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Bali is perhaps best known for its spectacular beaches and laid-back atmosphere, but for those who are looking for something a little bit more adventurous, the island is full of great trails for hiking. Most of Bali’s hiking trails offer spectacular views and are varied enough for all levels, from novice hikers to fitness enthusiasts.
The best time to hike in Bali is during the dry season (May to September), as this will give you the best chance of a clear view and a non-slippery trail. Read on for some more top tips on Bali trekking, including the following list of the island's top 10 hiking trails.
If you are interested in visiting other sites in Bali, then check out the top things to do in Bali.
- Tia Kaye
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Mount Batur, or Gunung Batur, is by far one of Bali's most well-known hikes. Towering over the island at 1,717 m high, Mount Batur is an active volcano that overlooks Lake Batur. Most people choose to leave early in the morning for Mount Batur's famous sunrise views — but to do this you would have to depart around 4 am, so if you're not a morning person you might want to make another plan.
There are two main routes for this Bali hike. The most popular, and most difficult, leaves from either Pura Jati or Toya Bungkah on Lake Batur, taking about two to three hours to reach the summit. The easier trail involves driving towards Songan, turning left at Serongga and driving until you reach a car park. From there, it's only about 45 minutes to the top. Either way, it is best to arrange a guide to accompany you. Finish your hike by helping your tired muscles relax in the hot springs nearby — there are plenty of options available, some free and some for a fee.
If you want to experience a breathtaking sunrise from the top of Mount Batur then check out this Exotic Sunrise Hike of Mount Batur tour.
As the island's highest mountain, Mount Agung is considered Bali's most sacred volcano, thought by the locals to be a replica of Mount Meru, the central axis of the universe. This is a popular but incredibly challenging Bali trek and, like Mount Batur, it is often enjoyed for its sunrise — but bear in mind you would have to leave even earlier to enjoy it. At 3,031 meters tall, it takes about 12 hours to hike (6–7 hours each way) if you depart from the Besakih temple.
Alternatively, you can leave from Pura Pasar Agung for a slightly shorter hike of 3–4 hours each way. Both routes require a guide.
Tip: It is prohibited to hike Mount Agung during religious holidays.
The area of Tirtagangga in eastern Bali (Abang) is best known for its mid-20th-century water palace, its beautiful lush rice fields and the irrigation systems that stream among them. However, the area also has several enjoyable hiking trails. Leisurely hikers can simply take a couple of hours to stroll around the area, whereas more experienced hikers can arrange to have a guide take them along a more challenging route.
A great option is the linear trail from Tirtagangga that takes you through the charming villages of Lempuyang, Bukit Kusami and Budakaling, lasting about 6 hours in total. When finished, pop into the Taman Tirta Gangga water palace for a dip in its large swimming pool, or enjoy some of the local craftsmanship in the nearby villages. It costs about 40,000 IDR (USD 2.83) per person to enter the area.
Tip: It's best to tackle these trails in the early morning to avoid the heat.
Candidasa is a very hilly area, perfect for some great Bali hikes. The main hiking trail here leaves from Tenganan, a small ancient village in the regency of Karangasem. The trail continues on to the neighbouring villages of Macang and Ngis, passing through rainforests and rice fields along the way, before turning around back to Tenganan. This trek isn't very long and only should take a couple of hours, but it is best when done with a guide – though you are permitted to do it yourself if you're feeling very adventurous and have a good sense of direction. Like most Bali treks, leave early in the morning to avoid the sweltering heat.
West Bali National Park is found on the island's western coast and is mostly made up of a well-preserved forest. It is also home to a rare species of bird, the endangered Bali starling. Hiking trails through this gorgeous park might allow you to catch a glimpse of some of its other animals, from wild pigs and monkeys to mice and munkac (barking deer).
From there, you can park your car and your guide will take you on a roughly 7–hour hike through the park. Other hikes are also available lasting about one to two hours each, such as the Prapat Agung trail in the north or the Teluk Terima trail near the Labuan Lalang jetty. Be sure to bring your camera for some great wildlife photography opportunities, and your swimsuit for a spot of snorkelling at the park's marine park.
There's a good reason for this trail's nickname, as the Secret Garden is tucked away within the Sambangan jungle in Northern Bali. This Bali hiking trail starts at the Sambangan Secret Garden Waterfall car park. From there, it's about 3 to 4 hours hike to reach the three spectacular waterfalls: Pucuk, Kroya and Kembar. Along the way, you'll pass some rice paddies and delicious crops of coffee, cocoa, palm sugar and bananas.
Tip: Be sure to bring your swimsuit for a refreshing dip before heading back to your car.
Munduk is one of Bali's best areas for hiking enthusiasts, with 12 gorgeous hiking trails to choose from, including the 2-hour Red Coral Waterfall hike to the challenging 6-hour Dutch Colonial trek. You'll be treated to views of waterfalls, hidden temples, rainforests and more. Be sure to do a little extra research beforehand to find a trail that best suits your skill level (and what you want to see), and then hire a guide so you don't get lost.
The village of Munduk is easily reached, not far from Bedugul, the name given to Bali’s central highlands. You can get a private driver from where you are staying or rent a motorbike from Bedugul. Munduk is relatively small and all its trails are signposted.
Local tip: Be sure to enjoy a hot cup of Luwak coffee in the town when you're done and have a chat with the friendly locals.
In the popular, charming village of Ubud, you'll find the Campuhan Ridge Walk, a short and easy Bali hike on a paved road that takes you through a stunning jungle landscape. The hike begins near the Ibah Hotel — keep an eye out for the signs that say, "going to the hill" and "this way trekking Campuhan Ridge". This pleasant walk isn't difficult and is best enjoyed in the early morning before the sun becomes too hot, or in the late afternoon when the day begins to cool again. It's only about a 2 km walk to the Karsa Kafe, where you can stop for some delicious breakfast before turning back to where you started.
Sekumpul is the highest and by far the most stunning waterfall in all of Bali, and the hike to Sekumpul is equally enchanting. On this 100-meter hike (it's a stroll, really) to the waterfall, you'll pass some temples, rice fields, monuments and vibrant orchards, along with friendly locals waving to you from outside their homes. The area is only about 6 km from Singaraja and is easily located thanks to some signage. Simply park your vehicle at the designated parking lot in Sekumpul village, pay for your ticket, and you'll be in there in no time — no guide necessary for this one.
Finally, Mount Catur is yet another one of Bali's incredible volcanoes. This particular mountain looms over Lake Bratan, Bali’s second largest lake, and is in Candi Kuning Village in the highlands — not far from highway Bedugul. This is a relatively cold area, as far as the island's weather typically goes, and a great respite from the Bali heat. You start your ascent at the Gua Jepang caves, which were built by prisoners of war in WWII, climbing for about three hours alongside views of rice fields, jungle and the lake (but only if it's not too misty). At the very top, there's a small ancient temple where you can even spend the night.
Tip: After your descent, try some waterskiing on the lake or rent a paddle boat (if your legs aren't too tired!).
It's easy to see that there are so many beautiful Bali hiking trails to enjoy, whether you want to discover some tucked away temples or some of the island's most spectacular waterfalls. Which hike will you be tackling on your visit to Bali?
Before you plan a trip to Bali, be sure to check out when is the best time to visit Bali.