Think of Bali and the familiar images pop up: terraced rice paddies, surfer culture, graceful parades of women carrying temple offerings through the streets. Part of the backdrop to all of this what makes those paddies so fertile, what helped shaped the shoreline that draws those surfers, what gives the island’s Hindu beliefs their animist underpinnings is the volcanic core of the island.
See some of Bali’s most spectacular scenery while coasting down winding roads past volcanic vistas and pedalling along secret back streets through traditional Balinese villages and fields. These mountains are a natural draw for people. For decades they have gazed at the soaring Mount Agung, or looked down from the rim of the stunning caldera that features the active volcano of Mount Batur at its centre. Some have gone further: hiking down into the caldera to then hike up Mount Batur itself.
Cycle through colourful Balinese towns passing through the charming villages which is famous for its magnificent panorama of the rice field terraces in this area. Riding atop these volcanoes: heading down into the calderas, circling the crater lakes and cruising through blackened fields of solid lava is only the start though. On the outer slopes, the steepest gradients provide exciting, undulating descents down to more populated areas where the emerald paddies begin and the slope eases off. Here we have linked countless kilometers of interweaving trails, some of it is on generously wide roadway but there’s plenty of tight single track too.
The route you cycle will take you along a mix of quiet roads, dirt tracks and paths through the paddy fields. You will pass through small local villages where you will see cages of fighting cocks, coffee and rice being dried out under the sun, and local people just going about their day to day work. Views of the stunning paddy fields in this area are plentiful and you will feel miles away from the hustle and bustle of southern Bali. Along the way you will pass several temples, if you wish to visit them you will need to cover up so it is recommended that you bring a sarong (or tell your guide at the start if you don’t have one and he can find you one for you to buy for a minimal cost in the village).
A medium level of fitness is required for the cycle. Some of the terrain is bumpy in parts and you will cycle alongside small streams used to irrigate the paddy fields so a good degree of balance is needed.
Ascent of Mount Agung
Mount Agung is Bali’s highest and most sacred mountain. At 3,142m its peak can be seen from right across the island and the Hindu population all line their beds toward it and sleep with their heads pointing in its direction as a sign of respect. The last major eruption was in 1963 but the crater often still smokes and billows. Bali’s Mother Temple of Besakih is built high on the slopes and it was considered miraculous that lava flows from the 1963 eruption missed the temple and this added to the importance of the mountain.
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