About Tirta Gangga Water Palace
Tirta Gangga is a lavishly decorated water garden located in East Bali, spread over 1.2 hectares of crystal water pools, natural koi ponds, and surrounding tropical gardens. Formerly, these grounds were part of the ancient royal palace of the Karangasem kingdom, which was later turned into an ornamental garden accented with bathing pools, ornate fountains, stone carvings of ancient deities, stepping stones, and breezy pavilions.
The name ‘Tirta Gangga’ alludes to the holy river Ganga in Hinduism and bears of great significance for the Hindu heritage of the Balinese people.A number of pilgrims could be found at the site who carry back the springwater in pots bearing its spiritual value. The central attraction of the garden is an imposing eleven tiered fountain that spouts water in a number of gorgeous cascades. There are numerous impressively carved stone figures holding cudgels that are scattered around the beautiful gardens, mostly of ancient Hindu deities.
Visitors can easily get to the middle of the pond by following the polygonal stepping stones that trace the paths. Swarms of large red carp and koi fishes can be seen roaming in the clear waters, and you can feed them from your own hands too! On the other side, a couple of exquisitely carved Balinese dragon statues seem to be the sentinels of a connecting bridge between the two sides of the pond! Click Insta-worthy pictures and soak in the interrupted calm at this historic garden of East Bali.
How to Reach Tirta Gangga Water Palace
One can find shuttles and cabs to the destination from the Ngurah Rai International Airport located in the town of Denpasar in Bali- the airport closest to the Tirta Gangga Royal Water Garden. It takes approximately 2.5 hours to travel from the airport in Denpasar to the garden located near Abang, covering a total distance of 81. 6 km.
If you are planning to go via Ubud to Tirta Gangga, comfortable and inexpensive travels in tourist buses to Abang can be booked online from Ubud.
Best Time to Visit Tirta Gangga Water Palace
The early mornings and late afternoons are considered the best times to visit the beautiful gardens of Tirta Gangga. From 7 am to 9 am when the garden is just getting opened for visitors and around 5 pm before its closing, you will find the place more crowded than the rest of the day.
Also, the early morning and late evening hours are potent for escaping the harsh tropical heat of Bali. You would barely need an hour to tour the whole garden, so feel free to check in as suitable.
The best seasons for planning a visit to Tirta Gangga gardens are-
1. April-October: Ideal for spending time outdoors, during this window you will experience less rain and humidity.
2. November to March: Bali endures heavy and frequent showers during this time. On the plus side, you will find it inexpensive to travel near Tirta Gangga and other places in Bali during this time.
What Not to Miss at Tirta Gangga Water Palace
Things to do at Tirta Gangga royal water garden
Take a Refreshing Bath in the Pools- Don your best swimsuit and take a few calming dips in the spring-fed pools of Tirta Gangga. Located in the midst of the beautiful gardens, and filled with huge koi fish, bathing in these pools is a different kind of delightful experience altogether. Please do note, extra charges are applicable for bathing at Tirta Gangga.
1. Go On a Hike Along Rice Paddies- Rice plantation terraces of Bali are counted among the UNESCO World Heritage sites, and you are going to find plenty of them around Tirta Gangga. Beyond the walls of the water palace, easy hiking routes meander through these stunning terraced rice fields.
One can easily complete the six hours trail passing through the villages of Lempuyang, Bukit Kusambi, and Budakaling, for a longer hike, a guide is recommended.
2. Prize-winning Photo Opportunities- The ethereal setting of the garden makes for stunning photography. Zoom in on the rows of guardian figures holding neatly arranged cudgels standing in the midst of the waters, the polygonal stepping stones making decorative alleyways through the pond, the ornate fountains-- there are umpteen fascinating subjects to use for your composition.
There are also swarms of carps and koi fishes beautifully slithering in the azure waters that you may want to shoot.
3. Meditate- The tranquil atmosphere of the gardens draws in peace-seeking travelers who are looking for a quiet corner in nature to meditate. Find your own.
4. Buy Souvenirs- You can find a few shops and stalls displaying locally handcrafted items-- stone replicas of the guardian statues inside the garden and other articles. Buy souvenirs for your loved ones from here.
5. Eat Hearty Meal- Snap out of exhaustion with a scrumptious Balinese meal at the eateries in Tirtagangga. You can find them around the entryway of the Water Palace. The prices are low, the food fresh and tasty, and traditional family cooking is offered.
Places to visit near Tirta Gangga Royal Water Garden
1. Blahmantung Waterfalls: One of the sprightliest waterfalls in Bali is found within 123 km accessible by 1 and ½ hours of driving distance from the water gardens. The Blahmantung falls is located in the Pujungan region of Tabanan Regency. The sparkling waters of Blahmantung cascade from a height of 100m, forming a group of several springs.
Near to the first and second cascade, there’s a quaint little shrine that you can walk to, by a deep forest path. The third of the cascades is a little isolated, located right in the middle of the forests opposite to an irrigation dam. This site generally remains crowd-free.
2. Mount Batur: At a distance of 56 km, accessible by an hour and a half’s drive from the Water Gardens, lies one of the most attractive trekking destinations in the mountainous side of Bali. Mt Batur has a towering altitude of 1700 m above sea level, with a number of geological curiosities at the summit. Take this trek to discover a beautiful crater lake and natural hot springs, along with a stunning panoramic view from the top. The summit is also surrounded by ancient spiritual sites like the Besakih Temple, the Penulisan Temple, and Pura Ulun Danu Batur.
3. Tirta Empul Temple: Around 59 km away from the Royal Water Garden of Tirta Gangga, this quintessential Balinese temple by a mountain spring is yet another cradle of peacefulness. The site is famous for conducting the holy spring ceremony, on the day of which pilgrims come to take a dip in the spring waters to cleanse off their sins. You can drive to Manukaya from Tirta Gangga to visit this site within just an hour and a half.
4. Amed Beach: Amed Beach is famous for traditional salt farming and a vibrant garden of corals. The beaches and bays of Amed offer a swashbuckling experience for diving enthusiasts amidst a plethora of marine life and the drowned body of the US Cargo ship-- the USAT Liberty. Come here to explore endemic marine fauna, including tropical fishes, sea turtles, and reef tip sharks.
Other Essential Information About Tirta Gangga Water Palace
- Location: It is located in the village of Ababi in Karangasem Regency in Bali, Indonesia to 75 km east of Denpasar. Tirta Gangga can also be accessed on a drive from Amlaura towards Amed.
- Timings: The garden complex of Tirta Gangga remains open from 6 am to 6 pm, all seven days a week throughout the year. The only exception is the “Day of Silence” holiday which also coincides with the Saka New Year's Day.
- Price: The recently updated entrance fee for Indonesians is IDR 25,000 per person. For foreigners, the entrance fee is IDR 40,000 per person.
Additional fees include swimming pool tickets for domestic visitors priced IDR 10,000 and for foreigners- IDR 20,000. For inner car parking, the charges are- IDR 2000 (car).
Tips for Visiting Tirta Gangga Royal Water Garden
1. The garden remains closed on Nyepi or the “Day of Silence”, observed on Isakawarsa or the Saka New Year in Bali each year. The date may vary according to the Roman calendar, so please check before you plan your visit to Tirta Gangga.
2. Pack in your bathing suit and towels, for it is a custom to take a dip in the crystal waters of this water garden.
3. Carry your best camera since there is a lot of intricate details scattered around this beautiful place which can make priceless photogenic captures.
4. There is no need to pack food since there are a handful of great eateries within the complex where you can get proper Balinese breakfast and lunch.
5. It is a good idea to visit the garden for a few years with your yoga mat to practice amidst all the tranquility, naturally conducive for meditation.
6. The fish of the Tirta Gangga ponds is a huge draw for nature-loving tourists. You can bring your own pack of bread or buy fish food from the stalls inside to make the most of this opportunity to be intimate with nature.
7. Wear hardy shoes if you plan to walk down the meandering trails behind the gardens into the beautiful terraced plantation fields.
8. It is both convenient and feasible to include a few more sightseeing places in Karangasem in addition to Tirta Gangga Royal Water Garden on a day trip. The places are-- The Gateway to Heaven, Ujung Water Palace, Candidasa Beach, and others.