The Jakarta Post
Tirta Gangga water palace in Karangasem regency, Bali. (Shutterstock/File)
A few days in East Bali is never enough as the area offers a wide array of tourist destinations, including Besakih Temple, Amed Beach, Candi Dasa and Goa Lawah Temple. But if you only have limited visiting time, these are the places that you may want to explore.
Tirta Gangga water palace
The name “Tirta Gangga” means “water from the Ganges” and the place was built by King Karangasem in 1948. Tirta Gangga consists of several pools, including two large ones close to the main gate and another one at the back for visitors to bathe.
Before passing through the main gate, visitors can see small restaurants and lines of warung (kiosks) that sell souvenirs and feed for the fish in the pools. Ticket prices start at Rp 40,000 (US$2.83), and jukung (traditional wooden boat) rides are available at Rp 20,000 per person.
The water palace features a unique construction and intricate sculptures. One of the pools has octagonal footholds that fit one person and is a popular photography spot.
Taman Ujung water palace
One of the entrances to Balai Gili at Taman Ujung water palace in Karangasem regency, Bali. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)
Taman Ujung or Taman Sukasada water palace in Karangasem regency is a roughly 11-kilometer drive from Tirta Gangga. According to kompas.com, the water palace was built in 1909 by the last King Karangasem, Ida Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem.
Similar to Tirta Gangga, Taman Ujung consists of several large pools, one of which has Balai Gili, a large building in the middle of the pool made for the king and royal children. Almost all of the rooms within the building, including the king’s bedroom, are closed to the public and only open to those who want to pray and meditate.
Read also: Bali: Five must-visit places in Karangasem
King Karangasem captured alongside the royal family in 1952. The photo can be seen at Balai Gili at Taman Ujung water palace in Karangasem regency, Bali. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)
Visitors can learn about the king’s family and history of Karangasem Kingdom based on black-and-white photos displayed on the walls.
Taman Ujung is a popular photo shoot location as well, especially for weddings. Ticket prices start at Rp 10,000.
Tenganan village can be reached within a 35-minute drive from Taman Ujung water palace. It is one of the places to learn about Bali Aga (indigenous Balinese) and visitors can observe the locals’ culture, arts, tradition and buildings on the site.
One on one: Tengananese boys fight using thorny pandanus leaves during 'mekare-kare'. (JP/Agung Parameswara)
One of their renowned rituals is mekare-kare or perang pandan (pandanus war), where the adults fight using thorny pandan leaves.
Locals also sell various souvenirs, including lontar palm, masks, sculptures and gringsing double-ikat textile. The double-ikat textile usually takes weeks or months to make. (wng)