If you're looking for a bit of adventure while vacationing in Bali, consider climbing one of the volcanos or nearby Lombok.
Below is an introduction to three volcanos. They differ in difficulty and trip length, but they all provide breathtaking views and a sense of achievement when you reach the summit.
When to climb: April to September (the dry season) is the best time to climb any of the volcanos as the tracks get muddy and slippery in the wet season, making it difficult or impossible to climb.
Usually it's best to aim for the summit around sunset, so the climbs begin very early in the morning. If possible, choose a date close to a full moon for extra light, but you can climb the volcanos anytime of the month.
What to bring: Warm clothes, good shoes, water, snacks, and a headlamp.
Mount Batur - The Easiest Climb
Mount Batur is the easiest climb of the three volcanos and provides spectacular views of Lake Batur and the ocean. It is also Bali’s most active volcano, so check whether it is safe to climb before you go.
Most people do the climb as an organized tour, but you can do it on your own if you prefer. If you decide to do the trek without a guide, be prepared to deal with local guides in Kintamani, the town where the trek starts, who have a reputation for being extremely pushy and doing almost anything to hinder people without a guide to reach the summit.
The track starts out as dirt path, but as it quickly gets steeper it also gets rockier and after a while vegetation is mainly limited to grasses growing among the rocks. Before reaching the summit, a small vender sells refreshments.
On the summit views reach as far as Mount Rinjani, and if you have a guide, he or she might cook you an egg boiled in volcanic steam before the descent.
Height: 1717 meter
Difficulty: The trek is straight forward, so if you are in decent shape, you shouldn’t have many problems.
Trip length: It takes one to two hours to reach the summit and the same time to get down, but you should also include time to enjoy the views and explore the rim of the crater.
Location: An hour’s drive north of Ubud.
If you decide to do the hike with a guide there's an option of a few add-on's, including sunrise hike with coffee plantation tour, sunrise hike with natural hot spring, sunrise hike with breakfast, or a sunrise hike with white water rafting.
Mount Agung - Bali's Highest Point
The trek starts at around 2.30 in the morning at the stairs of the temple. Bring a torch or preferably a headlamp, as the first part of the trek through the forest is particular dark. After walking uphill in the dark for about three hours you should reach the summit as the sun starts to color the sky orange. Especially on windy days, it can get very cold at the summit, so make sure to bring extra warm clothes.
As you start making your way down, the sun becomes more intense and you’ll welcome the guy selling semi-cold refreshments at the temple where the trek ends.
Hight: 3031 meters
Difficulty: You need to be fit for this trek as it is a fairly long climb with some steep sections.
Trip length: It takes about two to four hours to reach the summit and a little less to get down.
Location: An hour’s of drive north east of Ubud
There's an option to book a Mount Agung sunrise hike with breakfast.
Mount Rinjani - Lombok's Spectacular Volcano
The classic Rinjani trek takes two nights and three days and is the most spectacular of the three.
On day one, walk from the National Park entrance to the rim of the volcano. The first half of the day goes through jungle, where curios monkeys will watch you, but as you get closer to the rim, vegetation is limited to grasses and small bushes. When you reach the rim, and if you still have any breath left, the spectacular view of the crater will take away what remaining breath you have.
Spend the next day exploring the crater for a couple of hours where you can swim in the blue crater lake or relax your muscles in the nearby hot springs before climbing up to the opposite site of the rim.
The third day you get up early in order to reach the summit at sunrise. On a clear day you get a spectacular view of Lombok, the Gili islands and Bali as the sun starts warming you up.
Back at camp you’ll have breakfast before descending through grass and farmlands all the way down to the village of Sembalun where the trek ends.
Hight: 3726 meters
Difficulty: Climbing Rinjani is a hard trek with some steep sections, especially the last bit to the summit, where the sand-like surface makes walking difficult, so you need to be in good shape to reach the summit of Mount Rinjani.
An easier option, but with equally good views, is just to trek to the rim, which is easier as the track is good most of the way and without too many steep parts.
Trip length: The classic length is three days and two nights, but you can also do a two day, a one night, or some trips go as long as a week. In the latter case, you’ll spend more time trekking the area around the volcano and inside the crater.
Location: Mount Rinjani is located on Lombok. From Bali it is a 90-minute boat ride and an hour’s drive to the foot of Mount Rinjani. From the Gili Islands, it will take you ten minutes by boat plus an hour by car. You are not allowed to climb Rinjani without a guide, so you need to go on an organized tour, which can easily be arranged from Bali and The Gilis.
Looking for accommodation in Bali? Check out our Bali Acccommodation Guide for a few tips.
Travel tip shared by Stefan Russel