The 8 Best Hikes in Bali

10 Oct 2021

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Bali is an island blessed with a variety of landscapes, including a mountainous interior crowned by stunning volcanoes, jungle clad hills, and a coastal strip full of beaches, headlands, and agricultural land. Going for a hike is the best way to explore, as along the way you'll discover diverse wildlife, historic temples, heavenly waterfalls, and much more.

Here are our favourite places to hike in Bali.

Mount Batur sunrise trek

Mount Batur

The climb to the summit of Mount Batur is one of the most popular walking routes in Bali, and doing it in time for sunrise is an experience that will stay with you for life. You’ll need to endure a 1am wake-up call to get ready for the ascent, but it's worth it, as the mountain offers some of the most spectacular views on the island. It takes about two hours to scale the peak, and the only way to do so is with a licensed guide. You also have to climb in darkness, with just your headtorch to light the way, making the experience disorientating yet exhilarating. Once you reach the summit, 1717 metres above sea level, you'll be welcomed with warm tea, banana sandwiches, eggs (cooked in the hot volcanic ground), and breathtaking starscapes. Remember to take a warm jacket to snuggle up in as you wait for the sun to rise so you can enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside in comfort.

Campuhan Ridge Walk

Campuhan Ridge Walk

There are countless opportunities for trekking in the hills around Ubud. One of the most attractive routes is the Campuhan Ridge Walk, a short, easy hike along paved paths that cross fields of long grass, and the views over the surrounding forests and river valleys are lovely. It's a popular route, especially around sunset and sunrise, so you may have to wait in line while other visitors take photos. Perhaps try doing the walk after sunrise or before sunset to avoid both the crowds and the strongest of the sun's rays. The route starts near the Warwick Ibah Villas in Ubud, and runs for a kilometre along the ridge. You’ll arrive at a quiet little village at the other end, and it's worth continuing your walk along the lane as there are plenty of places to grab a coffee, a cold drink, or some lunch before you head back to Ubud.

West Bali National Park

This national park, also known as Bali Barat, is at the western end of Bali and covers about 3% of the island's land area. Independent trekking is not allowed in the park, so you’ll need a guide and a permit, but it's worth it as the range of flora and fauna here is incredible. Your guide can point out different species (they include wild deer, monitor lizards, monkeys, and 160 types of bird) and explain more about the local ecosystems, which include rainforests, mangroves, savannah, and beaches. Trekking routes include the Tegal Bunder Trail, an easy 2-hour hike offering plenty of birdwatching opportunities, and the Gunung Klatakan Trail, a much more challenging hike through the rainforest that takes around eight hours to complete.

Mount Agung Hike

Mount Agung

Bali's highest peak is the sacred 3031-metre-high Mount Agung (Gunung Agung). From its summit, you can see right across Bali and across to the neighbouring island of Lombok (including the even taller Mount Rinjani) on a clear day. It's also popular with trekkers heading up to see the stunning colourful sunrises. Whatever time of day you go, a climb to the top should not be taken lightly. It's a strenuous 6-hour hike to reach the summit, and the path can be slippery in places, while regular rock falls mean the route can change, so you'll need to book a reputable expert guide. It's also an active volcano — a series of eruptions between 2017 and 2019 led to the evacuation of thousands of local residents and the closure of Denpasar Airport — so always check if the route is open first.

Candidasa

The backroads around Candidasa, on the southeast coast of Bali, offer some relatively easy hikes that take you through pretty scenery. You can head north from Candidasa along jungle-fringed trails to the ancient village of Tenganan, then continue across gentle hills to the picture-postcard villages of Macang and Ngis, along lanes that look almost manicured, with their grass verges and palm trees, while you can see also the peak of Mount Agung across the rice paddies. The circular trek back to Candidasa can take around five hours — consider hiring a guide to keep you on the right route, and if you want to shave a couple of hours off the hike, arrange transport to Tenganan and back from Ngis. You can reward yourself with a dip in the ocean and lunch at Candidasa.

Lake Tamblingan

Lake Tamblingan

North central Bali is full of lush rainforest and volcanic peaks, and it's a great place to spend a couple of days hiking in temperatures that are pleasantly cooler than the coast. The village of Munduk is an ideal starting point for a hike, as there are around 12 routes of varying difficulty that lead to many local attractions, including jungle waterfalls and hidden temples. One of them takes you between Lake Tamblingan and nearby Lake Buyan. These volcanic lakes are known as the Twin Lakes, and the hike that passes them both lasts 3-4 hours. The Red Coral Waterfall trek, meanwhile, is around two hours long and not difficult, and these jungle falls are stunning. You can also trek up to the summit of Mount Lesung, which takes around 5-6 hours, for views over Munduk and Lake Tamblingan — you'll need a guide if you’re attempting this walk.

Sambangan (Secret Garden)

The Sambangan forest of northern Bali gets its nickname the Secret Garden because it's a little bit of paradise that's off the main tourist trail. You can take a 3- to 4-hour trek through this lovely landscape, passing coffee, banana, and cocoa plantations, rice paddies, and patches of lush jungle. The route also takes in a series of waterfalls, including Puncak Sari (the Blue Lagoon), which is like something out of a lost world, with its blue waters and backdrop of hanging jungle vines. Take your swimming gear if you want to cool off by taking a dip in the falls. There are also many guided walks available in the area.

Tegallalang Rice Terraces

Tegallalang Rice Terraces

These stunning rice terraces are close to the village of Tegallalang, about 20 minutes' drive north of Ubud. A number of trails run through the rice fields and coconut groves that surround the village, some of them with stepping-stone-like paths, and you can see the workers in the fields. You’re free to walk around, but carry some change as donations from tourists help workers maintain the site. The area's most remarkable sight is the terraces; you can climb up to different levels and take in the views across the small valley they cling to (note there's an entrance fee for the terraces). Once you've explored, reward yourself with a drink or something to eat on the veranda of one of the cafés that look down over them.

Nick Elvin contributed to this post.

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