May 19 2013
Gunung Agung is the tallest and most revered peak on the Indonesian island of Bali. On a clear day (billboards not withstanding) it can be seen from just about anywhere on the island. Last year as a part of the World Nomads travel writer scholarship programme, I made an attempt on the peak but we had to turn back as one of the party couldn’t make it. Today, just under a year later, I made a second attempt — and made it. Here are a few pics from the adventure.
This is Gunung Agung.
While you can climb the peak during the day, most opt to climb it at night so they can see the sunrise from the crater rim. I was staying in Sidemen, a 45-minute drive from Pura Pasar Agung — a temple located at 1,575 metres above sea level and where the walk starts. This meant a 01:00 pickup (not a typo) from Sidemen so my guide Nyoman and I were ready to start walking at 02:00… yes, it is all a bit mad.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the fittest guy on the block, but the climb is just brutal — really excruciating. I’ll be writing more about the climb later, so just imagine four hours of absolute total and utter agony, culminating in arrival at the crater rim (elevation 2,866 metres) at 05:50.
There was quite a crowd at the crater rim — perhaps 30 people (including guides). This was a surprise, but for this time of the year it’s considered normal.
Not everyone makes sunrise. This isn’t at all a surprise given the strenuous nature of the trek. Nyoman said roughly half the people attempting the hike do not make it to the summit.
Once the sun rose higher we were bathed in a glorious light and the view across southern Bali was just breathtaking.
Not long after the lightshow, people started to head back down.
We stuck around for a while longer to enjoy the scenery and savour the silence. I wasn’t still trying to catch my breath, honest.
Then we decided to head down as well.
If you’re interested in doing the hike, we used guide Nyoman on both trips. He speaks good English and we recommend him — his number is 0852 3854 8412.
But we have more to come…
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