better time.
What Is The Dress Code For Ulun Danu Temple?
Dress respectfully. That means cover your shoulders and knees. Sarongs and shawls are the preferred local method of doing this.
Which God Is In Ulun Danu Beratan Temple?
Gods don’t live in temples (probably because it would be logistically difficult for a Hindu God to live in dozens or hundreds of different temples all of the time).
Temples are dedicated to gods, and this temple is dedicated to Dewi Danu, the Goddess of the Water.
What Is The Significance Of The Ulun Danu Temple Complex?
It’s the temple of rainfall and ripe harvest for the people of Bali. It plays a rich part in the local Hindu culture and agricultural environment.
How Do You Book A Trip To The Ulun Danu Beratan Temple Complex?
As with all places in Bali, if you want to see it – you should contact the wonderful folks at Bali Res Centre.
This locally managed and owned travel agent can help you find the perfect transport and the right place to stay and ensure that you get a very competitive rate, too.
Final Thoughts On Ulun Danu Temple Complex
The Ulun Danu Bratan Temple is one of the most beautiful temple buildings in Bali. It’s in an area of spectacular natural beauty, and the lake surrounding it, Lake Bratan, is gorgeous too.
If you want to get into the Bali uplands and away from the beaches and sea-level resorts, you will find this frequently photographed site is very much worth a visit.
Come at the right time of the year, and the unique floating impression of the temple on the lake will stay with you for a lifetime.