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Exploring the mountains of Bali

Bali is a volcanic island, with a few decent mountains. The highest peak in Bali is Gunung Agung in East Bali, which reaches a height of 2,567m. Gunung Agung never gets snowcapped, but is one of the more strenuous hikes in Bali.

Among the peaks you might like to explore are Gunung Agung, Gunung Batur, Gunung Abang, Gunung Catur, Gunung Batukaru.

Gunung Agung:
Located in East Bali, its the daddy of them all and takes from 5-7 hours to hike up, depending from where you start. The long trek is from Pura Besakih, the shorter route from Pura Pasar Agung on the southern side. The hike is free, guides available if you need them. Best plan is to stay at a guest house in Selat, or close to Pura Besakih, the night before, arrange our transport or drive yourself to the trail-heads, early in the morning (midnight or 2am depending on what side you’re coming from). Driving time from Kuta is 3 hours.

Gunung Batur:
A spectacular location, inside a crater, with a large mountain lake adjacent. Gunung Batur is 1412m high. Plenty of accommodation inside the crater at Toya Bungkah and Kedisan. You will have to part with $40-$50 for a couple to hike Gunung Batur, with a guide. There is no choice is paying the fee, or taking a guide, so don’t try it without one. The hike leaves around 4am to get to the summit at 6am, just before sunrise. Warungs are plentiful at the trail-head. Driving time from Kuta is 3 hours.

Gunung Abang:
Located on the SE rim of the Batur crater, Gunung Abang is forested, unlike Gunung Batur. Rising to a height of 2151m, it will take you 2-3 hours to reach the summit from the trial-head. Facilities are few so you will have to bring food and water. The tree cover protects you from the sun and means its best to do this hike during the day. Access is via the main road heading east from Penelokan. When this road turns south, you keep heading east around the southern rim of the volcano. This tappers to a dirt track which you have to follow, passing Pura Munggu in the forest. Keep following the trail, which finally heads away from the rim and up the mountain. On the way you’ll pass Pura Manu Kaya and reach Pura Puncak Tuluk Biyu on the summit. If you need a guide you can ask at Losman Miranda in Kintamani down the road road Penelokan. Driving time from Kuta is 3 hours.

As you can do this hike in the day time, there is no need to stay close by. My recommendation would be to find a place in Tegallalang or even Ubud.

Gunung Catur:
Gunung Catur sit on the eastern side of lake Bratan in Bedugal. At 1,401m its not a super high peak, but you still need to be in good shape. This hike starts at Bedugal, on the southern shore of the lake, with a trail that is easy to find, passing close to the bank. Follow this and you’ll be at the summit in 2-3 hours. Gunung Catur is forested, with possible views of Lake Bratan along the way. There are no guides or facilities, so bring your own food and water. This hike is best done in daylight hours. You can find guest house accommodation on the southern bank of the lake and also in Candi Kuning just up the road. Driving time from Kuta is around 2 hours.

Gunung Batukaru:
Gunung Batukaru in Tabanan, is one of the highest volcanoes in Bali and is surrounded by the last true section of jungle. At 2,271m, this baby is will take a while to get to. Accommodation is at the Eco Lodge, in Sarinbuana. To get there from Kuta, head west to Tabanan. A few kms pass Tabanan, you’ll see a large green highway sign saying Gadungan. Take this road and follow it looking out for signs saying Eco Lodge (don’t be afraid to ask locals). From there you can plan your hike, enjoy a relaxing time in the mountians, eat good food and have Norm the owner, explain the hiking trail. Some people like to camp up there, which would be a wonderful experience. Driving time from Kuta is 90 minutes. There is a tiny local shop selling drinks and snacks, outside the Eco Lodge, but that’s it.

Best time of the year to visit Bali’s mountain is April to October, as the wet season (November to March) can make footing treacherous.