The Great Outdoors in Bali
Information on the facilities in Bali for outdoors activities: walks, hikes and cycling activities in the area...
Did you know?
- Bali's central mountains include several peaks that are over 3,000m high. All Bali's mountains are volcanoes, the highest of which is Mount Agung (3,142m), known as the 'mother mountain', an active volcano which last erupted in 1963. More active is Mount Batur (1,717m), which permanently smoulders but is one of Indonesia's most accessible active volcanoes, taking two hours to climb
- Bali has several lakes, including two important crater lakes, Danau Batur and Danau Bratan
- Bali's longest river is the Ayung River, which flows for approximately 75 Km
West Bali National Park
West Bali National Park (Taman Nasional Bali Barat) is located on Bali's northwestern side and covers around 190 square kilometres, of which 158 square kilometres are land and the remainder coral reef and coastal waters. The park's headquarters are at Cekik, near Gilimanuk.
The seaport of Gilimanuk lies to the west of the park, and the village of Goris is to the east. The National Park can be reached by roads from Gilimanuk and Singaraja, or by ferry from Ketapang, Java. There is a visitors' centre at Labuhan Lalang with maps and information.
The park's main attraction is diving and snorkelling on Pulau Menjangan although the standard of facilities is limited.
There are several habitats in the national park: a coastal savannah with deciduous trees, mangroves on the coastal lowlands, and over 200 species of plants. The centre of the park is dominated by the remnants of four volcanic mountains, of which the highest is Gunung Patas, at 1,412m.
Wildlife includes black monkeys, barking deer and Java deer, wild pigs, buffalos, iguanas, pythons and green snakes, as well as numerous kinds of birds including the endangered Bali Starling.
Trekking is possible when accompanied by an authorised guide. There are treks of two hours, four hours and seven hours to choose from.
Hiking and Trekking
There are many beautiful walks and treks around Bali. The active volcano of Mount Batur is a popular climb, and has two main routes. The shorter route takes approximately two hours, starting from Pura Jati, and the longer route departs from Toya Bungkah.
To climb Mount Agung there are two main routes, with overnight climbs organised from Besakih, starting at 22:00 to arrive at the summit in time for sunrise. Weather conditions are known to change quickly and waterproof clothing must always be taken. There is no drinking water available en route.
Easier and more popular is the climb starting from the Pura Pasar Agung temple, which leads along the lower edge of the crater rim, but does not reach the summit itself. Many climbers start this trail at 04:00 for a sunrise view of the eastern and southern parts of Bali.
There are many organised treks around the Ubud area, through rice paddy terraces and bamboo forests, with guides pointing out flora and fauna such as wild orchids and a variety of birds.
It should be noted that hiking is prohibited during times when religious ceremonies take place.
Cycling and mountain biking
Mountain bikes can be rented all over the island, allowing cyclists the freedom to explore the island by themselves, but there are also a number of guided tours available which usually include transportation, refreshments and lunch. These range from mountain biking around Mount Batur, to cycling through the villages and rice paddies around Ubud.
There are several horse riding stables in Bali, with many tour operators organising hotel pick-up and transportation. Some stables have ponies suitable for children. Popular spots for horse riding include Canggu with trails through rice fields; Sanur, with rides available on the black sands of Saba Beach and into plantations of banana trees and pineapples; and Yeh Gangga Beach, west of Tanah Lot temple, which offers a number of trails and even swimming with horses, weather permitting.
Paragliding is very popular in Bali, with the flying season lasting from April to November. There are several flight locations; Timbis, the main flight zone and training centre; Gunung Payung, situated two kilometres east of Timbis (not recommended for novices); Mount Batur; and Candidasa, which offers dynamic and thermal flying. Tandem flights and courses are all available on Bali, as is temporary membership of the Bali Paragliders Club.
Kitesurfing is available on Sanur Beach, with private or group lessons, beginners' and intermediate programmes and equipment for sale or rent.
There are two places where riding Sumatran elephants is possible: The Taro Elephant Safari Park and the Bali Elephant Camp, both in Ubud, with excursions bookable through many operators.