Looking for an amazing way to start the day? Then the Mt Batur sunrise hike in Bali is one of the best adventures around!
There was silence. At 6am, that might not be much of a surprise, but considering I’d just climbed the 1,717m for the Mt Batur sunrise hike with dozens of other people, the silence was something you notice – it was a sign of respect.
Occasionally, someone would scrape their feet on the black volcanic gravel beneath them, and in the distance you could just make out panting as the next person conquered the volcano, grins permanently plastered to their faces.
For everyone else, our eyes we firmly trained on the horizon.
As each minute went by, the outline of Mt Agung and Lake Batur in front of us became clearer and clearer as the sky turned from purple to pink or gold.
Then it happened, the moment we had all been waiting for. The sun slowly crested from behind Mt Agung, golden sun spears bathing us all in light, the warmth instantly hitting our faces. I looked around and everyone was smiling. And there was still that silence.
As far as wake up calls go, the Mt Batur sunrise hike in Indonesia was 100% worth it.
Rewind back to 2am and my alarm went off, pitch black outside.
I have to admit, I really don’t mind 2am wake up calls, especially when I’m doing something like hiking up an active volcano.
After doing our research, we booked our Mt Batur sunrise hike through Voyagin (you can see the tour here) as everyone we spoke to raved about them, and at 2:30am, exactly on the minute, they turned up at our hotel to pick us up.
Like a lot of people doing the Mt Batur sunrise hike that day, we were staying in Ubud, and it took about an hour to drive to Mt Batur. I wish I could say I used that time wisely and I slept for an hour but I was just too excited!
At around 3:30am we arrived at Bali Sunrise Villa for some much-needed coffee and a couple of energy bars. If there was one thing that was going to help get us through the morning it was coffee!
We didn’t set off until 4:30am, and by that time everyone was ready and raring to go.
Our hike started from the villa and took us through a tiny village before we got to the bottom of Mt Batur. As I looked up, I couldn’t help but feel it was going to be a struggle to climb it in an hour and a half to get to the top for sunrise, but all our guides said we’d be able to do it. After all, this was the Mt Batur sunrise hike – getting to the top for sunrise was a must!
What they didn’t say was that they’d set a furious pace to get us to there!
The hike started off going through a forest on the lower slopes of Mt Batur, and with only a torch to light the way all I could concentrate on was putting one foot in front of the other.
However, once we broke through the forest on the mid-slope Mt Batur opened out before us. As I looked up I could still make out the tiny specks of stars across the inky sky, and the faint outline of Mt Agung, the taller of the two mountains, was behind us.
With sweat streaming from my face, I turned around to see Chloe and Emily, the two awesome travel bloggers I was hiking up Mt Batur with, powering on, a fierce look of determination of their faces. They weren’t going to be defeated by the Mt Batur sunrise hike; absolutely no chance.
As we were climbing up, I spoke to Adi, our tour guide, and he said 98% of people make it to the top. True to his word, I only saw one person turn around, pain and disappointment on their faces.
Once we made it to the top of Mt Batur, everyone silently walked off in search of their own spot to watch the sun rise. Chloe, Emily and I found a little bench and sat down, all of us elated that we summited Batur, that sense of achievement that we’d just climbed the 1,717m of an active volcano, all before breakfast too.
We did it, we conquered the Mt Batur sunrise hike, and it felt damn good too.
After we had that magic moment of watching the sun rise, we went off in search of some food.
Adi was waiting for us with little boxes of breakfast – an orange, a banana, and a couple of slices of bread. “Adi, I thought were we having eggs for breakfast?” I piped up.
“Oh, for the eggs you have to follow me!”
Adi then led us toward the steam bellowing from the side of Mt Batur. There, in a crack in the rocks, were a bunch of eggs cooking away in the volcanic steam. As far as boiled eggs go, this was an extra special way to do them!
Getting back down Mt Batur was a lot easier and quicker than climbing it that’s for sure.
We took a different way down, and with soft volcanic sand under foot we found it a lot easier just to run down, so that’s what we did!
Still, the majority of other people walked it, and whereas it takes about an hour and a half to climb up Mt Batur for sunrise, you can walk down in well under an hour.
Once we got back to the villa where we had more coffee (again, needed!), I looked around at everyone else who had just climbed Mt Batur. Even though a lot of people seemed wrecked, everyone was so happy that they had done it, all smiling and laughing.
As a little treat to ourselves, we added on a visit to Toya Devasya, a volcanic spa just a short 10 minute drive from the villa.
With Lake Batur and Mt Agung in the background, you couldn’t ask for a prettier setting, and it was just so relaxing floating around in the hot pools and feeling the aches and pains from the Mt Batur sunrise hike melt away.
The hot springs really do cap off a perfect day.
Waking up at 2am and climbing up a volcano before sunrise is never going to be easy, but I can honestly say that it’s such an amazing and rewarding experience, without a doubt one of the best you can do in Bali and so different from the temples of Borobudur and the islands of Raja Ampat.
If you’re looking for something that’s equal parts challenging and exhilarating, you really can’t go wrong with the Mt Batur sunrise hike – it’s something you really won’t regret!
A full day tour (2am till 2pm) for the Mt Batur sunrise hike with Voyagin costs £38 ($48) and includes all transport costs, guides and breakfast. If you’d like to add on the Toya Devasya hot springs (and you totally should), that costs an extra £11 ($14). Also, you can stay overnight at the Bali Sunrise Villa if you don’t want to wake up super early!
Top Tips for the Mt Batur Sunrise Hike
- Make sure you take lots of water – For a hike like this, you really do sweat out more than you can take in, and if you don’t drink lots of water it won’t be long till you’re dehydrated with a huge headache. If you can carry it, try to take at least two litres water.
- Have good COMFORTABLE shoes – I’m not going to say you need hiking boots, but if you’ve got weak ankles than having extra protection around your ankles will help you on the way down, but it is extremely important to have comfortable shoes. If not, you’ll just get blisters and end up hating the hike.
- Take layers – Obviously waking up at 2am can be fairly chilly, so it’s a good idea to have thin removable layers so you can strip off once you’re hot.
- Suck on sweets – The hike up Mt Batur is extremely fast and you don’t stop for water breaks all that often, so take a packet of sweets with you to suck on. Sucking on a sweet tricks your saliva glands into producing more spit preventing your mouth from drying out. Bit like drinking but without drinking.
- Bring a little money – At the top of Mount Agung you can buy drinks like coke, coffee and hot chocolate, so if you didn’t bring any water make sure you’ve got a little money to buy something at the top!
Have you ever completed the Mt Batur sunrise hike? If so, what are your top tips? Make sure you let everyone know in the comments below!
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