Ever fancied climbing a volcano but scared it might erupt? Yeah me too, but we did it anyway! Hiking Mount Batur is a rewarding and magical start to the day. At 1717 meters high you will admire the illuminating surroundings as the mist rises and the sun pops above Mount Agung, a sacred active volcano in the distance.
Mount Batur is an active volcano in Bali, yup active! Mount Batur last erupted in 2000 which resulted in increased earthquakes in 2009. The active volcano is located on the centre of two concentric calderas with a lake in the centre called Lake Batur. This area of volcanic activity belongs to the Ring of Fire and ‘safety first’ is Bali’s main priority for its explorers.
However, hiking Mount Batur early hours of the morning is perfectly safe, as long as you take a guide.
After an epic journey on two-wheels across Indonesia in search of Komodo Dragons, we landed back on Bali and decided to make a stop at Lake Batur to get up super early and hike Mount Batur.
Arriving in Lake Batur
We checked in at Hotel. The hotel manager asked if we planned to hike Mount Batur so we said ‘yes.’ He confirmed how we must take a guide for our sunrise mission. We’d researched it was a relatively easy hike and a guide isn’t necessary. However, we also read how Mount Batur is apparently run by the Mafia.
If you decide to attempt Mount Batur alone without a local guide, you may be flagged down by scooters checking if you’re with a guide, and if not, fined with a fee.
Sam’s shrill alarm disturbed us at 03:00 and shortly after, the hotel manager knocked on our door to confirming to meet in reception.
At 3:30, we were introduced to our local guide, Teto. A young fella with aspirations of being a restaurant waiter. Teto ushered us over to two scooters but didn’t hand us both a motorbike helmet. We asked for helmets as we refuse to ride without one. Luckily they were stored under the seat.
We try our best to encourage people to wear helmets when riding a scooter. It’s simple, wearing a helmet can save your life. Check out our scooter safety tips, they may also save your life!
Calling at the local shop for hiking snacks, or as Sam likes to say, ‘trek-food heaven,’ we had the pleasure of filling our ears with wonderful Welsh accents! A few quirky welsh characters embarking upon the same sunrise mission, also collecting ‘trek-food.’ It wasn’t long before we went our separate ways and jumped back on the scooters.
Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking: The Ascent
We zoomed into the woods and parked up next to a car. Out jumped three Russians completing our hiking group for the morning.
We began our mission walking on large chunks of gravel with the usual introductions taking place. ‘Where are you from, what are your plans in Indonesia.’ The path weaves through the forest with a slight gradient before soon reaching a newly tarmacked road, that is proper steep!
We noticed a bunch of hikers up ahead following their local guide and scooters whizzing up and down the road, then crawling by and chatting to the guides. We didn’t understand but assumed it might be the Mafia policing Mount Batur.
Climbing Mount Batur
Beautiful Candi Bentar gates mark the base of Mount Batur. These gates are traditional Javanese and Balinese gateways split right down the middle creating symmetrical pillars. Absolutely stunning, and unique to Indonesia.
Glancing up at the mountain in front of us in blackness, a dazzling line of torches showed how many people were hiking the popular Mount Batur.
This is it, this is where we officially start to climb an active volcano. Volcanic rubble covered the floor and is slippery at times. Luckily, large rocks jut out of the mountain making it handy to grab on to and stabilize yourself. We recommend wearing proper footwear for the hike and don’t forget your poncho, you just never know when living the island life!
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Mount Batur resting point
Two hours later and we made it to a resting point. Hawkers surrounded us encouraging us to buy snacks. For a quick pick me up and energy boost and to make the final leg, we indulged in an overpriced snicker!
With just 20 minutes to the top, we pushed on and increased the pace. The dark sky was starting to break so it wouldn’t be long until the sun peeked over Mount Agung.
Mount Batur sunrise trekking: The Summit
Woohoo! We made it, and just in time. We found a spot among other hikers on a stone ledge and laid out blankets, we were ready to embrace the morning sunshine. With our legs dangling in the air, the low hanging mist started to rise with the blanket of darkness. The night sky replaced by orange, pink and glistening golds before the rays shot through the clouds. It’s amazing to see how high you have climbed!
Despite the peace being disturbed by flying Drones, it’s still a serene atmosphere.
The sun finally broke through thick, fluffy cumulus clouds and there you have it, an awesome sunrise over Mount Agung, while sat chilling on top of a volcano.
Cheeky wild monkeys jumped around in hope of food as tourists cracked out their breakfast set snacks. Watch out and hold onto your belongings, you have been warned!
A walk around the basin would’ve been epic but we decided to check out the other side of the volcano.
Mount Batur sunrise trekking: The Descent
We took our time climbing back down as the volcanic rubble is quite super slippery. Suddenly, thick Welsh accents filled the air. Yup, the guys we met earlier were pelting it down the mountain like idiots. As soon as they noticed us they joined us for a small part of the hike before jetting off down the mountain racing each other.
Teto took us to a quiet part of the volcano where we had a volcanic facial! Hot steam breathes from underground through the rocks, its pretty hot! Some local guides cook breakfast from the steam, poached eggs anyone? I got right in there for a facial in hope nobody else would be bothered!
The day unfolded with glorious weather revealing spectacular views of the valley. As we made our way down the volcano we stumbled across this beautiful Balinese temple camouflaged by luscious greenery.
Mount Batur is an awesome hike. Although touristy, it’s definitely worth the early start, especially when rewarded with epic views and a stunning sunrise!