We start our walk from the market of Sidemen where the local people sell
home grown crops such as coconut, coffee, clove, and various kinds of local
fruits. We walk up the steep hill path behind the village through the local
farmland where they grow coffee, vanilla, snake fruit, clove, bananas and
other local produce. The crops grow well in the rich volcanic soil. The
great eruption of mount Agung in the 1963 must have imparted lots of
fertility to the soil apart from the terrible damage it did to the island.
We make a few stops along the way while enjoying the spectacular view over
the great volcano, green rice paddies, the local villages and the great
Indian Ocean. As we walk through the snake fruit farm we have to be careful
to avoid the sharp thorns that grow all over the trees .
We arrive at a little shrine where a local friend places little offering to
pray for safety of our hike to the top, as it is considered to be a sacred
mountain by the locals. We rest a bit where suddenly our friend points out
a lively group of monkeys jumping over the bush on the other side of the
hill. They are believed to be the guards of the holy temple on the summit of
the mountain. Unfortunately we cannot get close to them, unlike the Monkey
forest where we can even feed them.
Our hike continues through the snake fruit farm to the top of Duangga Hill.
We rest again by a small temple at the summit, enjoying the great panorama
over the ocean. Mount Rinjani, in neighboring Lombok, is hugged by white
clouds like pure balls of white cotton while further off, the island of Nusa
Penida can be clearly seen in the distance. We take a rest for about 15
minutes before continuing our hike to the other top of the mountain where we
can view Candidasa beach and Mount Agung.
We relax around the temple for another 15 minutes and then continue our hike
down the northern side of the mountain passing the local farmhouses. We meet
a local farmer where we buy some snake fruit picked right from the tree. The
fresh fruit gives us renewed energy to follow the dirt track down. The local
people walk easily up and down the steep terrain while carrying heavy loads
on their heads. These everyday feats of balance and strength never cease to
amaze my clients. Along the way we see women getting water from the hillside
mountain spring for drinking and cooking. We reach the bamboo forest and
walk through it for about 20 minutes before we get to the main road of Iseh
village where our driver is patiently waiting for us. The village of Iseh
was once chosen as a place to live by the German painter Walter Spies. It is
a beautiful village with spectacular views of the rice terraces, river, and
Mount Agung. We sit under the canopy of the bamboo forest and enjoy our cold
drinks. It was fantastic hike and even if it was a bit strenuous, no one