For such a small island, Bali can be so diverse. From the cliffs of Uluwatu to the rice paddies in Ubud, the jungles and mountains of the north and obviously the famous beaches and volcanos, the abundance and variety of what Bali offers is incredible. And we just discovered another little gem where you can actually put on jeans, maybe even a jumper if you feel like it, and feel once again that you are far away from what the majority of tourists consider to be Bali.
This stunning place is no big secret. Lots of Indonesians visit this lake paradise every week, and it is in the top 2 destinations to visit in Bali for Javanese people. Yet, for most non-Indonesians, it’s not well known at all.
The place I’m talking about is Bedugul. To get there, you need to cross a mountain no matter which direction you come in. But the landscape and the little villages you come across on your way are nothing short of stunning. The tropical mountains that envelop this small town have safeguarded it from massive foreign tourist invasions.
Bedugul is breathtaking. There are 3 lakes. One main one and the twin lakes that are over another mountain. The main lake has the famous water Temple Danau Beratan. This is a Balinese temple, but interestingly enough, inside the grounds there is also a small Buddhist temple.
The small main strip of town reminded us so much of Bolivia and Peru. The hilly roads and coldish weather, the street vendors selling strawberries and lots of different kinds of fruits transported me back to my travels in South America – fortunately without the altitude sickness. It really doesn’t feel like Bali.
The central activity to do in Bedugul is strawberry picking. I wish we could have done it but unfortunately, it wasn’t the right season. Luckily, while trying to look for a farm to pick strawberries, we uncovered the most blissful camping ground. A beautiful huge garden with the cutest free-roaming chickens I have ever seen and the most magnificent view. The grounds sit on the edge of the large lake overlooking mountains behind. Absolutely breathtaking.
But probably my favorite and surprising place was The Botanical Gardens. We knew that Bedugul had botanical gardens, but we weren’t sure where they were. We had a car, so we decided to go and explore without much of a plan. We started to drive, and when we got to the main part of town, we randomly decided to turn left to see where we would end up, but little did we know that the road we were on led us right to botanical gardens. And let me tell you, what a wonderful surprise! Suddenly there was a forest in front of us. And not the kind you normally see in Bali. We felt like we were in a completely different country! It was so refreshing to see different flora and to see an actual forest! We also encountered a bamboo forest and even a cactus greenhouse. The botanical gardens were a beautiful surprise and we will definitely be back.
The botanical gardens also have the Tree Top adventure which is great activity from kids and teenagers. I would suggest from 6+ years on wards.
And of course, Bedugul wouldn’t be Bali if it didn’t have plenty of Instagram-able places to get your photo taken. The entry to Handara Golf & Resort is so popular that people line up to get their photo taken. As well as that, on your way to the twin lakes are stops that have the view of the lakes and the mountains and have different places to pose and get your photos taken.
If all this wasn’t enough, there are many waterfalls around Bedugul. If it’s raining, I probably wouldn’t recommend exploring too far off the beaten track and be aware that many have a lot of steps to go down and up.
Overall, Bedugul has surprised us with the number of activities, and spectacular views and landscapes. A perfect place for a change of scenery and a side of Bali that most people miss out.