Mount Agung a safe once in a lifetime Bali opportunity

by Maarten Rol
Mount Agung in Bali has been pretty much in the news, but unfortunately mostly not in a positive way.
That is understandable. Many travelers are afraid that:
- They will not be able to get home due to a cancellation of their flight;
- Their whole vacation might be cancelled;
- They will not be covered by insurance;
- Lava will be flowing down the streets (yes, some watch too many disaster movies).

Of course, news sells better with tales of pain and disaster. But, is it really a threat or …?

Mount Agung before eruption - view from Villa l'Orange
Mount Agung before eruption - view from Villa l'Orange.

It is a tremendous once in a lifetime opportunity!
What happens in Bali right now is a huge attraction elsewhere in the world. When a volcano erupts in Hawaii, local accommodation books out very quickly. Also, because people want a great vantage point to see the might of Mother Nature, tours to the popular volcano hotspots sell out fast.
And now you can find just that in beautiful Bali with Mount Agung. Businesslike as they are, the Balinese run daily tours to the Mount Batur which is at a safe distance, providing very spectacular views to this natural phenomenon.
So right now, Mother Nature is handing you, your friends and your family a fantastic once in a lifetime opportunity to see, feel and hear safely the power of an active volcano.
To experience a live volcano is on the bucketlist of many people.

Volcano eruption
Volcano eruption.

But how about the flights to and from Denpasar?
Lombok provides the closest airport to Ngurah Rai near Denpasar. However, this airport is likely to be affected by the ash cloud too. So this airport will probably also experience cancellations and closures.
The next best option is to go to Banyuwangi in Java. From Denpasar it is only a four-hour drive and a short ride on the ferry. Near the port in Banyuwangi is a train and bus station. This station provides services to major cities like Yogyakarta, Surabaya and Jakarta. All these cities have plenty of choices for flights in and out of Indonesia.
Moreover: travelling this way will give you a wonderful opportunity to see a lot of other interesting parts of Indonesia!

Mount Agung on November 26, 2017
Mount Agung on November 26, 2017.

The facts with the eruption of Mount Agung.
There is an eruption going on at Mount Agung. This volcano is one of many volcanoes in Southeast Asia, nick-named the “Ring of Fire”.
Many active volcanoes form together a string in the Indonesian Archipelago, from Papua New Guinea to Sumatra, over a distance of more than 4,000 km.
During the last century around fifty of them have erupted. This is all caused by the movement of tectonic plates in the crust of the earth. As plates move toward and slide under another, the hot material in and under the crust rises up towards the surface, where it can erupt in the form of volcanoes.
At this time, any potential danger is contained within a range of 10 kilometer from the crater of Mount Agung. Everybody should stay away from that evacuation zone.

What is the Indonesian government saying?
Bali Tourism Hospitality spokesman Dewa Gede Ngurah Byomantara has stated that only 2 percent of the entire island would be affected in the case of a volcanic eruption.
According to him:
- “The volcanic activity at Mount Agung should not affect other tourist spots”;
- “Three major tourist spots have felt the impact of the rumbling volcano, namely Besakih Temple, Tulamben Beach and Tirta Gangga”;
- “Those who enjoy hiking could still go to Mount Batur, Mount Batukaru or Mount Abang. The rest of Bali is open for business.”
Angkasa Pura, the Ngurah Rai Airport manager, has advised travelers to check their visas. If they want to avoid an overstay fee, they should get a so-called “Surat Permohonan” or permission letter from their airline to avoid paying this extra fee.

Mount Agung seen from the beach on November 28, 2017
Mount Agung seen from the beach on November 28, 2017.

Extra information
To view Mount Agung and its surroundings at sunrise, before the eruption, there is a nice short video on YouTube.
The Bali Tourism Board also is a great source of information. The Board was formed by nine Tourism Associations in Bali on 1st March 2002. Its main aim is to build and develop a better and sustainable tourism industry in Bali and Indonesia. The Board is responsible for generating a better quality of life for the local community.
The Earth Observatory of Singapore provides in-depth information of what is happening at Mount Agung right now.

Mount Agung seen from a village on November 28, 2017
Mount Agung seen from a village on November 28, 2017.

To conclude:
Mount Agung is offering a wonderful opportunity to see the might of Mother Nature in its purest form. It can be admired from a safe distance. Traveling problems can easily be mitigated and will show you wonderful parts of Indonesia that you probably would never have found in another way.
But please be aware that this great and free opportunity might not last long!

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