Looking for a challenge that will reward you with an epic sunrise? Our Adventure Specialist Monica Rizk shares her experience hiking up Mount Batur in Bali on her recent G Adventures tour and why it was worth every challenging step.
When I booked my trip to Bali this past November, one of the highlights of the tour I chose; Classic Bali with G Adventures, was the sunrise hike to Mount Batur. I was a little worried that many of my fellow travellers would not want to do this hike, but I was definitely going to rise to the occasion and packed my hiking clothes and shoes for this amazing experience!
Mount Batur is located on the northeast side of Bali, Indonesia in Kintamani and it is an active volcano. Kintamani is a small town found on the rim of the huge Batur caldera (“a cauldron-like volcanic feature usually formed by the collapse of land following a volcanic eruption. They are sometimes confused with volcanic craters”) approximately 1,500m above sea level, offering stunning views of the volcano and the calm lake, Lake Batur.
By the time we arrived to Kintamini my entire group was pumped to hike Mount Batur. We were all a little apprehensive as reviews were all over the place, from “super easy, don’t have to be physically fit for this hike,” to “you must be moderately fit – at least able to run non-stop for 2.4 km on a treadmill in less than 20 minutes”. With a little nervousness we all meet at 3.00am (yes you read that right) at our meeting spot at the guest house for instructions and a light breakfast (pastries and tea/coffee).
We are taken by a small minivan to the starting point of our hike (about 30 minutes away) and were given our walking sticks and bid farewell to our drivers as they wished us luck.
I just preface this by saying that I am by no means an experienced hiker, or in fantastic physical condition. I enjoy being active and lead a moderate healthy lifestyle, but this hike is far from easy! It does have some challenging areas, steep climbs and loose gravel, but there is always a tree to grab onto, your walking stick to help and encouraging words to help you get through it!
About 30 minutes into the hike, we arrived at a meeting spot where our guides took stock of everyone’s condition and offered at this time if anyone feels that they cannot continue to the summit, that there is an alternative route, that leads you to above the tree line, to catch the sunrise. The majority of my group decided to continue and off we went. It was pitch black and the temperature was cool. With only a headlamp to guide you through the trail and the excitement to catch the sunrise, which you slowly see cropping up behind you, you start to walk a wee bit faster determined to be at the summit on time.
Our group splinters off the physically fit way up ahead, and the rest of us trudging behind determined to make it to the top by 05.30am. There is a lot of grunting, a bit of cursing, and tons of encouraging words along the way. As I continue to climb, I constantly am looking behind to track my progress as the sun makes an appearance. I start to get anxious that I am going to miss it all and start to take pictures as I see the sun crest on the horizon.
After 2.5 hours of climbing I make it to the top to cheers my group and other hikers, and witness one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen! You can’t take enough pictures, but you also don’t want to be looking through a lens and miss the beauty unfold before your eyes.
After a pretty awesome breakfast of hard boiled eggs, bread, fruit and coffee we start our descent down, which is a bit easier and faster than the climb up. When we arrived at the bottom our vans were waiting to take us back to our guest house for our third breakfast of the day and a beer to celebrate!
If you plan on flying to Bali, I highly recommend challenging yourself to this hike and experiencing it with a company like G Adventures who will help encourage you along the way, and take care of all the logistics of getting you there and back.
For more information on travelling to Bali or with G Adventures, contact Monica Rizk who is an Adventure Specialist at our Flight Centre Adventure Annex location in Toronto. She can be reached online or by calling 1-855-240-4352.