Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
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A scenic road goes around the southern
slopes of Gunung Agung from Rendang to
near Amlapura. It runs through some superb
countryside, descending more or less gradu-
ally as it goes further east. If you have your
own wheels, you'll find it very scenic, with
some interesting places to stop. Water flows
everywhere and you can easily exhaust your
film, tape or memory card.
Cyclists enjoy the route and find going east
to be an easier ride.
You can get to the start of the road in Ren-
dang from Bangli in the west on a very pretty
road through rice terraces and thick jun-
gle vegetation. Rendang itself is an attractive
mountain village. After going east for about
3km, you'll come into a beautiful small valley
of rice terraces. At the bottom is the Sungai
Telegawaja , a popular river for white-water
rafting. Some companies (see p77) have their
facilities near here.
The old-fashioned village of Muncan has
quaint shingle roofs. It's approximately 4km
along the winding road. Nearby are scores of
open-air factories where the soft lava rock is
carved into temple decorations.
The road then passes through some of the
most attractive rice country in Bali before
reaching Selat , where you turn north to get to
Pura Pasar Agung, a starting point for climb-
ing Gunung Agung. Puri Agung Inn (
Gunung Agung climbs. Expect to pay a ne-
gotiable 250,000R to 600,000Rp per person
for your climb.
Recommended guides include:
Gung Bawa Trekking (
plex built for the water-loving old rajah of
The scenic road finishes at Bebandem , where
there's a cattle market every three days, and
plenty of other stuff for sale as well. Beban-
dem and several nearby villages are home to
members of the traditional metal-workers
caste, which includes silversmiths as well as
The new coast road from Sanur joins the tra-
ditional route to the east at the fishing town
of Kusamba.
crowded with tour groups. There is a dis-
tinctly batty stench emanating from the cave,
and the roofs of the temple shrines, which are
in front of the cave, are liberally coated with
bat droppings. Superficially, the temple is
small and unimpressive, but it is very old and
of great significance to the Balinese.
It is said that the cave leads all the way
to Pura Besakih, some 19km away, but it's
unlikely that you'd want to try this route.
The bats provide sustenance for the legendary
giant snake, the deity Naga Basuki, which is
also believed to live in the cave.
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Reflecting the odd patterns of tourism that
has some places ascending while others are
declining, Padangbai is definitely on the up-
swing. Nominally the port for BaliLombok
ferries and passenger boats to Nusa Penida,
Padangbai sits on a small bay and has a nice
little curve of a beach. It has a whole compact
seaside travellers scene with cheap places to
stay and some very funky and fun caf├ęs. A
recent town beautification drive has spiffed
things up, albeit at the cost of losing some of
the colourful food and drink stands that used
to line the beach. An esplanade is planned for
Jl Silayukti.
The pace is slow, but if you want to pick up
your own, there's good snorkelling and diving
nearby plus some easy walks and a couple of
great beaches. Meanwhile you can soak up
the languid vibe punctuated by the occasional
arrival and departure of a ferry.
Moneychangers at hotels and along Jl Pelabu-
han offer okay rates. The Bank BRI (Jl Pelabuhan)
also exchanges money and has an interna-
tional ATM.
You can find slow internet access (per
min 300Rp) at numerous places includ-
ing Kerti Bungalows and Made's Homestay
(see p223 ).
0366-24379; gbtrekk@yahoo
.com; Selat) A reliable trekking operation near the
Ketut Uriada (
081-2364 6426; Muncan) This
experienced guide can arrange transport for an extra fee
(look for his small sign on the road east of the village).
This climb is much tougher than from the
southern approach and is only for the very
physically fit. For the best chance of a clear
view before the clouds close in, you should
start at midnight. Allow at least six hours
for the climb, and four to five hours for the
descent. The starting point is Pura Penguben-
gan, northeast of the main temple complex,
but it's easy to get lost on the lower trails, so
definitely hire a guide.
A side road leaves the main road and goes
south to the fishing and salt-making village
of Kusamba, where you will see rows of col-
ourful fishing prahu (outriggers) lined up all
along the beach. The fishing is usually done at
night and the 'eyes' on the front of the boats
help navigate through the darkness. The fish
market in Kusamba is really excellent.
Local boats travel to the islands of Nusa
Penida and Nusa Lembongan, which are
clearly visible from Kusamba (but you can
get faster and safer boats from Padangbai;
see p355). Both east and west of Kusamba,
there are small salt-making huts lined up in
rows along the beach - see Working in the
Salt Brine, p222.
This route involves the least walking, because
Pura Pasar Agung (Agung Market Temple) is
high on the southern slopes of the mountain
(around 1500m) and can be reached by a good
road north from Selat. From the temple you
can climb to the top in three or four hours, but
it's a pretty demanding trek. With or without
a guide, you must report to the police station
at Selat before you start. If you don't have a
guide the police will strongly encourage you
to take one.
It is much better to stay the night near
Muncan or Selat so that you can drive up
early in the morning to Pura Pasar Agung.
This temple has been greatly enlarged and
improved, in part as a monument to the 1963
eruption that devastated this area.
Start climbing from the temple at around
3am. There are numerous trails through the
pine forest but after an hour or so you'll climb
above the tree line. Then you're climbing on
solidified lava, which can be loose and bro-
ken in places, but a good guide will keep you
on solid ground. At the top, you can gawk into
the crater, watch the sun rise over Lombok
and see the shadow of Agung in the morning
haze over southern Bali.
23037; r
125,000-175,000Rp) has 10 clean and comfortable
rooms with rice field views. You can arrange
rice field walks here or climbs up Gunung
Agung (p219).
Just before Duda , the very scenic Sidemen
Road (see p216) branches southwest via Side-
men to Semarapura (see p213). Further east, a
side road (about 800m) leads to Putung . This
area is superb for hiking: there's an easy-to-
follow track from Putung to Manggis , about
8km down the hill.
Continuing east, Sibetan is famous for grow-
ing salak, the delicious fruit with a curious
'snakeskin' covering, which you can buy from
roadside stalls. This is one of the villages you
can visit on tours and homestays organised by
JED ( Village Ecotourism Network;
Pura Goa Lawah
Three kilometres east of Kusamba is Pura Goa
Lawah (Bat Cave Temple; admission 4100Rp, car park 1000Rp,
sash rental 1000Rp;
8am-6pm) , which is one of
nine directional temples in Bali. The cave in
the cliff face is packed, crammed and jammed
full of bats, and the complex is equally over-
East of Kusamba and 300m west of Pura
Goa Lawah (above), Merta Sari (
3pm) serves up a meal for 10,000Rp that's
hard to beat. Their renowned nasi campur
includes juicy, pounded fish satay, a slightly
sour, fragrant fish broth, fish steamed in
banana leaves, snake beans in a fragrant
Padangbai is interesting for a little walk. At the
west end of town near the post office there's a
small mosque and a temple, Pura Desa . Towards
the middle, there are two more temples, Pura
0361-735320; www.jed; tours US$25-100) , the non-profit group that
organises rural tourism (see p348).
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