Ultimate Guide to the Bali Twin Lakes
Ultimate Guide to the Bali Twin Lakes
After a first couple of days in Ubud and Canguu, we were ready for a change of pace. We decided on a whim to head north into the mountains to visit the Tamblingan and Buyan Bali Twin Lakes. Within less than two hours, we were transported into a whole new world.
We’ve come to realize that we’re mountain people at heart. So when we started to climb in elevation and the temperatures started to drop, we breathed in a heavy sigh of relief.
We took a taxi from Canguu and the drive up was one of the prettiest landscapes I had ever seen. It was as if we were transported into a postcard world, with never ending rice terraces and beautiful temples dotting the surroundings. This is what I imagined Bali to be.
As we climbed higher, we reached the small village of Wanagiri. Up high on a tiny mountain ridge, this entire area looks down on viewpoint after viewpoint of amazing Bali Twin Lake views. It was amazing.
We stayed at the Bukit Kembar eco-tourism rooms. While our room wasn’t the nicest, the view was spectacular and it was extremely cheap. It included breakfast, which is always such a nice convenience! We walked across the street every morning to take in the pure natural beauty of the area, and didn’t think much about what our room looked like anyways. Plus…they have a dog!
There seemed to be a couple of nicer options in the same area that would be worth checking out as well! The slightly more expensive Made Homestay would be a great mid-range option, with mountain view rooms.
If money was no object, I would definitely stay at Sanuk Retreat Bali or Munduk Moding Plantation and Spa. Everything about both of these hotels is so well done, and they are absolutely stunning. I mean check out the pools on both of them!
A fair word of advice, but this area is very hard to visit during rainy season. We made the mistake of coming here in the height of the rain, and it was definitely like playing a never ending game of dodging the storms. If you plan on coming during the rainy season, I would give yourself more time in the area just in case you get rained out while you’re here for part of your time.
We rented a scooter to get around, and it was a strict price of 60,000 rupiah a day. While we have gotten them for cheaper in other places, it was a brand new motorbike and they were not having any negotiations. This was by far the best way to see the area.
If you’re anticipating getting caught in any rain, it’s so useful to have a full length poncho on hand! We got caught multiple times, and without these handy ponchos, we would have been soaked. You can buy them for cheap at most stores in the area.
If you’re uncomfortable on a motorbike, walking the area is a possibility if you like very long and hilly walks. There are also taxi services, but those will be your most expensive option.
The waterfalls in the Bali Twin Lakes area are amazing. We traveled to Nung Nung Waterfall, and a waterfall that I can’t seem to find the name of, but was near the Banyuman Twin Waterfalls on the map. Both of these were infinitely less crowded than the Tenungen Waterfall near Ubud, and were much prettier.
The rain sort of kept us inside for a couple of days during our stay, but other waterfalls I would have loved to visit were the Sekumpal and Git Git Waterfalls that are both nearby. I guess I’ll have to come back!
As we scootered around, we decided to head to the Tamblingan Nature Center at the base of the smaller of the Bali twin lakes. Not knowing quite what to expect, we were amazed.
We were the only visitors there besides local fisherman. There was a gorgeous temple quite literally in the middle of the lake, with jungle mountains surrounding it. I can’t really describe how peaceful and beautiful it truly was. Even the sounds of motorbikes were far away.
There is also the famous lakeside temple, Ulun Danu Bratan. While this is probably what most tourists come to this area for, we decided to skip it. Tour bus after tour bus were lined up in the entrance, and it just seemed like the free temples we had found were a little more relaxing.
The famous Hadra Golf and Resort Club gate is also in town near the lakes. It seems as if it has gotten rather famous as of late, because there is now a security guard that will shoo you away if you are taking too long to take pictures. We managed to get one of Cazzie riding the scooter through though, and I will say it is pretty cool.
This was an amazing and creepy activity we just happened to stumble upon. Cazzie had heard about this massive hotel that was being built by the former President’s son, and it was abandoned for an unknown reason. We were on our way back from one of the watefalls, and just so happened to drive right by it. Obviously, we had to stop. It was super fun to explore the entire place, and you can read way more about it here, including the ghost stories that locals love to tell.
There is no shortage of cheap and delicious food in the Bali twin lake area. While there might not be many high end or trendy restaurants, there are countless warungs that will serve you up local fare. A warung is a small shop and restaurant combination, and they usually have set or small menus for extremely cheap.
We found some fantastic Warungs in the Wanagiri area, with Warung Makan Nerike being our favorite. The clean shop is run by a French man and he is wonderfully friendly.
The street food scene is also fantastic in both Wanagiri and closer to town. There are two main areas for vendors to set up. One is at the top of Monkey Road, and the other is by the entrance to the lakeside temple. Personal street food favorites are Ayam Sate, Mie Goreng, and Babi Guling. Try them all!
A little side note but don’t be afraid to eat street food! I always hear people say that it might make them sick, but eating street food is a huge reason traveling is so great. Follow what the locals eat, look for long lines, and eat your hearts out! We love street food so much, I wrote an entire post about why you should eat it, here.
It’s cold up here! If you’re planning on visiting for more than just a couple hours, you will need some warm weather clothes, plus a poncho to protect from rain. These mountains generate their own weather patterns, so even in the non-rainy season there will be storms. We both wore long sleeves, long pants, and jackets all day long.
I also personally loved my Chaco’s for exploring the waterfalls, as I didn’t ever have to take my shoes on or off and they have fantastic traction. They’re my first pair, and it has taken me a little while to get used to them and break them in but I now love them for anything water related!
Overall, our time spent in the Bali Twin Lakes area was relaxing and completely chilled out. We played a lot of cards while the rain came down in sheets. During clear patches, we explored and were amazed. I would possibly plan my trip around rainy season if I were to come again, but still loved the beauty of the Bali Twin Lakes area.