Sunrise Trekking in Bali

August 15, 2011 ASEAN Backpacking

The best place to view the Bali sunrise is 1,717 meters above sea level.

Gunung Batur (Mt. Batur) is one of Bali's key attractions for the adventurous souls. It is a small stratovolcano in north-central Bali, which offers spectacular sunrise views, including the serene Lake Batur and the majestic Mt. Agung.

My trek was arranged by Bali Budaya Tours ( 

I inquired with a lot of tour providers but they all had a minimum of two pax. The guys from Bali Budaya Tours, however, agreed to take me with a group who booked with them (450,000 rupiah). I also booked a cycling tour with them (360,000 rupiah).

My tour guides, Ben and Gusto, picked me up at Kuta Bali Resort at 1:30 AM. It was more than an hour's drive to the jump-off point and we dropped by another resort in Ubud, where we picked-up a couple from Singapore.

Ben gave me two instructions. 1) if I have questions regarding the mountain, I should ask the local guide and 2) there will be peddlers of beverages and if I touch the item, I should buy.

We arrived at our jump-off point at 3:15 AM. We were met by Wayantop, our jolly local guide. After getting our chocolate bars and juice on a tetra pack, we started our climb. I wore my jacket because it was really cold at the jump-off point.

The first part of the trek was easy. The glow from the moon lit our path. It was actually our headlamps, but the moon sounds more romantic, especially when the stones on our path illuminated like unpolished semi precious gems because of its light.

Since there is no forest cover, we could see our trail, especially with the headlamps flickering along it. The ascend on the next part of the trek was mostly the most difficult and a lot of climbers rested along the trail.

We reached the first hut before sunrise and rested there before we went to our designated hut, where our breakfast would be served. It was still dark so we rested inside. We could slowly see the sun peeking so we started taking shots of the silhouette of Mt. Agung and the lake.

I asked Ben if we could do the summit assault before the sunrise. He asked Gusto to join me, while he stayed at the hut to prepare our breakfast. Wayantop followed.

The sun started to come into view during our ascent.

It was the most difficult part for me because the volcanic soil was loose and slippery. After about 20 minutes, we reached the summit, and it offered an even more majestic view.

The other climbers were there waiting for the sun to rise. According to some websites, Mt. Batur used to be 4,000 meters in height and what we reached is what remained after a prehistoric eruption of this volcano. Major eruptions also occurred in 1917, 1926 and 1963 (same as Agung's major eruption).

While waiting for the sunrise, Wayantop kept me company.

And then, what we all have been waiting for ... The climbers welcomed the sun with applause.

After watching the sunrise, we started our descent. Wayantop showed me a rock from the recent eruption of a smaller crater within the vicinity of Mt. Batur.

They also held my hands on our way down because it was really slippery, but it was fun.

Back at the hut, my breakfast was waiting.

After breakfast, we went to the crater view deck where we were welcomed by some forest monkeys.

A group of devout Balinese Hindus were there for a canang (chanang), an offering or sacrifice. They threw a chicken and a duck at the crater.

Mt. Batur and Mt. Agung are considered sacred mountains and homes of the gods. Mt. Agung, Bali's highest at 3,142 meters, is the most sacred and is the abode of Batara Gunung Agung or Madadewa, the supreme manifestation of Shiva. 

Mt. Batur and Lake Batur are the most holy, being the home of Dewi Danu, the Goddess of the lake.

We also went down to this steam vent and visited the entrance of a small cave.

Ben showed us a cool trick. If you put incense in the vent, more steam will come out.

After that, we started our descent down.

This steam vent is located along the trail.

We also passed by a Balinese Hindu Temple.

We reached the jump-off point around 9AM, where we were given forms to fill up for feedback.

The local guides here at Mt. Batur is organized. All guides are members of the Association of Mount Batur Trekking Guides. If guides are booked here, the rate is usually 300,000 rupiah. Sadu Antara, a guide I met on Facebook (081337747376) charges the same amount. All climbers must get a guide from here.

Last note, although most tour operators say that this is a very easy trek, training and proper gear are still musts. Bring a jacket as it can get very cold in the morning. It is also good to have shades and sunblock ready for the climb down, when it can get really hot.

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