On paper, Mt Batur looked like it was a good place to visit. There was a lake and an active volcano, and far enough to cruise with my scooter. What can go wrong? A lot
The way to Mt. Batur was fun. Almost no one goes there, so the road was just a long straight line. This was the place where I first hit 90kph on a scooter.
But I should have been suspicious when I was asked to pay an entrance fee.
You needed to descend to get to the lake. There were signs on the way that says be careful of rocks. The road was steep, winding, and sandy. Not a good mix for a novice rider on an automatic scooter. And I wondered why I needed to pay to go to a place with a shitty road. But what the hell, I was already there.
I made it down without using my feet as brakes (I was still naively confident at the time). At some point you need to decide which way to go: left or right. I decided right. Later on I noticed that families on a scooter tour came from the left side. Maybe I should have chosen left because the hotels with hot springs were there. Anyway it looked calm and peaceful, the road I chose.
At first it was just non-stop farms along the flat road. And it calmed me when I saw two elderly tourists in the route. But they stayed behind and I moved on.
At some point the road became a single lane; on my left was the cliff to the lake. The road sometimes became so steep you can’t see if there’s a vehicle approaching. And once you reach the peak, it suddenly goes down too. But so far I’ve not passed anyone going the opposite direction so I kept going as fast as I dared. A couple on a scooter with a surfboard raced and passed me.I was having the time of my life. On I went.
But on the last downhill, I didn’t expect a van to be in front of me. In y surprise I panicked. I pressed the left break. The scooter skidded. I pressed both the left and right breaks. Nope. I was about to fall into the lake. All I can think of was shit I don’t have travel insurance, how much is a fucking scooter? I should have thought of the fact that I can’t swim
At some point my reliable hiking sandals managed to get traction and I was able to pull me and the scooter upright. I realized the people in the van were watching me in horror. When I was able to stand straight with the scooter in hand, the old aussie man from the van signaled to me to stop and wait for him. I smiled at him sheepishly as I waited. This is not the time to act cool. So I let him handle the bike going down. As we were walking, he told me: Look down. That’s where you were about to fall down. My legs shock.
We passed by the van. His wife opened her window only to shake her head at me. Again, all I can do was smile sheepishly (and maybe words of encouragement were better? I already felt bad lady).
They all (driver included) told me to be careful. I didn’t have a choice but continue on, but I waited a little bit. There was a temple at the area and some people selling food and drinks. I just parked my scooter somewhere and stared at the lake to calm down.
Eventually I had to go back. Had to psych myself to be strong as I had to do the same route again. I survived, obviously, but on the way back I wasn’t using my brakes every time the road goes downhill. I was using my feet. Small steps by small steps I made my way back.
And I reached the crossroads again. For a while I continued on to the left side. But the road was sandier and my confidence was poof. Also my brain justified: don’t push your luck. So after about a kilometer I turned around and thank the gods I was still alive.
BTW, I wondered what happened to the couple with the surfboard? I didn’t see any more road after my calming stop. Hmm….
STRAY OBSERVATIONS ON MT. BATUR
There were a lot of trucks coming in and out of the left side, trucks that had stones or sand in it. Then I looked at the mountain. I realized that most likely they were quarrying stones and sands from the area to sell to other companies/countries that reclaim lands. That’s why the road was so sandy.
I remembered a conversation with an SG cabby:
Cabby: most area in CBD are reclaimed
Me: where do you get the land to fill the place?
Cabby: Oh, corrupt countries. Philippines, Indonesia…
Me: that’s not good for the environment
Cabby: Yes, but that’s the way it is
Yes, that’s the way it is indeed
Travel Dates: 2015.10.22
Destination: Mt. Batur
Scooter Rental: IDR50,000/day
Gasoline: Ave IDR8,857.14/L (Range IDR8,000-10,000/L)
Entrance Fees (Bule Price)
Mt. Batur: IDR35,000