Want To Climb Mount Agung Volcano? Read This Ultimate Guide First

If you want a challenge in Bali, you climb Mount Agung. Be warned, this isn’t a cakewalk (if you want that, you’ll want to climb Mount Batur, instead). Before climbing Mount Agung, you need to know what you’re facing and we’ve got your back.

The Basics Of Climbing Mount Agung in Bali

This is not a long-distance hike, in fact, you’ll only be covering about 8 kilometres (that’s around 4 miles) but don’t let that fool you, it’s not easy.

The highest point is 3,142 meters (10,308 feet) above sea level and while you won’t climb all 3,142 meters, you will see an elevation gain of around 1,500 meters (5,000 feet)! That’s a long way up, meaning the hike is up some very steep surfaces.

It will take you roughly 8-12 hours to complete this hike. And there’s no doubt about it getting up Mount Agung is hard.

If you’re not in good shape and used to climbing hills and mountains, you may find it too much for you.

How To Find The Best Guide For Mount Agung

Because this isn’t as popular a hike as the one on Bali’s other major active volcano, Mount Batur, you don’t have to take a guide.

There will be no angry local residents demanding that you hire them before you hike Agung.

However, we feel that you should take a guide for a Mount Agung trek. It’s a much harder climb and if you want to reach the crater rim safely, you will benefit from some local advice.

You can hire a qualified and reliable guide through our travel agency.

Where Is Mount Agung?

The Mt Agung volcano is Karangasem Regency which is in the northeast of the island.

It takes about 2/2.5 hours from Seminyak and Canggu to get there, and about 1.5 hours from Ubud.

Google map highlighting Mount Agung's location in Bali

About Mount Agung (Or The “Gunung Agung”)

Gunung Agung is the local name for Mt Agung. It translates as “great mountain or great volcano”.

In Balinese folklore they consider the mountain to be the “navel of the world”. That means it’s a sacred place and you may see locals on the mountain burning incense and praying sincerely.

In fact, Mount Agung is so important locally that you used to have to get a priest to guide you to the top!

Is Mount Agung Safe?

Mt Agung is an active volcano and a very active one at that. The last major eruption began in 2017 and ended in 2019!

There were strong fears that pyroclastic flows would reach nearby villages and more than 100,000 people were evacuated from an exclusion zone that spanned a roughly 10km radius around Mt Agung.

This was mild volcanic activity compared to 1963 when a sudden eruption killed over 1,600 people!

That means that the Indonesian authorities are always monitoring the site and if there are any signs of danger, they close the mountain to hikers.

So, obviously, based on the above, nobody can guarantee your safety when climbing the Mount Agung volcano but you’re unlikely to drown in lava, either.

The biggest risks facing hikers are a lack of a good fitness level and bad weather. Hiking with a guide can dramatically reduce these risks.

And while no hikers have perished in an explosion, several have died through falling on Mount Agung. Such as this unfortunate American gentleman.

What’s The Current Alert Level On Mount Agung?

The Indonesian islands use a multi-level alert system for their active volcanoes and currently, Mount Agung is at level 1.

It is the lowest possible level and that means that a Mount Agung trek has been deemed safe by authorities.

However, before opting to visit the Gunung Agung Volcano you should always check the latest alert level. It will save you driving for hours to get to Mount Agung volcano only to be disappointed to find it closed.

You should also think twice before visiting the mountain in adverse weather conditions as torrential rain can make reaching the highest point very challenging indeed.

Close-up view of Mount Agung's crater

How To Do The Mount Agung Sunrise Hike?

If you want to see the sunrise over the mountain from the summit crater rim, you’re going to need to stay up late.

Your guide will likely pick you up at 10.30/11 p.m. and you’ll be doing an overnight hike up Mt Agung.

It is worth it, as you will get, by far, the best views of the clouds and the sun’s rays above them.

You also get to see more during the climb as the surface of Mt Agung tends to be covered in clouds during daylight hours.

If you want to test your fitness before this hike, try doing the Mount Batur Sunrise Hike first.

Then, you can expect three stages of your climb:

  1. The first part of climbing Mount Agung is pretty easy. It’s strenuous and a marked dirt path leads you past pines and other sorts of vegetation. It’s almost all uphill though, there are no strike backs.

  2. The second part is more taxing and the longest part. Once you clear the trees, you continue to move up but constantly weaving back and forth between rocks. This can feel like an eternity but it’s probably about half the total trek.

  3. The final part is hard work. You complete this trek on all fours, pushing your way up and this can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. You will be glad of a guide at this point. Make sure you have a solid headlight too – your hands will be busy.

There are several routes up to the absolute summit but whichever route you take, they’re all fairly similar and this is definitely not a trek for the unfit or inexperienced.

What Should You Take To Mount Agung?

Speaking of headlights, you should also prepare a packing list for tackling Gunung Agung. This is the bare minimum of what you need to enjoy your climb and stay safe.

  • A climbing rucksack – the casual rucksack you use to go shopping with probably won’t do. You want something that’s fully adjustable and that won’t fall off as you hit a steep section of climbing.

  • High-quality headlight – guides often provide headlights if you don’t have them, but they are not very good. It’s much better to take your own, high-quality and well-fitted light to Mount Agung than to rely on the guide.

  • Climbing shoes – you can’t tackle this mountain in thongs, high-hells or even sneakers. You need the grip and support of a good pair of climbing shoes.

  • A lightweight waterproof jacket – it gets cold on the mountain before the sun comes up particularly if you’ve just spent some time at the beach. It can also rain pretty viciously without much warning, one of the “Bali mac” ponchos won’t be much use when scrabbling up slopes on your hands and knees.

  • Drinks – we’d recommend you take electrolyte solutions for this climb, but at a bare minimum pack some water. The guide may give you a small bottle for free but you will almost certainly want more.

  • Snacks – take some energy bars and other small snacks. You don’t want to be carrying 10 Kg of food up the mountain, but a few snacks will make your time on Mount Agung more fun and give you energy when you feel like quitting.

  • Your phone/camera – it would be a shame to gain the final summit and have nothing to record your time on the volcano with, right? You’ll need to decide whether or not to take on the extra weight of a tripod given how hard the climb is here.

Is It Hard To Climb Mount Agung?

Yes, it’s worth repeating though, this is a hard climb. Some would say that it’s harder than that. We’ve even heard people say that the Everest Base Camp Hike was super easy in comparison!

Many people quit a long way from the actual summit and there’s no shame in that.

You can always have another go at climbing Mount Agung but you don’t want to risk your health or safety by pushing yourself harder than you are able to go.

This is another reason that a guide comes in handy, they will help you decide when to stop and can even help somebody get back down Mount Agung if they are hurt. 

Agung Trekking Results on a fitness watch

How Long Is The Mount Agung Hike?

8-12 hours is a good estimate and it also depends on which of the main routes up the mountain that you opt for as one is longer than the other.

What’s The Weather Like On Mount Agung?

The weather is typical of high altitudes in Bali. That is, it’s colder (sometimes much colder) than it is at sea level and temperatures can fall as low as 5-10 degrees Celsius (40-50 degrees Fahrenheit) at night.

Once the sun comes up, though, it gets much warmer and you’ll want to stuff your jacket into your rucksack to stay cool and comfortable.

Rain is possible, especially during the rainy season, and it will make the climb harder. The dust becomes mud and surfaces can be slippery. 

What Are The Main Route Options?

To get up Mount Agung, you have two trails to choose from:

  1. The Pura Besakih Route – there’s no doubt about it, Pura Besakih is for the truly committed. You will have to climb up 2,150 meters (7,000 feet) to reach the true summit. This hike will take, at least, 12 hours. You may not be surprised to learn that this route is less popular.

  2. The Pura Pasar Agung Route – this is the most popular, shortest and most common route and it’s an easier climb. However, you don’t get to the true summit on this route, you stop at a false summit instead (but it’s close enough to the top that most people don’t mind).

Oddly, the Pura Pasar Agung route used to go all the way to the top but the 2017 eruptions destroyed the path that made that a viable option.

Which Route Should I Take?

If you are at all uncertain about which route to take – we’d recommend the Pura Pasar Agung. You’re much less likely to quit on your ascent on this more manageable route. Nobody on Instagram will know that you finished a few meters away from the peak.

Either way, you will get a great view of much of the island of Bali from the top and an awesome story to tell your friends when you get home.

When Should I Trek Mount Agung?

In theory, there’s no reason you shouldn’t head up Mt Agung at any time of the year. But as we’ve already noted this is a very hard climb.

So, you are best off opting for April to September. These months are drier than the rest and will offer the clearest air conditions too on the hike.

We’d recommend doing the overnight trek but you can go during the day (it will be hotter and visibility will be more limited due to clouds) or if you’re on the Pura Besakih route, you can even break the hike into two days and spend a night near the summit.

Mount Agung Is A Mother Temple To Locals And The Indonesian Government

It’s also important to remember that this is a sacred site. Treat it like a temple and you won’t go far wrong. In fact, there is a temple on the way up Mount Agung.

Behave as this Russian tourist did? You can look forward to being deported from Bali when you’re done. You don’t want your island adventure to end in ignominy and trouble with the law.

Is There A Tour Guide Mafia On Mount Agung?

At Mount Batur, you will find that trying to climb Mount Agung without a guide will lead to angry words and even threats of violence from locals.

No such thing happens at Mount Agung. That’s because tackling these slopes on your own is a very bad idea.

Recently some climbers have tried to reach the peak without a guide. Many of them have fallen to their deaths.

In our opinion, this is a climb that all but the most experienced climbers are going to need some help with when trying for the summit.

No! I Won’t Use A Guide

OK, well don’t say we didn’t warn you… but if you want to climb Mount Agung without a guide, you can.

Park near Pura Pasar Agung then follow the concrete steps up the slope until you reach a Balinese gate.

You don’t want to enter the gate but you turn left at it, instead. Then follow the path until you find the concrete layer near the side of the actual temple on Mount Agung.

You should be able to see the path heading into the trees and up Mount Agung from here.

Hike it and then things become much harder once you clear the treeline, and you may find you bump into a boulder or two. They’re very challenging to see in the dark.

Finally, you will have to use your own judgement for the last section as there’s no marked route at all.

Once again, we’re going to implore you to hire a guide rather than do this. 

Final Thoughts On Mount Agung

If getting a couple of miles above sea level on the side of a volcano sounds like your idea of a good time when visiting the island of Bali? Then Mount Agung is where you’re going to have the most fun.

You’re unlikely to find an eruption hampers your quest for peak even if gaining the summit is hard work.

Just make sure to take the right gear with you to climb safely and use the services of a guide unless you’re a very experienced climber.

On the bright side, it’s absolutely worth the effort. You can’t find a better view from a volcano anywhere in Bali and the hike is invigorating and exciting! 

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