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My very first volcano sunrise hike is one of those wonderful immaterial treasures, that makes one an emotional billionaire! One of those golden mementoes, that no one can take away from you! Beyond Alzheimer of course.
Hiking Mount Batur in the night, in order to greet my only God in the morning, was a marvellous adventure I’m glad to have experienced. Especially for somebody like me – a hiking-lover, sunrise-junkie and novelty-seeker, hiking a volcano for the first time is definitely something to remember… and write about!
The year of 2017 was absolutely generous to me when it comes to new adventures! Mount Batur sunrise trekking was not the first sunrise trekking experience for this year. Back in the summer of 2017, I was able to enjoy the morning sun from 2.500 m as we hiked over the Tux valley in Zillertal (here). During that time I had already booked the tickets to Bali, so I was mentally planning and celebrating the upcoming volcano hike.
So let me tell you a bit about my volcano experiences in Bali:
- The first volcano experience was hiking Mount Batur.
- The second volcano experience was two days later, as Mount Agung became active 57 years after his latest massive eruption.
Today I’ll be writing about the first one!
You can find the price, schedule and everything you need to know about the sunrise volcano trekking hereinafter.
After we have booked the sunrise trekking tour, we already knew that we have to get up very early! With very early, I mean 1:30 am. So we went to bed around 9:00 pm, hoping for 4 hours of sleep… But, thanks to our funny-loud-annoying Australian neighbours, we couldn’t sleep at all!
So we were picked up at 2:00 am in the morning after а sizzling night. As you can imagine we were tired, touchy, grumpy, hungry,… all that kind of conditions that are definitely not your best friend during a night trekking adventure in the wilderness! It took us about 1h 30 min of a drive from Ubud as we arrived at the breakfast point where all groups and guides come together. This was the moment we got shocked by the number of people who were going to hike with us to the top of Mount Batur. We knew that the sunrise trek is a popular hike for tourists in Bali, but THAT popular was from another dimension …
In my group, we were 6 people and the guide. We had only one rest stop – all 6 of us were in very good condition and much quicker than the most of the groups. It was so dark and there were so many people that it looked like a biblical scenery of mass migrations during the night! We were able to see nothing, but the stars, the person in front and the illuminating path of thousand flashlights heading to the top of Mount Batur. Crazy as hell!
It took us something like 2 hours to get to the top of Mount Batur. We reached the peak at around 5.30 am. All in all the hike was harder than I thought it will be!
Between 5:30 and 5:50 am it was still absolutely dark, but also windy and very cold (especially when your clothes are dripping!). At 5:55 am the sun began to peek through the sky. I took my huge camera from the back-pack (that we wore the whole way up to the top…) till I realized that I have forgotten the batteries in the charger …
One Minute Silence, please …
So you can probably imagine how I felt. God bless my Huawei with the best phone camera ever made that saved me from screaming at random people on the “Top of the World”.
In such moments you have two choices: to drink your own poison or to enjoy the absolutely breathtaking view of the sun coming up over the sea and kissing Mount Agung with its rays…
ONE MINUTE OF SILENCE, PLEASE!
The sky turned from deep inky blue to red, pink and then orange. Now we could see everything from above! The sea, the lake, the small villages, Mount Agung, the Mountains of Lombok island, the thousands of people, … and then the monkeys! Horrible monkeys! They tried to steal our action cam, breakfast and whatever they found around … You can see the monkeys fighting for some breakfast below 😀
We got our second breakfast – coffee, banana-bread, eggs … everything stolen by the monkeys! Afterwards, we kept going up to wander around the crater, watching the hot springs and how the monkeys fight for food with the local dogs… After an hour we began our descent back down from the ancient volcano…
Volcanoes of Bali
The word “volcano” has another dimension when talking about Indonesia! Indonesia is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire and has around 400 volcanoes, 76 of which are active. These numbers make Indonesia the leader in the Worlds’ statistic for volcanoes and active volcanoes!
The Island of Thousand Temples is home to 1% of Indonesia’s volcanoes: Mount Agung, Mount Batur, Mount Bratan and Mount Merbuk.
Mount Agung: Mount Agung is an active Stratovolcano – conical volcano built up by many layers. With its 3142 m Agung is the highest point on the island. Mount Agung is considered as the most sacred place in Bali where the gods, nature spirits and ancestral spirits live.
The last major eruption of Mount Agung was during 1963 – 1964. 57 years later and 2 days after we climbed the Mount Batur, Agung woke up again. His current status (03.04.2018) is still erupting.
Mount Batur: Mount Batur is a bowl-shaped volcano (Caldera) that is 1717 m high. Batur is the most active volcano in Bali. His last eruption was in the year 1999.
Mount Bratan: Mount Bratan is a bowl-shaped inactive volcano. With its 2276 m, it is the second highest point on the island of Gods. His last eruption was many thousands of years ago. Mount Bratan is famous for its large number of hot springs.
Mount Merbuk: Mount Merbuk is an inactive volcano in Bali which is 1386 m high. His last eruption was many thousands of years ago.
Mount Batur: How to Get There
Mount Batur is located in Batur village of Kintamani districts, in the north-east of Bali. You can reach the volcano in 1.5 h of a drive from Ubud (43 km). The volcano is also about 65 km from Denpasar (ca 2h by car), 76 km from Kuta (ca 2h 15 min by car), 87 km from Nusa Dua (ca 2h 30 min by car), and 65 km from Padang Bai (ca 1h 45 min by car).
The most common and also the easiest way to get to Mount Batur is to book your tour which always includes hotel pick up and transport, a guide and also a breakfast. Depending on your location you’ll be picked up, for example in Ubud around 2:00 am, in Denpasar at 1:30 am, in Kuta 1:15, etc.
Mount Batur: Things to Know Before You Go
Best time to hike Mount Batur:
Generally I would recommend hiking the volcano during the summertime in Indonesia, meaning during the dry season. I wouldn’t hike on a rainy day as well as on a cloudy day! The way up to the peak might be very slippery and you will have to “enjoy” the mandatory wind combined with the tonnes of water too. A cloudy weather, on the other hand, won’t give you the chance to observe the beautiful natural scenery from the top.
Another tip is to go for sunrise trecking – during the day it is way too hot to climb the volcano. Another reason – the view is not as clear as when the sun comes up.
Sunrise trekking price:
Well, the prices per person vary a lot! The first price we got at the hotel was 1.000.000 IDR per person (60 €) which was waaaay too much! My advice is to ask at any tourist office for their best price. We heard offers between 350.000 IDR and 600.000 IDR for absolutely the same service.
So we took the cheapest option and paid 350.000 IDR (20 €) per person.
Here you can find our shop with the best price in Ubud:
What is included in the tour:
Included in the price are the transport, the hiking guide and two breakfasts – the first one is before the hike and the second one is on the top of Mount Batur. You’re going to hike with a group of up to 15 persons. We were 6 persons + 1 guide in our group: the two of us, a couple from France and two girls from Spain.
What is included in the breakfast:
Breakfast 1 includes coffee or tea and a banana-bread. Breakfast 2 includes boiled eggs which are cooked in the mountain’s hot springs, banana-bread and coffee.
How long does it take to hike Mount Batur:
Of course, it depends on your own speed but also on the speed of your guide and the group you’re hiking with. Normally it takes between 1h 45 min and 2.5 hours, we needed 2h. We started at something like 3:30 am and reached the hill around 5:30 am.
How hard is the hike up and down Mount Batur?
Let’s start with the fact that I’m hiking a lot. With a lot, I mean 2-3 times a week during the summer time. Don’t forget, I’m living in the heart of the Alps and hiking is a major activity here in the summer. The hike to the top of Mount Batur takes at least 2 hours if you’re a normally active person with a good condition.
During the first 30 minutes we thought “Well, it is easy! Much easier than our standard route in Innsbruck.” But after the gentle walk through the forest, the mountain path became much steeper and the ground much more unpleasant – sharp rocks combined with volcanic rubble! It was slippery, cold, windy and don’t forget DARK! There were times when the path got really challenging. I had some problems with the steep inclines because I’m not the tallest person ever. So I needed my right hand in order to climb the next step. My left hand was holding the flashlight.
I was afraid of the Descent – the same way down would have killed my knees for sure! But we followed a different path as to the way up. God bless the Guide! It was a nice path through the forest and I think it took us an hour to get back to our starting point.
What to wear?
It is cold during the night – something between 8° and 10°! So I was wearing everything I had: leggings (long leg!), t-shirt, wool sweatshirt and rain jacket. And it was still too cold for me! By far the most important thing to wear is good hiking shoes – I was really railing at myself for not taking with me my hiking Salomon shoes … I was hiking with Nike running shoes instead… Damn it! Don’t do this! I was feeling the rocks drilling into my foot bones, literally!
So what to wear: wear layers – t-shirt, sweatshirt, hoodie, long pants, gloves, rain jacket, hat if you want… and Don’t forget your hiking shoes!
What to bring?
A small waterproof rucksack, water, snacks, flashlight or even better – headlamp (you’ll need your hands for climbing). And of course – camera (my heart is still crying!). You don’t want to miss the amazing sunrise…
What did I wear?
Enjoy the day!
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Tanah Lot Temple ~ Bali