Sunrise Tour @ Mount Batur, Bali
Mt. Batur Sunrise Tour
It certainly felt like we were on top of the world at the summit of Mount Batur. Last Sunday (21 May 2017), Koon and I did a sunrise tour to Mount Batur, Bali. Mountain trekking had always been on my To-Do List and this time round, I took the initiative to include this as part of our Bali itinerary. It was amazing and I thought it would be memorable to pen my experience as a first-timer!
We booked our tour with Bali Volcano Trekking which has a lot of positive reviews on Tripadvisor with almost 90% excellent ratings. The packages offered are generally the same across all the tour providers we can find online but with BVT positively reviewed by so many others, we felt safe to go with them. The tour costs USD 55 per person (min. 2 to go) and includes the following:
From their website -
• Pick Up and Drop Off By Air Conditioned Car or Mini-bus (provide by private tour)
• One English Speaking Guide/Tour Guide
• Head Torch* / Trekking Pole
• Bottle Mineral Water
• Hot Tea/Coffee and Boiled Eggs, Bananas at The Summit
• Entrance Fee to Kintamani Area
*We were given a hand torch instead of a head torch.
Pick Up & Arrival at Base
Our pick up was scheduled at 2.30am as we were staying in Ubud which is not far from Mount Batur. Waking up at 1.30am to prep was definitely a challenge because we had gone White Water Rafting earlier in the day.
} Swissmiss Cocoa Drink
} Belvita Cereal Crackers
This was our breakfast at 2am - Swissmiss brought along from SG and the Belvita cereal crackers were bought from a minimart in Ubud. We figured that we needed something to fill our tummies before the hike!
Our driver picked us at 2.30am sharp and we arrived at Mount Batur base at 3.30am. The weather was really cold that morning and I was already feeling the chills in the car. When we arrived, we met our guide, Ricky and he provided us with a trekking pole, hand torch, and bottle of mineral water each.
We started trekking at 3.40am. The trail was pitch dark, narrow and we walked in a straight line all the time with Ricky leading the way. The first 15 minutes was a breeze as the route is very well paved. The night, by the way, was extraordinarily beautiful. It was filled with stars, twinkling stars and it definitely came as a surprise because I never expected that in Bali. It would have been a perfect stargazing night and romantic for people who were camping at the summit.
There is a resting point at about 30 minutes into the trek, where the restrooms (IDR 10,000 per use) and benches are located. I also took the opportunity to switch from using a hand torch to a headlamp because it was very troublesome to have both my hands occupied - left: hand torch and right: trekking pole.
The trek got tougher as we continued and the terrain can get pretty rough, steep and slippery at different points. I wish I could say I took a break every 15 minutes but it was definitely less than that (LOL). The last 30-40 minutes of the hike was hard and I was so focused on following Ricky's each and every footing because I didn't want to risk falling off the cliff. At the same time, I was also trying very hard to regulate my breathing because I was constantly out of breath x.x
We also got to witness pre-sunrise while trekking close to the last 20 minutes before reaching the summit. The night was still dark but the orange rays were already visible and seeping through the skyline.
Summit (1717m above sea level)
There were many people ahead of us throughout the trek and when we reached the summit, most of the benches, especially those with extremely good views, were already taken up. But Ricky still managed to find us a pretty decent spot.
For breakfast at the summit, we were served Salak (Snakeskin fruit), Sandwiches, Eggs, some cakes and Coffee/Tea.
Amazing fact: the eggs were boiled with the volcano steam!!
There are many great photo spots apart at the summit apart from the sunrise point but there are just too many people around which makes it hard not to get photobombed.
Don't believe whoever tells you that Mount Batur is easy. It definitely isn't for everyone. Having been through it now, I'd rate this a medium to difficult for first timers like me. An adequate level of fitness is definitely required (not that I am fit anyway, I was struggling). To be honest, I didn't know what to expect prior to the trip but I knew for sure there is going to be some sort of difficulty and I had to work on my stamina. I started exercising a month before the trip, regularly at least 2-3 times a week and even though stamina is not built over a month, two or three, it definitely helped a little!
Getting down from the summit was a greater challenge than the trek up. Some parts of the terrain are of broken rock fragments which made it very slippery and I lost count of how many times I slipped and fell on my butt while descending all because my legs weren't strong enough. The steepness of the hill made it worse and it came to a point where my legs were trembling so bad that I totally lost the sense of them. I held on to Ricky for almost half the journey downhill (LOL). So be prepared, especially if you are afraid of heights!
I never thought I would be able to check off "Mountain Trekking" on my wishlist so soon but I am so glad I did it this year! This is the most amazing experience I have had so far in my quarter life and I would do it again in a heartbeat despite all the uncertainties. Being fearful is normal by the way. After all, this is an active volcano we are climbing!
Tips to Share
- Get adequately fit (if you are someone who doesn't exercise!)
- Drink PLENTY of water and ensure you are well hydrated before and during the trek. You will be sweating buckets, no joke!
- Deck yourself in layers to allow yourself adjust easily depending on the temperature or how warm/cold you feel. A base layer and jacket (preferably windbreaker) is definitely necessary.
- Bring along a headlamp 'cus it's going to be much more convenient than holding a torch.
- Don't be afraid to ask for a break time if you need to!