Sunrise trek up a volcano sounds like a dream vacation for some, and a nightmare for others. For me, Mount Batur was the highlight of my vacation in Bali. After weeks, or if I’m being honest, months of surfing every day and enjoying all the beaches Bali had to offer, I was ready for a challenge.
Luckily for me, my friend was visiting, so it was the perfect excuse to head out of town for a few days and enjoy more of the island. I had heard that the sunrise trek on Mount Batur was the highlight of most of my friend’s holiday in Bali, so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
Besides my trip to Nusa Penida, I hadn’t done much hiking, let alone walking in Bali. So I was interested to see if I could withstand the challenge and actually make it to the top.
History Of Mount Batur
Mount Batur is an active volcano on the island of Bali. It last erupted in 2000 but has been fairly dormant since. It was officially registered and monitored for its activity in 1804 and during that time 22 active eruptions have been documented. The most devastating eruption happened in 1926 when the whole village of Batur had to be temporarily evacuated due to the flow of lava.
Mount Batur is 5600 feet tall (1717 meters), but it is not the tallest Mountain in Bali. Mount Agung has it beat at 9944 feet (3,031 meters) high, which is Bali’s more known active volcano.
Mount Batur is located just Northwest of Mount Agung and is known as one of the most sacred spots on the island. It is known and believed by locals to be a dwelling place for the gods, mainly Lord Brahma, the creator of the Hindi religion. Hindi locals bring offerings to the mountain daily. It is likely that as you are hiking, you will get to enjoy the fresh scent of incense as they always include this in their offerings.
The offerings are meant to cleanse and purify the Mountain from evil spirits. They are also meant to help maintain an equal balance to the holy area and to prevent anything bad from happening.
In the Hindi religion, women are not always allowed to visit sacred places, because they see women as unpure. Women are allowed on the mountain, however, if you are pregnant or menstruating, they ask that you stay off the Mountain.
What To Expect Trekking Mount Batur
Now that we talked a little bit about the history of Mount Batur, let’s talk about the actual hike. I had been living in Bali for about 4 months before I made it to Mount Batur, and besides surfing, I wasn’t in the best of shape. It is far too easy to hop on your scooter and zip around town, rather than walking everywhere, which I was used to when living in Europe.
Bali makes walking, let alone running, a difficult task to complete. So I was a little worried about hiking up a volcano, especially when I am used to living at sea level.
The hike was not difficult. I thought it was going to be more of a challenge than it actually was. We were given plenty of time to make it to the top in time for sunrise. As we hiked up to the top we noticed several different groups, all with guides slowly making their way to the top, stopping for a rest or to empty out lava rocks from their shoes on the way up.
Once you are at the top the views are out of this world. You feel like you have been transported to another planet and forget that you are on a tropical island. Rather you have a strange sense that you are on top of the world, above the sun, looking down on a strange land.
We were able to reach the top well before the sunrise. Once at the top, we took a rest on some benches where they will have locals selling you coffee, refreshments and renting blankets. Our tour guide also provided us with breakfast which we ate while watching the sunrise.
How Long Does It Take
I went with a group of four people in total, including our guide. However, we also picked up a local somewhere along the line that was trying to sell us refreshments as we made our climb up the volcano. It wasn’t too long before he was miles ahead of us racing to the top of Mount Batur as he was used to climbing it every day.
It took us around 1.5 hours to finally make it to the top of Mount Batur. The first 30 minutes of the hike was flat and easy. We passed gardens where they grew tomatoes and other fresh local produce. We didn’t really notice these fields until our way down from the hike since you start climbing around 4 am.
The last hour of the hike was fairly steep and the surface of the volcano was very loose gravel and there was not too much to hang on to. Before we started the hike you are given the option to carry a walking stick with you.
I would highly recommend taking advantage of it, especially if you have bad knees. It is very slippery loose gravel and steep on the way down, it helps to have the extra support.
I would say pretty much anyone can do this hike, you are given plenty of time to reach the top. Compared to Nusa Penida, it is not nearly as steep.
The hike is a very gradual climb, the hard part is dealing with the gravel. It is loose which makes it slippery, but that is where the walking stick will come in handy. It will give you the extra support you need.
What To Wear
Don’t forget to bring your jackets or sweatshirt. You are starting your hike around 4 am, Bali is cold at that time. Especially at 5600 feet high. It is going to be very chilly at the top.
If you didn’t bring a jacket to Bali, because who would think about bringing a jacket to Bali? You are able to rent one from the trailhead before you start your hike.
You probably won’t need it hiking up the mountain, but once you are at the top you are going to be sweaty. It is going to be cold and are you going to wish you had rented one at the bottom.
Remember to wear the right kind of shoes. If you have hiking boots wear them, if not closed-toed running shoes. Do not try to hike up in flip-flops. You will be very sorry and probably unable to hike it if you are not wearing the proper shoes.
What To Bring?
You are not going to want to bing a lot since you will be trekking up a volcano. Just the clothes on your back and a good camera to take some amazing photos.
Also, remember to bring plenty of water. You are going to need it.
Is It Possible To Go Without A Guide?
No, it is not possible to go without a guide. Mount Batur is a secured place, one of the holiest place on the island. The locals want to ensure all tourists respect the mountain. All tourists that want to trek Mount Batur have to go with a tour guide.
Here are some tour companies that I recommend booking with:
What Is Included In The Tour?
- Pick-Up and Drop Off from Hotel ( You can also have them drop you off at a different location)
- Coffee and cookies before the hike up Mount Batur
- Breakfast at the top of the mountain including egg sandwich, fruit
- Someone to take tictures 🙂
- Coffee tour after the hike to try the Luwak coffee.
- Fun Fact – Luwak Coffee is some of the most expensive coffee in the world, mainly because the Luwak animal eats the coffee beans and poops them out before you drink your coffee. In the past, the migrant workers were not allowed to drink the coffee and they were interested to know what the black drink tasted like since they were busy harvesting the beans. They realized that the animals were eating the coffee beans, but the beans were still intact when they pooped them out, so they cleaned them off and tried brewing the coffee anyways. Only to later realize it was actually a better coffee.
- Hot Springs if you decide to do them as well
Is It Worth It?
Yes! This was the highlight of my trip to Bali. Totally worth getting up early and making the trek up the volcanic mountain.
Where To Stay?
Bali is an amazing country that is known for is friendly, cheap and comfortable guest houses. When we hiked Mount Batur, we spent the night in Ubud. The tour companies will pick you up in Ubud and either take you back to the same homestay, or if you are traveling around they can take you to your next destination.
The following recommendations are all located in Ubud.
- $$$$$- Pita Maha Spa and Resort – If you are looking for a luxury place, I would suggest the Pita Maha Spa, the pool and views of the property are amazing.
- $$$$- Alaya Resort- Another great option if you want to be pampered.
- $$$- Loka Pala –This is where we stayed when we did the hike. It was simple, but comfortable.
- $$- Imagine Villa- If you are on a tight budget but don’t want to stay in a hostel I recommend this place
- $- Halaman Depan Hostel- This is perfect for backpackers, you can get a bed for around $4 a night.
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