Mount Batur, Kintamani and Toya BungkahHotspring are some of the highlights in the Bangli Regency, central Bali. The wild, rugged landscape of an active volcano aren’t just vistas for adults to enjoy; they instil wonder and an appreciation for nature in children too. A trip to this enchanting caldera makes for a great family day out.
Mount Batur itself is around 80km from Ngurah Rai International Airport, so, on a good day, it takes approximately 2 hours to reach here from the south of the island. One of the shortfalls of the area however is the lack of nice accommodation – although spending the night in Ubud certainly cuts down the journey north.
Sunrise trekking to the summit of the volcano is the most popular activity. As early as 3 am, when the cold, crisp air still shrouds the area, sunrise seekers start their hike through the vegetation at the foot of Batur. As you continue to rise above sea level, the vegetation stays behind, no longer braving the altitude nor the hard volcanic rock.
Of course, hiking the volcano is no mean feat. Younger children and children that are unfit are probably less suited for this trek to the summit at 1,717 metres high. It is certainly a challenge, but the views of the majestic Mount Rinjani (Lombok) and Bali’s Mount Abang and Mount Agung are a great reward.
Travelling with a toddler, however, I found it best to admire the beauty of Batur from Kintamani, on the edge of the caldera that looks down into the crater, filled by the volcano and lake. Here, enjoying homemade pancakes at Kintamani Ecobike Coffee, it seemed a slightly more relaxed way of taking in a view! Eating at our own pace, I told my daughter all about the caldera, how it was the result of a giant eruption that happened thousands of years ago, pointing out to the remnants of Batur’s own eruption in 1968 that left a black scar at its foot, a hardened field of lava.
Fuelled up, we drove down the winding road towards Toya Bungkah Village, stopping at the lava field on the way. Now this is a real education in geology! You’re welcome to walk all over the hardened lava, volcanic stones, touch it with your hands and of course take some photos at this rare landscape.
We saw an interesting project by a local community here, too. They were developing a farming technique and system on the lava field, making it possible for some plants to grow, such as cabbage, chilli, tomatoes, and onions.
By Lake Batur, also at the foot of the volcano, there are two complexes of hot spring pools; one is managed by the local community while the other one is privately managed by Toya Devasya. Both are blessed with marvellous views of Lake Batur and Mount Abang. However, Toya Devasya might be more fun for the kids. The resort and hot spring complex has gone through some renovations and have added an extra splash of fun to their hot spring pools – the first hot spring waterpark on the island ! Two tall slides end at the hot spring pool by the lake and one dedicated pool for kids comes complete with a set of water slides, tube slides, and more.
Meanwhile, us adults can enjoy the hot springs and views ourselves, or bite into one of the local snacks of hot grilled corn and a Kintamani coffee whilst we take in the views.