When my friends and I decided to go to Bali, all we thought about at that time were beach, parties, and booze. Lots of booze (lol). Little did we know that our plans would shift to a more mindful and spiritual adventure that was quite unusual for us. Quite honestly, I think it's refreshing to do something different that's more aligned with our values now, and I mean this not to sound more mature but I guess we're just about done with all the partying and stuff. But are we really done? Let's see..
We did something different and unique for the first time out of our many trips. This included a trek to the summit of an active volcano that rises to 1,717m so we can watch the sunrise at 6am. This volcano is called Mount Batur and is becoming quite popular among tourists. It is located in the Kintamani district of Bali. I’ve seen this 10 years ago when I visited Bali and I am very fortunate to climb it this time. Never have I thought that I would be able to climb it and I guess this is a perfect opportunity to share this amazing experience with everyone.
Now just a little disclaimer, I am not the active hiker type of person and I don’t have long legs, but I can say that I’m pretty fit to walk for hours and hours. Thank you, retail therapy! Lol But the climb can get a bit difficult but it’s very doable for beginners like me. Not to mention the “night cap” we had hours before the trek, which was plainly a bad idea. So I suggest having plenty of rest and getting yourself hydrated before doing this. Talk about being mature for this trip lol
Luckily, this activity was booked through KKday, so everything was organized and prepared for us. In spite of our “conditions,” we enjoyed this experience smoothly and hassle-free.
We were picked up in our hotel in Canggu at 1:30am. We drank a bottle of whiskey just hours before our trek so we are definitely not in perfect condition (what were we thinking?). We drove for 2 and a half hours until we reached the starting point of Mount Batur. The temperature can get really cold around this time and it gets colder on top. My friends only had light to no jacket at all (one of us unintentionally forgot to bring her jacket). Luckily, there are jackets you can borrow for IDR50,000 ($5). We were also given individual torches / flashlights to help us climb through the pitch-black surroundings. By this time, it was around 3:30am. So we only have a couple hours left before the sun rises.
It was quite exciting and strange to start climbing at night, feeling unaware of what surrounds us and wondering what creatures lurk in the forest. We were feeling positive and confident throughout the first 30 minutes as we weaved through the path. Until it became steeper and steeper, then the real work began.
Every now and then, we would stop for a sip of water (or red bull or chocolate for instant sugar rush). I actually enjoyed some of the views from the resting places found along the trail. I was able to get a glimpse of the lake and Mount Agung while the starts are still there. It looked marvelous and it’s just the motivation I needed to continue our trek.
Somewhere along the way, we were given an option to take the easy or the difficult path. I’m kind of considering taking the difficult path just because I wanted a little challenge. Fortunately, my friends convinced me to take the easy but longer path because that path was difficult for me already. I can’t imagine taking the difficult path in our state. In fact, one of my friends decided to take the motorcycle ride up to the last resting stop before the summit for IDR 250,000 ($25). It doesn’t matter whether you’re in the halfway through the trek or you’ve just started, the price remains the same.
We made it! Oh the joy our hearts felt upon reaching the summit. We got here minutes before 6am and people have already set their positions and sat on benches where they can watch the sunrise with ease. Us, on the other hand, settled in an open space, which was totally fine as it makes us feel more grounded. I absolutely love meeting fellow hikers and sharing travel experiences while we wait.
We were then offered a light breakfast of banana sandwich, boiled eggs, and some more chocolates, paired with Balinese coffee, which was perfect in countering the cold temperature. I marveled at the glassy sheen of Lake Batur as the fog slowly gives way to the rising sun.
One word. Glorious.
That’s the only word that I could think of as we sat on top of Mount Batur while gazing at the breathtaking sunrise above the lake. The view is absolutely spectacular – better than what I’ve expected. I couldn’t help but just be silent and take it all in. Basking on its warm empowering glow, I felt so much gratitude and calmness.
As the minutes pass and the sun was getting higher in the sky, people started their descent so the place became quieter. As part of my daily routine, I was very fortunate to have spent this experience with my friends who are also into meditation. We sat comfortably by the cliff, faced the warm golden sun, and did our thing. I led the meditation for maybe around 15 minutes. Then tears started running down our faces as we open our eyes, seeing what a beautiful world we live in, relishing this experience, and appreciating all that is. Being mindful of our health, our bodies, our relationships, our work, our life and everything in it.
There is so much to be grateful for and we sometimes take these moments for granted. This experience is such a great reminder of what we have and how we are all connected to one another. Being on top of this volcano just felt so surreal and amazing, I’d highly recommend this for sure.
After appreciating the beauty of Bali on top of Mount Batur, we decided to start our descent before the sun gets higher and temperature becomes hotter. It was faster and easier going down because we were trying to keep our momentum by running down. It’s quite amazing how these tall beautiful trees stand, seeing it for the first time since our hike that night. Soon enough we were back to where it all began. We noticed that we’re among the last group to get to the starting point, but hey who’s competing anyway?
TIPS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE CLIMBING MOUNT BATUR
Clothing and Footwear
Temperature differs from the starting point to the summit so you might want to bring a jacket and comfortable pants. I wore leggings and and dry-fit top with my windbreaker. For footwear, I wore regular running shoes. But hiking shoes should be better as this provides better grip and foot support (will be helpful during your descent). Avoid wearing sandals or slippers.
Food and Water
The tour guides gave us a bottle of water each but I suggest bringing another one just in case. It’s so important to keep hydrated because you will be sweating a lot! Make sure you’ve also eaten dinner the night before, not alcohol! Lol don’t be like us! I also suggest bringing some snacks or food trails you can munch on when you’re resting. I had some nuts and chocolates with me to give me instant rush of energy when I feel like I need it. We were also served breakfast when we reached the top. I absolutely love the hot Balinese coffee that complements the chilly breeze.
My friend suddenly had to go after we had our breakfast in the summit. There are no toilets though so they suggest her doing her thing behind the bushes. The place was packed with people though so she had no choice but to hold it in. As we were going down, we came across a small building – toilets! It must be somewhere near the starting point already so go when you need to go at the very beginning!
This trek is so rewarding and magical at the same time. I’m so glad I have friends who supported me throughout this experience. I’m so proud of myself for being responsible and committed in finishing the trail. It wasn’t easy, I can say that, but it’s a good reminder of what I am capable of doing when I set my mind to it. This hike has been one of the highlights in Bali and I wouldn’t mind going up again.
I also happened to meet one of the locals who can show a different shorter route to the summit. So instead of a 2-and-a-half-hour trek going up, you can reach the summit in just 45 minutes! You also get a magnificent view of Mount Agung and other mountains surrounding Mount Batur. They limit this to a number of people though and only a few know about it. So maybe I will do this when I get back. Feel free to contact Justin on WhatsApp +62 899-9111-354.
But if you’re like me who likes a bit of a challenge, you can book this activity through KKday's website.
So until then, see you anywhere around the world!