The Story of Taman Ujung
Taman Ujung, also known as Taman Ujung Water Palace or Ujung Soekasada in Balinese, is a former king’s palace in Karangasem, Eastern Bali. Made up of beautiful historic buildings and various large pools, the site dates back to 1909 and shows a fascinating blend of Balinese, Chinese, and Dutch influences.
The floating palace was built for the last king of Karangasem and took several years to be completed (1921). It’s considered one of the largest historic landmarks in Bali and makes a great spot to spend a whole morning, climbing up the many stone steps to look out over the sea and surrounding mountains. You can even spot the incredible Mount Agung from here!
Things to do in Taman Ujung, Bali
The incredible site of the Ujung Water Palace spans about 10 hectares of land and has many interesting sights to explore. Roam through the different gardens, past ancient architectural structures, and discover the various reservoirs. Visiting the Taman Ujung water temple is a must-do, especially when exploring the area’s other incredible destinations, such as Sidemen or Amed.
1. Explore the Floating Palace
At the center of the park stands the floating palace – the area’s icon. This incredible architectural site, greatly rebuilt on its platform in the water, allows you to look at Bali’s rich cultural heritage. Connected by long elegant bridges with beautiful arches and detailed stone carvings, you can visit the former king’s resting place.
As you cross the water, make sure to look up at the impressive views of Mount Agung, towering out above the building. Inside, you’ll be able to see the different rooms with detailed carvings, paintings, and photos of the Royal Family. It’s especially here where the different architectural styles come together, from colorful European glass decorations to Balinese lotus flower carvings.
2. Visit the Pools
Some other highlights of the park are the three different-sized pools that contribute to the tranquility of the grounds. One lies in the south, and two in the north, home to several different koi fish and beautiful water lilies.
In the northern ponds, you’ll find the king’s resting place, almost appearing to be floating on top of the water. Hence the name ‘floating palace’. To the south, a small gazebo (Bale Bengong) stands hidden between lush greenery, perched in the middle of the pool. This is the perfect place to relax and soak up the peacefulness of the area.
3. Walk around the Grounds
With lots of ground to cover, simply taking a stroll through the lush gardens, and admiring the scenery, is one of the best things to do at Taman Ujung. Visitors can explore the grounds around the palace, full of other architecture such as ornate gates and beautifully restored buildings.
Take in the views from up top of the pillar building, looking out over the green Bisbis hill, impressive mountains, and sea. Or, admire the different statues and pathways around the grounds. Make sure to pack your camera; you’ll want to take a few pictures while you’re here!
Taman Ujung Water Palace or Tirta Gangga?
Tirta Gangga, a beautiful water temple (former palace) with gorgeous pools and fountains, lies not too far from Taman Ujung. Built by the king of Karangasem about 20 years later than the Ujung Water Palace, both sites make an interesting visit when exploring eastern Bali.
If you have the time, we recommend visiting both water palaces. They lie about 30 minutes from one another and are both uniquely beautiful. They can easily be combined on a trip from Sidemen, for example. However, if you’re short on time, choose Taman Ujung, as this historic site is much larger and offers more to see.
Opening times & Entrance Fee
Taman Ujung is open every day from 7 AM to 7 PM, and entrance costs 75,000 IDR (± 5 USD). Children and students often get discounts, so make sure to ask when getting your tickets. Most people coming from farther locations visit in the afternoon. However, it’s best to visit in the morning around opening time. During this time, it’s not too hot, and you’ll likely have the grounds to yourself.
How to Visit Taman Ujung, Bali
Ujung Water Palace is located in the countryside of Tumbu village, about 2 hours north of Bali’s International Airport. The site makes a great location to visit when exploring other beautiful highlights in the area, such as the village of Amed or some of the best beaches in Bali.
If you’re comfortable driving yourself, then the best way to get to the water palace is by renting a scooter or motorbike. This is one of the most flexible options for getting around the area, allowing you to explore further than just the palace grounds. Head down to the stunning coastline of eastern Bali, visit Tirta Gangga, or go up into the mountains. From the main tourist areas, such as Canggu or Seminyak, it takes about 2 hours to get to Taman Ujung.
As the Ujung Water Palace lies off-route, it can be a bit challenging to get there by yourself. For the most convenience and comfort, you can instead rent a private driver for your trip! Not only does this make the journey much easier, but you’ll also have the flexibility to discover the best locations besides the water palace. A private driver offers insider knowledge and can take you to beautiful unknown spots in the area.
Though large, Taman Ujung’s best sights are in a relatively compact area, making it easy to explore on foot. This is a great way to discover the grounds and different buildings leisurely. However, you can also rent a bicycle or motorcycle to tour the site and the area around it.
Where to Stay
In the mountainous east of the island, there are a number of great places you can stay to explore Taman Ujung and its surroundings. From beautiful beach bungalows and budget-friendly guesthouses to more luxurious eco-resorts, there are plenty of accommodation options available.
Best Time to Visit Ujung Water Palace
Perched at the edge of eastern Bali, Taman Ujung’s slowly growing in popularity amongst the island’s visitors. Especially during the dry season (April – September) when the days are sunny but less humid, it can get busy. Because of this, we recommend visiting the site early in the morning. During this time, it’s much cooler and clearer, and crowds will be smaller. This way, you can explore at your own pace and have the grounds almost entirely to yourself.