Bali is situated in the infamous ‘ring of fire’ in the Indian Ocean and has a large number of active volcanoes in the northern and western parts of the island. The views from the tops of these volcanoes are truly spectacular.
I have done a plenty of mountain trekking in my life, but nothing beats sitting on top of Mount Batur and watching the sun rise over the ocean!
My favourite volcano trek on Bali is Mount Batur, situated in the north eastern side of Bali in the regency known as Kintamani. It’s a quick drive from Ubud.
Mount Batur’s peak height of 1500m is not as impressively high as some of the other volcano treks in and around Indonesia, but more than makes up for this with its breathtaking views of the volcanic lake that surrounds the volcano itself.
The landscape in Kintamani is drastically different from the rest of Bali and the temperature is roughly 15 degrees colder than south Bali (a warm jacket is necessary especially at night). There is an interesting variety in crops, foodstuffs, flora and fauna. Make sure to try a fresh tamarillo juice for a tantalizing taste bud experience.
The rustic, but cosy and picturesque town of Toyah Bungkah is nestled on the shores of Lake Batur and is a great place to base yourself whilst in the region. There are a variety of accommodation options to choose from, although my personal favourite is ‘Valcanoe 3’. Although very basic, it is run by a family headed by the enigmatic Agung, who must be one of the friendliest, most conversational and down to earth people on the whole island of Bali. Agung will arrange absolutely everything that you might need while staying at Batur, including organising legitimate trekking guides, catching fresh lake fish daily for you to eat, and arranging trips to the many hot springs dotted around the lake.
What makes Mount Batur so special is its accessibility. Because it is not as high as the other volcanoes on the island, many more people can experience the beauty and majesty of climbing a volcano than would otherwise be possible on some of Bali’s other volcanoes.
Trekking Options and what to expect
There are many trekking options to take, but I recommend the 6 hour sunrise trek option. Your guide personally wakes you in the early hours of the morning before you commence the 2 hour trek in the dark to the top of Mount Batur to await the spectacular sunrise. Although it can be cloudy at the top, you are guaranteed to catch breathtaking views of the sparkling Indian Ocean, impressive Mount Rinjani on the island of Lombok across the Lombok Straight and the huge Mount Agung just a few miles away.
After consuming a breakfast of boiled eggs and bananas that have been cooked in the steam pockets in the ground, you resume your trek, taking in views of the various active caldera’s of Mount Batur and can quite clearly see the lava flows from the eruptions, the most recent of which was just over 15 years ago!
By mid-morning we were back down at the lake, munching on a well deserved lunch and soaking our weary bones in one of Toyah Bungkah’s many hot springs. The spring’s heat up to about 40 degrees Celsius and the water is full of vitamins and minerals that truly leave the body feeling relaxed, and rejuvenated.
It is a truly humbling experience to stand on top of a ‘living, breathing’ volcanic mountain. The views of the ocean and lake, the lava flows, hot soil, steam pockets erupting out of the ground and the vast size of the caldera all serve to remind me how small i really am, and to provide me with some much needed perspective.
A trip to Bali just wouldn’t be the same without a trek up Mount Batur.