Kintamani is a village on the western edge of the larger caldera wall of Gunung Batur in Bali, Indonesia. It is on the same north-south road as Penelokan and has been used as a stopping place to access and view the Gunung Batur region. The mountainous region around Kintamani, centering on the spectacular volcanic caldera of Mt Batur with its deep crater lake and bubbling hot springs, is rugged with a high and wild beauty.
Wonderful mountain air and dizzying views in all directions, as well as several important temples, are what makes Kintamani (being) one of the most memorable stops on the Bali tourist itinerary.
As well as the lake and the volcano, Kintamani is home to Pura Ulun Danu Batur, one of Bali’s key nine directional temples. Pura Ulun Danu Batur, located near Batur village is the most important temple after Besakih, housing more than 90 shrines. Worth visiting at any time of year, especially during the Odalan festival, usually in March depending on the full moon, which is dedicated to the goddess of the crater lake, who is said to control the irrigation systems for the entire island.
The main attraction for visitors is located around Lake Batur where Penelokan village provides spectacular views of this crater lake and Mount Batur, set in a vast volcanic caldera. Photo opportunities abound, but try to be there as early in the morning as you can manage before the cloud inevitably starts to gather.
Further northwest along the rim of the caldera is Pura Ulun Danau Batur, one of the most important temples in Bali. Entry is by donation here – Rp 10,000 is about right. The temple was rebuilt up on the caldera ridge in 1926 after an eruption of Mount Batur destroyed the old one down in the crater. There are a large number of shrines, but most visitors are drawn to the huge eleven roofed meru in the inner courtyard. This is dedicated to the goddess of the lake, Ida Batara Dewi Ulan Danau who is regarded as the controlling deity of the whole water and irrigation system of Bali. A virgin priestess is resident at the temple to represent the goddess, and she is served by 24 priests who are chosen as young boys and then keep the role for their lifetime. This is a strong example of just how importantly water and irrigation matters are regarded in traditional Balinese culture.
A climb to the summit of Mount Batur – 1,700 metres and still an active volcano – to watch the sunrise is a great experience for more energetic travelers. This is an easy climb of about 2 hours, and local guides abound. You do not need to be in peak physical shape to complete this trek.
All guides will be members of the Association of Mount Batur Trekking Guides which has an office in Toyo Bungkah village (tel: +62 366 52362, 3AM-1PM), from where the treks commence. Book at the office or ask to see proof of membership to avoid problems later, and expect to pay IDR 300,000 to 400,000 per person. The association runs a cartel on climbing the mountain, and even if you have successfully scaled Everest, you will be harangued to hire a guide for this fairly low key, simple trek. While it is not compulsory, if you do not hire a guide you may be confronted at the start of the climb and the guides are known to become aggressive and confrontational. If you are climbing at night without a guide you will need a route map as you will cross many paths leading elsewhere and sometimes the correct path is the least obvious.