Toya Bungkah

Lying on the western shore of Lake Batur, along the roller-coaster road from Kedisan to Songan, the resort village of Toya Bungkah features an invigorating hot springs, massive cinemascopic views, and a black-sand beach. Many travelers choose to stay in Toya Bungkah rather than Kedisan because the latter has too many Bali Aga while the former is more a mixture of Balinese and Javanese. Watch your gear in both places-lotsa thieves.

Toya Bungkah gets busy only during July and August, otherwise there’s little traffic or motorboat noise. Just roosters crowing, flies buzzing, children playing, and pool balls socking. There are worse places to stay for a few days. Free of city lights, at night the stars are brilliant and the air fresh, filled with the sound of generators supplying power to the restaurants and color TVs. Electricity only comes on from 0630 to 2400. Bemo run in front of most hotels and it’s a very easy matter to get to and from the village to Penelokan, eight km distant.

Just before the village is a tollbooth where you’re hit with another irritating entrance fee: Rp1050 per person, Rp1000 per vehicle, Rp200 per motorcycle. Keep your entrance ticket so you can reenter each day. Popular tourist activities include bathing in the lake, fishing (Rp1000 for bamboo poles and worms), touring the lake via motorized boat (Rp40,000 per hour with boatman), visiting Trunyan and/or the cemetery on the other side of the lake, walking along the scenic shore, getting up at 0400 to climb Gunung Batur, or simply hanging out and enjoying the view and the cool air. At least five small open-air pool halls liven up the evening and somewhat occupy the many shiftless young men of the village. Although Toya Bungkah presents fewer hassles than other Batur communities, the males can be pretty aggressive to single women.