Night-time hiking, active volcano and beautiful sunrise – the perfect combination for an adventure in Bali!
Balinese people believe that the higher you go the nearer the gods you are, making from Mount Batur and its 1,800 meters high one of the sacred mountains of Bali, counting with even a visit to a sacred cave up in the mountain a few times per year.
Mount Batur is also home to an active volcano, with the latest eruption occurring in the year of 2000, leaving a crater with about 8 km wide. With all this… of course we had to climb to the highest point and see the wonderful sunrise!
Here you may find some tips, not only regarding the hike and Mount Batur, but also where to stay and what else to do in the surrounding area.
There are no more than a handful of hotels in this area. If like us, what brings you to this “corner” of Bali is just the hiking, then the choice of hotel becomes easy: choose the cheapest. Why is that? Because the hiking will go from 3 am to 10 am and the hotel’s check-out is at noon, so you hardly spend any time in the room.
We stayed at Volcano Terrace Bali not only for its low price, but also for the fantastic view over the lake, as well as because they are one of the official companies which organizes the hiking to the mountain through balihiking.com.
We should mention that the hotel is run by local brothers and it stands in nowhere. This area is not touristy, so there are no restaurants, bars, shops, etc., life is made of waking up early, going out to explore the volcano, lake and its surroundings, dine in the hotel and go to bed early! The 4-bedroom Volcano Terrace Bali Hotel naturally becomes an intimate place, perfect for couples.
The room is spacious and has a young decor, although we were expecting more regarding cleanliness. Be ready to get along with a lot of bugs (mosquitos, ants, slugs, geckos, etc.) because there are a bunch of them everywhere and anywhere, both outside and inside the room.
On the other hand the scenery is simply stunning: a view over the lake, fishing village and agricultural fields. It’s all very quiet and relaxing, perfect for contemplating the lake and the mountains in the background, with the chirping of birds in the nearby trees and the cow’s mooing not far away from the hotel.
The food was wonderfully cooked by the brothers, all with local foods including some fish caught on the lake.
Price: €35 one night with breakfast included and complimentary bottled water.
Caption: Pictures from the room and dining
Hiking Up Mount Batur
Calling it a climbing or hiking is a bit exaggerated as it looks more like a trail to the top of Mount Batur, where you don’t even need any climbing gear. The program will last about 5 hours, where the 5 km trail itself will take around 2 hours.
It started at 3:30 dawn, with starting point right in the hotel where the guide came to pick us up. We were the only ones. We stocked up on water and made our way through the houses with our borrowed lanterns.
By the time we arrived at the mountain climbing starting point we started hearing and see the lights of other mountain hikers, many of whom come directly from Ubud in a much larger tourist groups with about 15 people, so we really enjoyed our intimate group of only 3.
Almost half of the trail is done without any problem by a flat walk to the mountain’s base. We make regular stops to recover our breath and drink water. Later we arrive at a bifurcation where the guide asks us if we want the “easy” or “difficult” way, where Ana, with all her conviction, responds: “difficult, of course.” Difficult be it…
So you may understand the difference and wisely choose the path that best fits your condition, allow me to explain: the difficult path takes (in theory) less time and is steeper and rocky, which will require more from your legs, so you can give those jumps from stone to stone; on the other hand, the easy path takes about 30 extra minutes compared to the hard one, however is much less steep and more sandy and gravelly.
So we took the right path – difficult. This trail is irregular with sometimes very high “steps”, where we can only climb with the help of our hands. You shall note that humidity and dew of the morning will leave the stones a bit slippery. Upon ending the climb we reached the top of Mount Batur at about 5am, which gave us about 30 minutes rest, while the guide prepared us breakfast and we waited for the so much long awaited sunrise.
Around 5:30 in the morning the guide served the breakfast, consisting in a boiled egg and a mountain-steam-heated-banana, becoming soft enough to spread on bread. The banana sandwich was pleasantly amazing! This meal not only helps to replenish energy, but also to warm us, as at that point in the top of Mount Batur the temperature was only of about 10 celsius degrees. For those who do not mind paying inflated prices, there is coffee and tea available for sale.
By this time Mount Batur is well composed of hikers… and behold the sun rises slowly on the horizon dyeing the sky of oranges and yellows. You may be lucky enough to see everything including the lake and islands like Lombok or, if it is cloudy, then you have the fantastic experience of being “in the clouds”, with the sun gilding a sea of clouds well below us. Whatever the case, the scenery is amazing and deserves some photos, especially that one holding the sun on your hands.
The way down can be carried out slower and with less stress, since there is no schedule to be met and is basically done by the easy way describe before. It’s amazing to see how high you are and how much you have climbed night-in. On our way down we passed at the entrance of the sacred cavern, visited the crater and walked through the mountain’s steam.
As mentioned before this trail is sandy and gravelly, thus slippery, so get used to the idea of falling down quite a few times – nothing serious – even the guides go down once or two times. Around 10:30 we were back at the hotel.
In our opinion the hiking to the Mount Batur it’s a must-do, quite challenging trail, different for being done at night-time and unique for its sunrise, leaving us with a fantastic story to tell!
- Get rid of unnecessary weight – take just the indispensable stuff!
- Humidity is an extra difficulty factor to consider.
- Water is a must.
- The night is cold, but we quickly generate heat when we start to walk up.
- When you reach the top there’s no sunrise yet, so it gets windy and cold, worsened by the fact that we are soaked in sweat from our physical action plus humidity, so a sweater will make all the difference.
Price: €42 per person with accredited guide, lanterns and breakfast on top included.
Caption (left to right): Crater (with Guide) | Breakfast | Temple | Sacred Cave Entrance
What To Do In The Surroundings
After going up (and down) to the wonderful Mount Batur, nothing comes better than relaxing in the thermal waters, naturally warmed by the volcano.
This hot springs are named Batur Natural Hot Springs and are located right on top of the lake, offering a fantastic view over it as well as the mountain.
Price: €10 per person with towel included.
Details: Website | Phone: +62 813-3863-3519
Caption: Natural Pool and lake & mountain view