Breathtaking Beratan sunrise

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I couldn’t lie, my eyes still yearned for 2 more hours of sleep. But there I was in my car, driven on a 1.5 hour drive from Ubud to Bedugul Highlands.

My driver, Komang, asked me if I’d rather sleep on the way. I told him I had to hang on, I don’t want to feel all the pain of waking up suddenly and having to walk to the lookout upon my arrival. So, he turned on the tape and we just started singing rock songs together as the car drove through the dark.

At 5:15 I arrived at Lake Beratan. One of the four main lakes in Bali, this particular lake is home to the floating temple of Ulun Danu Beratan. This temple is often referred to as the postcard image of Bali and sees hundreds of tourists every day. I wanted to visit the place before everyone else to avoid the crowds.

And there I was, standing by the lake. The sky began to appear bluish, before the first distant orange ray appeared.

Not long after, a family of four joined us as the sun rose and lit up the sky yellow. We spoke briefly to introduce ourselves and then they agreed to take a canoe ride to get closer to the temple.

The golden hour lasted only 15 minutes, after which the sky turned blue. I took a walk to the other side of the viewpoint while listening to the stories of this lakeside temple.

Ulun Danu Beratan is one of nine “Kahyangan Jagat Temple” the most important temple for Balinese Hindus. The water of this lake serves the entire region in runoff zones, forming subak irrigation system. This irrigation system, which forms the many rice terraces we know in Bali, is one of the seven registered UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Indonesia.

Built in 1633, the temple is used for offerings and ceremonies dedicated to the Balinese goddess of water, lake and river Dewi Danu.

After a good hour at the temple complex, I hopped on a speedboat and cruised along the lake. The impressive Mount Catur behind the temples came closer as I started to see the local forests and gardens clearly. The boat stopped at Pondanu bridge, a small family run chalet.

A table was set for me where I enjoyed my lakeside breakfast.

This. Era. Epic.

After I finished eating, I walked along the property’s beautiful wooden bridge, back to my car which was already waiting for me here.

This time I said yes when Komang asked me if I wanted to sleep on the way. However, sleeping was more pleasant after the cool morning breeze and the full stomach of this dawn journey.


Cristiano Leonardo

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