Mount Agung is a stratovolcano and iconic mountain in Bali. Known by the locals as Gunung Agung, the mountain is the highest point on the island and dominates the area that surrounds it, even influencing the climate. As clouds come in from the west, Mount Agung absorbs the water making the west green and lush while the east is barren and dry.
Believed by the Balinese to be a fragment of Mount Meru, brought to Bali by the first Hindus, there are many legends surrounding the mountain including one that considers it the axis of the universe. Mount Agung also houses Bali’s most important temple, Pura Besakih, situated high on the slopes of the mountain.
Although still an active volcano, Mount Agung hasn’t erupted since 1964 however the deep and expansive crater does occasionally emit smoke and ash. Despite the existence of the crater, from a distance the mountain actually appears to be perfectly conical in shape. From the mountain peak you can sometimes see Mount Rinjani over on the island of Lombok, however the mountain is frequently covered with cloud.
There are two main routes up Mount Agung, one begins from 1,100m up from Besakih Temple and proceeds higher up the western peak while the second route leads you up the southern peak and begins higher from Pasar Agung Temple and is reported to take four hours one way. During the dry season, there is a path that connects the western ascent with the southern ascent.
Although guides are available for both routes, the mountain can be climbed without a guide, however the climb from Besakih Temple is very tough. It can be tackled as a single climb beginning around 10pm for arrival at the peak at dawn. There is also an overnight camp approximately three quarters of the way up the mountain for climbers who need to stay overnight to finish the climb.