Mount Agung and Mount Batur
Mount Agung and Mount Batur are popular destinations in Bali. Both are active volcanoes. You can either take a motorbike or bicycle to visit both areas. You will be most likely a whole day out. Let's see how you can do it yourself.
After breakfast get a motorbike (I took a bicycle but most find that too much in the tropical heat). There are several roads that lead to Mount Batur (see our map on the main Bali page). If you decide not to climb either Mount Agung or Mount Batur, then you can easily do this trip on your own in a day.
The loop you can make is about 100 to 125 km Ubud to Mount Batur, the nearby Lake Batur, Mount Agung, Bangli and back to Ubud. If you take a bicycle, it's still possible to do this loop in a day if you have either your own bike or a good rental and well trained. If not, a motorbike is the better option.
It's about an hour ride by motorbike from Ubud to Mount Batur. As soon as you leave Ubud, you leave the comfortable tourist zone behind and you are inside a land that seemed not to have arrived in the 21st century. Stop here and there to make some photos of the endless rice fields.
There are some tiny villages on the way, most of the village people are farmers and artists.
In Penulisam, a small village on the west side of the volcano, there's a neat temple complex. Most people here are farmers. The volcano is still active. In 1926 there was an eruption followed by another in 1974, 1994 and one in 1999.
It is possible to do a trek to the crater, but it requires a full day and a guide. According to local beliefs, there are many ghosts and spirits captured inside the crater.
A trip to the crater can be organized in Ubud in one of the many tourist shops and in some of the hotels.
The nearby Lake Batur (Danau Batur) is the largest lake on Bali. It was formed by the volcano about 30.000 years ago. The lake is about 10km long and it's deepest point is 65 meters. The lake provides a lot source of freshwater fish.
The main village at the south part of the lake is Kedisan. It's possible to rent a boat and make a trip on the lake. Around the lake there are some hot springs.
South of Mount Batur is Mount Agung. Balinese believe that Mount Agung is a replica of Mount Meru in the Hindu mythology.
It is possible to hike up to the mountain top and although you are allowed to go on your own, I would advice to take a guide. The trekking starts at the Besakih Temple.
You can hire guides in Ubud. If you decide to do this trekking, effectively the trek takes about 2 hours but you will be most of the day out with transport to and fro the starting point.
Best time of the year to climb the both mountains is in the dry season. You're not allowed to climb during festivals.
The temple was preserved in the last eruption, a clear sign to the village people the gods took care of their temple. Apparently the lava was so close to the temple that the preservation is indeed a small miracle.
The last eruptions took place in 1963 and 1964. Around 2000 people were killing in the eruption.
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Bali, paradise island in Indonesia
No doubt Bali is one of the most popular and important tourist destinations in Asia. The reputation is untouched by the increase of tourism in other areas in Asia, nor by the terrorist attach in Denpasar in 2002. Bali deserves to be visited by all travelers in Asia.