The mountainous region around Kintamani, centering on the spectacular volcanic caldera of Mt Batur with its deep crater lake and bubbling hot springs, is rugged with a high and wild beauty. Wonderful mountain air and dizzying views in all directions, as well as several important temples, are what makes Kintamani one of the most memorable stops on the Bali tourist itinerary.
Mount Batur is actually just a small volcano, but its setting is in the heart of a huge crater 14km in diameter. Adjacent to the volcano is the large crescent-shaped Batur Lake, all surrounded by the high walls of the crater rim. The sheer size of the crater conjures up images of the massive eruption of the original Mount Batur that occurred tens of thousands years ago.
The volcano is still active today as Balinese all over the island who still remember the great eruption of 1917 will testify. It claimed thousands of lives and destroyed hundreds of temples. Old people might tell you this was "the year when the world shook". Other eruptions have taken place since, forcing the local population to be relocated, along with several of their temples including one of the main Bali temples, Pura Ulun Danu. Initially inside the huge crater, this temple had been relocated to the top of the ridge overlooking it. Here it now offers an impressive view of Mount Batur.
You can go there by taxi or just rent a car. You can also join a tour to visit Mount Batur and Lake Batur. Tourist shuttle buses between southern Bali and Lovina stop off at Kintamani.
Pura Ulun Danu Batur - near Batur village - this is the most important temple after Besakih, housing more than 90 shrines. Worth visiting at any time of year, especially during the Odalan festival, usually in March depending on the full moon, which is dedicated to the goddess of the crater lake, who is said to control the irrigation systems for the entire island.
Trunyan Village - mortuary traditions - from Toya Bungkah, a lot of boats will cross the lake to a Bali Aga village called Trunyan. This place is notorious for its mortuary traditions. Instead of cremating the dead, as Balinese do throughout most of the island, the Trunyan communities leave the bodies to decompose naturally in a special cemetery.
Trekking Around Gunung Batur - the most popular trek is from Toya Bungkah to the top of Gunung Batur for sunrise.
At Penelokan (translated as 'viewing spot') there are several restaurants from where to repose and get a well-deserved bite to eat.
Up the road going north is a market, busy every three days on Hari Paseh in the Balinese calendar. This is interesting to visit to see the variety of produce from surrounding mountain farms - oranges, corn, vegetable, fruit and the usual vast array of flowers, dried fish, tools, livestock, pots and baskets, plus a big clothing market. You may also see men cuddling big furry Kintamani puppies highly prized all over Bali.
There are a range of accommodations to choose from in Kintamani from star hotels to Home stays.