We know Bali for its beautiful beaches, luxury resorts, and dynamic dining scene – but with terraced rice fields, emerald forestry, and rugged mountains, the Island of the Gods of so much more to offer. Bali’s varied terrain and picture-perfect scenery offers a refreshing change from our concrete jungle surroundings; their meandering trails that snake past vast landscapes make hiking one of the best ways to bask in the island’s beauty.
Thankfully, there are a wide-ranging variety of treks to suit different fitness levels and preferences. From rice field walks to volcano hikes, here are some of the best trails you’ll one to fit into your next Bali vacation:
West Bali National Park
Spread out over 19,003 hectares, the extensive grounds of West Bali National Park is home to mangroves, rainforests, monsoon forests, savannahs and the spectacular coral reefs of Menjangan Island. Containing close to 200 species of flora and fauna, and about 160 bird species, it’s a destination that will appeal to bird watching enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. While a significant portion of the park is used for conservation and research, trekking through the official trails is permitted when accompanied by a national park guide (guide services are included if you’re booking a tour).
A variety of trails cater to different schedules and fitness levels. Tight on time? Go for the Prapat Agung trail; located in the northern region of the park, the trek takes between one to two hours to complete. The same can be said of the Teluk Terima and Tegal Blunder trails; the latter particularly popular trail among avid birdwatchers and can be easily combined with a boat ride around Gilimanuk Bay. For a more rigorous hike, set off for the Gunung Klatakan trail. A trek across this trail typically lasts about eight hours, and provides opportunities for enjoying a scenic rainforest landscape and spotting wildlife.
Pro-tip: Seasons and weather do affect the trails, so do ask your guides about other trekking opportunities available at the time of your visit.
Tirtagangga Rice Fields Walk
Branching out from around the picture-perfect Tirtagangga Water Palace are numerous trails that lead across extensive rice fields and traditional villages. A popular trail takes trekkers from Tirta Gangga to the village of Budakaling. What makes this village stand out is its vibrant arts and culture scene; the area is home to communities of painters, sculptors, dancers and metalsmiths, and getting a glimpse into the communities here adds a cultural dimension to your hiking adventure.
If you’ve got more time on your hands, it’s worth attempting the entire route from Tirtagangga and back; this trek lasts about six hours in total and snakes along the rice fields out to the charming villages of Lempuyang, Bukit Kusambi and Budakaling.
And while it’s fairly easy making your way about on your own, a guided rice field tour provides a more immersive experience; you’ll get insights on how rice is grown in the vicinity, and venture off the main path out to treks that snake past rice paddies, hilltops and through the villages.
A trek through Munduk promises to be a feast for your senses; the cool mountain climate, coupled with the region’s scenic landscape make for an enjoyable hike. You’ll make your way past winding rivers, lush coconut groves, flower plantations sprinkled with colourful blooms and neatly terraced fields dotted with villages. Beyond the sights and sounds of nature, the trek is a great way to discover the day-to-day activities of the locals – from watching them prepare beautifully crafted offerings for daily prayers, to completing a variety of tasks in coffee and clove plantations.
A two-hour trek will suit vacationers in the mood for a leisurely stroll, while those seeking a more challenging hike will enjoy the three to four-hour-long treks. Experienced hikers will feel at ease setting off without a guide, but if you aren’t comfortable with exploring on your own, guided tours can be easily arranged.
Don’t forget to bring your swimsuits along to round off your trek with a dip in the sparkling waterfall pools!
Tamblingan Jungle Trekking
A trek through the dense forestry of Tamblingan jungle is for vacationers with the taste for off the beaten adventures, as the region’s remoteness and unspoilt scenery offers a refreshing change from the bustling tourist hotspots down south.
The shortest hike through the forest lasts about two hours, while longer treks last up to six hours. Towering trees, exotic plant species and jungle bird life are present in the forest grounds, along with temple ruins and debris of structures dating back to the 10th century. Depending on the choice of your tour, your trek may include a walk along the banks of the picturesque Lake Tamblingan, as well as a ride across the lake on a dugout canoe. Do note that guides are required here, as visitors aren’t allowed in the park without supervision.
Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
A hike up to the soaring summit of Mt. Batur (it stands 1,717 m above sea level) isn’t a walk in the park – there are tricky terrains and slippery rocks to navigate – but hikers are well rewarded with incredible vistas out to the rugged mountains, glistening Lake Batur and a sky awash with the colours of sunrise at the end of the trek.
Depending on where you’re staying at, you’ll likely have to head out by 2am to travel out to the starting point of the hike. Most trekkers take about five hours to hike up and descend from the summit, but you may want to factor in additional time for breaks or for trekking at a more leisurely pace. Layering up is key as temperatures fluctuate; it’ll be cold and damp in the wee hours of the morning, but bright and hot when you start your descent from the peak. You’ll also need a torch at the beginning of the trek, so bring along one if your guide doesn’t provide torches.
Pro-tip: It’s worth the effort of sieving through social media channels and TripAdvisor for recommended tour agencies and guides, as you’ll want to steer clear of agencies that go ahead with selling tours in spite of poor weather conditions. Also, pack in plenty of snacks to refuel during your break times.
This article was contributed by our friends at Villa-Bali.com.
Top photo courtesy of chee.hong