2 am Sunrise Hike Up Mount Batur Active Volcano.
Bali is known for its rice terraces, temples, yoga studios, waterfalls and healthy living, but did you know that Bali has three active volcanoes that can spew lava at any time? WT…beep! I guess I have been living in a bubble as I had absolutely no clue that I could be decimated by hot, molten, fiery red lava while in Bali. Okay, slightly dramatic. But you get the point, right? So when I arrived at White Villa Hostel in Ubud and was told by a fellow backpacker that hiking Mount Batur (1717m) was her favorite activity, I knew I had to lace up my hiking boots, grab the only warm sweater I brought and prepare for the 2 am wake-up call for the Mount Batur volcano sunrise hike.
*update: Today, two days after writing this post, there is a level 2 alert for Mt. Agung volcano on Bali as there has been a major increase in volcanic activity. Eeek.*
HIKING MOUNT BATUR – A brief overview. I Don’t want to give too much away!
My day started at 2 am when I was picked up by the driver at my hostel with three eager but sleepy young travelers already crammed in the small jeep rearing to go. Our first stop was at 245 am for a quick but nourishing breakfast of banana pancakes with coffee and tea at the Pineh Colada Bali Coffee Plantation. Then it was a short drive to the base of Mount Batur where we were warmly greeted by our guide.
We were each given a flashlight and bottle of water and from 345 am to 515 am we slowly made our ascent up Mount Batur Volcano. Like fireflies in the night, hundreds of us meandered in darkness up a rocky, narrow path. When I looked behind, all I saw were the glows of flashlights – it felt like we were on some spiritual pilgrimage. When we arrived at the peak, we put on our layers of clothes and settle onto a bench, patiently waiting for the sun to rise and for us to finally see what on earth we hiked up.
As the glow of the sun began to glisten around 6 am the views of Bali were magical. What you see is eerily stunning above the clouds and beautiful to witness in the still and quiet of the morning. By 645 am after pictures were taken and we devoured a breakfast of hard boiled eggs with a banana sandwich, we made the slow descent down Mount Batur. I held our guides hand most of the way as it was quite slippery with the uneven rocks sliding below my feet. At 820 am we arrived back to the car, gave our guide a big hug, and off we were whisked for our third breakfast of the day back at Pineh Colada Bali Coffee Plantation. We sipped on an assortment of teas and coffees and munched on banana fritters. By 915 am we were back in the car heading to our beds for a much-deserved nap!
WHAT TO BRING
- warm sweater/jacket and long pants – it gets super chilly up on Mount Batur
- fully charged camera/phone
- hiking boots or proper sneakers – DO NOT WEAR CONVERSE TYPE SHOES OR SANDALS – very slippery terrain
- money for tipping the guide and to purchase a hot beverage at the top
WHAT TO EXPECT
- Lots of people hiking up. So ascent/descent will be very slow.
- Not too strenuous, but you should be in decent shape. If you have bad knees descent could be slightly painful.
- VERY SLIPPERY on way down due to loose gravel type rocks.
- Can be super chilly and windy at the top. Bring layers.
WHO TO BOOK WITH
- Pineh Bali Tours
- I paid 350,000 ($27) through my hostel. Cheaper than advertised on their website.
- They have their own coffee plantation where we received food and drinks. Not all tour companies offer this.
- Small groups. Personal service. Awesome guide and driver.