If you ask me why you should do the Mount Batur hike whilst on Bali, then you obviously didn’t look at the picture. This is one of the most beautiful stunning views of nature you will ever have in your life, but not only that. It will also give you an amazing workout, because you will have to climb up around 900 meters of elevation to the top, or around 2900 feet to those of you who has not yet adopted the metric system (why? just why?).
First of all you get a few facts: Mount Batur is an active volcano on Bali, the island of the gods, in Indonesia. It is 1717 meters tall (5,633ft) but you will only have to climb the second half, as the ‘base camp’ or starting point in the village in Kintamani is at around 900 meters above sea level.
So, here we go.
So whether you are in Ubud, Sanur or anywhere else on Bali, finding a guide is fairly easy, look around on the streets and you will quickly find a little ‘tourist stall’ offering mountain trekking. The most important thing, is that you have a good feeling about the guide, since they will have to drive you to Kintamani in the middle of the night, so make sure he looks like a guy who can stay awake for the 1 hour drive up there.
The pricing depends on the quality of the guide, and what is offered on the trip, ours included, driving to and from Kintamani, a guide, flashlights, water bottle for the hike, coffee when we arrived at the start and breakfast at the top, and we paid 400.000 rupiah per person. Other guides can do it cheaper but might not include everything, so keep an eye out and make sure you get what you pay for! There is also a few places where you can book online, like Bali Sunrise and a few others, you can easily find them using google.
So here is how it went:)
at 2 in the morning we, me my wife and a good friend named Mark, got picked up at our agreed location, the infamous ‘The Melting Pot’ in Ubud, where the party was still going strong, but we where not in a partying mood, we where on a mission! We had had a solid late dinner and a few hours of sleep, we had packed our rucksacks and put on our finest hiking gear. Oh it was on! Nothing could stop us now. Somewhere deep inside we still, maybe innocently, believed the stuff we had read online. That this was an easy climb…… Don’t be fooled by all the articles flying around online saying that this is an “easy climb”, and that “any reasonably fit person can do it in 1½ hours”.
Driver was a little late, but we didn’t mind, we had a good feeling about the guy and knew that he would show up, and he did, 10 minutes late, with a smirk on his face and a little “sorry i’m late”, looking like he had only just woken up and rushed out to the car to pick us up, knowing he was busted:) My wife didn’t miss a beat and started picking on him and embarrassing him a bit, making sure he was up for the drive. No problem, and of we wen’t.
When you are used to riding your scooter around the busy streets of Ubud during the day time, it is an amazing feeling cruising through the streets of Bali without a car, scooter or chicken in sight. A drive that would easily have taken 2-3 hours during the day was over in less than an hour, and we where the first people to arrive at the starting point, where we where immediately equipped with a cup of Bali coffee and a bottle of water. Tension was rising.
More and more people where showing up, but we had already been assigned a guide. A young skinny looking girl named Kadek, but we where assured she was up for the task, and had been doing the trip daily since the age of 7. She did not let us down, but more on that in a bit!
As the time approached 4 am we took of in the pitch black darkness of the night. Me and Mark where pros, we had brought our own headlights from home, and Nicole had been given a flashlight. Kadek was keeping a fast pace, and it somehow seemed like she was determent to be the ‘king of the hill’ getting us there before everybody else.
The start of the hike was pretty flat, nothing to challenging and we thought that we would be smiling and talking all the way to the top, after overtaking a few other groups. After about 20 minutes Kadek told us that it was time for a break, and we could see in her face that she meant it. So we loaded up on water and a few sips of an isotonic drink we had brought from home.
Then the fun began, the trail became more steep, and narrow, more rocky and slippery. The morning dew had set in, meaning that we had to watch where we put our feet, so that we wouldn’t slip down and hurt our selves. Every step was like a steep set of stairs, almost like climbing a latter, and on several occasions i had to use my hands to pull my self forward up the climb. Nicole didn’t have that opportunity, but luckily Kadek was always right there with a helping hand, damn that girls was a beast, pulling Nicole up without her even asking. She had a 6. sense and new where the tricky bits where.
Finally the top was in sight, the first light was peeping out behind the majestic Mount Agung, everybody was ready with their cameras, shooting the sunrise, and so where we and i managed to get this panorama shot just at the right moment.
Now i am a reasonably fit guy, i go to the gym and run every day, but even i have to admit that i was feeling the pressure under way. We did manage to do it in about 1 hour and 45 minutes though, but on the way up we saw a lot of people struggling, and many did not make it in time for the sunset.
At the top we celebrated the finish with a decent breakfast of fruit, toast and a few boiled eggs that Kadek had boiled for us in one of the steam canals exciting the still active volcano. It was cold and we had to take of our sweaty clothes at put on a warm sweater and jacket. Some people didn’t get the memo and where cramping together in the hot streams of steam, trying to get some heat. but the more the sun came up, the more bearable it was becoming.
Downhill was more easy, except for the first part, where you basically had to slide down the loose volcanic sand, eroded from thousands of tourists walking there for years, but later on it became a lot more firm and rocky. It was a fun trip down, and Kadek was feeling more at ease with us, and we where joking and being silly all the way.
Would I recommend other people doing this trip? Most definitely, the trip is fun yet challenging and is a great thing to do when you are in Bali, it doesn’t take a lot of planning, and with a great pair of hiking boots, trail running shoes and some gym clothes, almost everybody would enjoy it. Don’t use your converse for this one!
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