Sitting at the top of the world, Kintamani is one of Bali’s most iconic destinations. Clear air and amazing views make it a great place to visit whether for a day or a week.


An hour from Ubud and a world away, the first inkling you are approaching Kintamani or Batur is the drop in humidity levels. As you drive up the seemingly endless Andong road, lined with shops cargo depots and handicraft factories, the road starts to clear, orange farms and vegetable gardens take their place. The scent of woodsmoke fills the air.


Then, right at the top after paying an entrance fee to the world famous geopark, you see it! A vast and magnificent crater. Far below, to one side is the serene lake Batur while smack bang in the centre is the smoking cone of Gunung Batur. This is a sight to awaken the most jaded of senses. Eons ago, this volcano exploded so violently that it left a huge hole that has become the lake and the Batur crater. The whole mountain which was at least as big as Gunung Agung, Bali’s holiest mountain, has broken off and from a distance, it appears as a half mountain with a serrated edge.


This is Kintamani and Batur where the very people are different to those of the lowlands. Many people make it a day trip, stopping for a tourist lunch at one of the many scenic restaurants perching on the caldera’s edge. Others drive up for a brisk breakfast at the luscious Lakeview Hotel before doing the downhill cycle. While these are fine activities, there is so much more in Kintamani.


Down by the lake are hotels, both small and not so small. Hot springs lure with steaming baths in refreshing mineral saturated waters – best taken at sunset, when the chill of night air cools while you steam. Once we even had a bath in the rain, with umbrellas to keep us dry while we sat immersed. It was fabulous!


Walks galore can be enjoyed in the cool mountain pine scented air. A particularly nice walk takes you through the pine forests, along the caldera to Mt. Abang. It is a mostly easy walk that takes around three hours and very beautiful. Other smaller walks can be enjoyed wherever you see a track. Guides are easy to find. If you drive up alone, guides will materialize even before you reach the peak and if you descend to the lake’s edge, you will be besieged with willing helpers to take you on the sunrise trek up Mt. Batur. Leaving about three am, you arrive at the peak in time to see a magnificent sunrise, and maybe even breakfast on eggs cooked in the steaming fumeroles. The feeling of being surrounded by an abundant nature, is close to godliness. The Batur culture is also a little different.


The Ulun Danau Batur temple holds an important place in the Balinese cosmology and is the second most important temple on the island after Pura Besakih. The extraordinary rituals at the frequent temple ceremonies venerate Ida Betawi Dewi the Goddess of Danau (Lake) Batur. Once it resided by the side of the lake and in 1917, after a huge eruption of the volcano, it miraculously escaped engulfment as the lava ow stopped almost at its doorstep.


After a second eruption in 1926, which almost buried the temple, the banjars decided to move it, Huge piece by piece, to a safer spot at the top of the caldera. Even when there is no ceremony to observe, it is a formidable place, its huge winged gateways standing sentry to the courtyards and temples within. Another important aspect is the Geopark and the newly instigated Geopark Museum, right by the main entrance Gates to Batur. This imposing building is filled with knowledgeable exhibits about volcanoes in general, and specially Mt. Batur. You can increase your knowledge then pop into Lakeview Hotel for a little R&R.


A drive down to the back side of the crater, where the lava flows have frozen into fantastical forms can really give you an idea of the force of the volcanic eruptions, and it is easy to imagine the scenario of owing lava, and general mayhem. Today, trucks are filling the roads to take the volcanic rock away to be used for gravel and who knows what, but no doubt the powers that be figure that there is so much there, that a few million tonnes won’t be missed. Sad to see in a natural wonder and one does wonder what will be the outcome. In the meantime, people are gainfully employed as the lava flows slowly erode.


PLACES – apart from the Lakeview Hotel and the scenic tourist restaurants, Ubud visitors will be happy to know that there is a branch of the healthy Sari Organic Restaurant as the owner is a Kintamani girl.


Lakeview Hotel has three grades of rooms including a backpacker dorm with their own private living room for the budget minded. It is probably one of the nicest backpacker accommodations around.


The other rooms all have balconies looking out over the lake and all modern conveniences. To take breakfast, lunch afternoon tea or dinner looking out across the lake is one of life’s simple pleasures

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Jl. Tangkuban Perahu III No. 4 Padangsambian, Denpasar
Bali - Indonesia


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