Kintamani, Mt. Batur, and the ride of my life!

Kintamani. Even the name sounds magical, like Shangri-La, or Katmandu. Getting there was equally as perilous, or so it seemed on the back of Ketut’s motorbike. Kintamani is a village high on Mt. Batur overlooking a lake of the same name. We passed these spectacular terraced rice fields on the way.

Rice terraces

Farming the mountainside

The elevation of Mt. Batur is 5,600 ft., and the road up has the tightest switchbacks I’ve seen this side of Norway! As it happened, the road down did too. I so wanted to take a photo of the impossible curves but stopping would have meant instant death, and letting go of my stranglehold on Ketut to grab my camera and shoot from the back of the bike…well…that wasn’t gonna happen! I think I held my breath for 30 minutes. Then, suddenly, we rounded a curve and there it was!

Lake Batur

A flat, straight stretch of road in Kintamani

Behind me is a vast desert of lava from the eruption of Mt. Batur. At the left is a tomato garden. There are red onions, cabbages, and tomatoes in plots nestled among the outcroppings of volcanic rock.

There are two peaks, Mt. Batur and Mt. Abang, and between them is the caldera, the flat open land that resulted after a major eruption. The ground is jagged and lumpy where the bubbling, flowing lava solidified. It more closely resembles desert than tropical island! Bali has many faces.

Hot Springs

One of the advantages of an active volcano in your back yard is the occasional fissure in the earth that allows hot water to bubble out. There is a charge of 150,000 Rp or about $16 to use these pools.

Hot pools of varying different temperatures by Lake Batur.

There were three women in the far pool and while we watched a young man in a sarong served poolside drinks. I felt the water…it was HOT!

The view from the pools.

The sun was out and there was hardly a breeze, but the air up here is much, much cooler than the daily average temperature in Ubud. There were times on the motorbike when my polar fleece would have been a welcome addition!

Leaving Batur and Kintamani…

What a delightful day, and the icing on the cake was meeting Ketut’s parents! They don’t smile for photos, but they laugh and joke constantly the rest of the time.  I do love the Planet Hollywood t-shirt with the sarong!

The one time in my life I felt really really tall!

Then it was time to head back to the curves and swerves for the trip home. Ketut doesn’t drive slowly, but he is careful. I only screamed once. That’s really good for me.

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