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Tirta Gangga

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The Water Palace

Tirta Gangga is a village in East Bali.

Understand[edit]

Tirta Gangga literally means water from the Ganges and it is a site of some reverance for the Hindu Balinese. Strictly, the name refers to the water palace built here from the late 1940's to the 1950's by Gusti Gede Djelantik, heir to the former Kingdom of Karangasem. It is widely used, though, to refer to the general area which includes the water palace and some particularly stunning rural areas around.

Get in[edit]

Tirta Gangga is a popular side trip from the nearby coastal resort towns of Amed and Candidasa. It is in fact right beside the main road between these two locations. The Water Palace is the main draw card where the gardens, the huge koi fish and the spring fed swimming pools are worth the stop. There are also about a dozen eateries located around the entry to the Water Palace. The quality is superb and the prices are cheaper than in the Tourist Traps. The hiking around Tirta Gangga is excellent. You can just take a short stroll on your own along any well beaten track into the rice paddies or, for the more serious hikers, a full-on climb of nearby Gunung Agung. Organised tours are widely offered.

Public buses run from nearby Karangasem town and Perama [1] buses can be chartered from Candidasa.

If you are driving yourself, Tirta Gangga is on the main east coast road just north of the town of Karangasem (Amlapura) and is fairly well signposted.

Get around[edit]

This is a great area of Bali in which to walk with many small roads and paths to explore.

See[edit][add listing]

The primary draw in this area for visitors is the Tirta Gangga water palace, a lovely maze of pools and fountains surround by a lush garden and stone carvings and statues. The one hectare complex was built from 1948 onwards by the late heir to the Kingdom of Karangsem but was destroyed almost entirely by the eruption of nearby Mount Agung in 1963. It has been lovingly re-built and restored and has an air of authentic royal magnificence. The centrepiece of the palace is an eleven tiered fountain, and there are many beautiful carvings and statues adorning the gardens. This is a great spot to unwind and it has a real atmosphere of old Bali. You can bathe in the pools for a small charge which is additional to the Rp 20,000 (foreigners) entrance fee.

Rice paddies north of Tirta Gangga

The area around Tirta Gangga holds some stunning rice paddy terraces. Those postcard pictures of Bali rice terraces which you have all seen are usually from photographs taken here.

Lempuyang Temple (Pura Lempuyang Luhur) is about 10 km east of Tirtagangga on the slopes of Mount Lempuyang. This is one of the key nine directional temples on the island. Park in the car park and walk up the steps to the temple. The lower temple is always open but the upper temple (at the top of the dragon staircases) is often locked, so it is best to go with a Balinese driver who will usually be able to arrange for the temple priest to open it up for you. It's situated high up a mountain and there are magnificent sunset views at dusk.

Taman Ujung to the southeast of Karangasem (Amlapura) is another water palace built by the predecessor of the King who constructed Tirta Gangga. It must be said that it is rather inferior, but still a charming attraction and worth a visit. Taman Ujung was built in 1909 as a relaxation and recreation palace by the then King of Karangasem, I Gusti Bagus Jelantik. It was largely destroyed by the eruption of Mount Agung in 1963, damaged again by an earthquake in 1979, and has not been restored on the same scale as Tirta Gangga. You do get a sense of how lovely it must have been though. From Tirta Gangga, head back south to Karangasem and then take the minor road south east to the village of Ujung. Taman Ujung is another 2 km past the village, very close to the coast. If you are staying in Tirta Gangga or Candidasa, you will certainly be offered tours which include Taman Ujung.

Do[edit][add listing]

Pura Lempuyang Luhur, nr Tirta Gangga
  • This is a great trekking area with some of the best walks in Bali to suit all levels of fitness. Guides can be arranged easily at the water palace or from your hotel.

An easy and free, stroll for those not used to full-on hiking is one from outside the wall of the Water Palace on the low side. Walk about 300mt along the wall from the road and you come to a large concrete lined water channel off to the left. You can comfortably walk along the top of the channel for about 3km through the rice paddies. This is a great way to take in the stunning view of the volcano and also see village life.

  • Bathe in the pools at Tirta Gangga. Foreigners pay a small entry fee but the unique pool and cool water are worth the cost.
  • Take photos. Almost every twist and turn you make in this area presents yet another photo opportunity. The terraced rice paddies and other landscapes are especially attractive but do not neglect the water palace itself.

Buy[edit][add listing]

There are a few souvenir shops and stalls at the entrance of the water palace but you will not be hassled. If you are using an Indonesian sim card in your phone, recharges are available at the small post office. A shiny new grocery store is located about 50 mt south of the entrance road to the Water Palace. There is no ATM in the area.

Eat[edit][add listing]

There is a surprisingly good choice of eateries in Tirtagangga. They are located around the entry to the Water Palace and prices are lower than in most other tourist areas. A dozen or so eateries are open throughout the day with fewer at night. They range from the traditional Indonesian warung to the exclusive up market restaurant located within the Palace grounds.

"Rijasa Warung" offers traditional family cooking at village prices. The breakfasts are particularly good.

Good Karma is a great value, long-established restaurant above the main car park of the water palace.

Tirta Ayu inside the water palace is a good quality restaurant with a superb aspect looking out over the pools and gardens.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

There are several budget accommodation options alongside the main road both south and north of Tirta Gangga. Look for the signs.

  • Cabe Bali, Temega village (about 1.5 km south of the water palace), +62 363 22045, [2]. Delightful bungalows in a very rural Balinese setting. Great gardens and a public swimming pool. German owned and managed. From Rp 700,000.  edit
  • Dhangin Taman Inn, (right by the entrance to the water palace), +62 363 22059. Basic rooms aimed at the budget traveller. From Rp 90,000.  edit
  • Kusama Jaya Inn, +62 363 21250. Budget acommodation just to the north of the water palace. From Rp 90,000.  edit
  • Padobamimpi, Ababi, +62 813 38739950 (). This house has a spacious living room with a double bed (a spare bed can be made available on request). The bathroom and kitchen both have hot running water and there is a terrace with panoramic views. It is on a hill at the edge of the jungle and overlooks rice terraces leading to Mount Lempuyang (1,056m). 25 EUR.  edit
  • The Villas at Tirtagangga, Tirtagangga, +62 363 21383, [3]. Three different private villas adjoining the Water Palace. The largest of them, Villa Tirta Ayu, incorporates the former King of Karangasem's personal chambers! From US$ 120 to US$ 400.  edit
  • Tirta Ayu Hotel & Restaurant, Tirtagangga, +62 363 22503, [4]. The only hotel located inside the famous Water Palace at Tirtagangga. The hotels award winning restaurant is elevated to take in the vista of the beautiful gardens with the crystal clear ocean in the distance. Prices from RP 800,000.  edit
  • Rijasa Homestay, Main Road (opposite Water Palace). For the price, you can do much worse. The rooms are huge, spotlessly clean and have verandahs overlooking the garden. The bathrooms have a western toilet and paper. The only down side is the traffic noise but this disappears at night. 100,000 rp.  edit
  • Day Homestay, (Behind the Palace, 400mt along a track leading up the hill. Access from the right side of the palace car park.), (). This is the best place to really get away from it all. Well away from traffic noise, Day Homestay is a newish two storey family home all on its own in the rice paddies. All you hear is the rush of water and birds. The owner, Iketut Merta speaks good English and is a wonderful host. 200,000 rp.  edit
  • Puri Sawah Bungalows and Restaurant, Tirta Gangga, +62 0363 21847. Nice quiet location next to rice paddies and a few minutes walk to the water palace. Features four bungalows for rent, including a large one with a loft for kids. Great restaurant with tasty banana pancakes and excellent veggies curry (they put pears!) English-speaking owners can arrange rides anywhere you like. 200,000-300,000 IDR.  edit


Get out[edit]

The popular coastal resort towns of Candidasa and Amed are easily reached in about 20 minutes from here.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!



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