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!
After a few weeks of beaches, palm trees and swimming in Raja Ampat, Gili T and Northern Bali, it was time to challenge myself. 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. Mount Batur is 1717 metres. Due to high daytime temperatures it’s best climbed early in the morning, when you’ll enjoy the added bonus of catching sunrise from the top.
READ MORE: Best Tours In Ubud, Bali
We booked through Voyagin – a professional company offering tours across Asia. After being picked up at 2.30am from Ubud, we drove 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.
Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking: The Ascent
By this time it was well after 4am and sunrise would be around 6am. 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. Guide Adi was friendly, motivating, and stayed with us the whole way up. 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). Below was Lake Batur, which was shimmering lightly. 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!)
‘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. 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 there’s a strange adrenaline that kicks in. You see THAT view and you 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.
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 Mount 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. 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 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. We followed a different path to the way up. The first half was on steep, slippery rubble. After a 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 Sunrise Hike: 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 how important it is to challenge yourself every now and then. Despite the struggles on the way up, it 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!
READ MORE: Best Tours In Ubud, Bali
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.
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