Head to the hills and plan a weekend trip to these sacred lakes in Bali - you'll find magical temples, majestic volcanoes and camp sites too!
Known worldwide for its lush landscapes and natural beauty, Bali is where you can escape the bustle of city life and immerse in pristine nature. Yep, this magical island isn’t only famous for its beach clubs and sunset bars – Bali has so much more to offer when it comes to tropical jungle horizons, towering volcanic mountaintops, and of course, breathtaking sacred lakes. And one of the must-visit areas in Bali for exactly that is high up in the hills of north and central Bali, away from the frenetic buzz of the south. It’s where you can soak up the fresh air with chirping birds all around, feast your eyes on hectares of untouched landscapes, and visit one of Bali’s four awe-inspiring sacred lakes.
An adventure to the island’s northern sanctuaries would not be complete without visiting at least one of the four lakes in Bali: lake (AKA danau) Batur, lake Beratan, and the twin lakes Buyan and Tamblingan. Not only are they breathtakingly gorgeous, these lakes are also rich in culture and offer awesome activities the whole family can enjoy, like camping and kayaking. Bring a jacket (it’s cooler in the mountains!) and don’t forget your camera… Bali lake trip, here we come!
4 SACRED LAKES IN BALI
Beautiful cultural attractions for your travel itinerary
1. Lake Batur
If you love hiking, you may have come across Lake Batur on your way to Bali’s active volcano, Mount Batur (famous for its sunrise hike). This lake is in fact a caldera, formed between the feet of Mount Batur and Mount Abang. But if you ask the local villagers, they may tell you that once upon a time the lake was dug up by a giant named Kebo Iwo who lived in the area! With a size of approximately 16 kilometres square, Lake Batur is the largest lake in Bali, surrounded by stunning hills and traditional villages. There are wooden canoes which you can rent to go fishing in the middle of the lake, or campsites for those wanting to spend the night. Lake Batur is located high up over 1,000 metres above sea level, so be sure to cover up or warm up at the nearby Toya Bungkah natural hot springs. If you fancy learning about Balinese culture, a boat trip to Trunyan Village is a must – home to the native Bali Aga tribesmen with a unique tradition of laying out corpses underneath a sacred tree, Taru Menyan, which is believed to mask any ‘unwanted scents’. Fun fact: Lake Batur’s natural beauty and richness in culture has landed it a spot on UNESCO’s list of Global Geoparks.
2. Lake Beratan
Photography buffs, if you’re hunting for Bali’s most beautiful spots, then be sure to put this one on the hit list! This serene caldera with a backdrop of Mount Beratan is considered the holiest lake in Bali due to its main attraction: the famous Hindu temple, Pura Ulun Danu Beratan. This floating temple houses two historical artefacts dating back to 500BC, and is topped off with three multi-level roofs, each symbolising a Hindu God (Visnu, Brahma and Shiva). The lake is also an irrigation source for the surrounding rice paddies and farms (did someone say strawberry-picking?). If you love the water and you’re brave enough to take a dip in the lake, there are water sports like jet-skiing and stand-up paddle boarding herer. For those who want to stay dry, adventure through the hiking trails, browse local goods at the nearby Bukit Mungsu market, or just chill out at the surrounding restaurants and warungs. Lake Beratan is located at high altitude in Bedugul, meaning it’s much cooler up here, with mystical fog at dusk and dawn!
3. Lake Buyan
Lake Buyan and its twin Lake Tamblingan (below) are the less touristy lakes in Bali. These twin lakes are located within the protected Batukaru Nature Reserve, with relatively untouched native flora and fauna. Lake Buyan is surrounded by jungle and plantations, and is often frequented by the resident monkeys. Here you can trek through the trails by day, go fishing in the afternoon, and set up camp for the night – but keep in mind that there are minimal facilities in this area. You can also visit the nearby Pancasari Village and the community pool, Telaga Aya, to mingle with the locals!
4. Lake Tamblingan
Lake Buyan’s smaller twin sister, Lake Tamblingan, is another one of the lakes in Bali which is not as popular amongst tourists – meaning you can have the whole lake to yourself to explore with a wooden canoe. Lakeside, you’ll find spacious areas where you can set up camp if you want to stay late, where you’ll wake up to a breathtaking foggy lake and temple, Pura Ulun Danu Tamblingan. Located in Munduk Village just north of Mount Lesung, this natural beauty is surrounded by lush forests, hectares of farmlands, and coffee and clove plantations where you can shop straight from the source!