The villages of Muntigunung are located on the intensely arid northern slopes of Bali’s mountains with dramatic views of Mount Agung, the island of Lombok and the towering silhouette of Rinjani.
With an extreme 8 month dry season Muntigunung’s impoverished villagers struggle to grow enough crops to survive, and with the influx of tourism over the last few decades many have chosen to go begging with their children in Ubud and the large beach resort of Kuta. In an effort to provide a more sustainable future for the villagers a Swiss backed NGO has constructed 11 buildings with expansive roofs to collect and store rainwater in specially designed tanks to provide a year-round water supply. These roofs also provide a place for the villagers to make handicrafts and process crops such as rosella tea and cashew nuts which are sold to the large hotels on the south coast.
The younger members of the community have also been trained as guides to lead treks from the top of Lake Batur’s caldera down to the plains of the north coast. The trek sarts with an ascent for around an hour to a vantage point with spectacular views of the entire caldera. The trail then descends towards Bali’s north coast with time to stop off at the villages to see the buildings where the locals are now working.
Not only does this employment provide a regular source of income, but it also ensures that the families stay in their village and their children can attend school.
MUNTIGUNUNG TOURS DETAILS
Pickup in the morning by car from your villa or hotel /start a moderate walk in Songan, a village near the sea /walk through wild vegetation passing villages and hills /learn about the challenges of the people everyday and see how they are helped to improve their standard of living /Interesting visit of production facilities of the charity project, where they produce hammocks, baskets, bags and Cashew nuts /enjoy the solitude and silence as well as the breath-taking views of Lake Batur and the Indian Ocean /lunch and relaxing on beach /travel back by car to the villa or hotel.
PAY ON SITE :
Price for larger groups by request
ATTENTION SHOULD BE PAID TO :
|2||Comfortable clothing, light pillover or raincoat|
|3||Sun protection (hat, sun cream, sunglasses)|
|5||Small bag or rucksack for your daily ration of water|
|6||Precise cash to pay the trekking on site (see prices)|
|1||Trekking has to be paid cash on site in Indonesian Rupiah – no credit card payment on site !|
|2||Please do not give money or other presents to locals. The tour guides are paid by the society as well.|
|3||If you want to buy products seen during trekking or if you want to support the society, get in touch directly at firstname.lastname@example.org|
Customers Experience :
1. Welcome to my first story of 2016. This is about doing good and building a future for the children in the Muntigunung region on the north-eastern side of the island of Bali.
Before I share with you my trek to Muntigunung, I would like to talk about the relatively unknown Muntigunung region and ‘Future for Children’, the Swiss-Indonesian non-profit organization founded in Switzerland in November 2004 by Daniel Elber. Its objectives are to finance projects to support sustainable developments in destitute regions of Bali, with its main focus on Muntigunung. In Bali it cooperates with Dian Desa, the most reputed development organization in Indonesia, as well as work with other local partners.
Every Balinese knows Muntigunung, not for its beauty and rice fields but for its reputation of sending women and children to beg in the streets of southern Bali. The sad sight and plight of these beggars made Daniel and his organization start a series of projects to help them.
Muntigunung is one of the driest regions of Bali, and water is a constant worry. Women used to take their children on three to five hour treks every day to fetch water from Batur Lake or the coastal region. Imagine having to hike up and down dangerous pathways on rugged terrain to fetch a few liters of water, the agony of stepping over a stone, dropping the bucket, and having to start all over again.
Daniel realized that the key to improving the life of these poorest of the poor people was to secure them with a sustainable water supply. The first project ‘Future of Children” embarked on was to build a water tank to store rainwater and distribute it to the houses in the villages. To ensure there is enough water for everyone, the villagers were educated not to use more than 25 liters per person per day – a luxury compared to the 10-15 liter buckets of the past that had to last the whole day for the entire family. This was the beginning of several water tanks built in other villages throughout Muntigunung.
‘Future for Children’ then embarked on its next project, which was to create income- generating activities for the villagers. If you have visited Bali and received an Asian Trails’ branded basket with cashew nuts, it was produced by the villagers of Muntigunung. Besides baskets and cashew nuts the villagers also produce hammocks, bags, Rosella flowers (wild hibiscus), and palm sugar powder.
Improving the health and reduce child mortality, as well as assuring adequate education for children, are some of the other activities and training programs initiated and overseen by ‘Future of Children’. Through these projects the organization is changing the livelihood of the 5,500 inhabitants and the 36 villages of Muntigunung.
Asian Trails has been organizing treks with ‘Future for Children’ for many years. On my recent visit to Bali I had the pleasure of going on one of these treks that was led by Nicole, an active member of the organization, its expert guide Pica, a trekking guide from Muntigunung and Bjoern Schimanski, Asian Trails’ managing director in Indonesia.
We left my villa in southern Bali in the early morning and drove to the starting point that was just up the hill from Lake Batur. After a hike uphill the panorama, which opened up to Lake Batur and Mt. Batur on the western side and the coastline to the east, was simply breathtaking.
We continued mostly downhill on mountain pathways, through plantations and forests, and through some of the most rugged and driest terrains in Bali. The views were spectacular, to say the least, and at every turn we saw another amazing panorama.
After about two hours of trekking we reached Muntigunung, and the first village where a water tank had been built. This village today specializes in making baskets. For me this was quite an emotional encounter as I did not only see the finished baskets, which Asian Trails and several of our clients had purchased as customer giveaways for many years, but also villagers with smiling faces making them piece by piece from a few helms of dried palm tree leaves.
We continued to another village that produces luxury quality hammocks, a technique learned by the hammock weavers from Salvador. A fresh coconut drink gave us energy to continue on the last part of the trek through several more villages until we reached the training center of ‘Future for Children’. The leader of the training center, which is also the center for the cashew nut production, explained the organization’s objectives, projects and achievements to us.
After a late lunch at a small resort next to the beach in Tembok, we drove back to southern Bali.
This trek is a unique opportunity to discover an untouched side of Bali, away from the more popular areas and their accompanying mass tourism and to learn about the challenges faced by locals and how help is provided. We took the long route lasting about three hours, which requires good average physical condition. Another option is a more moderate walk of about an hour. Asian Trails can guide you and your clients in the way most suitable to their requirement in exploring and learning about Muntigunung and ‘Future for Children’.
Trekking is one active way to support the organization. Other ways to help are to buy their goods for logo branded giveaways or make a donation to the bank account mentioned on its website. You can be assured that all funds will reach the people in Muntigunung.
Write by : Asian Trails Indonesia
2. Munti Gunung is an area located in between the two regency of Bangli in the west and Karangasem on the east. This area administratively is under the authority of Karangasem spread along the ancient pre-historic slope of the old Batur Mountain. The area is part of the local village named West Tianyar and contained of 35 groups of community that spread in an area of 24 square kilometres.
The area is very well known as a very minus area which is the land on the surface of the lava rocky mountain providing not much soils for the locals to do farming. The local community can only do farming by the rainy seasons and on the dry season, all colours will turn to grey as everything going dry. This high and dry land has to struggle for centuries to get their prosperity and still pretty much struggling today and causing most of this community member become beggar and they are spreading all over Bali mostly when the dry seasons is coming. In the village, they have to spend 6 hours a day to find a good drinking water walking back and forth to the closes water source at Lake Batur.
In 2004, some eye start to look upon this condition and with full of awareness that this community has to get some help in order to at least coving up their basic need. One of the Indonesian very well known NGO in community development named Dian Desa was knocked the door and entering the area to give some hands to the community. This institution doing their programs with a Swiss based organization named “Future For Children or Zukunft Fur Kinder” who hand in hand giving some development to physical and mentality of the community.
Through the program, the community got help in getting good quality water and in terms of mentality, the program was designed not in instant help by fulfilling their basic need instantly, but by a learning process in order to change the beggar mentality to the community that can stand by their own and giving pride to their life. They bring the community to a learning process when day to day they study to see some possibility of works through several workshops that has been delivered in accordance to their surrounding environment such as the abundant resource of Palm Tree which they then teach to make any form of handicraft out of it, the Rosella tree which is then they study to make Rosella Tea and Sweets out of it and the availability of cashew nut which then the community learn to product a high quality of it and both of the institutions help them in market it to the local hotels and restaurants as well as to the foreign market.
Those benefit that gained through this business is fully used to the development of any public facilities they need as well as touching each of the family life on a priority for child educations.
Lately the institutions also get some help from the Udayana University – Bali in part of taking care of the community health conditions by teaching and helping them in building the basic hygiene for each of the house.
Now, to speed up the development process within the area, the community love to invite all of those who eagerly helping others by come and see the area closely. Besides all of the running project within the community that clients can discover, this area also offered a most beautiful side of Bali which is along the trek you will see the aerial view of lake and mount Batur, you will see the massive eastern slopes of the ancient Batur will all of their valleys and banks and plateau.
These activities mostly suggested for them who stay in Ubud and Kintamani area as this is the closest point to reach the spot compared to the Bali southern area that usually need 2.5 hours driving. The trek will be proceeded in two hours starting from Songan Village of Kintamani to Munti Gunung Village on the east until we arrive at the first community project and it will be continued to another community project until it is finally finish at the central community project. Lunch then will be served at a close by restaurant in the area of Tembok.
Special note for this activity: No instant help in a form of money, meal, or clothing are allowed, but helping the community by purchase their products are very welcome.
Write by : Bali Nature Trekking