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Tirtagangga water palace: A pleasant stop off point in East Bali

Exploring East Bali with your own transport is truly a great thing to do. If you give yourself some time and are prepared to take the scenic route, sometimes not knowing exactly where it will end, you will be rewarded. when the scenery craving is fulfilled and you need a pit-stop to recharge the batteries one place you might consider is the water palace at Tirtagangga.

Tirtagangga is one of 3 water palaces in East Bali, the other 2 being located at Ujung on the SE coast and Tirta Telaga Tista at Jungutan on the southern slope of Gunung Agung. Tirtaganga may be described as a ‘tourist object’ by the government, but it also offers a place to cool off on a hot summer’s day. The set of rectangular pools, some decorated with stepping stones and statues, other designed for swimming, were built by the local raja in 1946. For a fee of 3,100rp you’ll gain entry to the place and for another 6,000rp be allowed to swim in the rear Royal pool. Changing rooms are provided, although basic. The name Tirtgangga literally means ‘water of the Ganges’ locals believing the water flows from the holy Indian river.

Taking the main road north from Amlapura following the signs for Tirtagangga, one will notice the emerald rice fields on both sides. Indeed as the road passes the water-palace and swings round to Abang and Culik there is equally stunning scenery to be found if one is willing to take a detour down one of the unmarked local roads.

The water-palace itself has an obvious parking area with snack vendors camped around it. There is actually an internet cafe there too offering slow speed access. Food and drink are available at Tirtagangga at the small cafes and also at the Ryoshi tea house perched up on the cliff. Accommodation is also available for those who simply don’t want to leave.

People staying in Candi Dasa may find an afternoon trip to swim in Tirtaganga just the ticket, the round trip taking 45 minutes. Those visiting the Bali Aga village of Tenganan, located close to Candi Dasa may also find the cool fresh water to their liking. A hike to one of Bali’s most scenic temples (not the temple itself but the stunning scenery) Pura Lempuyang will no doubt vote a swim in Tirtagangga the perfect antidote to their 2 hour trek.

Accommodation at Tirtagangga includes:

Tirta Ayu
(0363)21383
Four bungalows complete with hot water / fan. Mid-range prices. Bungalow prices range from $125 to $80.

Villa Tirta Mas
Located across the street from Tirtagangga, related to the Tirta Ayu. Three 2-storey villas with hot water / fan. Mid-range prices.

Rijasa
(0363)21873
Simple budget place located close to the water palace. Cold water or hot water / fan. Hot water double rooms are 125,000rp. Cold water double rooms are 80,000rp.

Cabe Bali
(0363)22045
Great views of Gunung Agung and surrounding area. Well recommended place located about 1.5km south of Tirtagangga. Hot water, high quality accommodation bungalows. Mid-range prices similar to other local places offering a degree of luxury.

For those staying at Tirtagangga you may be interested in hiring a local guide for hiking. As mentioned before Pura Lempuyang is a lovely hike, the 1700 steps passing through lovely steep country. There are other hikes in the area including one from Tirtagangga to Tenganan. It is also possible to hike to Amed via Pura Lempuyang. Good Karma restaurant at Tirtagangga is one place you might inquire about hiring s local trekking guide.

Tirtagangga is open daily from 7am-6pm.