Agung: the highest volcano in Bali

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Agung Volcano in Bali

I climbed the highest volcano in Bali and 4th highest in Indonesia! It was long, tought and unbelievably cool: we spent 12 hours at the Mount Agung (from the start until the finish), slept under the sky full of stars, climbed extremely steep cliff (at some places 45 degrees) and observed incredible sunrise from the summit of 3000m. It was he most  physically difficult, but most incredible, thing I have ever done so far! When other tourists had left the summit and we stayed alone, I screamed from happiness!

Mount Agung, with its peak at 3142m is the highest point in Bali. Agung is an active volcano; its last eruption is dated back in 1963 and recorded as one of the largest eruptions in 20th century. Agung is a secret mountain to Balinese people. There are two routes to climb: an ‘easy’ shorter path starts at Pura Pasar Agung (1700m) and brings you to 3000m; the second route starts at Pura Besakih and goes up to the highest peak of Agung, 3142m, with the panoramic view of the whole island. On Thursday, 11.06.15, one of my friends from Quebec and I took the shorter path and climbed Agung, alone, without the guide.

My backpack contained canon 60D with 24-105 lens, GoPro Hero 4, 2 litres of water, 1 small bottle of local Gatorade, few energy bars, buckwheat for breakfast and one t-shirt to change. I was wearing my warm hoody, long-sleeve shirt, t-shirt, boyfriend jeans and ankle sneakers for 10€. And I had my motorbike rain coat with me.

The hike: 

We reached Pura Pasar Agung with our motorbikes around 11pm. There were few local people waiting at the parking area, but they seemed not to be interested in us and did not try to offer their guide service. We started the climb without switching on our pocket light, avoiding to get more attention from the guides. It worked, as they kept on talking to each other. There were quite a lot of stairs to go up before we reached the temple itself. The path to climb Agung is on the left from the temple entrance! Suddenly, another guide showed up and started to offer us his service. We said no, thanked him and asked where is the path. He told us ‘no guide, no good’, and pointed out wrong direction to us. Why was I not surprised about that? The first 30 min of the hike was a hell, really steep narrow path, going through the bushes. There was actually no real path, just some sort of a way going up. After 30 min, we finally reached the ‘real’ way and continued our hike!

I do not want to lie: yes, it was hard! It took us long to get to the top, because of 3 reasons. (1) We wanted to sleep on the way up. And it was so amazing, sleeping under the sky full of stars. The only sound we heard was the sound of the wind. (2) I realized that I don’t like to be pushed and want to enjoy my walk. I was stopping quite a lot, looking up at the amazing sky full of stars and hearing the wind. With every step the sky seemed to get closer and closer; just a few more steps and I could touch it with my hand. (3) We had plenty of time and there was absolutely no point to rush. And I must say, this was the perfect hike for me! It took us a while to get up, but when we were on the top, we were not exhausted. I was tired, but I had my energy and power.

The last 2 hours of the climb was really steep and rough, 45° angle in some parts. I had to help and lift myself with my arm. It was very windy, sometimes I had to stop and wait until the wind will calm down a bit, as I had a feeling it was going to blow me away. Call me crazy, but I absolutely loved these last 2 hours of the hike. It was like a meditation: I had to be present in the moment, and think about my next step. It gave me energy and I didn’t feel the pain in my legs any more. It was dangerous as well, one wrong step, and you could end up flying down the cliff. We got to the summit on time for the sunrise, and it was so beautiful, unbelievable, unrealistic, magnificent, and breathtaking. I was standing many meters above the clouds, looking down at Bali and neighbouring Island Lombok. I had a feeling I was on the top of the world!

The way back:

The first 1,5 hours was fun and quite easy for me. In some parts I had to slide down on my ass, because it was so steep. It was very windy, and even my beanie and hoody were not helping. Then the part with more and more trees and ground came: it was slippery and more difficult to walk. But it was so beautiful around, we were still walking above the clouds. We’ve made a few stops to enjoy the view and eat breakfast. Then we walked into the clouds: here, the trees were green and everything was covered with fog. At that point, I started to feel pain in my knee (never ever had this problem before) and my body was already very executed from sleepless night and long physical activity. The last hour was the longest one: every minute we were thinking just a few more steps, but no, the road kept on going and going. We finally got down to our bikes around 11am. In total, we had stayed for 12 hours at Mount Agung.

The way back with the bikes was not as hard as I thought it would be, especially after the snickers bar I left in my bike. We drove fast and without stops for 1,5 hours. The only thing we had on our minds was shower and bed. I have 3 years experience driving a motorbike, from which 8 month were in Asia, so I was fine. I would, however, NOT suggest doing the same for someone unexperienced or driving 2 people on the same bike, as it does require more concentration and energy.

What I would suggest to take with:

1. Stable, comfy, ankle shoes! Yes, my newly purchased ankle sneakers (for 10€ only) were the best thing I bought for this hike!
2. Bring lots of water with you! It does get hot on the way back.
3. Head-lamp, very helpful!
4. Bring snacks with you, energy bars were my life-savers!
5. Something warm and wind-proof: it was very windy on the top! I had my motorbike rain coat with me!

Climbing Mount Agung was very hard physically, but the most memorable and incredible adventure I have ever done! It was amazing, breathtaking, I felt so free and happy, I felt how the energy was flowing though my body when I was looking down from the summit. The next time I am in Bali, I am going to the top again, taking the longer path!

Be happy, do what you like to do and choose your own speed for doing it***

Star sky at Mount Agung_1

Star sky at Mount Agung_2

Sunrise on Agung volcano_1

Sunrise on Agung volcano_2

Sunrise on Agung volcano_3

View of Rinjani volcano

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Shadow of Agung volcano

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Sunrise on Agung volcano_6

Sunrise on Agung volcano_7

Sunrise on Agung volcano_9

Shoes for trekking

Sunrise on Agung volcano_10

Sunrise on Agung volcano_11

Crater of Agung

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Way down Agung volcano_2

Way down Agung volcano_3

Steep cliff Agung volcano

Above the clouds Agung volcano_1

Above the clouds Agung volcano_2

Above the clouds Agung volcano_4

Way down Agung volcano_4

Way down Agung volcano_5

 

One Thought on “Agung: the highest volcano in Bali

  1. Pingback: Mt. Agung: the highest peak of Bali | the Dreamer Lab

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