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I’m going to start this post by telling you that I am not a hiker. Sure, I like going for walks along nice smooth beaches and walking through cities with flat pavements, but hiking just requires so much more effort. But then I got to Ubud and before I knew it, I was being swept up in the excitement of doing the Mt Batur sunrise trek and despite my inherent laziness, actually had a great time.
This hike is one of the most popular and most accessible in Bali, with Ubud being the best spot to take the tour from. Before I went on the trip I was pretty nervous. Hiking up a mountain in the dark sounded well beyond my limits and I questioned whether I would actually make it. But I did and it wasn’t quite as difficult as I thought. Here’s my experience of doing the Mt Batur sunrise trek and I hope any of you reading this who are doubting whether you should go book yourself on the next tour because it’s so worth it!
You might also like:
- My 3 week Bali itinerary guide
- How to spend 4 days in Ubud
- Visiting the Tegallalang Rice Terrace at sunrise
- Bring a torch – our guide did have some but if you have your own, you should take it with you.
- Be sure to wear warm clothes. It’s cold at the top of Mt Batur when you’re watching the sunrise.
- Bring your camera! The hike isn’t as bad as it may seem and I had no problem hiking it with a backpack in with my camera.
Where to buy tickets for the Mt Batur sunrise trek
Tickets can be bought in so many places all over Ubud and many other areas in Bali. In both the places we stayed in Ubud, they offered the tour as well as online. In the end, however, I bought my ticket from one of the ticket stalls in the centre of Ubud and had no problems.
I did notice that the price of the trek varied greatly from IDR200,000 but I paid just IDR30,000 and that was the lowest I could haggle. I don’t know the name of the company I technically booked with but in my opinion, I really don’t think it matters. There are literally hundreds of people doing the trek all at the same time that it’s never going to be an intimate climb with a guide holding your hand all the way. My advice is to find the cheapest and not stress about it too much.
The day starts early, and by early I mean pick up at 2.30 am. They pick you up from your accommodation in a minibus so there’s no need to get to a central location at that time of the morning. The journey to the start of the trek takes about 2 hours and the roads are pretty steep and windy along the way. I tried to get a bit more sleep on the way but couldn’t quite do it.
About 20 minutes before the start we stopped off at a cafe along with lots of other tours. Here we got served a breakfast of fried banana and got a cup of tea or coffee to fuel us up for the hike. We also each got a small breakfast box with a boiled egg, some bread, a banana and a bottle of water each which I scoffed after the hike!
The tour I was on seemed to park closer to the start of the trek whereas others parked at the first car park and had to walk the last road part beforehand. I felt pretty bad driving past loads of people with fumes billowing out of the minibus but I was so grateful to have it close by after the hike!
The only thing I could see when I first started the hike were hundreds of torch lights going up the entire side of Mt Batur. It actually looked awesome but daunting at the same time as I couldn’t get any perspective on things. But before I had too much time to think about it I was swept up with the crowd and my tour guide and was making my way up.
Much of the climb is made up of fairly solid terrain with lots of steps formed naturally in the rock. Some of it is loose volcanic rock making it a little trickier but in general, it was kind of like walking up a really really big long staircase. There were only parts where I really had to push myself up so all in all I found it ok. Of course, this is just my personal opinion but there were definitely people with all levels of hiking experience and fitness. I would honestly say though that you don’t have to be particularly fit to make it.
All along the route, our guide checked we were ok and asked whether we wanted to stop making it reassuring and manageable. About 20 minutes before the top there’s a concrete area where we stopped for a rest and there were people selling snacks and drinks. The final 20 minutes to the top was probably the trickiest. I was tired and it’s steeper than the rest and the track is looser. I decided to go through as I didn’t want to go all the way without completing it properly.
Watching the sunrise from Mt Batur overlooking Mt Agung was spectacular. You’re above the clouds at this point and on the day I was there, the colours were incredible. Yes, it’s busy but I had no problem finding a good spot on a rock to watch it.
The trek down was, for me, a lot tricker. I don’t have a great sense of balance and I don’t trust myself not to slip over, so of course, I slipped over a good few times. I simply had to take it slow and hold on to anything along the side I could.
On the trip down you’ll get to see the crater in Mt Batur and the steam that comes up from the volcanic rock. I have heard that some tour guides boil eggs in the steam to show how hot it is which I would have loved to have seen. As well as this, there are plenty of monkeys climbing around looking for some snacks to get hold of!
Although I struggled with the decent part the most, I was so glad to have done it. I’ve never experienced a sunrise like this and no amount of photos would have matched the experience.
After the trek
On the way back to Ubud the tour stopped off at a Luwak Coffee Plantation. This coffee is made from coffee beans that have been pooped out by the cute little Luwaks (they look a bit like a ferret) which are then cleaned (thankfully) and roasted and ground to make what is considered to be one of the best coffees in Bali. All around Bali you might see signs for a ‘cat-poo-cino’ and this is what it’s all about! Although I passed on trying one of those coffees, we got a huge sampling selection of some delicious teas and coffees that are made on the plantation and they were delicious. The plantation was actually really interesting, and the drinks perked me up no end.
The tour finished about 10.30 am and I was dropped off right outside the guest house I was in making it easy to fall straight into bed. What a start to the day!
Although I struggled with the decent part the most, I was so glad to have done it. I’ve never experienced a sunrise like this and no amount of photos would have matched the experience. Despite my nervousness though, finally being able to see Mt Batur in the daylight was amazing. The views over Mt Batur lake are breathtaking and it was hard to believe I had just climbed up as far as I had. It’s absolutely something you have to do whilst in Bali and if I can do it, you certainly can!