The Danau Bratan lake is located inside the old caldera of the now extinct Gunung Catur volcano. The lovely area around the south and west side of the lake is known as Bedugul (see separate article).
Not far from here are the Danau Buyan and Danau Tamblingan lakes, two of the four large lakes on Bali, which can also be worth a visit. Bratan has an altitude of about 1.000 meters, the climate is quite comfortable, at nights you may even need some warm cloths.
The lake and the surrounding area is very popular among the local population, who use it for water sports, boat trips or just relaxation. On the west bank by the Candikuning village or Bedugul it is possible to rent a boat with or without a driver. It can be quite relaxing to just drift around the lake, the prices are usually reasonable. It is still possible to walk around here without being pestered by hawkers and self-declared guides.
On the west bank there is a famous temple complex called Pura Ulun Danu. The temple is half Hindu, half Buddhist and dedicated to Dewi Danu, the water goddess. It was built by the king of Mengwi in 1633, and is absolutely worth a visit. Lake Bratan is very important as a water supply for rice irrigation on the southern parts of Bali, and the temple is a center for ceremonies all over the island in order to secure a continuous supply from the lake.
Inside the main gate is a large stupa with carvings, then the main temple Pura Teratai Bang. A smaller temple, Pura Dalem Purwa, is dedicated to the goddess of food and drinks. At the shore of the lake sits the Pura Ulun Danu Bratan temple. It has a tall meru with 11 levels dedicated to Vishnu, a seven level meru dedicated to Brahma and in the water a meru with three levels dedicated to Shiva.
You may arrive at the temple by boat, or by car on the road leading up to the main gate. The surroundings are lovely with a beautiful garden, if you’re lucky you can even see the top of Gunung Catur (2096 m) north of Bratan. This mountain is possible to climb. Just north of the lake is a golf course which is ranged as one of the best in the world; the Bali Handara Kasaido Country Club. If you have a lot of money to spend you can stay the night here. Cheaper accommodation can be found in Bedugul, Candikuning or Pancasari which is further north.