The highlands of Bali offer a multitude of routes that are perfect for a slow cruise, in a car, or on a motorbike. My recent trip to Jatiluwih, which took about 7 hours roundtrip from Seminyak.
Another area close to Jatiluwih is Wongayagede. Taking the route that I did, heading up to Bedugal, and turning off to the west for Jatiluwih, if you keep going you will hit Wongayagede. Wongayagede is located just south of the Batukaru temple, and is only 2kms from the trailhead that leads up the mountain. There is accommodation at Wongayagede, the Prana Dewi. This place offers a good level of comfort, with carefully made bungalows. The other place to stay is 750 meters east along the Wongayagede – Jatiluwih road, called Warung Kaja. Both places have a restaurant, though the rooms at Kaja are cheaper and simpler.
From Wongayagede village you can take a hike through beautifully fertile scenery, where coffee, cocoa, rambutan and sugar plum grow. The hike will lead you across the Mawa river through local forests. Its possible to swim in the river, which for westerners, is the last touch of paradise. I have bathed in Balinese rivers and if I ever build a house here, it will have to be close to a quiet stream.
The walk continues to a shrine at the bottom of Mt. Batukaru, and this 2 hour hike terminates by swinging home via the temple. An alternative hike takes you across another river, exploring forests and rice paddies. This hike will take 3-4 hours.
You can go 2 ways in doing these hikes. The first is to buy a map and just go for it yourself, which would be my prefered way to go. The other is to arrange a hike from an organized agency. The Prana Dewi Mountain Resort can arrange hikes, as can Cafe Jatiluwih and Galang Kangin Inn.
One of the cool hikes I want to try is Jatiluwih to Lake Tamblingan. The trail was origianlly used by Balinese farmers looking for a way to get their products to the north coast on Bali. The hike itself starts just after daybreak in Jatiluwih, and takes you through th forest for 34 hours, follwed by a section that goes to a large crater, Lubang Nagaloka, which means the ‘Dragon Hideout’, which is located on Gunung Lesong.
The hike finishes at Lake Tamblingan around sunset. Looking at a map you can see the hike follows a roughly northerly direction and you will, no doubt see a part of Bali, that few locals and even fewer westerners have.
The hike arrives at the southern end of Lake Tamblingan, the nearest accommodation is Bukit Kember located on the northern side. Bukit Kember has simple rooms with hot water. (082 836 1386. It has a restaurant attached and some nice views of the surrounding area. If I was to attempt this hike, I’d probably hire a local at Tamblingan to ride with my bike and me down to Jatiluwih. I hike and meet up with him back at the southern end of the lake, that evening. Having a cell phone would of course facilitate this much easier.