The Mount Batur sunrise trek in Bali, Indonesia is a rewarding and magical way to start the day. Plus, sunrises in Bali don’t get better than this!
While I wouldn’t say I’m unfit, I’m no gym bunny. I tried yoga once and was in pain for a week! Oh and I’m pretty hazardous on two wheels. I’m not bad at running, but often lack the motivation required to find my trainers, let alone lace them up!
So when I reached Bali, it was time to stop being so lazy and get the blood pumping again.
Mt Batur (known in Indonesia as Gunung Batur) is an active volcano, and its peak is at 1717 metres. Due to high daytime temperatures the trekking tours all set off early in the morning, when you’ll enjoy the added bonus of catching sunrise from the top.
READ MORE: Best Tours In Ubud, Bali
The Mount Batur trekking tour is offered on a few websites including GetYourGuide – a professional tour booking website, which I’ve used around the world. This is one of their most popular tours, and has over 1900 reviews giving it an average of 4.8 out of 5!
I knew this was the tour for me when I saw that it also included a relaxing stop at some hot springs after the hike. A few other I looked at included a coffee plantation tour, but I had a feeling my body would be calling out for some thermal waters after what I was about to put it through. There are also options of private tours if you want your own travel guide for the duration of the volcano hike.
After being picked up from our accommodation in Ubud at 2.30am by an English speaking driver, we travelled for around an hour to a hotel close to Mount Batur, where we joined a group of around 20 people.
After a cup of coffee we were given torches and started the walk to the base of the volcano. There were lots of people around, not just from our tour group, also starting the ascent.
Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking: The Ascent
By this time it was after 4am and we were told that sunrise would be around 6am – just two hours to go! We realised that in order to reach the summit for the first rays we’d need to keep a pretty moderate pace.
Similar to my sunrise experience at Borobudur a few weeks before, it was a strange feeling starting the climb in the pitch black, not knowing what surrounded us.
Local guide Adi was friendly, motivating, and stayed with us the whole way up. He was an excellent example of a responsible travel guide, and was passionate about the area he calls home. He climbs Mount Batur every single day, so I figured we were in pretty safe hands!
The first twenty minutes weren’t too bad. The path weaved through a forest at a gentle gradient. It was nice and cool and we stopped regularly for a swig of water and a pep talk!
After a while the path became much steeper. Not only that, but it was slippery – the volcanic rubble hard to grip onto even in hiking boots.
At a whopping 5 ft 1, I’m not blessed with the tall gene, and at times I found the leg extension really difficult with the route being so steep.
Every now and then I twisted around to see a beautiful deep orange glow starting to form behind Mount Agung (another volcano nearby). There was also a lovely light shimmer across Lake Batur.
I knew that if I could make it to the summit, this sunrise was going to be really special.
With each step I became more and more breathless. My face reddened until it was a bright shade of beetroot (thank god it was still dark and no one could see me!)
‘This is much harder than I expected,’ I thought, legs turning to jelly. The group split into sub-groups on the ascent, some wanting to race up while others took a gentler pace, less bothered about making it for sunrise.
It became a battle of mind over matter. My body was struggling and wanted to give up, but my mind was going all the way.
“Ten minutes to the top,” Adi shouted.
“Come on Chloe, you can do this,” I responded, silently.
Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking: The Summit
When you reach the summit of Mount Batur volcano there’s a strange adrenaline that kicks in. You see THAT view and you just know it was all worth it. You feel proud. It’s so rewarding.
It’s not even 6am and look how much you’ve achieved!
You don’t want to sit down. You don’t want to go to sleep. You want to hug everyone at the top. You want to dance around like a loony!
I looked around and couldn’t believe it. The thick blanket of darkness was being replaced by glistening orange and gold rays, bursting from the silhouette of Mount Agung.
There was a low mist hanging – spooky but magical. Lake Batur had a glassy untouched sheen. The view was spectacular, and even more special than expected.
I’d seen photos before the day trip, but they didn’t do it justice. To stand there and look around at the panorama is something I’ll never forget.
Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking: The Views
As each second ticked by the light changed, illuminating more of the beautiful surroundings.
A few hundred people climb Mt Batur (Gunung Batur) each day, but different tour companies take different routes up (turns out our route was the hardest…!) and end at different parts of the summit. A friend of mine did the tour a few months later and had a different experience, getting a motorbike up some of the way – I was shocked!
Thankfully, it meant that our spot wasn’t overrun with people and felt strangely calm. Everyone was just staring out, taking it all in.
Soon enough, the sun was high in the sky and our English-speaking guide Adi was helping prep breakfast – boiled eggs cooked in the steam from the volcano!
They were served in a breakfast box with bread and fruit. They were the most delicious boiled eggs I’d ever tasted – sprinkled with the sweet flavour of victory!
Joining us for breakfast, a few monkeys who were playing around the summit, no doubt well fed on leftover breakfasts!
READ MORE: Ubud, Bali: The Ultimate Travel Guide
Mount Batur Sunrise Hike: The Descent
After several photos, we started the descent, following a completely different path to the way up.
The first half was on steep, slippery rubble. After bracing my legs for part of the route, I discovered it was much easier to run down. The path continued back through the forest and soon enough, we were back at our starting point.
Mount Batur – Bali Trekking Tour: The Reward
As a treat, we rewarded ourselves with a soak at Toya Devasya hot springs. Located right on the lake, it was a spectacular spot to reflect on our adventurous morning.
I’m so glad I pushed myself to climb Mount Batur. It wasn’t easy but it reminded me how important it is to challenge yourself every now and then.
Despite the struggles on the way up, this Bali trekking tour was one of the highlights of my month in Indonesia, even more so as I got to share it with two of my favourite people in the world. So what are you waiting for? Sign yourself up and go for it!
What a buzz it was to complete the Mount Batur Sunrise Trek. I hope you’ve found this travel guide helpful. You can find out more about the tour, check prices and book here.
If you’d rather skip the hot springs, you could go for this option which includes a coffee plantation tour, or this option which includes an incredible white water rafting trip too – perfect for adventure lovers!
Tips For Climbing Mount Batur At Sunrise
Clothing: Before the sun rises it’s a bit chilly. I wore leggings, a sports vest and a zip up hoody, which was perfect for the conditions.
Footwear: I wore hiking shoes but proper trainers would also have been fine. You need decent foot support and grip so definitely no flip-flops or sandals.
Water: Our tour company gave us one bottle of water, but I’d recommend taking one more.
Food: Breakfast was included with our tour, but bear in mind this isn’t until you reach the summit.
I ate a chocolate bar for energy on the way up. I also took a few sweets to suck on. Any excuse for some sugar!
Toilets: Nope, they don’t exist on volcanoes so go before you start the climb. You’ll probably be pretty dehydrated so won’t need it until you get back after.
If not, then at least it’s dark most of the way up!
Fitness: I would honestly say that anyone could do this if they really wanted to. As mentioned, our tour split into groups so people could take it at their own pace.
Best Hotels Near Mount Batur
Hotel pickups from Ubud and other towns in Bali happen very early in the morning, so if you want a little more sleep, you may prefer to stay nearby.
Here are a few great options I found that are all very close to Mount Batur.
Volcano Terrace Bali – A small family run villa with breathtaking views, located just under 2 miles from Mount Batur. The gardens look beautiful overlooking Lake Batur below.
Rooms start at £21, a total bargain for how lovely it looks! Check latest prices here.
Lakeview Hotel – 15 minutes drive from Mount Batur and with breathtaking views over Lake Batur, this is a great place to stay if you’re planning to hike Mount Batur at sunrise.
I spotted double rooms for around £60, so it’s a good mid-range option. Check latest prices here.
Toya Devasya Hot Spring Wellness Resort – The smartest hotel in the region, this is where we relaxed in the hot springs and pools after our sunrise hike. It really is a stunning place!
The accommodation is in private villas which have their own pools. It’s a gorgeous place to stay if you’re celebrating something special or want to splash the cash.
Rates start around £129 per night for a deluxe pool villa. Check latest prices here.
Batur Volcano Guesthouse – Simple guesthouse accommodation, just over a mile from Mount Batur, with a small hot spring pool and mountain views. Very reasonable too, with a double starting around £27 per night.
There’s also a 4-bed dorm which could be a good option for solo travellers or groups of friends. Check latest prices here.
Still not found the right hotel for you? Search for other hotels near Mt Batur using the map below…
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