5 Great Royal Palaces and Water Gardens in Bali

Bali Landmarks and Sightseeing Attractions

Bali’s great royal palaces and water gardens are all magnificent. They're far from the glam of Bali’s more modern and touristy attractions. Some date back centuries and are silent witnesses to the island’s rich past. Some are among the best places to see fine examples of Balinese architecture up-close. Others feature regal bathing pools and lotus ponds. You can immerse yourselves in the island’s history by wandering the regal courtyards and expansive gardens. 

Most of these great royal palaces and water gardens are in far-flung corners of the island. However, some are easily accessible, right in the heart of Bali’s cultural capital. The Ubud Palace for instance, has courtyards open to the public in the evenings. Here, you can enjoy the dramatic nightly dance performances. Some of the island’s most visually appealing traditional dances put on a rare sight. Certainly worthy of adding to any tour of Bali landmarks and sightseeing attractions.

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Puri Saren Ubud Royal Palace is hard to miss as you walk through the heart of town. It’s one of the most prominent and central landmarks in Ubud. The palace is at the junction of Jalan Raya Ubud and Jalan Monkey Forest. It's also just across the road from both the communal hall and the Ubud Art Market. The Ubud Palace dates back to the lordship of late Ida Tjokorda Putu Kandel (1800-1823). It's well-kept by his successive heirs. The front courtyard is open to the public by day. You can view its well-preserved Balinese architecture and charming garden settings on daytime visits. In the evenings, it is one of the best-known places in Ubud to head to for the nightly art performances. Tickets are available for purchase throughout the day. Combine your visit here with dropping by the art market. Or, visit the adjacent community hall to witness local village youths in their afternoon dance practices. Read More...

  • Location: Jalan Raya Ubud, Ubud
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Taman Ujung

Karangasem, East Bali
Taman Ujung Bali

The Taman Ujung ‘water palace’ is locally referred to as Taman Sukasada Ujung. It's a charming landmark in the village of Seraya in Karangasem, East Bali. European influences are evident in its palatial Balinese architectural features. While not truly a royal palace, it is a former royal bathing site. It features a vast expanse of lotus pools and ponds. There's also a variety of visible structures connected by ornately sculpted bridges. The water garden is the sister site of Tirta Gangga, also built by the late Raja of Karangasem. The complex is picturesquely set against a backdrop of Mount Agung and Bali’s secluded eastern shoreline. The best views over the whole site are up a few stairs to the ruins of a Romanesque pillar atop a hill. The site suffered near devastation by showers of hot ash following the eruption of nearby Mount Agung in 1963. It also weathered an earthquake in 1979. Restoration efforts throughout the decades brought it to its current splendour. It continues to appeal to both locals and visitors. Read More...

  • Location: Tumbu Village, Karangasem
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Tirta Gangga

Karangasem, East Bali
Tirta Gangga Bali

Tirta Gangga serves as an actual private retreat of the Karangasem royal family. However, around the residence is a vast complex of water gardens that is open to public visitors. The water gardens date back to 1946. This was during the rule of the late king of Karangasem, Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem (1887 - 1966). It underwent a series of restorations following the destructive hot ash from the Mount Agung eruption in 1963. The lavish water gardens feature 1.2 hectares of pools, ponds and fountains. Neatly cut lawns complement the stepping stones, ornate statues and gardens filled with exotic flowering plants. You can also find some old and rare trees. The complex is a cool retreat in the eastern highlands. It's perched on the south-eastern slope of the island’s highest mountain, Mount Agung. Just outside are rows of art shops and warungs selling local fare and refreshments. Some sellers feature locally harvested produce such as mangoes, mangosteen, peanuts and boiled sweetcorn.  Read More...

  • Opening Hours: 08:00 - 23:00
  • Location: Jalan Abang, Karangasem
  • Tel: +62 (0)363 225 03
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Kerta Gosa Royal Palace

Klungkung, East Bali

Kerta Gosa is an historical landmark in Semarapura. Semarapura is the main town of the Klungkung regency in East Bali. Kerta Gosa forms part of the Puri Semarapura Royal Palace complex. The palace is also referred to as Puri Klungkung. It features two main structures. A grand hall or the namesake Bale Kerta Gosa has ceilings filled with Kamasan or wayang-style paintings. The Bale Kambang ‘floating' hall or pavillion is surrounded by a blooming lotus-filled moat. The Kerta Gosa complex dates back to 1686. It was commissioned by Dewa Agung Jambe, then ruler of the Klungkung kingdom. The site has undergone a series of restorations, the latest in 2014. The palace and its grounds are a national heritage site. However, you can visit and roam the wondrous grounds by purchasing tickets for under a dollar. Read More...

  • Location: Jalan Puputan Klungkung, Semarapura, Klungkung
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Puri Singaraja

Singaraja, North Bali

Puri Singaraja Royal Palace is the home of North Bali’s late ruler, Ki Gusti Anglurah Pandji Sakti. The palace dates to the 17th century. It represents a significant artefact of the region’s rich, cultural heritage. Puri Singaraja Royal Palace is on Jalan Mayor Metra in the centre of town. You can drop in anytime for a palace tour. Inside, you'll discover beautiful Balinese architecture throughout the custodian family’s main living quarter. There's a unique network of interconnecting courtyards and the royal family’s shrines and temples inside. If you're lucky, you might have an elder of the royal family’s, Anak Agung Ngurah Brawida, as your host. He speaks fluent English and will proudly show you around the palace quarters. Highlights may include the family’s old ‘lontar’ manuscript or chronicles. Some of the family’s collection of Kris daggers and old well-kept photos can provide you a glimpse into the kingdom's opulent and sometimes tumultuous past. Read More...

  • Opening Hours: 16:00-18:00
  • Location: Jalan Mayor Metra, Singaraja, Buleleng, North Bali
  • Tel: +62 (0)362 229 74
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