Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking: Everything You Need To Know
It’s 6:02am on Mount Batur, in Bali, and the sun has just begun its rise between wispy clouds on the horizon. It’s position alongside a second mountain, Mount Agung, casts a reflective light across the lake below. The pink clouds hover at eye level as I watch from my bamboo mat near to the peak of the active volcano I sit on. The gruelling journey to arrive here was worth every second of this sunrise, I think.
In fact, the challenging climb of Mount Batur, with nothing but a head torch to light up the steep and rock-filled path, is what adds to the feeling of peaceful accomplishment when I finally sit back to watch the sky come to life. Despite an early morning (2am!) start, it’s one of my favourite activities in Bali, and one I’d definitely recommend.
If you’re wondering whether the Mount Batur sunrise trek is right for you, here’s everything you need to know:
How many metres will I need to climb?
The highest point of Mount Batur is 1717m, and you’ll watch the sunrise from ever so slightly below this.
How long does the trek take?
Going up, you’re looking at a climb of around two hours. The descent is around the same, but with plenty of opportunities to stop at panoramic lookout points, you could take longer.
How difficult is it to climb Mount Batur?
I won’t lie to you, the ascent is tough. This is partly because of the steepness of the track, which is nothing but boulders and loose soil, especially nearing the summit, and partly because your entire climb will be done in the darkness of night. With just torchlight to illuminate the way, it’s quite disorientating and your climb will no doubt involve a few slips and trips. Having said that, it’s doable for the average person and doesn’t require any training or particularly good fitness.
Can I climb without a tour guide?
Theoretically, you can. There is no entrance fee to pay and the closest car park to Mount Batur is easily accessible to anyone. There are rumours of a local mafia-type group blocking tourists from taking on Mount Batur unguided though, and actually I think going with a guide is the most sensible option, given the possibilities of injury or worse whilst climbing.
Which tour company should I use?
The good thing is, there are no particularly awful tour companies as far as I can tell. There are just average ones, and great ones. All of the guides know Mount Batur well enough to safely guide you to the top; the main differences in quality are the amount of encouragement you’ll get to plough on with the climb, and the additional knowledge you’ll take away from the experience. I, unfortunately, picked an average one to climb with, called Ubud Sunrise Trekking. Overall the tour guide was decent, but offered basically no information about the volcano itself, even when asked.
How much should it cost?
Expect to pay around 350,000 rupiahs (AU$30/GPB£20) for the entire trek, including breakfast. Some tour guides may charge more for additional stops at points of interest after the trek.
What should I wear when trekking Mount Batur?
Don’t let the humid warmth of Bali fool you on this one, at 4am stood high up in the hills, you do get cold. The optimist in me thought a thin but long-sleeved t-shirt would be enough given the climate, but I was pretty freezing at both the beginning of the climb and at the summit. Take a light jacket, a decent pair of trainers or walking shoes that support your ankles, a couple of layers of tops, and some active trousers. I also took my own head torch, which was good as the tour company distributed handheld torches that added an extra challenge for others in our group when trying to balance, or block a fall.
Is climbing Mount Batur worth it?
I wouldn’t describe myself as a keen uphill hiker. Climbing Mount Batur challenged me physically, yet not enough to make me consider giving up at any point. The novelty of trekking in the still of the night, following a row of tiny moving lights, like ants climbing a hill, delivers a great adrenaline rush. As you near the summit and the sky begins to glow a deep orange, the rush to succeed is incredible and that final point when you plonk down to watch the day wake, a rewarding climax. In summary, it’s worth it, without a doubt.
Have more questions about trekking Mount Batur? Leave them in the comments below or send me a direct message!