This hill town has a unique and magnificent beauty yet somehow fails to attract the visitors it deserves mostly because of a reputation for having hawkers roaming around like flies. Deserved or not, forewarned is forearmed.
Many people like to go to Kintamani via Ubud, but I prefer to go via Badung Regency passing through Mambal. The reason? En route, I stop by in Pelaga where Argo Bagus Pelaga stands still surrounded by greenery, and re-energize myself with a cup of hot coffee while treating my eyes to the colossal mystical feature of Puncak Mangu. I take a relaxing walk in their gardens enjoying the vegetable and fruit plantations which they grow naturally, before continuing my journey.
This route to Kintamani was not recommended for many years as the road was too narrow, steep, and rocky. Nowadays the road is smooth and a long tall bridge has replaced the old bridge. Crossing that bridge was another charming experience with the thick forest and the valley getting together in a brilliant color combination of green, yellow and brown uniting as a picturesque landscape under the bridge. At the end of the bridge, a village called Catur welcomes the traveler with an orange orchard. This village is also the source of coffee Arabia. As I rolled down the window the wind blew in the sweet fragrance of oranges mixed with the warm scent of coffee, hard not to stop again!.
Kintamani, located in Bangli Regency about 50km from Denpasar, is just a few kilometers away from Catur village. You know when you have entered the town when you see a line of restaurants on both sides of the road. I can not recommend any restaurant for its food but I can say that most of the restaurants have access to the beautiful view of the biggest lake in Bali, Lake Batur, and thick pine hilly forests.
It was raining when I reached Kintamani. The fog was like a thick blanket covering the entire area. Some tourist buses had stopped at the restaurants, and aggressive sellers swarmed on the tourists like ants attacking sugar. This is surely a practice the local authorities need to come down on hard.
Tears dropped from above, wetting and blackening the asphalt road. The wheels moved smoothly on the curvy steep road which took me down to Lake Batur, dropping down from the crater’s rim into the caladera. Lake Batur functions as an irrigation source for farmers around it. The car stopped at the harbor since I wanted to cross the lake to Tenganan village, but unfortunately I had to cancel the trip due to the bad weather. Not so many hawkers were there but one was enough to irritate me. Once I got down from the car the lady who sold accessories like bead necklace and bracelet stuck to me like a stamp. Re-emphasizing the necessity of going to this area with a reliable guide. Despite the annoyance, however the exquisite landscape is worth the trip.
After so many clicks capturing the colours of nature, my journey continued toToya Bungkah. Mount Batur, the active volcano, stands proudly as the backdrop of my journey. The road is built in the middle of a vast lava field. Since the year 1800, the volcano has erupted for 24 times, so no wonder that it has produced so many volcanic rocks which spectacularly decorate the road side from Lake Batur to Toya Bungkah. Toya Bungkah is popularly knows for its natural hot springs. In this area you can dip your body into the hot pools.The bathing area which is usually used by the locals is tucked right on the bank of the lake, escape the cold weather in the hot springs still enjoying the bright turquoise lake. Overall it’s a great experience but steel yourself for the hawkers!