We took a day off the beach to visit an active volcano and Bali’s largest temple.
Mount Batur (Gunung Batur) is an active volcano located in Batur, which is north west on Bali, in the Kintamani district, a 70 km drive from Seminyak. We had the concierge at Anantara Seminyak to book a car and driver for a full day, to visit Mount Batur and Besakih Temple.
70 km does not sound like a long drive, but as the roads in most of Bali are old and narrow, the trip took the whole day. Having said that, it was totally worth it. We had a great – and different day visiting these two iconic places.
The first documented eruption was in 1804 and the most recent was in 2000. When we went on this trip in 2014, our kids was only eight years old, so we only went to see the mountain – not to climb it. Mount Batur lies 460 meters above sea level, and is 1,717 meter high.
On the way up to the small (and very “tired“) village where we had a perfect view over Mount Batur, we stopped a few times to get blessed. In other terms, to pay a small “tax” and hopefully buy some off the locals.
Personally I spent more time walking around the village, than I did looking and taking pictures of Mount Batur.
Bring some food with you
Our driver took us to a local restaurant where the view was nice, and the food was said to be very good. The first was perhaps correct. The latter not. We did not eat much I can tell. In stead we bought some sodas and snacks from one of the small shops in the street.
Trekking in Mount Batur
If I was to make a new visit to Mount Batur, I would definitely consider a sunrise trekking tour. If you are in “normal” shape, the whole trip to the top should take about 2 hours. If you live in Seminyak, and want to see the sunrise from the top of Mount Batur, you will however prepare to leave in the middle of the night. There are several companies offering trekking in Mount Batur, such as Bali Trekking Tour.
Once we had taken the pictures we wanted, we got back into the car, and drove to visit the Besakih Temple.
The Besakih Templ is known as Bali’s “Mother Temple” for over 1,000 years, and sits 1,000 meters above sea level. Besakih is an unique complex that consists of nearly 90 temples, including the main Pura Penataran Agung (the Great Temple of State) and 18 others. Besakih is the biggest and holiest of Bali’s temples.
The drive from Batur to Besakih should take around 1 hour or so. Once you arrive at the Besakih Temple, you need to prepare to buy a sarong to cover yourself with. And women will in addition need to cover their shoulders. There is an entrance fee, so bring cash with you. Can’t recall on top of my head how much we paid all together, but it’s not too expensive. And it is worth it. The entrance fee also included a guide, who was very kind and told us as we went along what to see and the story behind the temple.
During our visit, we experienced one of the many ceremonies.
Hedvig, Gustav and Marianne was also able to take part in a ceremony, to get their blessing.
You can walk around in the Besakih Temple for hours. There are so much to see. The largest temple, Pura Penataran Agung, has different areas representing seven layers of the universe, each with their own shrines. The distance between Pura Pasimpangan on the downstream side and Pura Pangubengan are approximately three kilometres apart.
Make sure you take a good camera with you, with enough power. You don’t want to risk the possibility of running out of juice, once you set your foot inside Besakih. It might be a good idea to bring a fully charged power bank in your back pack if you plan a full day trip similar to ours.
The whole complex is surrounded by rise paddles, hills, mountains and more.
Walking back to our car, at the end of our tour. Hedvig became very fond of our guide.
We had a great day visiting Mount Batur and Besakih Temple. Definitely two things we were happy to cross off our bucket list.