Bali, Indonesia, Trekking
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Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking: My Experience Climbing an Active Volcano in Bali

One activity I’ve always wanted to do in Bali is to climb the two active volcanoes on the island – Mount Batur and Mount Agung. Mount Agung is out of the question at the moment since it erupted very recently (just a month before our trip), so we’re only left with one choice — to trek Mount Batur.

Mount Batur climb is best to do at sunrise, so it does require you to wake up at an ungodly hour and be up at the peak of the mountain before sunrise. It’s worth it though!

Read on to find out how the Mount Batur Sunrise trekking was like:

Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
Waiting for Sunrise at Mount Batur summit

Getting to Mount Batur

Mount Batur is easy to get to from anywhere in Bali. You just have to figure out your transportation to get there – it takes about 1.5 hours by car from Ubud, and about 2-2.5 hours from Seminyak.

Although the trek is probably doable without a guide, we booked Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking with a tour anyway as it includes transportation to and from our hotel. Booking a tour saved all the hassle and thinking about logistics so early in the morning. Also, when you do the math, it really didn’t cost that much more than getting a taxi or a car.

How difficult is Mount Batur trek?

I’m not a super experienced hiker, but the only other climb I’ve done before this is Mount Rinjani in Lombok, which involved a physically taxing 2,000m elevation gain in one day. So compared to that, I’d say the Mount Batur 700m elevation gain is relatively easy. That said, it does get quite steep in some parts but there was no point where I felt so tired that I feel like I couldn’t go on. I think it’s very doable for anyone with average fitness.

When is the best time to climb Mount Batur?

I’ve been told the best time to do the climb is during the dry season, which is April – September in Bali.

But if you’re going to Bali during the rainy season and wondering if the trek to Batur is still worth it, well… it could be.

I myself almost didn’t do this trek since we came to Bali during the supposedly rainy season in January. I was worried that the view from the summit would not be very good and the climb would be in vain. However, once we got to Bali, we found that the rain was quite sparse (despite weather forecast saying it would thunderstorm every day) and the mornings are very clear, so we decided to try our luck and book the trek last minute.

My advice is to pay attention to the morning conditions for a few days, whether the sky seems clear or if it rained during the night. If it seems good for maybe 2-3 mornings, you can try your luck. Otherwise, you might just be greeted with nothing but clouds when you get up there.

It’s not a long or particularly difficult trek though so I’d say take the gamble and do it! And as you can see from the photos later, the gamble did pay off for me.

What should I bring to the trek?

  • A hat – any simple snapback would do. This comes in handy during descent as the sun in Bali gets very strong even before 8 am.
  • Sunscreen – again, the sun in Bali gets very strong even in the early morning so you still have to protect your skin!
  • Sunglasses – again, for sun protection.
  • Good pair of shoes – Trekking shoes would be ideal since there is some loose gravel nearing the summit, but that said, I did wear my regular Nike running shoes and was fine… for the most part. I only fell once 😛
  • Insect Repellent – there are some pesky mosquitoes on the trail!
  • A Light Windbreaker – Going up the trail wasn’t an issue since you probably will be sweating and warm from all the cardio. But it can get chilly later at the summit while you are waiting for sunrise. I used my Uniqlo Light Pocketable Parka, which is super thin and I thought it was sufficient.
  • Light snacks like a chocolate bar or some dried nuts. There was a small hut midway through the hike that sells snacks, but they would mostly be serving local delicacies so if you’re particular about food, you might want to bring your own.
  • A bottle of water – I recommend bringing thi, but you can also buy bottled water on the summit or on the way down.
  • Some cash to for coffee or to tip your guide – I gave Rp 50,000 for each of our guides. That’s less than $5. The coffee at the summit costs Rp 30,000 per cup.

And that’s all really! Again, it’s a very short trek, so make sure you don’t overpack.

Mount Batur Sunrise Trek Overview

Our trek schedule went roughly like this:

02:00amPick up from our villa in Ubud
04:00amStart trek from Bali Sunrise Villas (1,000m elevation)
04:30amFirst break at a small warung
04:50amHalfway point water break
05:17amThird water break
05:35amSummit (1,717m elevation)
07:55amStart descending back down
08:35amArrive back at Bali Sunrise Villas
10:10amBack at our villa in Ubud

Climbing up to the summit of Mount Batur

We went to bed at 9 pm that day, knowing our transportation would be picking us up at the ungodly hour of 2 am. Yeah, you read that right. The driver showed up very much on time. We got to the car without any fuss and proceeded to pass out the entire way to the mountain. We got to Bali Sunrise Villas, the starting point of our trek, at around 3:40 am.

We started the trek in pitch black at 4 am – our guide Made had given us some flashlights, and that was our only light source for a while. The first 50 minutes of the trek was quite easy – we were just walking on a clear trail with a little bit of incline. I was wearing my jacket at the start of the trail, but I quickly had to take it off because it got warm real quick with all the walking.

The trail only started getting steeper and harder after the halfway point break – it’s basically like climbing stairs at this point, but everyone in our group was pretty fit so we kept on going without many stops. We took a total of three water breaks with no more than 5 minutes each break. We reached the summit at around 5:35 am with no issues, which means it took us a total of 1 hour 35 minutes to reach the top!

I should also note that because we climbed during the low season, so there was almost nobody on the trail. Perhaps that’s why we were able to go up pretty fast. We did hear that during high season the trail is pretty much filled with a line of humans which could slow you down.

While waiting for sunrise, we were given our boxed meals consisting of 2 soft-boiled eggs, banana sandwich, a piece of banana and orange. Our guide Made told us the eggs were cooked using the volcano steam itself! More on that soon.

The eggs were so hard to peel though. You know how you’re supposed to stick boiled eggs into ice cold water right after they’re done, so that the shells will come off smooth? I guess there aren’t that much ice up here so I can understand…

Anyways, if you’re wondering where all the pictures are, here they are! I didn’t have any photos while climbing up because really, it was pitch dark. Any attempt to take photos pretty much failed. Thankfully the summit view was amazing.

Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
I was trying to be a good instagram girlfriend – what do you think??
Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
More Mount Agung shots
Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
The other summit where you can wait for the sunrise from
Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
First coffee of the day!

Exploring the Mount Batur Caldera

After the sunrise, we continued on to explore the rest of the caldera. Mount Batur is still an active volcano, with the most recent eruption in 2000. Made informed us that during the 1968 eruption of Mount Batur, red lava flowed into the caldera and to this day the black lava field can still be seen from the summit.

Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
Mount Batur Caldera
Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
This would have been a great shot, if I hadn’t blinked…

Remember how I said the eggs that we had for breakfast was cooked with natural steam coming from the volcano? Our guide Made then took us to the cliff where we can see the steam up close. It’s not super apparent in the photo below, but that white smoke you can see coming out from the cliff is not just fog – the entire cliff (which was actually a crater rim) was steaming!

Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
The steaming crater rim of Mount Batur

We took turns blowing incense into the hole, which made the steam thicker, and sticking our hands into the steam hole – not for long though, cause it felt like sticking your hand on top of a boiling pot of water.

To quote another girl who stuck her hands in for too long: “Damn, it’s hot as shit!!” Yeah, I guess it was hot enough to cook eggs.

Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
Blowing fire into the steam hole
Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
One last picture before descent

Descending Down Mount Batur

07:55amStart descending back down
08:35amArrive back at Bali Sunrise Villas
10:10amBack at our villa in Ubud

After playing around on top of the summit for two hours, we started descending down. The descent took much faster for us (only 50 minutes!!) but don’t think it’s going to be a walk in the park – it was still hard. Most of the terrain near the summit are loose gravel, so you have to be more confident each step and know where to go. This is where a proper hiking shoes would have come handy.

I was following behind our guide Made very closely, so I pretty much just copied her steps. She also helped me by holding my hands on some parts of the trail where it gets too steep. I was wearing my regular Nike running shoes, and it gets pretty slippery sometimes – a few people in our group fell at least once, and I myself fell once on my butt while descending.

But the descent is quite beautiful, especially since we were blessed by crazy good weather that morning. We got to stop by the temple, which Made explained to us is necessary according to the Balinese culture. Mount Batur is one of the four sacred mountains in Bali. We needed permission from the Gods to go up the mountain, to ensure our safety.

Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
A temple we encountered while descending down

While descending the trail, you’ll also meet a few mischievous grey monkeys! Time to bust out some bananas you might have saved from your breakfast – the monkeys are not aggressive, but they will jump on you if they see you holding fruits.

Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
One of the monkeys jumped onto the back of our trek member!
Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
The forest part of the trail is very pretty
Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
Spotted a few of these offerings on the trail
Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
Mount Agung as seen from the foot of the trail

Will I do this trek again? Hell yeah! This is what I would call a high ROI hiking – the hike was short and not that difficult but the view above is amazing. Mount Batur is right next to Mount Agung. On a clear day, you can see Mount Agung from the summit which makes for an amazing picture. And because you start so early, you’re basically done climbing a volcano by 9 am! Some people are not even awake yet!

Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking

The hardest part really is waking up at 2 am though – it really messed up my internal clock. Although we got back to our villa around 10 am, the rest of the day was pretty much wasted catching up on sleep. We finally only got out of our villa for dinner at 6 pm. I wouldn’t plan on doing anything strenuous after the climb, cause you probably will be tired like us.

The next morning, we were out and about agian. I was crazy enough to book a canyoning trip the very next morning. But, that’s another story for another post 😉

Where to stay for Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking

As I said before, we got to Mount Batur from Ubud. If you’re pressed for time, you can do this too. You can read my Ubud Guide here, where you can find my hotel recommendation and other things to do in Ubud.

Otherwise, if you have time to kill in Bali and if you want to sleep a little bit more, you can stay the night at the foot of Mount Batur in an area called Kintamani. That way, you are pretty much already at the start of the trail! You can also spend some time exploring the village, visit Lake Batur, and go for the Batur Natural Hot Spring, which people tend to visit to relax after the sunrise hike.

If you want to do this, here are some hotels you can consider in Kintamani near Mount Batur:

  • Bali Sunrise Villas – this beautiful villa was the starting point of our trek, so you know it doesn’t get any more convenient than this.
  • Batur Volcano Guesthouse – This guesthouse has a hot spring, and if you’re on a budget you can try the dormitory too.
  • Black Lava Hostel – If you are on a budget you can try this hostel.

Are you looking for more places to visit during your stay in Bali? Be sure to check my complete Bali Guide. This post contains everything I know about Bali – which areas to stay, what food to eat and what to do in Bali.

Filed under: Bali, Indonesia, Trekking

by Melissa Hie

Hello! Welcome to Girl Eat World. I'm Melissa, the "Girl" in Girl Eat World. I run a popular Instagram account by the same name, @girleatworld, where I update my followers about my food and travel adventure. I love writing really long detailed blog posts about my travel experiences, which I'm guessing was how you ended up on this site! (Read more about me here)

14 Comments

  1. What an informative and interesting post! Thank you for this, I’m going to Bali in July and because of your post I feel confident to do the Mount Batur hike. Love from Australia <3

  2. Angie says

    Thanks Melissa! This is so helpful, especially the list of essentials to bring and trek timetable. Great pictures! Can’t wait to do this in a couple of weeks!

  3. Great post – very helpful – thanks!
    Im in Bali now and still debating if I should to it or not. Ive never hiked before so a little bit weary still!

  4. sylwia says

    Thank you for great advice! I plan to visit the mountain next week on my own

    • Melissa Hie says

      are you going with a guide or just truly on your own? I recommend going with a guide unless you are a very experienced hiker. It’s pretty easy hike though, because the trail is quite obvious.

  5. Andrijana says

    Hi Melissa,

    I will go tonight and thanks for all the info. It is extremely useful! 🙂

    Regards,

    Andrijana

  6. Genevieve says

    Hi Melissa do you remember what company you did the hike through?

  7. Hi Melissa.
    Same as you, I have visited Bali for many times, but I have never climbed up the volcanoes. Thanks for sharing the idea. Noted for next Bali trip.
    Cheers,
    Mary

  8. Pingback: Guide to Ubud: A week in Bali’s Rice Terrace central | Girleatworld.net

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