In my most recent trip to Bali, I climbed Mt Batur – which is a beautiful spot to watch the sunrise. It wouldn’t be a trip for me without doing at least one hike! The hike itself was strenuous but not hard overall. It is a great short hike to great some incredible views over the surround landscapes and experience some of the beautiful scenery Bali has to offer.
In July 2023, the Balinese governor announced that the public may be banned from hiking any of Bali’s mountains. Except in very specific circumstances. This was because of a tourist’s behaviour, which was perceived as disrespectful to Balinese culture, as this is a sacred mountain. As of writing this blog, no ban has been put into place, and travellers are still allowed to climb. Its expected protocols will be put into place, but a full ban will be unlikely.
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Where is Mt Batur?
Mt Batur is located in the Kintamani district of Bali, about a 1-1.5hr drive from Ubud or 2 hours from Seminyak and Canggu.
Mt Batur is an UNESCO heritage site and an active volcano. It has an elevation of 1717m above sea-level and is extremely popular because you get a beautiful sunrise at the top (if the weather permits). The panoramic views at the top look over Lombok Island and Mount Agung. It does get busy up the top as well, so be prepared as it is quite touristy!
Do I need a guide to climb Mt Batur?
In short yes. The entrance to the mountain is controlled by local guides, and some hikers have reported harassment from attempting to hike without a guide. The guides are there to ensure safety and respect Is kept on the mountain. It also ensures that the locals have a way to benefit from tourism on the mountain.
Myself and my group booked a private tour through Bali Sunrise Trekking and Tour, we had a wonderful experience! The tour included, transport, breakfast, walking sticks, lights and 2 guides. This cost roughly $55 AUD each for a private tour (group of 10).
What’s the tour itinerary like?
You will get picked up from your hotel between 1-3am, depending on where you are staying. From here you will get a transfer to the tour office, where you will have the option for coffee/tea and biscuits.
You will begin your hike around 4-4.30am, receiving a head torch and walking stick. You will walk in the dark, with plenty of rest stops till you reach the summit. At the summit your guides will make you breakfast, which consist of eggs (cooked in the volcano!), banana sandwiches and hot drinks.
After sunrise you will walk to the volcanic steam, which is such a fun experience and it so warm. You will the descend back to the tour office. You then have the choice to go to a coffee plantation or directly back to your hotel.
What is the climb like?
If you are familiar with my blog and my travels, you would know I’ve climbed Kilimanjaro. Although this hike is much shorter in length compared to the trek up Kilimanjaro, it is much steeper! I am comparing these two simply because I did them a few weeks apart from each other.
The hiking route we took was flat for about 15mins before it started heading uphill. The uphill sections are steep but can be easily managed if you have some level of physical fitness. You will have plenty of breaks too. My group made it up in 45mins, but that’s because we ran half the way, it takes about 1.5hrs to summit.
The path is mainly sand and volcanic scree/rock. The volcanic scree/rock section is the hardest part of the climb, as you can’t get much grip on your shoes. This section is only about 30mins of the climb; however, it is the steepest part. Overall, this is a strenuous hike, but it is doable (and worth it!).
What should I wear?
Active gear and closed in shoes are recommend for this hike. Make sure you bring some warm layers for the top as well! It was freezing up the top, especially after getting all sweaty during the ascent. I would recommend a good jacket or jumper and some gloves. You can also rent a blanket up the top from one of the locals for 50 000 IDR (roughly $5).
It is quite dusty heading down, so if you have sensitive lungs or allergies, I’d recommend a face covering. Most tours offer a ‘walking stick’, which I’d highly recommend as it will make the descent much easier. Make sure to also bring plenty of water, hat, sunscreen, and camera gear.
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