Mount Batur is one of Bali, Indonesia's most famous active volcanoes with its last eruption in 2000. As a popular tourist destination, people can trek to the top climbing 1,717 meters or 5,633 feet in elevation. This can take anywhere from 1.5-2 hours depending on your fitness level.
Mount Batur is quite a steep climb to the top, so make sure you are physically ready to take on this challenge. If you are not physically capable of trekking the whole way, you can hop on the back of a motorbike to the top.
However, to get to the highest lookout point of the volcano, you will have to weave your way through a blockade of ascending rocks for about 15 minutes. It is worth the effort! The views from the pinnacle of the volcano are magnificent on a clear day.
You can see the Danau Batur lake, Mount Agung, and even the volcanoes on Lombok in the distance. With the sun rising in the background, it is an unforgettable view and experience.
Are you ready for the challenge? If so, read on to hear about my experience and for ideas on how to construct a perfect day starting with the Mount Batur trek.
If you’re not ready for the challenge, you can still read on to live vicariously through me. :)
My list of what you need to climb Mount Batur is at the bottom of the blog.
The morning started with a jolt at 2am. My alarm clock rang, and I popped up out of bed as if I was from that 90s board game Don’t Wake Daddy.
In order to catch the sunrise at Mount Batur, you have to start climbing around 4am. So working backward, the driver arrived at 2:30am to take my friend and I to the base. Since I was staying in Seminyak (southern Bali) and we were driving to northern Bali, the ride would take an hour to an hour and a half with no traffic.
Sounds leisurely, right? I thought so too. I was like “Oh, I’ll just sleep in the car, no big deal.” Nope, wrong.
Whoever created the roads was definitely trying to imitate an amusement park ride experience. They were so curvy and hilly with turns every few seconds that my brain was a nice scramble by the time I arrived.
If you are going on long drives in Bali, I recommend packing Bonine or any kind of motion sickness medication. You will thank your migraine-free self later.
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Once we finally arrived at the bottom of the volcano, we met our guide. I got out of the car, and I was freezing. This was the first time that I had ever been cold in Bali.
I knew that once I started hiking that I would be hot in an instant; however, I do wish I had brought a proper jacket. Please learn from my mistakes and pack yourself a light jacket or hoodie. You’ll also want it when you get to the top.
Is it possible to hike Mount Batur without a guide? Yes, the path is intuitive and easy to follow.
However, there is a “mountain mafia” that will harass you into paying someone to take you up. To keep matters simple with the least amount of stress possible, we paid a guide.
Also, being a guide is the only job some of the Balinese have. It was only $28 USD to have the guide with hot coffee or tea and a light breakfast of eggs and a banana at the top.
I know some people hike because it is a free activity to see incredible views, so I can understand the resistance to paying the price. To me, the view and experience was priceless.
I would break the hike up into 4 parts. The first part is a nice slight uphill walk with some flat terrain. Our guide coined this section of the trail as “the easy part.” 30 minutes in, there is a checkpoint. After this checkpoint, the climb gets significantly more steep. Here you can decide if you want a motorbike to take you the rest of the way up.
This checkpoint is the indicator that the second part is about to begin. This second part is where my adrenaline kicked in as I started climbing the steeper portion of the volcano.
There is no view of the sky yet, just me and my flashlight hitting the ground running (or fast-walking to be exact). Climbing at any angle calls for shoes that have a good grip, which unfortunately, I did not have. I was slipping all over the place. Make sure to wear hiking shoes with a decent grip.
The third part of the hike is similar to the second in regards to steepness and difficulty; however, my muscles were starting to slow me down and my breathing was quite heavy. The main difference is the view.
Once you get to part three, you can see the sky clear as day. You are climbing amongst the stars.
I was in awe by how many stars you could see glimmering in the night sky.
Here, the whole sky was lit up. Jupiter was glowing bright red, and next to it, a brilliant intertwined web of stars forming a galaxy.
You know those metaphors where people compare hard things to climbing a mountain? Here I was actually living out that metaphor. Every step of the way, I kept motivating myself. I got into a rhythm. I chanted the mantra You. Can. Do. This. as a meditation as I put my right foot in front of the left. I was proud of myself that I kept going–that my body was working wonders for me and allowing me to do remarkable things.
I kept relating it to my life. One step at a time. I don’t need to get to the finish line right away. I simply have to keep going. When I needed a break, I teetered off to the side, gazed up at the sky and took a few big deep breaths.
That’s also how real life works. When I want to give up or don’t know what to do, I just need to listen to myself and slow down. Meditation and yoga help with this immensely. They allow you to connect deeper to yourself.
Yep, just some casual monumental life breakthroughs as I climbed Mount Batur.
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After climbing through the rocks in part four of the trek, I made it to the top!
As I blissfully watched the sky change from a dark blue hue to a light orange fade, I saw a plethora of monkeys storm in for their chance for food. They were relentless stealing people’s unsupervised snacks and backpacks.
I stupidly took out some peanuts for a small snack, and I had to wrestle the monkey off of me. It was hilarious to watch.
Make sure all of your belongings are inside your bag and have the bag on you at all times.
The way down was just as beautiful as the way up in a different way. I got to see all of the stunning nature surrounding the volcano in the daylight.
Although going down was super slippery and I did not have the right shoes, it was nice to stroll down the mountain at my own speed without worrying about missing the sunrise. The greenery was prevalent with bushels of trees, rice fields, and farmers growing tons of vegetable plants.
Even though my muscles were still sore three days after climbing, this experience was everything I could have wanted and more.
-Light jacket or hoodie
-Long pants or leggings
-Guide (if you do not know where to find one, please message me. I can connect you to a guide and a driver!)
-Snacks (just keep them away from the monkeys!)
-Good hiking shoes (gym shoes can be slippery)
Thank you so much for reading about my experience trekking Mount Batur at sunrise. I hope it inspires you to plan your next trip, or to keep vicariously living through my adventures. Read part two to see how you can complete your Mount Batur adventure.