Mount Agung Trekking
Located in the east of the island and culminating at 3,142 meters (10 308 ft), Mount Agung or Gunung Agung is the highest and most sacred mountain in Bali. Mount Agung is not only a mountain, but it is also a dangerous volcano. Indeed, during the 1963 eruption, approximately 1,500 people lost their lives. Tens of thousands more also lost their homes. The flanks of the volcano are highly prized by farmers in the region, as they are very fertile. Be careful, all the same, this volcano is still active and closely monitored by scientists. Fortunately, all this does not prevent its ascent, from the moment you are accompanied by a reliable guide. It is strongly advised not to embark on an ascent alone, at the risk of getting lost.
Mount Agung Sunrise trekking: the legend
Like every important place, Mount Agung is accompanied by a legend made up of false gods and their incredible stories. Regarding the Agung volcano, the story is a bit complicated, but we will try to simplify it for you…
At the beginning of time, the mythical God Sang Hyang Widi, began a long meditation, during which he created the foundations of his universe. It was separated into three parts: the sky was the domain of the gods, the basement was that of the demons and the sea that of the animals.
However, this imperfect god had forgotten to create a place for Men. He then decided to take a large fish from the sea which he transformed into Bali. The eye of this fish has become the famous Mount Agung, its hearing Lake Batur, its caudal fin (the tail of fishes and some other aquatic vertebrates.) the Gunung Abang and its backbone the chain of volcanoes that crosses Bali. The Balinese therefore live today in Bali, land of men, above the world of demons and under the benevolent eye of their legendary gods.
Taken during a descension of Mount Agung, the highest peak on Bali, you can see the highest peak of the island of Lombongon through the sunlight and clouds. Elizabeth.rice, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Climbing Mount Agung
Choose the season for your trekking
Although more difficult than the ascent of its neighbor Mount Batur or Mount Bromo in Java, the trek that leads to the summit of Gunung Agung is accessible to all with good equipment. However, it is preferable to climb during the dry season (March to November) rather than during the rainy season, which can make the trails difficult to pass.
Prepare your trek
|Pura Pasar Agung
Two routes are possible:
1. From Pura Pasar Agung
One starts from Pura Pasar Agung, a temple located on the southern flank of the volcano, 1600 meters (5249 ft) above sea level. It is shorter but does not offer access to the highest point. The second starts from a little lower on the western slopes of the volcano, from Pura Besakih.
The start and the ascent always take place at night, so that you can enjoy the sunrise at the top. It is therefore imperative to have a headlamp to climb! Also, a rain jacket, good shoes and warm clothes – even gloves and a hat! – are recommended. For around IDR 750,000 per person (about € 50), you will treat yourself to the services of a local guide who will accompany you to the crater, including breakfast at the top.
2. From Pura Besakih
From Pura Besakih, count about six hours of ascent and three hours of descent. The trek starts in the jungle, then you’ll gradually leave the tropical forest for these lunar landscapes, and these paths lined with slag. The slope can be steep in some places, the paths sometimes slippery and steep, so caution is advised during the entire ascent and descent.
Arrived at dawn at the top, before the mist and clouds set in, you’ll are struck by this breathtaking panorama – and by the fresh air a little, too! The magical view offered by Gunung Agung is worth the effort made during the night. To the east, you can see Mount Rinjani, which soars majestically towards the sky. You’ll enjoy an absolutely grandiose view of the whole of Bali: its lush vegetation, its hills and its rice terraces, surrounded by this sea on the horizon which extends indefinitely.
The Mother Temple of Besakih, or Pura Besakih, in the village of Besakih on the slopes of Mount Agung in eastern Bali, Indonesia, is the most important, the largest and holiest temple of Hindu religion in Bali. Photo by CEphoto (CC BY-SA 3.0), Uwe Aranas via Wikimedia Commons
Read also: Useful Tips for Visiting Temples in Bali
Indonesia being the geographical area with the greatest concentration of volcanoes in the world, organizing a stay in Bali or the Sunda Islands without tasting the joys of a night trek and the breathtaking views offered by these curiosities of the nature would be missing something!
5 Reasons that will make you visit Mount Agung
From Mount Agung in Bali, the panorama is simply magnificent. Do not hesitate to climb this superb sacred volcano!
1. Because Mount Agung is a remarkable religious symbol
This imposing mount was already considered sacred before the expansion of Hinduism. Nearly 900 meters on one of its flanks, there was a sanctuary where the cults of the mountain and the ancestors were carried out. This site will become one of the best attractions in the area. This is the temple of Besakih. It is the largest Hindu temple in Bali! You must visit it.
Here you will see altars, shrines and precious statues. So take the opportunity to climb the mountain and fetch the palm fronds and wet them with holy water, as the pilgrims to the site do. A fine example of cultural sharing.
2. Because its ascent is a very exciting challenge
It is always very exciting to face such a colossus. Put your muscles to the test, and show your courage by trying to climb this mountain. Several options are available to you to achieve this! You can launch from Besakih Temple to reach the top in approximately 6-7 hours. Others can approach it from Pasar Agung Temple with around 3-4 hours drive.
There is a route located in the north at sakti, very suitable for you who are not very fit physically. So it’s up to you to make your choice! The only thing that is clear is that you will be thrilled whichever path you choose.
3. Because you will discover marvelous valleys there
Other priceless riches surround this mountain. Head to the area between Sidemen and Selat. She is incredibly beautiful! This is the most scenic area in all of Bali. Marvelous rice terraces are observed. Rice being a very popular food in this part of the world, its cultivation is widespread. What will strike you is the care given to the plants. Ingenious!
The decor is very uplifting! You will also see lush wooded hillsides. This area is a real attraction. Make your stay unique by visiting these magical places.
4. Because charming guides will make your visit more rewarding
To allow you to take full advantage of this trip, you are strongly advised to seek the services of a guide. It’s primordial ! Several reasons may justify this state of affairs. The guides, who are generally natives, have a better understanding of the places and will be able to show you around the best places that exist. They know the trails even in bad weather conditions.
They can speak local languages. All this saves you a lot of inconvenience! Given the sacredness of the site, they really put their heart into it to offer you the best memories of your life in complete safety.
5. Because it is a real providential locality
Everything is done in Agung to make it a piece of paradise on earth. Once at the top of the mountain, you will have panoramic views in all directions. Exquisite wildlife is found there! Wild pigs and macaques are present in the wooded depressions of the site. Eagles and falcons are frequently seen there. At the base of the mount, you will see an elegant well-stocked forest.
Observed from several positions, Agung is just grandiose. To top it off, witnessing the sunrise is luminous. It is an extraordinary moment!
Besakih temple with Mount Agung background. Besakih is The Mother Temple of Besakih, or Pura Besakih, in the village of Besakih on the slopes of Mount Agung in eastern Bali, Indonesia, is the most important, the largest and holiest temple of Hindu religion in Bali. Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
The place of Mount Agung in Balinese culture
The Savior Mount
Its size, its majesty, but also its dangerousness have made gunung Agung, literally the “high mountain”, the most sacred mountain in Bali. Nevertheless, it’s a safe bet that Mount Agung has been worshiped for a long time, even before the introduction of Hinduism on the island. Indeed, archaeologists have discovered that Pura Besakih, – the largest and most important Hindu temple in Bali, located 1000 meters above sea level on the southwestern slope of the volcano – was erected on an ancient shrine, several thousand years.
Like every important place, Mount Agung is accompanied by a legend made of Gods and their incredible stories. Regarding the Agung volcano, the story is a bit complicated, but we will try to simplify it for you… At the beginning of time, the mythical God Sang Hyang Widi, began a long meditation, during which he created the foundations of his universe. It was separated into three parts: the sky was the domain of the Gods, the basement was that of the demons and the sea that of the animals.
However, this imperfect God had forgotten to create a place for Men. He then decided to take a large fish from the sea which he transformed into Bali. The eye of this fish has become the famous Mount Agung, its hearing Lake Batur, its caudal fin the Gunung Abang and its backbone the chain of volcanoes that crosses Bali. The Balinese therefore live today in Bali, land of men, above the world of demons and under the benevolent eye of their legendary Gods.
The capricious mountain
Mount Agung is both feared and revered by the Balinese people. Because despite its sometimes deadly anger, it is its eruptions and its deposits of ash and mineral matter on its slopes and in its valleys that make the excellent fertility of the Balinese soil. And the inhabitants return it well, multiplying the offerings and the prayers in his honor, in the hope of obtaining his clemency. During the 1963 eruption, the lava stopped just a few meters from the Pura Besakih temple.
The Balinese saw it as a sign of the Gods who had shown their omnipotence and their anger with this eruption, but ultimately decided to spare their place of worship from the lava. For the inhabitants of the Island of the Gods, Mount Agung is equated with Mount Meru. In Hindu mythology, the latter designates the central mountain, the axis around which the world revolves. Mount Agung at the center of the world is more than enough reason to decide to climb its slopes and reach its summit!
Practical info | Mount Agung trekking preparations
For the ascent, bring good walking shoes, warm clothes, water bottles and torches or headlamps.
Trekking on Mount Agung requires being in good physical shape. Indeed, it is not an ordinary walk, but a hike reserved for the most athletic among you. If you’re out of breath just from walking around your neighborhood, don’t try the adventure. In addition, the ascent is prohibited for women who are menstruating. The Balinese are very superstitious and consider this an omen of bad luck.
When to go there?
It is advisable to climb Mount Agung during the dry season, i.e. from April to September. During the wet season, the paths can be dangerous, as they are too slippery. In addition, the sunrise will be less impressive than in the dry season. Attention, the ascent is prohibited during April, when there is a ceremony at the Besakih temple or at the Pasar Agung temple.
How much does it cost?
Officially, a trek to Mount Agung costs nothing. The only thing you will have to pay for will be your guide. Depending on your negotiating skills, you will get IDR 900,000 to IDR 1,800,000, or about €50 to €100 per person.
Find the right guide
Apart from a good physical condition, you will have to find the right guide, the one who will be able to manage your excursion with pleasure. Some tourists come back very disappointed from their trek because of an incompetent guide or one who does not listen to their needs. We advise you to book through a serious agency and ask for the number of years of experience that the guide has on the counter. If the name of the guide changes at the last minute, refuse! You do not know if the person is competent to accompany you.
At the start of the hike, you may get hot quickly, so a t-shirt should suffice. However, the higher you go, the more the temperatures will drop. So remember to bring a warmer garment. Then, it is advisable to put on real good quality hiking shoes. Finally, take supplies, sandwiches, protein bars, drinks and pharmacy supplies in case of injury.
Photo description: view of Mount Agung from Sanur beach, which is only visible in the morning.
Notes: all prices are subject to change without prior notice.
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