It was 2 am when the car pulled up at our hotel ready to take us North through Bali. We had a one and a half our drive ahead of us through towns and country roads. Still sleepy from a short rest, we tried to get some sleep before the climb ahead of us. We were heading to Mount Batur and eventually a 2 hour climb was waiting for us.
We arrived at the base of the mountain in the dark of the night, which was probably a good thing as we didn’t see the mountain and couldn’t see what lie ahead of us. We met our guide at the car park and within a few minutes he led us into the woods and to the path that would ultimately lead us to the summit of the volcano.
The night was perfect for climbing up the mountain. Bright star lit skies, mild temperatures and a calm breeze to keep us cool through the climb. The trail up to the summit is mainly broken lava rock which can form sharp edges and unstable spots, so don’t be mistaken not to bring proper shoes. We saw many people heading up the mountain in poor footwear (even flip-flops) and at some point we even had to give some first aid to a person who had cuts. On the top of the mountain, the temperature will be around 10 degrees less than at the base and if you don’t have extra layers with you, you will be very cold in a matter of minutes.
Don’t forget to glance down the mountain occasionally to see a string of lights from all the climbers winding through the trees and up the mountain side.
The moment you spent hours waiting for.
Arriving at the summit among the first climbers will reward you with the first pick for a spot to observe sunrise from. A hot cup of coffee will be available to purchase from a local who climbs the mountain each day to welcome climbers with a friendly greeting and an offer for a hot drink most people cannot refuse.
Sitting at your spot, enjoying your breakfast and coffee and watching the day break gradually over the plains and distant Mount Agung you can surely feel the climb was worth it.
From the first rays of light, the sunrise seems to get more magical each moment until the entire valley is lit up. Usually at this point nature too has woken up, and you will soon notice a pack of wild monkeys that have made the climb to the top in search of treats from the tourists. Make sure not to feed them as this will only encourage them to be more aggressive. We had no problems with the monkeys, but as the morning progressed, some of them became a little too confident and they went through backpacks in search of treats.
After you have enjoyed the sunrise and your breakfast, it is soon time to head back down the mountain. On the way down you will have plenty of time to explore the volcano crater where steam is venting out of holes confirming that the volcano is indeed active and awake. You will have fantastic views into the lava plains and all the way to the sea. Be careful though as the climb down is at least as tricky as climbing up, so keep an eye out for your step.
Around 6 hours after you set of from the carpark, you will be back having climbed a total of 650m of vertical ascent to the summit that sits at 1717m above sea level.
Some thoughts after our climb.
We initially wanted to climb Mount Agung, but due to the activity of the volcano in the past months, the mountain and the surrounding area was closed off as a safety measure. However, Mount Batur did not disappoint. The view from the peak is amazing and you will have a great opportunity to see the entire volcano system of Bali where multiple crates are dotted along an ancient caldera.
Bring water. Your guide will have some water to provide for you, but it is a good idea to bring a couple bottles with you.
There is a huge supply of guides which you can book from your hotel/hostel or from one of the street stalls that occupy most street sides of traveller hotspots on the island. They all seem to have similar prices and packages usually having 3-5 persons per car and guide.