My almost 2 hours road trip with Benny this time is to the east of Bali, to Karangasem Regency. Destination: Water Palace Taman Ujung Soekasada, popularly called Taman Ujung. Not many people in Bali or coming to Bali wants to visit this place for its distance that is far from main tourist spots and I have to admit it is so crazy hot here specially if you come after 9am.
No wonder some professional photographers on their assignments we met at the entrance gate, were just on their way back to the parking lot, at the time of our arrival, as they began shooting the place at 5 o’clock in the morning, so the security officer told us. My suggestion: come around 7am when it’s cooler and you can avoid the heat.
Taman Ujung Soekasada was the residence of Karangasem Royal Family between 1909 and 1945. It was built in 1919 by the late King of Karangasem, I Gusti Bagus Jelantik, as a relaxation and recreation palace, and it was part of the three places built by the last Raja or late King of Karangasem which are : Puri Agung, Taman Ujung, and Tirta Gangga. The palace was largely destroyed by the eruption of Mount Agung in 1963, damaged again by an earthquake in 1979 (source: wikipedia). The restoration was done between the period of 1999 – 2003. The King of Karangasem Djelantik with his wives (yes, plural..) and children lived here, and it is also their proud place to welcome royal guests from other regions and even countries. It is very interesting to look at their private rooms with old style traditional bed, old family photos hang on the walls.
A little altar table is located in each room, something very mystical and typical balinese for me..There is even one area where you can not touch or step further inside, and that’s the King & Queen bed (off course, who wants to jumpin’ around on the King of Karangasem bed!). I noticed one interesting photo on which a dutch wife of King Karangasem featured. So yes, this royal family has now western blood descendants with this beautiful culture melange!
The water palace complex has 3 big ponds, and when Benny made me climb the highest level of this complex (grumbling and complaining girl, I am…), it was worth the sweats and the heat : a priceless breathtaking view of majestic Mount Agung, incredible panoramic, hills with lush and green forest and green terrace rice fields as far as your eyes can see..
Other main tourist attractions nearby : White Sand Beach or Virgin Beach at Prasi Village, Tirta Gangga Water Palace.
The royal palace was often used as a pretty background for pre-wedding photoshoot location. Entrance fee is just Rp 5,000 but if you bring DSLR camera they will charge a fee of Rp 50,000. Prepare : water, long sleeves t-shirt, hat, use sunblock. I’m telling you again : the heat is almost unbearable here. Elderly is better suggested to stick to the interior tour of the palace rather than the exterior for this weather and heat reason. Welcome to East of Bali!
All photos are by Benny Risanto – Bali based freelance photographer. Check out his other works at http://photography.risanto.com
TAMAN UJUNG SOEKASADA
Karangasem Regency (East of Bali)
85 km from Denpasar Airport and 5 km from Amlapura city
History Source : www.karangasemtourism.com