Danau Batur travel and tourist guide

Danau Batar has awesome scenery for hiking

Danau Batar has awesome scenery for hiking

Danau Batur is Bali’s most popular inland natural attraction, set in an enticing landscape surrounding by towering volcanoes. Danau Batur is at an altitude of over 1,000 metres above sea level and has a refreshingly cool climate. The scenery is especially lovely and reminiscent of Alpine Europe but minus the snow, but it is not just the splendid views that attracts an estimated 3,000 visitors a day.

Adjacent Mount Batur is Bali’s most popular volcano climb and easily scaled in just a few hours. Sunrise treks are most popular with clear mornings providing captivating vistas across to neighbouring Lombok. There are a number of routes up the mountain which are suitable for all levels of fitness from a relaxing three hours to a more comprehensive eight-hour trek taking in three of its four craters.

There are some lovely villages to explore on the crater rim and far below along the lake shore. The most celebrated of all is the ancient ‘Bali Aga’ village of Trunyan. This sleepy place follows a unique way of life which has changed little in centuries. The main village of Kintamani is located on the volcano rim. While it has little visual appeal, it is a good place for arranging transport and treks and excursions. It is noted for its colourful daily market and the Kintamani breed of dog, which are highly prized in Asia. The Batur region is often referred to as ‘Kintamani’ although this is just one of several villages.

At the water’s edge is the spectacular Pura Ulun Danu Batur, Bali’s second most sacred Hindu temple after Besakih. Pilgrims regularly flock here to present offerings and pray for good fortune and it is a very captivating and photogenic sight. There is a range of pursuits to while away a day or two on the water itself such as kayaking, boating and fishing. There is also an attractive hot springs to revitalise any aching limbs after a tiring mountain trek.

Temple detail at Lake Danau Batur

Temple detail at Lake Danau Batur

Danau Batur is deservedly popular and admittedly does get besieged by tour buses throughout the day. This has attracted a host of hawkers which does bring some hassle and often grossly overinflated prices. There is a marked difference early morning and late afternoon as the area returns to its tranquil normality.

This is a wonderful time to enjoy a pleasant stroll along the shore and is especially inviting as dusk approaches. Danau Batur has a much cooler climate than the south of Bali and an extra layer of thick clothing is essential if staying overnight. It is best enjoyed during the dry season between the months of May to September and even at this time it can be shrouded in mist from mid morning.

Trunyan Village

The unique and rather isolated village of Trunyan is located on the eastern shore of Danau Batur and reached only by boat from the neighbouring settlement of Kedisan. The village has many colourful rituals but is best known for its infamous funeral rites where the recently deceased are left to decompose in open graves. Despite this, villagers are friendly and happy to demonstrate their way of life and pose for photographs.

Gunung Kawi

Just a short drive south of Danau Batur is an intriguing ancient attraction that is thankfully not overrun by rampant tourism. Gunung Kawi is thought to be a 12th century royal mausoleum and temple complex carved out of solid rock.

It features intricate carvings and a series of huge tombs ornately decorated. It is a fairly secluded and rather spooky spot surrounded by rivers and thick forest. (Open: 08:00-16:00 (daily), entry: rp15,000; Gunung Kawi, Tampaksiring Village)

Where to stay and eat

The vast majority of visitors to Danau Batur opt for organised bus tours from other tourist centres in Bali and very few people stay overnight here. That means bargains are always available and virtually all places afford dramatic views of the lake with towering Mount Batur as a spectacular backdrop. Most accommodation is in the budget range although there are a handful of rather stylish mid range resorts, especially in the village of Toya Bungkah.

Arlina’s: a long term traveller’s favourite that still offers the best all round value in Danu Batur. Clean, basic rooms go for rp250,000 a night with breakfast and have spacious verandahs with some facing out across the lake. Situated in the village of Toya Bungkah next door to the trekking office. (Toya Bungkah, tel: +62 366 51 165)

Hotel Segera: located in a very tranquil spot with superb views across the lake. There is a choice of accommodation in fan and air con rooms and some come with hot water en suite bathrooms and TV. Prices start at US$16 for a standard fan room with breakfast included. There is an attached restaurant and internet cafe. (Kedisan, tel: +62 366 51 136, fax: +62 366 51 212, mobile: +62 813 3877 8696, email: hotelsegara@hotmail.com, website: www.batur-segarahotel.com)

Lakeview Hotel: as the name suggests, it is situated right on the shore and views are truly wonderful. This stylish mid priced resort offers very large air conditioned rooms with hot water for US$59. There is an excellent restaurant and a helpful tour and travel desk...More details and booking

Getting to Danau Batur

The area is well served by direct buses from Denpasar, Ubud and Singaraja to the village of Kintamani. From here local bemos ply the lake road as far as Penelokan village in the south. Always agree a price beforehand and bargain hard. Shuttle bus services are available from all large resorts such as Kuta, Sanur and Ubud daily.

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