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The Muntigunung Trek: A Walk on the Wild Side of Bali

in Destinations/Recreation by

If you’ve visited Bali before, you might have taken a day trip to Kintamani to take in the stunning views across Lake Batur towards the mountains. And the experience will have stopped there. But beyond the lake and the steep mountains is a side of Bali so far off the tourism trail that few have had the chance to visit — unless they have joined the exclusive and award-winning Muntigunung Trek. Seduced by the promise of breath-taking vistas and heart-warming encounters in the once-forgotten villages of Muntigunung, we eagerly signed up and set our alarm clock for the pre-dawn start.

Muntigunung Bali charity hike with Elite Havens – Sunrise on Muntigunung

After driving northwards for two hours in the company of Pica, our principle guide, we stopped on the crest of the caldera to marvel at the sun rising behind the mountains beyond the lake — an early Instagram-worthy moment. “That’s where you will be trekking”, he pointed. The drive itself was part of the experience; we drove past amazing rice terraces and rural vistas, then dropped down into the caldera weaving across lava fields from Gunung Batur’s 1968 eruption and along the lake to Songan.

Ready for jaw-dropping vistas?

Time to lace up your boots, lavish on the sunscreen, have selfie-stick at the ready, select a sturdy bamboo walking stick, and  then take to the trail with Pica and the local guides as they lead their way up the steep mountainside. The views are spectacular — at one stage the trail follows the top of a ridge and the expanse of ocean shimmers towards the horizon on one side while, down a vertiginous drop far below, Lake Batur sparkles towards Kintamani perched on the far rim of the caldera.

Muntigunung Bali charity hike with Elite Havens – Views of Lake Batur

It is unimaginable to think that this mountain trail was once the only route the women and children of the Munti villages could take to secure water for their families – a perilous five-hour round trip every day. It was also the start of their journey to go begging with their children in Ubud and on Bali’s main beach resort streets — then their only source of income.

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Making a difference, step by step

But that’s one of the joys of completing the trek; with every step, you’re making a positive contribution to the livelihood and wellbeing of the island’s poorest, most neglected communities.

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Rebuilding Lombok Campaign

in News by
Lombok Donations

As many of you will have heard Lombok was hit by an earthquake in early August. The north of the island was damaged with many villages and locals affected. The south, including the infrastructure around from the airport, was not affected. Our villas had superficial damage and will all be up and running in a matter of weeks.

We are now looking to help rebuild the areas which were impacted and get the island back on its feet. The people of Lombok rely on tourism and international visitors for their livelihood and it’s important that we assist in ensuring the island is up and functioning as quickly as possible which will give these beautiful people back their jobs and dignity. Having assessed the situation over the last few weeks and supplied numerous trucks of emergency aide, we are now looking at longer term rebuilding projects. Many locals in the north, including members of our staff families, have sustained damage to their homes.

Of course the implementation of these necessary plans comes at a cost and the financial burden is significant. We have opened a donation page here in the knowledge that many of you have visited Lombok and may even know first-hand the families involved and would like to help. We know the staff and their families in Lombok will welcome any contribution, however big or small, as a sign of your solidarity in the face of this hardship. Elite Havens and the staff of our regional offices have all donated so we have a good starting base.

Finally it is important that we get the island back to being self-sufficient. I would urge you to consider revisiting the island of Lombok as soon as you can to help the tourism industry to function again. Your international dollars go a long way.

Jon Stonham
CEO, Director 
Elite Havens

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