The Tirta Gangga Water Palace was one of the places in Bali I was most looking forward to visiting. The pictures of it I had seen whilst researching our trip looked fantastic and really drew me to it. Having now been I can confirm that not one of the pictures I had seen do this beautiful place justice. You really do need to see it for yourself to really understand how stunning it is. We visited the water palace and it’s gardens on a day trip (via Tour Bali) of the east coast of the island from Sanur. Therefore, we had a tour guide who walked with us and explained what we were seeing and gave us a lot of background information and why certain things are particularly important to Balinese people.
We arrived at Tirta Gangga at lunch time. As the Water Palace is quite a busy tourist attraction it is geared up for hungry folks with a handful of restaurants to choose from. We decided to eat at Puri Sawah which was, as many restaurants in Bali are, cheap and cheerful. On the road leading up to the entrance you will also find souvenir stands on either side of the path selling the usual wooden monkeys, tea, fridge magnets etc and cold drinks which, were very welcome in the sweltering heat. Also in the vicinity of Tirta Gangga you will find an abundance of rice terraces which are beautiful and worth a wander to see.
Entrance fee into the Water Palace and gardens is approximately £1, making it an extremely affordable site to visit. It was originally built in the 1940’s by the late King of Karangasem. However, when Mount Agung, a nearby volcano, erupted in 1963 the place was almost entirely destroyed. It was therefore rebuilt. I genuinely thought that the Water Palace was a lot older than it actually is. It looks it, not in a crumbling, seen better days kind of way I must clarify. More in an authentic regal kind of way. If you are looking for somewhere to stay close to the water Palace The Tirta Ayu Hotel is a very reasonably priced 3* hotel on site. For me I don’t think there is enough to do/entertain me in the area. However, if you like peace and quite with beautiful views maybe this place is for you?
The literal translation of Tirta Gangga is ‘water of the Ganges’ and at the water palace you will see a lot of it! Here there are numberous water futures and bridges including spring water pools which you can swim in (for approx £1). Balinese people believe that the waters have healing and youth giving powers. How I wish we had, had our swimming stuff with us. On the day we visited in October it was over 30 degrees and hitting 98% humidity – perfect swimming pool weather! To be honest it was that hot and sweaty(!) I was tempted to jump in fully clothed. Unable to contain our jealousy we didn’t hang around the pools for too long and instead headed for shade under one of the lush green trees in the gardens.
The main attraction here is the 11 tiered lotus fountain however my favourite thing here at the Water Palace was hopping from stone to stone, past a number of carved statues across one of the ponds. Although one wrong step and I would have been joining the fishes swimming below 🙂 We spent around 1 hour here just walking around and taking pictures. Perhaps if the weather had not been so extreme we would have spent longer. And if we had been able to go swimming I think I would still be there now. I loved this place. A great place just to wander around in peace to admire and appreciate your surroundings.