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Bedugul - Beratan Lake

Bedugul is the name of both a small city and a mountain-lake resort area, which Balinese have long used for weekend retreats.

When the heat and humidity finally gets to you, the place to escape to is Bedugul, Bali's highland retreat, tucked into the crater of an extinct volcano, 1400 meters above sea level. Here, three lakes provide everything from recreation to the water for the springs, rivers and rice fields below. Lush pine forest seems to create freshness in the air. Bedugul is known for the quality of its fruit, vegetables and flowers.

The mountain resort of Bedugul, 18 Km north of Denpasar, is known for excellent golf course. Located besides Lake Bratan, it is surrounded forested hills. A beautiful sight is the “Ulun Danu” temple which sems to out of the lake. The area offers good walks. Boats are available for was skiing and parasailing. Is done as well. The Bali Handara Country Club bungalows for rent and a restaurant.

With its comfortable accommodations, wonderful fresh fruit and vegetables, lakeside views, blankets of fog, beautiful mystical quality, and an average temperature of 18-24° Centigrade, Bedugul has been a popular weekend retreat since Dutch times. It's a welcome change from Bali's tropical humidity.

Serene Lake Bratan fills the ancient crater of long-inactive volcano Gunung Catur, which towers over the lake. Over 1,200 meters above sea level, Bedugul is nearly as cool as the Gunung Batur region only 20 impassable kilometers directly to the east. The cool ride up to this valley through terraced mountain vegetable gardens of cabbage, onion, and papaya is even more scenic than the ride to Penelokan.

Across the lake are three 25-meter-deep caves (Goa Jepang) dug out by Indonesian slave laborers for the Japanese during the war. It is said that after the caves were constructed the workers were all shot. The caves are accessible from the rim trail to Gunung Catur. You can walk there from Taman Rekreasi in about 45 minutes.

Don't pass up the beautiful hikes along the exquisitely cultivated lakeshore and through the steep, jungle-covered rolling hills and pine forests surrounding the lake. Bedugul and the mountains around it start to cloud over in the afternoon. Overcast skies or rain cause the area to become severely cold (down to 11° C at night), so bring a sweater.

It's really crowded here on holidays and weekends and during the vacation season, 20 December to 5 January. At other times, the lake is a quiet refuge nearly devoid of tourists both domestic and foreign. Along the pier in front of Hotel Bedugul are moored boats of every size and description. Powerboats stand ready to pull water-skiers and parasailors around the lake, or you may hire a small 'perahu' and paddle around the placid waters under shady trees, and glide through reflections of steep mountain slopes and fleecy clouds. Lake swimming is chilly, but early in the day when the sun's out the waterskiing on the lake's glassy surface is enough to attract international competitions.

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Getting There and Away

A good road runs from Singaraja's western bus station to Bedugul, using 'bemo' or minibus. If heading north to Singaraja, take a 'bemo' from Denpasar's Ubung Station to Bedugul-a faster route to the north coast than via Kintamani.

Bands of dark, heavy-coated monkeys are often seen along this road. If coming into Bedugul from the south, the first right turn is to Taman Rekreasi.

If you go straight ahead the road passes through the villages of Candikuning and Pancasari on the west shore of Lake Bratan before climbing through the pass of the water at Puncak to begin its steep winding drop to the northern plains.

By 'bemo' to Mengwi, Singaraja or Denpasar. If you're heading back to Denpasar, start early in the afternoon because 'bemo' tend to fill up fast above Bedugul; by the time they reach you there's no more seating room. At the Denpasar 40 km sign below Baturiti, a dirt road via Apuan and Jatiluwih emerges at Wangaya Gede, but it's so full of boulders it'll shake the guts out of anyone on a motorcycle.

In Jatiluwih, for a sweeping 360-degree panorama over rice fields. At an altitude of 850 meters, the air is cool and fresh. A Rangda temple and parking lot are beside the viewpoint. A two km walk into the woods will bring you to unique Pura Petali, as old as the village of Jatiluwih itself. The houses in this traditional village are still built with thatched roofs, and the farmers still work 'padi bali', traditionally grown rice which reaches 120 cm in height.

Three km beyond, in the southern end of the village, are more unobstructed rice fields and-if the sky is clear-a view of the curved southern tip of Bali. At Wangaya Gede, head north for Gunung Batukaru. South takes you down to the cultivated plains.

Another nice experience is to walk the 25-km-long track from Bedugul to Kintamani. You're also within striking distance of the mountain area or Munduk. Just head north by road to Gitgit, then turn east. Stop in at pristine Danau Tamblingan en route.