Ghost Palace Hotel – Abandoned building in Bedugul, Bali
Those who frequent the island of the Gods will know that you can’t possibly get bored here. Trust us, we’ve even got a long list of the best things to do in Bali. But if cafe hopping and swimming at places like Tegenungan Waterfall have gotten a little too predictable for you, why not check out a haunted hotel instead?
Prior to our Bali trip, we were looking for alternative fun things we could do to make the most of our time there. And that was how we ended up at Ghost Palace, or Bedugul Taman Rekreasi Hotel and Resort, an abandoned hotel perched atop a hill in Bedugul. It’s popular amongst urban explorers and has gotten on the radar of some travellers who are interested in “ghost tourism”.
Locals say evil entities haunt it
When we told our Balinese driver to take us to the Ghost Palace Hotel, he immediately told us it wasn’t a good idea.
“It’s very dangerous,” he repeated. “You shouldn’t go there, the spirits are too strong”. He shared with us stories of tourists going in and getting possessed by the entities who live there. Apparently, local exorcists had to be called to expel the ghosts. And even if the explorers didn’t get possessed, they found that bad luck continued haunting them long after the visit.
Growing up in Singapore, hantu stories weren’t new to us. In fact, some of our peers have done their fair share of ghost hunting in places like Pasir Ris Park and Old Changi Hospital. So while we were cautious, we still had to commit to our mission of checking out the Ghost Palace Hotel.
Located on a hilltop in Bedugul, 1.5 hours away from Ubud
So we went on our merry way to Bedugul. It was a long and bumpy 1.5-hour drive from Ubud, and it is known for the famous Bedugul Lake and Ulun Danu Bratan Temple. As we approached the abandoned hotel, we could see it being shrouded by a thick layer of mist. The fact that it was raining added to the creepy vibes.
While gung-ho adventurers used to trespass to get inside the ghost palace, there’s now a makeshift gate that’ll lead you inside. It’s manned by a man who owns a warung right outside the hotel grounds – you’ll just have to pay Rp 100,000/person (~S$8.62) to get in, which includes a tour guide who’ll take you around.
If you’re planning to go, do take note that this isn’t an official tourist attraction. The guides are also ordinary locals who are there to make a side hustle. But we do think it was helpful to get around, as you’ll be with someone who is familiar with the building. We also got a crash course on the history of the Ghost Palace Hotel.
According to our guide, the building was built in the 1990s as part of an expensive project that was slated to be a luxury hotel. Many believe that it was the pet project of Tommy Suharto, the son of Indonesia’s former president Suharto.
Another rumour is that it was owned by a Chinese businessman. However, the project never came to fruition and the gates never opened to the public. It was abandoned around 1995 and today, it’s been left in a state of disrepair, occupied by snakes, creepy crawlies, overgrown vines, and spirits that are believed to roam the empty hallways.
What’s it like inside the Ghost Palace Hotel?
If you’re looking for less crowded spots in Bali, the Ghost Palace Hotel surely won’t disappoint. We only saw about 5 other people – also tourists – during the time we were there. But all jokes aside, the atmosphere was pretty quiet and lowkey serene. We felt like we were in a vortex, away from the outside world.
The building itself is massive. We entered from the “lobby”, disappointed to find that there was no one to attend to us. The floors, made from grand marble, are now covered with a layer of moss, mud, and puddles. We almost slipped a few times, so do be careful.
If this was a haunted house at Halloween Horror Nights, best believe you’d be getting your money’s worth. There were so many rooms that we couldn’t keep track of how many we explored. As you make your way from room to room, you’ll find random bits of furniture like a chair or even a bedpost lying around. The walls have also been spray-painted with graffiti.
You’ll also find stairs leading down to an eerie basement, for those who are really not scared of hantus.
But the highlight for us was the view from the balcony, which overlooks the rice fields of Bedugul. On a clear day, you might even spot Mount Agung, Bali’s most famous volcano.
The surrounding mist, thanks to its location on top of a hill, added to the spooky atmosphere.
If you head out to the “garden”, you’ll also spot a staircase surrounded by two dragons. If you look at the location tag of the Ghost Palace Hotel on Instagram, this spot is perhaps the most photographed area at the Ghost Palace Hotel.
Would you visit the Ghost Palace Hotel in Bali?
Now, the only question on your mind would probably be, “Did you see a ghost?”
We hate to disappoint, but the only thing that made us scream was when we realised that there was a big spider right in front of us.
Some of us did have a bad case of the “Bali belly” shortly after our visit, and we couldn’t help but wonder if we pissed off any spirits while we were taking photographs at the Ghost Palace Hotel. But it could also be just the ordinary case of food poisoning while travelling.
If you’re brave enough, we do think the Ghost Palace Hotel is worth a visit. Whether you want to give “ghost tourism” a go or just want to visit a different area during your next Bali holiday, it sure would make an unforgettable experience.
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Photography by Hui Wen Chan & Doreen Fan.