Amidst Volcanic Ashes


Words: Adita Alaik

Photo: Iqbal Alaik

Batur Mountain is an active volcano located in Kintamani, Bangli district, on the island of Bali. The volcano has erupted dozens of times since 1804, thus creating an amazing caldera for cyclists. The sandy mountain is often visited by cyclists to fulfill their adrenaline rush or to simply ease their minds from the stress built up during their routine lives.

I and three of my friends who happened to be of Balinese descent drove straight from the Ngurah Rai airport to Bangli district. The beautiful views of Bali such as the green rice fields were really a treat to our eyes.  There was minor traffic congestion because it was in conjunction with a local ritual in which locals, who were wore traditional attire and carried offerings, filled the streets.

The 1717-meter volcano has a big and beautiful blackish-grey caldera which formed a series of hills that never ceased to amaze me.

The calf and thighs felt so heavy when we encountered the loose soil and thus we tried as best as we could to cycle on the light grey soil which was quite solid to cycle on.

Cycling down the hills gave us a different sensation because it felt so free to slide down from such a height that we went back up the hills again several times and slide down over and over again. We also explored the villages at the foot of the Batur Mountain in search for lunch.

After we had our lunch, we decided to cycle around the villages and paddy fields in Bali. One of the things that attracted my attention was the Kintamani dogs we encountered along the way. The Kintamani dogs have been internationally acknowledged as Indonesia’s indigenous dog.

Entering the paddy field area, we encountered a group of German tourists guided by a local travel agent. They seemed excited to be in the middle of the rice field and took pictures of just about anything they saw. They even took pictures of crickets. At one point, the tour guide stopped in front of banana trees and gave them a brief explanation about the plant. The tourists touched the leaves, fruit, banana blossoms, trees and they of course took snaps while posing in front of the banana trees.

It was amazing to see how a banana tree could become an interesting tourism object for foreign tourists. Such experience gave me a new perspective that every inch of Indonesia could be an interesting object for foreign tourists as long as we know how to present our country’s potentials in interesting and smart ways.