When in Bali, you have to do a sunrise hike at Mt Batur. I share what to do and tips on hiking Mt Batur.
Bali has many mountains and volcanos, and you could hike them! It’s super cool and adding on to the experience, we are hiking at 3am to catch the sunrise at about 6am. It was a relatively accessible hike, although you need to be a certain level of fitness.
Guide or No Guide?
I never liked those tour packages and always choose to travel free-and-easy. To be honest, I’d rather hike up the mountain alone (with friends) than having a guide. But after speaking to the chauffeur that we had, the only way to hike the mountain is to hire a guide who will bring you around. You cannot hike there alone. Thus, we had to get a guide.
Since the hike starts at around 3, the chauffeur picked us up at 1 am and drove for 2h into the heart of Bali. We all slept during the journey because it was too early! The only way to get there is through a driver/chauffeur because there isn’t public transport in Bali. The system was abolished due to the heavy traffic on the roads. Thus, you could hire a chauffeur, rent a car on your own or hire a cab. The cab might not take you so far, so you have to check it beforehand. A GPS would definitely be handy should you decide to drive on your own. A multi-purpose vehicle with 7 seaters is good for a family or a group of friends travelling together.
We arrived at around 3 am and everything was pitch dark. There were only about 3-4 street lamps and it was rather freezing cold. You could see thousands of stars, twinkling in the moonlight. It’s quite overwhelming because you realise there’s so much more out there and you’re just a tiny human being doing your thing. It’s also not as easy to see such a cluster of stars, coming from the city.
We got introduced to our guide, Naoman. She just started being a guide and couldn’t speak much English. She handed us a torch each. There, there’s a person selling jackets/windbreakers for about USD$5 each. It really wasn’t that cold, like 15 degrees and with the wind, it’s maybe 12 degrees? I’ve done some crazy hikes without proper wear in Hong Kong so this wasn’t that bad. Nonetheless, we are not properly dressed (t-shirt and shorts) and my friends wanted a jacket each. So we rented the jackets and started our journey.
The terrain is rather new because it’s a volcano after all. Those cooled sediments, rocks and minerals fill the road up. The morning dew made it challenging as the rocks were slippery. There was only 1 way up and the road was definitely not properly paved. The only light we had was the torch and the moonlight. Nonetheless, it was enough to take a step at a time and made our way up.
On the way, many hikers beat us to getting to the top. French, Australians, Koreans, Chinese, more Singaporeans and many Thais were hiking too. It seems to me that Europeans are fitter as they hiked up easily and wore super little, like a tank top and short shorts.
We took several breaks, drinking water, resting and also to take a look at what’s below us. Fortunately, the weather was great, and we could see the city light just below us. There’s also a trail of lights coming towards us, a just new batch of people hiking too. Mt Batur is a popular hiking destination and people hike there every day. Sunrise hike would be the best because the weather is cooler and hiking is not that tough. Some people opt for afternoon hikes, but with the sun shining mercilessly on the back, it takes a new level of crazy to hike that volcano.
What to Do at Mt Batur
Hiking, is, of course, the main activity to do. However, at the peak, there’s also a little cafe where you can grab breakfast. The cool part of the volcano is that there’s still hot air emerging from the ground. What people do is that they purchase raw eggs at the foot of the volcano and hike up with them. (Be careful not to crack them because I overheard a couple saying “oh shit, there’s egg all over my backpack”) You can simply place your raw egg on the floor where the hot air is emerging and the egg will be cooked!
It was cold and most people stayed in the hut/cafe area to escape the wind, but I really enjoy the darkness. I went out and sat beside this person and made friends. He’s an Australian and taking a gap year, travelling south-east Asia alone. I feel constantly inspired by these people, who travel, who wants to see the world, who are not conformed to society’s norms of going to school, graduating, university, finding a stable job, etc. There are so many places I haven’t been, so many people I haven’t met, so many stories that remain untold. I find a constant need to see the world and not remain stuck on Singapore island, and meeting people who share such vision really inspires me.
Sunrise On The Volcano
Sunrise was stunning. The light creeps up from the horizon, breaking the sky from the land with a beautiful array of light. The clouds were plentiful, yet we were above it. The sun took some time to appear and hung in the skies like a painting and it’s the main object in the picture. Grand, magnificent, and giving life to the world below. There’s something about the sunrise that touches me. A new day is born, new beginnings await.
After sunrise, we continued hiking to the peak. The crater was surrounded by spine-like trails, making the volcano look like a sleeping dragon.
Hot air was escaping through this crack in the rocks. Being a religious country, there’s a temple in the cave, but of course, our guide would not let us there cause it’s dangerous.
Mother Nature is majestic. After all these years, of eruptions and fire and whatnots, the trees still stand strong as ever, the flower still blooms and the green is greener than ever. Everything is temporary, nothing is ever permanent. Life goes on and flower continues to bloom.
Too exhausted and wasn’t that excited to walk on the spine of the volcano. We gave that a miss and made our way down.
The dark colour soil was where the eruption was in the past. I love the green, yellow, blue and dark brown contrast.
Going down. The mountain behind us.
2 Other Things to See
Mt Batur is not just a mountain and that’s all. There’s also a gorgeous Lake Batur with natural hot spring.
And UNESCO temple.
What to Bring
- You essentially need to bring water. Plain mineral water. People sell like coca cola above, but water is still the best.
- A jacket/windbreaker if you are afraid of the cold, or don’t want to rent one.
- Food and snacks if you wish.
- Camera, if you wish to capture the memory elsewhere. Just be careful not to lose it or break it. Or just your iPhone.
- Proper covered shoes for hiking.
- Insect repellant.
We negotiated hard and discussed for a while with the driver to quote us the best rate. For 3 of us, we spent $1.2million rupiah, which is about USD $100. It includes breakfast at the top (bread with jam and 1 egg), the guide, and transportation thru and fro. I guess it cost this little because the guide is new and not as experienced. However, we still did have fun.
This hike is great for youths, adventure seekers, hikers and people who can’t sleep at night. It’s fun, enjoyable (except the part where we are half asleep but have to force ourselves to walk) and definitely an experience I never want to miss. We started off having lunch in a restaurant facing the volcano and I thought, wow it would be cool to hike it. Turns out you can really hike it and it felt good. And it’s pretty amazing too. I can strike-off “hiked a volcano” on my bucket list!
Things to Note
- There are a lot of monkeys there and they are SUPER aggressive! They steal food and attack people so please keep your food away from their sights. They think that all plastic bags contain food, and attacked a lady’s bag when they saw a plastic bag.
- With that being said, please don’t go near a monkey, esp when it’s carrying a baby in front. Animals are not that cute when they feel threatened.
- Mosquito repellent. The amount of bites I received from the hike is just annoying.
- There’s no toilet, so the toilet is the mountain. Good luck ladies. There’s only 1 proper washroom where the cars are parked.
- There are wild chickens there and if you see a random person walking around with a gun in hand, he’s killing the chickens.
- All those drinks and food you buy from the peak, are hand carried and hiked up to the peak by the locals. So, I would suggest to not haggle for prices up there because it’s really not easy to carry all the bottles and stuff up the mountain.
Have fun and here’s to the next mountain!
Trevellers is my way to change the world. Through my stories, tips and lessons learnt, I truly hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone, see the world and see who you truly are. Travel is more than just taking a selfie. Travel is an adventure, where you can truly become who you are, give you the time to reflect and grow to become the person you’ve always wanted to be.