Toya Bungkah village, at the base of Gunung Batur, offers a number of geothermally heated springs — a relaxing way to loosen those tired muscles after climbing the volcano.
Spring water in the area is clear and without any sulphuric odour and locals claim all sorts of healing properties from the mineral-rich waters. Water temperatures range from lukewarm to slightly hotter, though there are no scalding-hot pools, and most are generally warmer in the early morning. Even though several hot springs have the word “natural” in their name, don’t expect a natural environment, as all here are comprised of tiled pools. Toya Devasya Natural Hot Spring Resort and Batur Natural Hot Spring are both located on the edge of Lake Batur with infinity pools and great views, while the less expensive, smaller and “more local” versions are closer to the volcano.
Toya Devasya, the more upmarket of the lakeside springs had been recently renovated when we visited in May 2016, segregating the springs into a local section and a foreign section, with separate facilities and prices. Foreigners are able to mix with the locals, but locals are barred from the foreign section. Manicured grounds are dotted with clean hot pools and the local section provides an almost Olympian size regular cool swimming pool too. Change facilities, toilets and restaurants are also segregated.
All facilities were clean, though when we had visited in the past this was not the case — let’s hope the renovations bring regular upkeep. Entry fee for foreign tourists is 150,000 rupiah which includes a welcome drink, locker and towel (and run of the place). For domestic tourists (with restricted entry), it’s 60,000 rupiah, which doesn’t include the towel or locker — these are available to hire at 10,000 rupiah for a towel and 20,000 rupiah for a locker. Massages and beauty treatments are offered at the onsite spa. An overpriced campground and villa-style accommodation is part of the same resort.
Neighbouring Batur Natural Hot Spring has more of a local atmosphere, however the two tiered price system is in place here too — For foreigners two packages are offered: 150,000 rupiah for adults, and 75,000 rupiah for kids under ten, will get you entry, a snack, a drink and a towel; 180,000 rupiah for adults, and 150,000 rupiah for kids adds a meal and a locker. Locals pay 60,000 rupiah / 30,000 rupiah and 90,000 rupiah / 65,000 rupiah for the same deals. The hodge-podge of pools are open to everybody here, and there are defiantly more local kids splashing about. The entrance to the springs is lined with small souvenir stalls, and inside paddle boats and canoes are available for hire (for the lake, not the springs). Batur Natural Hot Spring offers cycling tours and mountain bikes can be rented for 20,000 rupiah per hour (no helmets).
A street back from the lake, down a signposted lane, Tirta Usadha Hot Springs provides three tiny pools. Prices and facilities offered are less than the other springs, and locals seemed quite surprised to see a foreigner visit. Facilities here are very basic and a bit on the grotty side. Entry fee is 50,000 rupiah; add 30,000 rupiah to include a towel and drink, plus an additional 30,000 rupiah for a locker. We assumed these are foreign only prices and weren’t told the local fees.
Arlina’s Bungalows opposite Toya Devasya Resort offer three small pools in a pretty garden with views of Gunung Batur, including a heart shaped pool for the romantically inclined. Entry is 100,000 rupiah and includes a towel and a drink. Free entry is offered to hotel guests staying in their very basic and somewhat overpriced hot-water rooms. Guests in the rooms with cold-water bathrooms are not offered the same deal.
Admission to all of these hot springs is high compared to others around Bali, so if you’re on a tight budget, skip and save your soak for another time. However if you are tired and sore and in need of a therapeutic soak after your volcano trek, the springs offer the perfect place to rejuvenate — and it’s hard to beat the stunning surrounding landscape.
Arlina’s Bungalows: Jalan Raya Toya Bungkah; T: (0366) 51 165; www.facebook.com/arlinasbungalow/
Batur Natural Hot Spring: Desa Pekraman Batur, Toya Bungkah; T: (0338) 633 519; www.baturhotspring.com
Tirta Usadha Hot Springs: Jalan Raya Toya Bungkah
Toya Devasya Natural Hot Spring Resort: Jalan Puri Bening, Toya Bungkah; T: (0366) 52 222; www.toyadevasya.com; open daily 07:00-19:00
By Sally Arnold.
Last updated on 5th June, 2016.
The Travelfish newsletter is sent out every Monday and is jammed full of free advice for travel in Southeast Asia. You can see past issues here.