During their one and a half years in Bali, Rogier Eijkens and his family have gone to Bedugul six times for a holiday. For Eijkens, a Dutch citizen residing in Padanggalak Sanur, holidaying in Bedugul is much better than going to Kuta, Sanur, Nusa Dua and the like.
"If we come here for a holiday, my kids can learn about nature," said Eijkens, who has two children with his Indonesian wife. In Bedugul, he went on, visitors can learn about plants, for example, the species, where the plants come from and what they are useful for.
"More importantly, my children will realized that nature must be protected," said Eijkens, who is the head of an international NGO in Bali.
For many tourists, Bali is noted for three things: sun, sea and sand. Tourists coming to Bali usually visit Kuta, Nusa Dua, Tanah Lot and other coastal areas. However, Bali also has a number of cool places that are good to visit during the wet season. For many domestic holidaymakers, Bedugul is one of their favorite places.
Bedugul is located in the border area between Tabanan and Bulelang regencies, about 90 km from Denpasar in the direction of Singaraja. It takes 1.5 to two hours by car to reach.
Located 1,250 meters above sea level, Bedugul is one of the cool places in Bali, apart from Kintamani, Bangli. Bedugul has more to offer as it has three lakes: Beratan, Buyan and Tamblingan. These three lakes are water sources for Bali. As the weather is cool, the place is suitable for plants and there are tropical forests in the area. Bedugul has the only botanical garden on Bali, namely Bali Botanical Garden. Therefore, holidaying in Bedugul is not just fun but also an opportunity to learn more about nature.
"I like this place because it is cool, beautiful, vast and also because it has a lot of plant varieties," Eijkens said. According to Eijkens, who once lived in Bogor, West Java, Bali Botanical Garden can compete with Bogor Botanical Garden in West Java, which is the largest botanical garden in Indonesia.
"Unfortunately, Bedugul lacks promotion," said Eijkens. In fact, Bedugul has a lot of superior qualities. Its location, for example, is not too far from Denpasar. As a tourist resort, Bedugul is affordable. Entry to the botanical garden is just Rp 10,000 per person.
Bali Botanical Garden is a protected area and a tourist destination as well as a conservation and research center.
When it rains, a visitor can drive around this 154-hectare botanical garden, although the best way to explore the garden is on foot.
During the holiday season or on weekends, families from Denpasar come here to sit under the leafy trees. Children play soccer while their parents chat under the casuarina trees. These trees are often host to other plants such as ferns, orchids or a collection of betel vines, jasmine, coral trees and turmeric.
Plants and the landscape are the main attractions of Bali Botanical Garden. There are thousands of species here. The garden has six tracks for visitors to explore, namely the Yellow Track, the Orange Track, the Violet Track, the Red Track, the Blue Track and the Bird Track. Cars can pass these tracks but not motorcycles or buses. The tracks are interconnected and direction boards can be found along the tracks so visitors can find their way around.
The most popular track of the six is the Violet Track, along which visitors can view wild orchids and cactuses. There are about 4,000 species of orchids such as scorpion orchids (Arachnis flos-aeris), which are bright brown flowers interspersed with pink, soil orchids (Spathologlottis plicata) and orchids from North and South America.
"The various orchids here is one aspect of the botanical garden that I like the most," Eijkens said.
Besides the flora in the Bali Botanical Garden, there is also a hotel. The cheapest room is Rp 100,000 per night. There is also a compound that groups of visitors can rent. And there is a meeting room for events held by companies or government agencies.
Eijkens, however, believes more facilities will be needed. "Perhaps it is necessary to add more facilities so that standard tourist needs are met. The existing facilities are more suitable for backpackers," he said.
There are several interesting spots in the botanical garden. One of the most popular is Lake View Point, where one can sit on the grass and savor the beauty of Beratan Lake, the largest lake in Bedugul. Many tourists come here to sit and talk, while some play ball games.
If you are lucky, after rain you can see a rainbow over Beratan Lake.
The shores of Beratan Lake on the other side of Bedugul is also a popular site. Entrance to the lake from this side is from the road between Denpasar and Singaraja. However, if you want to enjoy it better, it is best to enter from another gate. From the botanical garden, take the road toward Denpasar and then turn left.
Boat rides costing Rp 25,000 can be taken to enjoy the whole lake. One boat is large enough for four passengers. "My kids love taking a boat ride here," Eijkens said.
The boats take visitors around Beratan Lake, which is surrounded by lush hills. Caves hills on the eastern side of the lake were used by Japanese troops during the war as a hideout, but unfortunately there are now inaccessible.
Buyan and Tamblingan lakes are in Sukasada district, Buleleng regency. Buyan Lake, which is located on the left of the road of Pancasari village, is popluar among anglers as it has an abundance of fish. Although fewer tourists are found here than at Beratan, this lake can also be an interesting place to visit during a trip to Bedugul.
The last lake is Tamblingan Lake, which is about five kilometers from Lake Buyan. To get to this lake, you must pass an uphill road with sharp bends. The road is located on Pangelengan Hill, where the caves used Japanese troops used during WW II are located. However, the caves do not attract much attention as the area is also a habitat for tame monkeys. Visitors can stop here to pray at a small temple along the road or interact with the monkeys. To get to Tamblingan Lake, take the road veering to the left in the direction of Munduk from the road to Singaraja after passing Pangelengan Hill. The road here is straight but goes up and dips several times. The road seems to travel along the very top of the hill and two lakes can be seen on the left and Singaraja in the distance on the right.
No visit to Bedugul is complete without a visit to Candikuning Market. The market is located on the left side of the Denpasar-Singaraja road close to the entrance to Bedugul Botanical Garden. Here you can buy various kinds of fruit such as rambutan, salak (snake fruit), bananas, apples and so forth. The most well-known fruit from Bedugul, however, is the strawberry. The strawberries are so succulent that biting into one of these makes the trip to Bedugul worth it all on its own.
Source: Anton Muhajir , Contributor , Bedugul
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