“I feel like I conquered the world.
Past six months what I’ve been going to the gym, it had one purpose – build up my cardio and settle my asthma – I wanted to be able trekking Mount Batur at sunrise in Bali. And I did it. At 6am we reached the top of the mountain covered by dust, sweat, and excitement to see the sunrise over this Indonesian island.
I not only did it, but I also did it the harder way, where we had to climb the volcano rocks and dust in complete darkness, using only our head torches.
There was a struggle, I am not going to lie, but I was so determined to do it that I didn’t give up and carry on. It was worth it.
The picturesque scene stretched in front of us once the sun raised from the mountains painted the sky in warm shades of orange and yellow, and the whole island woke up into a new, better day.”
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But words cannot describe how overwhelmed, and proud I was when we finally reached the top of Mt Batur. It was one of the hardest physical things I’ve ever done, conquering not only the world but also myself and my own abilities.
In this article, I want to share with you the whole process from booking and preparing for the actual trek itself and show you the true side of the entire hike.
We booked our trek about three weeks before our trip to Bali, only because it was our first time in Asia and we weren’t sure if we could book trekking over there. But after our visit, I can tell you that you can. You can book pretty much everything over there, but a little research is always a good idea!
We used Viator (I use Viator a lot as I have always had great experiences with them), but after we met our tour guide Nyoman, I promised him I would promote his touring on my blog because we were highly satisfied and the sunrise trek to Mt Batur was one of our most unforgettable experiences together. Check his page on Tripadvisor.
Preparing for the trek
If you are visiting Bali for the first time and plan to hike Mt Batur, you probably wonder what shoes and clothes you should take. It all depends on all the other activities you have planned and how much luggage you are carrying, but a good pair of trainers or water/hiking shoes will do. I wore pretty much my entire gym outfit, starting with a sturdy pair of trainers, leggings, sports bra, top and a jumper. I also packed my waterproof foldable Regatta raincoat into my foldable backpack. Comfort and warmth is the key as it will be freezing on the top!
What to pack for the trek:
(some of the items are linked to Amazon – the ones we use and can only recommend)
- Snacks (fruit, protein bars, nuts, etc.)
- Tissues and wet napkins (or toilet roll)
- Head Torch
- Waterproof jacket or Raincoat
- Good mood!
Super Early morning
I’ve always been a morning person, but setting the alarm for 1.15 in the morning was a massacre even for me. It took me a little while to gather my senses, and while going to a bathroom, I fell over the ONLY step ?, almost knocking myself out on the bathtub! A great way to start, right? With this massive bang and the following swear words, I not only woke myself up, but I also woke Carl up. Morning, baby!
The best thing to do is to book your trek from Ubud. It is not only the cheapest but also the most convenient and most accessible location.
Our driver came to pick us up at 2am, Carl was still half asleep, but I was dead excited. Ubud was painted in black colours while we’re driving through, empty, passing only a few wandering dogs. It was eerily quiet.
We arrived at our first location, around 2.40am, meeting a few other drivers and tourists. We were offered banana pancakes for breakfast and free bottled water. At the station, we could also hire jackets and blankets for 50K Rupiah. Although we were in Ubud at the end of June, it was pretty chilly that time in the morning. Don’t go extreme, don’t wear shorts. If you have space in your backpack, pack your summer clothes. Bear in mind, you’re going on a hike, at 4am, in a pitch dark, climbing 1717 metres above sea level. It will be cold.
The breakfast point also had toilets, use them while you can!
After our simple, but filling breakfast, we were split into groups and jumped into cars – then headed off to meet our guides at the base of Mt Batur. As we were driving towards the mountain, I could feel the cold breeze on my uncovered skin and see my own breath transformed into white puffs. No kidding, it was really nippy.
We reached our tour guide Nyoman at 4 in the morning. He supplied us with hand torches and gave us instructions on how long it should take to get on top of the mountain.
When I looked up, where the mountain was meant to be, in the black and misty night, the only thing I could see was an ocean of lights, moving around like fireflies flashing towards the top. We all had the same dream that morning – to reach the top of Mt Batur and experience the sunrise over this most popular Indonesian Island.
We set off. Excited, tired, and maybe a little bit scared. Well, I was, for sure, perhaps for the first few minutes because I didn’t know what to expect.
Our group consisted of our tour guide Nyoman, Carl and me and the three other people. We all started off pretty fast, catching up with different groups of people ahead of us and slowing down when the narrow road started to climb. It was exciting, I think the adrenalin started to kick in, as soon we approached the forest, using head torches to light up the giant trees, all the tiredness disappeared, and I wanted to approach the top immediately. Although I knew that wasn’t quite possible yet as we had a long journey ahead of us.
The beginning was easy until Nyoman decided that we should take a shortcut, considering we set off slightly later than other people and we had the sunrise to catch.
The shortcut was steep. We had to look down nonstop, making sure not to trip on fallen tree branches or slip on the dusty path. We were lucky it hadn’t rained for a while because I cannot imagine doing the hike in the wet and mud!
I joined the gym six months before the trek because I wanted to build up my stamina and overcome my low cardio due to my asthma. When we kept stopping every few minutes due to the rest of the group being unable to keep up, I was glad and grateful I didn’t have the same problems. Bear in mind, this was only maybe 45 minutes after we set off and a few people were already struggling!
At the first stop, maybe 1/3 of the entire journey, there was a small cabin selling snacks and bottled water as well as Bintang. For triple the price of standard costs, of course.
There were no toilets. There are no toilets for the entire journey. Welcome to the jungle!
After a few refreshments from our backpack, we decided that we didn’t want to wait for the rest of the group and risk missing the sunrise, so we left on our own, following the flashing lights ahead of us.
The trek started to get steeper, curvier, narrower, sometimes way too narrow, but it was worth it. I felt so pumped up with adrenaline, that I didn’t care, I didn’t talk, just went for it, overcoming my fear of asthma or panic attacks. I worked so hard for this, I didn’t want to give up. And I didn’t.
The hardest part
The hardest part started after the second rest point. We stopped there for only five minutes (just to buy two bottles of small Bintang – for 120K Rupiah! together to take with us on top of the mountain and celebrate). After leaving the point, this is where the real struggle began.
Making our way to a junction, with some people following my lead (!!!), we decided to go right, pretty much straight up to the hill. We had about half an hour to reach the top of the Mt Batur, so climbing on all fours, using only our dying torches, and not even knowing what was around us we continued on. The path was very steep, full of dust, volcano ash and stones. We didn’t know if there was a deadfall next to us, or bushes, or trees. I was exhausted and out of breath, but determined to finish the trek and see that natural cinema I came for!
I don’t know how I did it. Honestly, when we reached the top, I felt like I conquered the world.
Mount Batur at sunrise
We made it. We reached the top of Mt Batur just after 6am when the sun was slowly appearing in the misty horizon, and the island was stretching out in front of us dressed in a golden coat. It was totally worth it. Sunrise on top of Mt Batur was the most incredible sunrise I’ve ever experienced, and because images sometimes speak for words, I leave you to enjoy the views.
Hot drinks, blankets and souvenirs
Top of the Mt Batur is super windy. But locals have it all figured out – they built a little shelter to sell hot drinks like coffees and hot chocolates for about 20k Rupiah each. Because they know, not all tourists come prepared – they also rent out blankets and jackets for about 50K Rupiah. We borrowed a blanket because even with the adrenalin and Bintang in our system, it was still pretty cold.
On top of Mt Batur and with the now daylight, we found our tour guide Nyoman, and he made us all breakfast consisted of boiled eggs cooked in volcano steam and some banana sandwiches.
With the upcoming daylight and fog clearing, there was also the truth behind every image – no kidding, there were around 300 hundred people on top of Mt Batur that morning. Say what?
Motorcycles…Yes, you read it right!
One thing I didn’t know because I haven’t read it on any other blog – there are motorcycles provided called ‘Taxis’ between the first and second stop for those who struggle. They are free and frequent, so not only in the dark climbing your way up you have to be careful where you step, but you also have to watch out for motorcycles.
Good idea – especially in emergency situations, but on the other hand, I really didn’t like it. Kind of cheating, don’t you think?
Do it. Climbing Mt Batur at such crazy early morning hours (or night?) was the most insane, hardest but also the most exciting thing I’ve done. I have never done anything like this, I am not even a hiker (just recently bought a pair of hiking shoes), but if I could, I would do it again. From the clumsy morning to the physical struggle during the hike, to squatting in the jungle trying not to pee in my trainers, to the picturesque views, fog and volcano mist hiding the island, to the total exhaustion and excitement. There is nothing like it, I promise you, if you do it, you will take back home with you the best memories and stories. And some dusty clothes too!
You don’t have to be fit, there are motorcycles to help you, but maybe taking stairs instead of that lift will help as well!
Package and cost:
|Trekking Mount Batur at sunrise, Return Transfer Breakfast and water||2||$70/£57 per person|
|Trekking Mount Batur at sunrise, Return Transfer, Breakfast and water||4||$50/£40 per person|
|Trekking Mount Batur at sunrise, Return Transfer, Breakfast and water||Group||$35/£28 per person|
|Jeep Adventure, Transfer, and water – max 3 people per jeep||3||$60/£50 per person|
|Trekking Mount Batur at sunrise, Return Transfer, Breakfast, Water, Lunch and Hot Springs Experience||2||$90/£73 per person|
|Trekking Mount Batur at sunrise, Return Transfer, Breakfast, Water, Lunch and Water Rafting (this is the one we did)||2||$90/£73per person|
|Trekking Mount Batur at sunrise, Return Transfer, Breakfast, Water, Lunch and Water Rafting||4||$80/£65|
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