Mount Batur, Indonesia

The Magical Mount Batur Sunrise Trek

The Mount Batur Sunrise Trek was something that I’d heard about before my trip to Indonesia,  and as a lover of hiking in England, it was one of the trips that I was particularly looking forward to! Before I give you all the details, I’ll tell you now that it was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done.

We decided to book whilst we were staying in Ubud. There’s countless travel stalls lining the streets of the centre, so we simply stopped at one of them and within 10 minutes the tickets were in our hands. 

The price of around £20 included pick up from our hotel at 2am (yes, you read that right), a breakfast pancake on the way, the 2 hour car ride to the base of the Volcano, a bottle of water and the guide. Oh and we also got some food when we reached the summit; one boiled egg, a banana and a slice of bread. Not the most interesting snack I’ve ever had.

Early Rise 

As a lover of sleep, the thought of setting my alarm for 1.30am made me feel a little anxious. I genuinely thought that the mixture of waking up so early and exercising would lead me to reach a point on the hike where I’d just curl up in a little ball for a much-needed snooze. I really can sleep anywhere, I’m confident that a volcano would be no exception. 

Luckily, as soon as the alarm went off I felt perky and ready to go! We were picked up from the hotel last, so there were two other couples in the car already. They like to keep the groups small and often won’t accept more than 6 people per tour. I think this is a really nice touch, and means that the trip feels very personal.

The Trek

When we arrived at our destination, we stepped into a black car park filled with lots of enthusiastic tourists. Our guide came over to meet the group, handed us each a small torch and off we went. 

The trek starts with a small ascent which doesn’t feel very challenging, especially because the terrain is smooth, flat tarmac. I had eager hopes that it would all be like that but my dream was quickly quashed. After about 20 minutes, you take a sharp turn into a dense, dark forest; that’s when the fun really begins. From here, it’s quite a challenging climb. The winding path is uneven, and sometimes I had to use my hands to hoist myself over a large boulders. 

Despite being midnight black, humid, and rocky; it only added to the exciting experience. I’ve certainly never done anything like it before and there’s something really exhilarating about hiking by torchlight.

If you’re not overly athletic – which I’m not either – you have nothing to worry about! The guide often asks if the group would like to stop, and there’s regular water breaks. Also, the tours are so well prepared that you have ample time to make it to the top for sunrise, there’s no rush.

As we neared the peak, I was a hot, sweaty mess; but one last push and we made it! On several occasions during the hike up I’d dramatically thought to myself, ‘I can’t go on, the others will have to continue without me’. After 10 minutes on the peak, I forgot it all and felt like I could do it all over again. 

A top-tip if you’re thinking about doing this trek, take some warm clothing in a backpack. Despite feeling humid on the way up, it’s very chilly on the top. 

There’s lots of seating at different levels of the peak, and your guide should show you the best locations. After this, it’s time to relax and watch the most beautiful and mesmerising scene take place before your eyes. 

Gradually, the dark sky begins to emit a faint orange glow and then the sun makes her slow and calculated appearance. The whole display is stunning and something that I will remember forever. The climb, despite being a little tough at times, is completely worth it. 

After spending some time taking in a complete wonder of the world, you can begin to head down. Knowing what it was like coming up, I wasn’t really looking forward to this part. Despite spending the majority of time skidding and sliding, with several falls onto my bum; I think I handled the descent pretty well. It’s definitely worth wearing some decent shoes with a strong grip, even my trusty trainers struggled.

We took another route on the way down and because it was now bright daylight, it was a completely different experience. You could see for miles around, and it was beautiful.

When we finally got back to the car and I took a seat for the journey back, the whole thing felt like an incredible dream. I think that was in part because it was such a unique and breathtaking experience, but also the lack of sleep. 

Back at the hotel, a nap was required, and then it was time to get out and do some more exploring…

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