Hopes that the current ban on conquering Batur and Agung and other peaks would be lifted with the departure of the former governor, Wayan Koster, have not materialized. While in power, Koster issued a circular prohibiting tourists from climbing 22, essentially almost all the mountains in Bali.
The Balinese government, represented by Secretary Deva Made Indra, announced that the temporary ban will transition to a permanent status and become a regional law. According to Indra, Acting Governor Sang Made Mahendra Jaya essentially lacks the authority to modify or establish new regulations on the same subject issued by the previous governor. He cannot alter the set regional development policy.
It will be prohibited to ascend the mountains not only for foreign and Indonesian tourists but also for Bali residents. The spirits of the mountains will remain undisturbed, except, of course, by the ubiquitous monkeys exempt from the ban. The introduction of restrictions did not deter protests from guides and others whose lives and work were connected to these peaks. Extensive public discussion revealed that even nature-loving students from local universities will be affected by the ban. Currently, the ban is not absolute, as one can still climb the peaks with the assistance of local guides. However, this option will soon disappear, as the gradual implementation of the ban continues.
One can take solace in the fact that in Indonesia, beyond Bali, there are numerous islands with countless picturesque and less-explored volcanoes and mountains, untouched by millions of tourists. The Javanese Ijen or the highest volcano, Semeru (3676m), located in the Bromo Caldera, easily rivals Agung or Batur in Instagram appeal. By the way, Java alone has 45 active volcanoes, not to mention the uncounted passive ones. You can choose any on the map, plan a winding route, and go ahead.
To the east of Bali, on the island of Lombok, there's the beautiful and picturesque Mount Rinjani (3726m), and in distant Papua awaits Indonesia's highest peak - Puncak Jaya, at 4884 meters above sea level. The crucial thing is that when climbing them, no spirit is guaranteed to be disturbed, and in most cases, local residents won't puncture the tires of your bike if you choose not to travel with a guide. So, for those who love adventure and nature, the ban on Balinese peaks simply offers a better opportunity to explore volcanoes and mountains on other Indonesian islands.