Sunrise Trekking in Bali

August 15, 2011 ASEAN Backpacking

The best spot to witness the enchanting Bali sunrise sits at an elevation of 1,717 meters above sea level.

Gunung Batur (Mt. Batur) stands as one of Bali's prime attractions for those with an adventurous spirit. This small stratovolcano in north-central Bali promises breathtaking sunrise views, featuring the serene Lake Batur and the majestic Mt. Agung.

My trek was arranged by Bali Budaya Tours (

After reaching out to several tour providers, most of whom had a minimum requirement of two participants, I was fortunate to find the accommodating folks at Bali Budaya Tours. They agreed to include me with a group that had already booked with them (450,000 rupiah). Additionally, I booked a cycling tour with them (360,000 rupiah).

My guides, Ben and Gusto, picked me up at Kuta Bali Resort at 1:30 AM. The journey to the jump-off point took more than an hour, including a stop at another resort in Ubud, where we picked up a couple from Singapore.

Ben gave me two important instructions: 1) if I had questions about the mountain, I should direct them to the local guide, and 2) vendors might approach us with beverages; if I touched an item, I was expected to make a purchase.

We arrived at the jump-off point at 3:15 AM, where we were greeted by Wayantop, our cheerful local guide. After receiving our chocolate bars and juice in tetra packs, we commenced our climb. The chilly air at the jump-off point prompted me to wear my jacket.

The initial part of the trek was relatively easy, with the moon casting a romantic glow on our path. Although it was our headlamps illuminating the stones, the moonlit ambiance added a touch of magic. Since there was no forest cover, our trail was visible, accentuated by the flickering lights of the headlamps. 

Following that, the ascent became quite challenging, prompting numerous climbers to take breaks along the trail.

We reached the first hut before sunrise, where we rested briefly before heading to our designated hut for breakfast. It was still dark as we rested inside, gradually witnessing the sun's peeking glow. We seized the opportunity to capture the silhouette of Mt. Agung and the lake as the sun began to rise.

I approached Ben with the idea of attempting the summit before sunrise. In response, he assigned Gusto to accompany me, while he remained at the hut to prepare our breakfast. Wayantop joined us for the climb.

As we ascended, the sun gradually made its appearance on the horizon.

This segment proved to be the most challenging for me due to the loose and slippery volcanic soil. After approximately 20 minutes of effort, we successfully reached the summit, which revealed an even more majestic view.

Other climbers had gathered there, anticipating the sunrise. 

According to some sources, Mt. Batur was once 4,000 meters in height, and what remains today is the result of a prehistoric eruption. Major eruptions also occurred in 1917, 1926, and 1963 (coinciding with Agung's major eruption).

While waiting for the sunrise, Wayantop kept me company.

And then, the moment we had all eagerly awaited arrived—the climbers welcomed the sun with resounding applause.

Following the mesmerizing sunrise, we began our descent. During the descent, Wayantop pointed out a rock from the recent eruption of a smaller crater within the vicinity of Mt. Batur.

They even held my hands as we descended because the path was quite slippery, turning the descent into a fun and memorable experience.

Back at the hut, my breakfast was waiting.

After our breakfast, we headed to the crater view deck, where we were greeted by some playful forest monkeys.

A group of devout Balinese Hindus was present, engaged in a canang (chanang) ceremony—an offering or sacrifice. As part of the ritual, they threw a chicken and a duck into the crater.

Both Mt. Batur and Mt. Agung hold immense sacred significance in Balinese Hinduism. Mt. Agung, standing at 3,142 meters, is the highest and considered the most sacred, serving as the abode of Batara Gunung Agung or Madadewa, the supreme manifestation of Shiva. 

Meanwhile, Mt. Batur and Lake Batur are also revered as sacred, being the dwelling place of Dewi Danu, the Goddess of the lake.

We descended to explore a steam vent and visited the entrance of a small cave.

Ben demonstrated a fascinating trick—placing incense in the vent, which resulted in even more steam billowing out.

After that, we commenced our descent.

There is a steam vent located along the trail.

We also passed by a Balinese Hindu Temple.

We arrived back at the jump-off point around 9 AM, where we were provided with feedback forms.

It's worth noting that the local guides at Mt. Batur are well-organized. All guides are members of the Association of Mount Batur Trekking Guides. Typically, the standard rate for guides is 300,000 rupiah. I also connected with Sadu Antara on Facebook (081337747376), who charges the same rate. It's mandatory for all climbers to have a guide from this association.

As a final note, while many tour operators describe this trek as very easy, it's important to emphasize the importance of training and having proper gear. Bringing a jacket is advisable as it can get very cold in the morning. Additionally, having sunglasses and sunblock ready for the descent is recommended, especially when the temperature rises.

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