What You Need to Know Before Embarking on the Mount Batur Sunrise Trek

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I just got back from the Mount Batur sunrise trek, and whilst I’m pretty exhausted I wanted to share the experience while it’s still fresh in my mind.

Now the first thing you need to know is you can’t do this trek without a guide.

We had initially looked into booking a tour through one of the online companies.  But since most tour agencies in Bali tend to be a rip off, we decided to organise our own driver and try do the trek ourselves.

Apparently that’s a big no-no. Well getting your own driver is fine (and probably will work out cheaper that way). But you will not be allowed to set foot on that mountain without a guide. 
If you like your sleep hiring a private driver is probably the best option. Either way you’re going to have to get up early, but at least you’ll be the only pick up so you’ll get a bit more of a sleep in. Our driver picked us up from Canggu at 2am to get us to the summit by 4am. Imagine if you booked a tour that had hotel pick ups. You’d be looking at an even earlier wake up call.

So what should you pay for?

When you get to the meeting point you’ll be taken into a little interview room and presented with a few different options. Some include trekking to further points, some include breakfast etc. We decided to go with the basic Sunrise Trek Package for 350,000 IDR each. It included 2 guides, flashlights, and a hot drink at the top.

We hadn’t thought to bring flashlights so that was lucky.

And in the end I was sure glad we used the guides as I struggled A LOT! I lost count of the number of times the guide had to pick me up off the floor. It’s a very slippery climb, and an even slipperier descent haha.

Mount Batur sunrise trek

What’s the Mount Batur sunrise trek really like?

Don’t let anyone fool you into believing this is an easy trek. It’s steep, the terrain is slippery and changes a lot, you start in the pitch black, and there’s hundreds of people trying to do it at the same time.

But, I can definitely tell you it’s totally worth it once you make it to the top.

The first 30 minutes of the trek is pretty easy. It’s pretty much just walking to the base of the volcano with no real incline or obstacles. There’s hundreds of people on the trek so seeing isn’t a real issue as there’s loads of light from everyone’s flashlights. And in typical Balinese style there’s food stalls at a few different points along the way, so if you don’t go prepared and you decide you need a snack along the way, they’ve got you covered.

But now, the easy part was over. We started trekking the steeper path up the side of the volcano. This is where I started to fall behind, and also fall over. But thanks to my guides, I made it!

Mount Batur sunrise trek

Wear the right shoes.

Because it’s volcanic rock it’s very slippery and hard to get your shoes to grip into it. I also probably wasn’t wearing the best shoes. I didn’t bring my proper hikers to Bali as I never expected to need them. But if you know you’re going to do this trek I would definitely recommend having some good quality shoes with great grip.

And don’t give up!

There may be moments where people are passing you by. Or you may fall over. And this may tempt you to give up and stay at the halfway point. Don’t do it!

You have a guide, use them. Mine were so nice and at one point I ended up having both of them holding my hands while my friends powered ahead. And they kept telling me only 5 more minutes, only 5 more minutes.

Even though I realised that wasn’t true, it still made me feel better knowing we were getting closer to the top.

And believe me, when you see that sunrise, it’s all totally worth it.

Mount Batur sunrise trek

Bask in the glory…

There’s nothing better than watching a sunrise. The start of a brand new day, a time to reflect on all the things you can do with this precious time. And after a trek like that, it makes you appreciate the moment so much more.

Thankfully you get enough time at the top to enjoy the sunrise completely. This is where you get your cup of coffee or tea, if you’re lucky the guides will even throw in some biscuits. And you get enough time to take pictures and enjoy the views.

It’s a really cool experience because when you’re walking up in the pitch black you have no idea what’s around you. Then you get to the top and watch the sky light up and see the incredible scenery you’ve just walked by. It’s simply breathtaking.

At this point the guides will try to tempt you to go further on. There’s a higher climb you can do and they serve you a proper breakfast at the top (for a price). But I was done and the others were happy to come back down as well.

Mount Batur sunrise trek

So down we headed.

Don’t be fooled into thinking the easy part is over. If you struggled going up, then going down is even harder. That pesky volcanic rock is even worse going down and I was slipping all over the place. In the end I kind of just sat down and almost slid down at points haha.

After about half an hour into the descent we came to a flat area on the mountain which was full of wild monkeys. All the guides pulled out bananas and chocolates and everyone had the opportunity to feed the monkeys. Some of us were even lucky enough to have them climb on our shoulders. Thankfully these ones are just there for the food, unlike monkeys at some other well known tourist spots (the ones at Monkey Temple and Monkey Forest are well known for stealing your valuables).

Mount Batur sunrise trek

Aside from the monkeys there’s many other interesting points. A deep crater emitting volcanic steam, smaller holes along the way also releasing the steam. Stand by these and you can really feel the heat which is a timely reminder you’re actually standing on a volcano! Pretty crazy.

We also came across some pretty cool caves which were fun to explore. And the rest of the way down was quite enjoyable with more stunning views and no more slippery volcanic rock.

Mount Batur sunrise trek

What else do you need to know before you do the trek?

  • You could pre-book a tour with a company like Bali Jungle Trekking or Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking, but like most things in Bali you will generally get a better deal if you wait and book locally. You can barter on your driver costs then just pay for the guide ticket when you get there.
  • Remember it’s an early start so it’s dark and cold. Wear warm clothes! It’s also been known to rain at certain times of the year so it’s worth bringing a lightweight waterproof jacket just in case. It does get hot while you’re walking, but once you reach the top and have a chance to stop you’ll feel cool again as you’re so high up. If you’re prone to falling over like me I’d also recommend wearing longer pants to avoid cuts from all the rocks.
  • Go at your own pace. You may feel short of breath at times, it’s just the altitude. The total trekking time is about 5 hours (up and down) so pack snacks and plenty of water.
  • Don’t forget your camera!

And that’s it, go out and enjoy the Mount Batur sunrise trek. Above all go in with a positive attitude and prepare to have an epic adventure.

Mount Batur Sunrise Trek, Bali, Indonesia
Mount Batur sunrise trek

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