Photo: Spectacular scenery.

Climbing Gunung Batur

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Want to see an active volcano up close? Gunung Batur is one of Bali’s two active volcanoes (the other being Gunung Agung). At 1717 metres the mountain offers a shortish and not too challenging climb for the reasonably fit and is a rewarding trek with sweeping views, on a clear day, as far as Gunung Rinjani on Lombok.





The mountain is sacred to the local Hindus, and to protect the hallowed ground, back in 1999 local guides formed an association (PPPGB) that ensured the physical landscape was cared for — rubbish collected and tracks maintained, as well as ensuring funds generated were returned to the local villages. A lot of negative comments have been made regarding the association and their monopoly, but in our experience (we’ve climbed this sucker over 100 times), guides have gone out of their way to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip for all their clients.

Pace yourself. Photo taken in or around Climbing Gunung Batur, Gunung Batur, Indonesia by Adam Poskitt.

Pace yourself. Photo: Adam Poskitt

Prior to the association, anyone could be a guide, and it was every man for himself — competition was fierce (and aggressive), and little of the funds generated were returned to the impoverished local villages (whose farmland was often trampled by trekkers). Also, the mountain was a garbage dump as no one cared. Today a roster system guarantees a fair distribution of work amongst the guides (who are local and are more likely to monitor increased volcanic activity). Rubbish is collected regularly, and the welfare of local villagers as has improved. While it’s physically possible to climb without a guide, conditions can change rapidly making the climb dangerous, and besides, supporting local guides supports the surrounding communities.

There are two main starting points for the trek, and a number of routes that either lead you up and down the same way, or more interestingly up one way, and down the other, with options of climbing to the summit and / or circling the rim to the more active side of the volcano. We suggest starting at Pura Jati and walking down to Toya Bungkah, as the section near Toya Bungkah is shaded by trees, and much more pleasant than the exposed Pura Jati side when the sun rises. Also, it gives you the option of soaking in the hot springs after ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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