Blog 7 best hikes in Bali

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With such a variety of landscapes, from iconic paddies and unspoiled rainforest to plantations and villages, Bali is a walker’s dream. This relatively compact and densely populated island is not suited to epic multi-day treks, but the range of day hikes and weekend treks will certainly keep you on your toes.

In West Bali National Park and on the most challenging peaks and volcanoes, you’ll need a guide, but in most cases, you can access and explore even the remotest areas under your own steam. Apart from the interior of the “Wild West,” most of Bali is fairly well populated with invariably welcoming and hospitable villages, so finding provisions is rarely a problem.

These are the best hikes in Bali.

Start hiking Bali’s Mt Batur around 3am, and you’ll reach the summit’s glorious views by sunrise © m-gucci / Getty Images

Mt Batur Sunrise

Best hike for photos

7km (4.4 miles) round trip, 4 hours, moderate

Mt Batur is Bali’s most popular trek – and for good reason. You’ll understand the attraction when you find yourself among 100 other people gasping at the sunrise view from the 1717m (5630ft) summit across the caldera lake and past Mt Agung, the island’s highest peak, to Mt Rinjani on distant Lombok. 

If you start hiking around 3am, you should be on the summit by sunrise. Most visitors organize this as a tour from Ubud for easy access despite the early departure (usually around 1am to 2am depending on the location of your accommodations), and competition among tour operators keeps prices affordable. Balinese Sunrise Trekking and Tour and Indoglobal Adventure are both reliable and well-established operators who run daily treks up Batur. Mason Adventures even offers an opportunity to take in the view over Batur from a helicopter.

It is possible to do this trek independently (it’s hard to get lost, after all), but before you decide to skimp on the outlay, remember that the revenue represents crucial income for guides from rural communities. Tours are usually over by 9am, and you’ll certainly be in the mood for a hearty and healthy Bali breakfast. Take water and an extra layer – it will probably be the coolest spot you’ll see in Bali!

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Spot incredible wildlife in West Bali National Park © feathercollector / Shutterstock

West Bali National Park

Best hike for spotting wildlife

32km (20 miles), 2 days, challenging – but shorter, easy strolls are options, too

This wilderness area in Bali’s far west is likely to make you rethink everything you ever heard about “overcrowded” and “overdeveloped” Bali. In Taman Nasional Bali Barat (West Bali National Park), you can plan anything from a two-hour saunter to a full-blown jungle expedition in a wilderness that was once home to tigers (and rumors of them still abound). 

On Prapat Agung Peninsula, you are likely to be outnumbered by herds of Sunda deer, along with common macaques and rare ebony leaf monkeys. There’s relatively little risk of getting lost on the Prapat Agung Peninsula (the most popular part of the park), but you need a permit and a guide to access the trails of West Bali National Park. The most convenient park office, right at the entrance to the park on Prapat Agung, is near a village called Sumber Kelompok, north of Gilimanuk. Arrive the afternoon before to make arrangements so that you can depart at first light the next morning to take advantage of cooler conditions and more visible wildlife. 

Guide charges vary (sometimes wildly), and you should expect to haggle. A good guide can help you to spot giant squirrels (larger than domestic cats), giant monitor lizards and many of Bali’s estimated 280-odd bird species. In the park (along with the most challenging peaks and volcanoes) an experienced and knowledgeable guide is not only a worthwhile investment in safety terms, but can also often turn a simple trek into a truly unforgettable experience. 

Sekumpul Waterfall

Best hike for a waterfall swim

2.4km (1.5 miles) round trip, 1 hour, easy

The spectacular Sekumpul Waterfall is just far enough off the beaten track to dodge the high visitor numbers of more accessible spots, such as Gitgit Waterfall, Banyumala Waterfalls and Jembong Waterfall. Dropping a total of about 80m (262ft) into the fern-shrouded pool, Sekumpul is actually a group of up to seven falls that converge – the name means “coming together” – at this spot. This experience is less of a trek than the perfect reason for a wonderful cool-off swim in one of Bali’s most idyllic beauty spots. Other, even less well-known waterfalls (known as Hidden and Fiji Falls) lie within easy access of the Sekumpul trail.

You’ll find a ticket office in the parking lot where you can pay the admission fee. A three-tier pricing structure is in place. There’s an entrance fee of IDR20,000 per person (about US$1.40), which allows you “view only” access to see Sekumpul Waterfall from a distance. “Medium trekking” access for US$9 gets you a guide and provides a donation to the local village and the opportunity to swim at the foot of the falls, plus entry to nearby Hidden Falls. The “Long Trekking” (US$14) ticket is essentially the same, plus it also gives access to Fiji Falls, though it’s less spectacular than the other waterfalls. 

Batukaru overnight summit

Best hike for Bali bragging rights

19km (12 miles) round trip, 2 days, challenging

At 2276m (7467ft), Batukaru is Bali’s second highest peak, yet one of the least trodden mountains on the island. Two paths head to the top, but neither sees a lot of footsteps, and both can become overgrown in the wet season (from October to February). Most hikers start from Pura Luhur Batukaru on the southern flank, but the northwestern trailhead at Pura Malen, sitting at around 1000m (3280ft) altitude, is even more isolated. 

With a good level of fitness, you can reach the summit in less than four hours, so if you start at dawn, you could make the climb up and down in a single day. But for more of an adventure, plan to camp on the summit. It can be cold at the top, so take a tent and sleeping bag, and be sure to carry plenty of water because you can’t always rely on streams. Batukaru is unspoiled Bali at its best.

Explore the iconic paddies and unspoiled rainforests of Bali © Pete Seaward / Lonely Planet

Mt Agung

Best hike for pushing your limits

14.5km (9 miles) round trip, 10 hours, challenging

The summit of Mt Agung – along with up to 12km (7.5 miles) of its surroundings – have been off-limits since the 2018 eruption. Mt Agung is currently inaccessible, but could open again to the public soon. When it does, it is fair to say that hikers will once again be lining up to climb what is Indonesia’s most iconic volcano. From the summit, as you sit high above the clouds at 3031m (9944ft) above sea level, it’s easy to imagine that you are on top of the world and (as the Balinese Hindus believe) in the domain of the gods. Even during periods when mighty Agung has been relatively “peaceful,” it is wise to get up-to-date advice on conditions and to hire an experienced and knowledgeable guide. Agung is not for the faint-hearted. The climb to the top is normally six to seven hours, and the descent is markedly quicker.

Munduk’s Twin Lakes

Best hike for unspoiled lake views

8km (5 miles) one way, 3-4 hours, moderate

A beautiful trail links the two highland lakes of Danau Tamblingan and Danau Buyan through shaded highland forest and along pristine lakeside paths. You’re unlikely to see other hikers in this rarely visited area, although in recent years the beautiful backdrops with their reflected peaks have become popular with wedding photographers who are lured not just by the photogenic scenery but also by ease of access. 

Be sure to allow time to explore several picturesque temples, including the exquisite little Pura Ulun Danau Tamblingan. Take a sarong to wear to dress appropriately if a temple is in use. If you have a driver, the walk can be done in only one direction. Parking areas can be found beside both lakes, so you can be picked up at the opposite end. 

 Walk by fruit trees and through jungle valleys on a hike in Bali © Vetta / Getty Images

Campuhan Ridge Walk

Best accessible hike

3.2km (2 miles) round trip, 1.5 hours, easy

For such a short stroll, the Campuhan Ridge Walk is surprisingly diverse, taking in beautiful paddies, fruit trees, jungle valleys and even a temple (Pura Gunung Lebah). But this hike can get hot because there’s little shade to be found on top of the ridge. Nevertheless, this walk makes a pleasantly gentle stroll that, despite being labeled a ridge walk, is not too steep for small children. 

The route is paved – although not smoothly enough to enable wheelchairs or strollers – making it accessible even in rainy season when the terrace and jungle tracks around Ubud are impassably boggy. You’ll find a couple of pleasant cafes and warungs (local eateries) at the end of the ridge, so kids can be motivated with the promise of a healthy smoothie at the end. If you’re staying in central Ubud, you don’t need transport to get to the trailhead near Campuhan Bridge: it’s less than 1km (0.6 miles) from Ubud Market. Ubud residents enjoy this walk, so as an added bonus, it’s a good opportunity to bump into more of those wonderful Balinese people.

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