Not only is the island of Bali a relaxation paradise, it’s fast becoming a leading wellness and fitness destination. You’ll find detox retreats, beachfront bootcamps and raw cafes popping up everywhere. If you’re wanting to include a hike on your next trip then I highly recommend climbing Mt Batur to see the sunrise. This 1717m high active volcano will certainly get your heart rate up and hopefully provide you with some stunning views. I went into this hike pretty blindly so to save you from doing the same here’s 10 things you need to know before climbing Mt Batur.
You’ll Need To Have A Decent Level Of Fitness. Or A Good Attitude
I’ll be completely honest, climbing Mt Batur was harder than I expected. I’m a relatively fit person and during exercise I usually get to that point where my breathing regulates and I find extra pockets of energy. The two hour up-hill climb didn’t quite allow this to happen. I am a big believer in mind over matter so if you go with the right attitude and a slow and steady pace you’ll make it to the top.
When you’re on a shared tour in Southeast Asia it’s likely everyone in your group has paid something different for the same activity. It’s all about the haggle! I started my Mt Batur trek from Ubud and I ended up paying 400,000IDR. If you’re wanting to do multiple tours while in Bali it can pay to book them through the same tour desk as they’ll often give you a discount.
Try And Sleep Beforehand (Or On The Bus)
As I was staying in Ubud my pick up time for the Mt Batur sunrise trek was 2am. If you’re staying in another area of Bali your pick up time will be earlier. From Ubud it’s about 90 minutes to the base of Mt Batur. I got back to my hotel around 11am and that’s only because my group decided against stopping at the coffee plantation. I’d recommend trying your best to get to bed by 8.30pm and aim for a couple of hours shut eye.
I probably over prepared for this hike, but I’m glad I did. I wore/took two singlets, full length tights, sneakers, jacket and two scarfs. Keep in mind that you’ll sweat on the way up, but as the temperature drops towards the top you’ll feel the cold. I highly recommend wearing full length trousers or leggings. My DNAmic compression tights by SKINS were perfect for the hike. The ground is uneven, steep and you’re climbing in the dark! It pays to have good footwear to help get you up and down safely. Wearing two singlets gave me the opportunity to take off the sweaty one that was closest to my body once we reached the top. I used one scarf as more of a sweat towel for the way up and another warmer one to keep me cozy on the way down. The lightweight SKINS jacket provided protection against the wind and easily fit in my bag when I wasn’t needing to wear it.
Take A Torch
There were 12 people in my group, but only nine torches available once we met our guides. This meant three couples had to share a torch. I feel everyone needs their own to ensure you can see exactly where you’re going. I’d even recommend a head lamp over a torch, that way you can keep both arms free to help you climb.
We were given a breakfast box that consisted of a banana, two pieces of sweet white bread and a hard boiled egg. The last thing you can be bothered doing once you reach the top is painstakingly trying to peel a boiled egg. I took some granola bites with me to munch on and to keep the energy levels up. Once I got back to Ubud I headed straight to the nearest cafe and devoured a breakfast of eggs and bacon!
Climbing Mt Batur was definitely one of those ‘expectation vs reality’ experiences for me. There were hundreds of people doing it, maybe thousands! It was kind of enchanting looking ahead at the glow of torches making their way up the mountain but once the sun came up I was just looking at a very large group of people.
You Can’t Control The Weather
The clouds were out in force on the morning I climbed Mt Batur which did impact the beautiful sunrise experience I was expecting. This just means I’ll have to do it again on my next visit and hope the weather gods are on my side.
Tip Your Guides
These guys climb the Mt Batur at least five times a week. They know the terrain well and are super helpful when it comes to assisting you with tricky parts of the trail. A couple of bucks means a lot more to them than it does to you so take some small bills when you do your tour.
Lastly, Enjoy It
I don’t do a lot of solo travel so I was really grateful for doing this hike with such a great bunch of supportive people. In saying that, one part of being a successful solo traveller means you have to be the one to start conversations. As you’re about to spend nearly eight hours with the people in your group my tip would be to be nice and help motivate your fellow travellers while you’re climbing Mt Batur.