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Climbing Bali's Mount Batur for Sunrise

Ellie Swain

Contributor

If climbing a 5,600-foot active volcano in the middle of the night to reach the summit for sunrise sounds exciting to you, then a trek up Mount Batur in Bali is the adventure for you. Otherwise known as Gunung Batur, the volcano is the most active in Bali. Yet that doesn’t stop explorers embarking on the gruelling two-hour uphill hike every day to reach the top. After an eerie hike through the darkness, walkers are treated to spectacular views of the sun peeking above the nearby Mount Agung and Mount Agang volcanos. Keen for the adventure but not sure what to expect? We’re here to fill you in on everything you need to know before committing to the thrilling hike.

Do I Need to Book a Tour?

There isn’t a direct and marked path to the peak of Mount Batur, so even for seasoned hikers, it’s best to trek with a guide. You’ll start your climb in the pitch black at around four am, so attempting to navigate the path without an expert is unwise.

The easiest option is to book a tour which includes transport from wherever you’re staying in Bali, along with a guide. Many of the tours also allow you to combine your hike with a refreshing dip in one of the local hot springs such as Toya Devasya, or a visit to Ubud’s famous monkey forest.

You can arrange a tour via your hotel or from one of the many tourist offices that litter the streets of Bali, or you can book online ahead of your trip. Prices will vary depending on where you’re based, with Ubud being one of the closer destinations to Mount Batur.

For more pillow time, there are also plenty of five-star hotels nearby to Mount Batur that would require a later alarm clock. That way you can also enjoy the sublime views for a few days too.

While there are many reputable companies to choose from, we recommend Bali Trekking Tour for a professional, safe, and friendly experience with local guides who know Mount Batur well.

How Difficult Is the Hike?

Mount Batur trekking tours start in complete darkness, and you’ll need to hike your way up 2,296 feet. For some, this can be quite a challenge.

If you’re usually active, then you shouldn’t find the trek too hard but consider that you’ll be walking uphill for around two hours straight in the pitch black. And the entire trek, including the break for watching the sunrise and exploring along the peak, takes approximately five hours.

When it comes to understanding how hard the hike will be, look at your own personal fitness to decide if you can tackle it. And if you’re struggling on the hike, don’t feel afraid to ask your guide for extra breaks or to walk slower. After all, the experience is meant to be enjoyable.

How Do I Prepare for the Trek?

Ready to brave the Mount Batur hike? Then you’ll need to come prepared.

While Bali is usually hot and humid, consider that it will be dark and cold when you begin your hike, so it’s best to bring layers you can peel off as you get hot and sweaty hiking uphill. By the time you reach the top, it’s likely you would have shed most of your layers during your workout.

And as your body cools down, you’ll be grateful for those extra layers as you sit at the top of the volcano, waiting for the sun to peek over the landscape.

Don’t worry about bringing hiking boots either. The terrain is mostly dirt, so casual trainers will do.

Most tours include a light breakfast of boiled eggs that are cooked using the steam from the mountain’s hot springs, energy bars, banana sandwiches, and coffee. You’ll be ravenous by the time you reach the peak, so if you think your stomach may still be grumbling be sure to bring a few snacks such as protein bars along. Tours also provide some water, but we suggest bringing a large bottle or more to replenish during the sweaty scrambling.

The tours also include the use of a torch, but for the best navigation bring a headlamp so you have your hands free to fumble in the dark.

Bringing a camera is a must too – you’ll want to capture the postcard-perfect views of the glimmering sun rising above the dramatic volcanic peaks of Mount Agung and Mount Agang. Keep your belongings in a comfortable waterproof backpack, just in case you get caught in a torrential downpour.

What Are the Views Like?

Once you clamber to the top of Mount Batur, sweating in the early morning heat, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of the surrounding volcanos misted with dramatic clouds. That’s unless it’s a clear day, of course. Observe the silent villages that sit below as you consider how far you’ve hiked and the accomplishment you’ve made.

As the sun begins to peek through the clouds, more trekkers will join at the peak and soon there’ll be a buzz of activity; lots of gossip and laughter on the morning’s challenge.

Ask your guide to show you the hot mist that escapes from the earth of the volcano, and he or she will take you to the spots where you can watch it waft out into the atmosphere.

The hike will be a completely different experience during the descent. Not only will it be less tiring, but you can admire the surroundings in the daylight, taking in the bounding monkeys that live up on the mountain and the stretches of green crops you stroll past at the bottom of the volcano.

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