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Trekking

The whole crater area, with its staggering views, clear waters, and temperate climate is ideal for trekking and various local tour guides will take you on escorted walks. However, here again, you may run in to problems. This whole place is about the only area in Bali where you need to constantly keep your wits about you. Certainly if you wish to climb Mount Batur you will come across the motley bunch known as PPPGB (previously HPPGB) or the Association of Mount Batur Trekking Guides (tel. 0361/52362). This is the local mountain guide agency and they insist that they have the only government-approved license that allows you to climb Mount Batur. If you wish to climb Mount Batur, you must use one of their 62 approved guides and pay their rates -- even if you arrive with your own professional guide, you must also use one of the PPPGB (though this will be built into your quoted price). The rates are commensurate with a monopoly and they do not take kindly to being challenged. Unless you enjoy a degree of intimidation in your negotiations, I would advise you not to. They do, however, make great assurances that they are trained and professional.

Also be careful if your tour is to end up anywhere near Trunyan , as you may find yourself being forced to pay a surcharge to get out of there. Be very clear with your guide before you start that there will be absolutely no further charges other than those that you have already paid and that there are no hidden boat trips required.

A group of up to four people will pay collectively about Rp300,000 for a short trip to the Mount Batur summit for sunrise, a 3-hour walk leaving between 4am and 5am. You should all be given head lamps and flashlights as you will be starting in darkness. A Mount Batur exploration walk of about 6 to 7 hours will set up to four of you back Rp600,000 or so and a 6-hour summit walk to Mount Abang leaving from the temple at Ulan Danu will cost the same, although this one will likely end near Trunyan and you may be surprised with a boat surcharge.

Regardless, it is all stunningly beautiful. Book a reputable agency, probably from outside the crater, come for the day, do your trek, and leave.

Trekking Agencies & Tours -- Used by many locals who live in Bali, Gede (tel. 08/124652455) is a charming man who will take you on a guided day and explain not only the history of the area but also the flora and fauna. He will identify the local herbs and spices found on the walk and explain their local uses. When pressed, he will even play his flute, which is delightful. He charges US$100 for up to four people for half day trips. He offers a trip up Mount Batur that ends at -- warning! -- Trunyan. You will need to pay a boatman for the return journey. Negotiate beforehand.

If you simply want a local guide who knows the mountains as well as anyone but is not part of a larger entity (and therefore without insurance), the very nice people at Volcano Breeze (tel. 0366/51824) cafe will arrange a guide for you. They are honest and have proved reliable in the past. They suggest prices of about Rp300,000 for a group of up to four for a short trip to the summit for sunrise. Note that this is the total price and not per person. They also quote about Rp600,000 for a 6- to 7-hour Mount Batur exploration trek.

Based out of Jakarta but with local representatives, Pacto (tel. 0221/719-6550; www.pactoltd.com; US$85 per person) runs all-day treks to Mount Batur. They also have trips throughout Bali or even other parts of Indonesia.

Clipper (tel. 08/123802675; www.clipperdiscovery.com; sunrise trek including transportation, guide, entrance fee, breakfast, PPPGB, and Clipper guide US$95) will collect you from wherever you are in Bali, take you on a tour with an experienced English-speaking guide, and then return you to your hotel. They are not cheap but costs include the full day and transportation. They do informative rainforest treks around Mount Batur as well as overnight trips to get to Mount Agung at sunrise.

Owners of the Elephant Park and long established in Bali, Bali Adventure Tours (tel. 0361/721480; www.baliadventuretours.com) does white-water rafting, mountain treks, and even escorted bicycle tours around Mount Batur. A 3-hour trek includes lunch and entrance to the elephant park for US$55; a cycling tour with the same perks is US$60.

Bali Sobek, Jl. Raya Tebongkang 33, Ubud (tel. 0361/287059; www.balisobek.com; tour including return transfers, professional guide, and lunch US$60) does two treks: one in the jungle at Bedugul around Lake Tamblingan, which ends with a trip back across the lake in a traditional dugout canoe; the other is round Mount Batukaru through rice paddies to hot springs where you can take a dip.

The Toya Devasya Agency (tel. 0361/438333; www.toyadevasya.com) is specifically set up for groups. Their packages will usually include lunch at their restaurant and a dip in their hot springs . They will take you canoeing, on ridge walks, downhill trekking, and they will even do an escorted and "policed" trip to Trunyan -- which just means they have paid off the village in advance. An escorted trip to Trunyan for two people costs US$102 per person. A Mount Batur sunrise walk is US$94 per person for two people, including lunch and a dip in the hot springs.

Kayaking, Canoeing & Volunteer Work

Along with trekking around and above the lake, you can also go kayaking or canoeing on the lake. You get a much different perspective seeing the crater from the middle of the wide lake. Most trekking agencies will also offer canoeing.

One to particularly recommend is C Bali (tel. 0353/420541; www.c-bali.com). A 1-day tour (Rp410,000) includes both cycling and canoeing, as well as pickup from hotels elsewhere on the island and lunch. C Bali has a donation program with Kedisan village: The company accepts small donations of clothing (especially cold-weather clothing) and school supplies to pass on to the villagers and their school. Casual visitors can also participate in C Bali's Kedisan clean-up program. If you're interested in long-term volunteering (3 months), C Bali also has a Kedisan residency program.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.