Look: Latest images, drone, and timelapse videos of Mount Agung in Bali, Indonesia that is feared to erupt anytime soon.
We are currently in Bali, capturing the volcano while on the verge of exploding as well as to observe the atmosphere of the towns surrounding it. Mount Agung, the highest peak of the popular tourist destination Bali in Indonesia, has recently made headlines as it threatens to erupt soon after more than 50 years since its last explosion in 1963, which has lasted for a year and left 1700 people dead and countless buildings, and farmlands destroyed.
While staying in Ubud, I frequently feel tremors that usually last for a few seconds. News all over the internet had warned of the imminent eruption of Mount Agung. I decided to go on a trip around Mount Agung and take timelapse, hyperlase, and drone videos of the volcano and the towns around it.
Mt Agung volcano in Bali, Indonesia, seen from different angles. The highest peak on the island, one of the 130 active volcanos in the country, threatens to erupt any time soon for the first time since its last eruption in 1963 which lasted for a year leaving 1700 people dead.
Hyperlapse shot while driving.
Mount Agung seen from the Pura Lempuyang in Karangasem during sunrise. The volcano is considered a sacred place for Balinese people who are mostly Hindus. They believe that it is the replica of Mt. Meru, the central axis of the universe. We headed off to Pura Lempuyang for sunrise. The effect of the news about the volcano is felt according to the guides in the temple as they see less tourists coming in even though Pura Lempuyang is very far away from the exclusion zone.
Amed, a coastal town in the east of Bali, is popular to tourists for its dive spots, black sand beaches, snorkeling areas, and as a jumping point to the Gili islands and Lombok. The sunset point at Jelekum Cliff offers a view of Mount Agung and the black beach below. During our stay, however, we only saw a couple of tourists walking about the streets of Amed lined with hundreds of empty dive shops, restaurants, and accommodations. Although Amed is 4 kilometers out of the exclusion zone, the impact of the threat of Mount Agung is felt by the tourism industry in the town.
Mount Agung as seen from Tulamben, a coastal town east of Bali. The authorities had set up a 9-12 kilometer exclusion zone from the crater in places. Tulamben is part of the danger zone and people have already evacuated.
Some parts of Mount Agung are seen through the Balinese gate of an empty home in Kubu town east of Bali. Thousands of tremors have been recorded everyday in the past week triggering fear amongst the people living around it.
The clouds hide away the immensity of Mount Agung as seen from the south in the village of Jungutan. The vibrant flowers and the peaceful ricefields offer a stark contrast to the imminent danger, which is predicted to happen anytime.
Smoke billows from the right side of the peak of Mount Agung adding to the fear that the volcano might blow off soon.
The towering Mount Agung as seen from Pura Lempuyang, a temple complex located in Tista south of the volcano. Mount Agung stands high at 3010 meters making it the highest peak in Bali and 23rd in Indonesia. It is also one of the 130 active volcanoes in the country.
View of Mount Agung from Mahagiri Hotel and Restaurant during sunrise. Mount Agung and its surrounding towns are popular destinations to climbers and regular tourists all over the world before the warnings about its eruption were placed. Mahagiri Hotel and Restaurant often caters to hundreds of tourists who wants to get the best view of Mount Agung, with the beautiful rice terraces seen from the restaurant. However, today, when this photo was taken, only news reporters and photographers were present. The owner said that although Mahagiri is far from the exclusion zone, tourists visiting his restaurant has dropped to 70% since the news broke out.
Mount Agung as seen from Jelukum Cliff in Amed as the sun sets behind it. The locals worry that the effect of Mount Agung, before and after explosion will last for a couple of months, which will hurt local businesses. The homestay where we stayed at had to cancel their nightly reggae show since there are not enough tourists to entertain.
Towns in exclusion zone
Besakih town located at the slopes of Mt Agung, being part of the exclusion zone, has now become a ghost town. The imminent eruption of the volcano has forced the people to evacuate to nearby towns and villages.
The town of Besakih at the slopes of Mount Agung is part of the 9km exclusion zone as indicated on the poster. Since mid-September, hundreds and thousands of tremors had been recorded, raising the warning to the highest level. 9-12 kilometers exclusion zone from the crater has been set, which include dozens of towns and villages around the volcano. Meanwhile, the tourist areas of Ubud, Kuta, Seminyak, and Canggu among others are still lively with travelers as these areas are far away from the exclusion zone. Having said that, when worse comes to worst, the authorities have already prepared buses to divert tourists to the closest airports in Java.
The entrance to Pura Besakih, the Mother of Temples, located at the high slopes of Mount Agung lay empty since the warnings have been raised. Police escort to safety anyone who are found anywhere near the temple. In its better days, this place has seen hordes of tourists from all over the globe.
The streets of Besakih lay empty except for a couple of locals driving to and from the town after the whole town has been evacuated in preparation for the imminent explosion of Mount Agung.
The town of Besakih has turned into a ghost town as shops close and people move to evacuation centers in nearby villages that are not part of the no-go zone. According to latest updates, about 170,000 people had been evacuated since the warning had been raised.
Shops close, streets run empty, and the houses deserted as the fear of Mount Agung imminent explosion continues.
This warung, along with other shops has remained close since the warnings.
Before the threat of the volcano eruption, this street in Besakih was busy catering to hundreds of tourists who wish to visit the Mother of Temples, Pura Besakih located at the high slopes of Mount Agung.
Warnings such as this are placed in certain villages to indicate the 9 kilometer exclusion zone from the crater of the volcano. This was taken in the village of Pempatan near Besakih.
Watch more photos of Indonesia. We have also been exploring Indonesia since since May and it has been a very pleasant experience; taking timelapses of the Milky Way over the active volcano Mount Bromo in East Java and exploring the remote Banda ‘Spice’ Islands and Kei islands.
Time lapse movie shot recently at Mt Bromo, Indonesia’s most popular volcano at Java, one of the 130 active volcanos in the country:
In the last two months we have been driving around Bali and taking photos and flying the drone over green ricefields and rice terraces; its temples; filming cultural shows; and island hopping in Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and the Gili Islands as part of a Bali project that will showcase timelapses, hyperlapses, and drone videos of the most breath-taking scenes of not only the places that tourists are familiar with but also of the lesser known but equally beautiful landscapes, small villages, and the culture that many rarely see, the true essence of Bali.
Text by Jen Yap, photos by Martien Janssen