Mount Abang is the third highest peak in Bali and forms part of the Batur Caldera Rim, overlooking the spectacular Danau Batur (Lake Batur). I’d heard that the Abang trail was pretty rough in places, not one for small kids, especially a backpack toddler so when my friend Nikki suggested we do it without kids last year, I jumped at the chance. Ok technically it wasn’t without kids. Her daughter joined us but she’s 11 and a total badass and I only said its not one for small kids so….
We left Sanur at 6am and the drive up to Bangli at the time of the morning was pretty quick. We were on the trail by 8am. The first section of the hike is a pretty easy going gradual uphill through the jungle with insane views down to the lake and across to neighbouring Mount Batur – one of Bali’s active volcanos. The massive lava field of black rock and what looks like (but probably isn’t) scorched earth is easily seen when viewed from above, saaaaayyy when you’re hiking Abang? Very cool.
After a half hour or so of walking, we reached the first little temple and after this, the trail started to get a little bit more sketchy and then a lot more sketchy all the way to the summit. Batur is famous for its sunrise hikes. Made for tourists, its a relatively straightforward trail to the top with constant switchbacks to handle the gradual increases in altitude. Yeh, Abang isn’t like that. It takes the path of least resistance, straight to the top and its pretty steep and loose in places. This is definitely not a hike for the rainy season because it’d be dangerously muddy and slippy for about two thirds of the trail where it gets dodgy AF.
We did it in early October after it’d had many months to dry out – not only was it right at the end of the dry season but the wet season 2019/20 had been one of the driest and hottest for years and still there was the odd muddy patch thanks to the moisture the mountain sucks out of the mist and passing clouds. So yeh, you’re gonna wanna save this hike for any time between April – October, but June – September would be the best months I reckon.
You come across the second temple after about another hour or so of hiking, nestled on a flat, open section of the trail. By this point, you’ll be sweating like a nun in a cucumber field (the fact its the dry season won’t save you, its still sweaty going at this altitude!) and have probably been scrambling a bit on your hands and knees, desperately looking for vines to use as handles to pull yourself up the steep sections. Well, settle in. There’s a bit more of that to go before you reach the summit.
Speaking of which, 300m from the summit was probably NOT the best time for Nikki to drop into the conversation that “this was where I got to last time when the earthquake hit, I had to drop to my belly and then hightail it off the mountain before getting caught in a landslide!” ooooookay then. Good talk. Shortly after that bombshell we reached the summit, which is marked by another temple. At that point, my amazement at the fact that people carried the deconstructed temple up that trail was only second to my amazement at the epic view across to Amed on the east coast, Candidasa to the south of us and to neighbouring Mount Agung – Bali’s largest volcano – right next to Mount Abang.
All the way up the trail you get little teases of the spectacular views through the trees but on a clear day, you’re really in for a treat at the top with that view. It gets a bit chilly at the summit when the wind picks up and your sweat dries so pack a long sleeve. I packed a jacket 😀 hey, we live here – 23C is cold to me 😀
Your knees and thighs are gonna feel it on the way back down – its a good burn. Its a rewarding “I’ve hiked hard” burn. Its definitely faster going down than up but be careful, its slippy and loose under foot and I ended up on my arse at least twice accidentally and multiple times voluntarily to navigate some particularly dodgy areas.
Its not really a hike for little kids, I couldn’t take Arlo (3.5) and Eia (almost 2) yet but a strong 7 year old could probably manage it. Basically the older and fitter the kid the better! Hiking through what becomes a tropical cloud garden with lake and volcano views on either side – who doesn’t want to experience that? The fact I managed to escape my parenting responsibilities for a half day and enjoy a quiet hike was a bonus 🙂