Gunung Agung, or Mount Agung, is Bali’s highest point. It stands at just over 3,000 metres tall, and is on the central eastern side of the island. Mount Agung is an active volcano, with its last major eruption taking place in 1963. This eruption killed around 2000 people, but the Balinese locals interpreted it as a display of power from their gods. Eruptions still take place on a small scale, with ash and smoke spewing into the air from time to time.
The mountain is popular with climbers despite its difficulty. Most treks to the summit begin at night to arrive at dawn, due to the fog and clouds that descend upon the mountain at around 9am each morning. Mount Rinjani, on neighbouring island of Lombok, can be seen from the Mount Agung’s peak. These sunrise treks offer the opportunity to see the sunrise behind one mountain from another.
There are three main routes to the summit of Mount Agung, with each of the routes having a different level of difficulty. Taking an experienced guide on any trek is important. Without a knowledgable guide, the risks involved in reaching the summit are high. Hotels are able to organise guides on your behalf.
Mount Agung is also home to the so called ‘mother temple’ of Bali, the Besakih temple complex. This large series of temples is the most important on the island of Bali. The location of Besakih on the south face of Mount Agung provides views of one of Bali’s most beautiful locations.
The best time of year to visit the mountain is in the dry season, between April and October. This gives the best likelihood of favourable trekking and viewing conditions. Mount Agung is accessible using many tourist shuttle buses that service Bali’s south.