During my two weeks in Bali in 2018, I had the chance to experience the Mount Batur sunrise hike, one of the most popular hikes to do on the island. It was one of the most incredible sunrises I witnessed on my 10-month journey around the globe.
Mount Batur is an active volcano located in the northeast region of the island. It’s one of the top places to visit in Bali, specifically because of the adventurous, early-morning hike that allows you to catch a sunrise like no other from its peak. Those determined enough to conquer the trek will also find an unparalleled view of nearby Mount Agung from the top, whose eruption has grabbed headlines in recent years.
Here is a full review of my experience:
I silently sipped my coffee as the sun began its brilliant ascent over Bali.
A shiver ran down my spine. Was it from the bone-chilling wind or the scene unfolding in front of me? I was sitting atop Mount Batur, one of Indonesia’s most coveted sunrise-watching spots. It was about 6 a.m., and I had just hiked a 5,600-foot volcano.
That’s the kind of morning you can expect to have in Bali.
Conquering the Mount Batur Sunrise Hike
My boyfriend Guil and I went to bed early the night of our hike. At 2:30 a.m. a driver picked us up from our hotel in Ubud.
We booked our Mount Batur sunrise hike with a company called Bali Sunrise Trekking and Tours. The tour company treated us to warm coffee and tea at a mountain lodge at the base of the volcano before beginning our hike, a nice touch that made the middle-of-the-night experience more enjoyable.
Fueled with a fresh dose of caffeine, we began our hike promptly at 4 a.m.
A tour guide led us and another couple through a private path stemming from the lodge. We had heard that the traditional path could get quite crowded with other hikers, so we were happy with this more exclusive route.
Our guide assured us we had more than enough time to reach the top before the sun made its first appearance—showtime was around 6:30 a.m. With this particular tour company, there was one tour guide for every four people, a factor that made me feel more comfortable about hiking through unknown terrain in the dark.
Fortunately for our group of 5, we all seemed to be equally fit. So much so that when we reached a fork in the trail that separated the easy path from the tough one, adrenaline washed over us and we chose the latter.
“This way is steeper, but it’s a shorter hike,” our tour guide said.
“So we’ll get there faster?” we asked. (Our greatest fear was to miss the sunrise because we were hiking too slow.)
“Most likely,” our guide responded.
We were sold.
How Difficult Is The Mount Batur Sunrise Hike?
So how difficult was the Mount Batur hike?
The 4-mile hike with an elevation gain of about 1,700 feet took us about two hours to complete.
The path was not only steep, but consisted mostly of loose rocks—not ideal for hiking in the dark. Armed with a flashlight and sturdy hiking boots, I was able to conquer one of the most exciting hikes I’ve done.
During those two hours, I couldn’t see a thing. I was focused solely on the ground in front of me, which made the final destination that much more breathtaking. I had no idea what awaited us at the top.
Though the hike was more strenuous than I expected, our group pulled through swiftly, with quite a few water breaks in between.
It was still dark when our guide shouted out, “30 minutes left!” At that moment we all knew we were going to make it. The countdown continued until there were only 5 minutes left before reaching the peak.
Sunrise From The Top Of Mount Batur
As I reached the summit, the first signs of a new day began peeking through a thick blanket of clouds.
I could now see the dark outline of Mount Agung, a giant materializing in front of us. The bone-chilling wind at the top kept us huddled close together. We were given a much-needed large cup of coffee and a boxed breakfast that consisted of a sandwich, hard-boiled eggs and fruit. We were surprised to find so many other hikers already there; it was as if every tourist in Bali had decided to conquer the sunrise hike that day.
Yet it wasn’t difficult to find a quiet spot to take it all in.
Guil and I laid a blanket on the ground and waited for nature’s finest act to begin. As the sun crept up over the clouds, the landscape turned from gray to fiery orange. I could soon make out a village and large lake below, as well as the ocean further away. Boy, were we high.
Was it worth it? The Mount Batur sunrise hike was definitely worth the few hours of sleep I lost. I myself consider it one of the top things to do in Bali, especially if it’s your first time visiting. It’s a small sacrifice for a grand reward.
I returned to my hotel that morning feeling overwhelmingly accomplished—and I arrived just in time for a second round of breakfast. Nothing beats the sense of pride you feel after climbing an active volcano before 10 a.m. Talk about a productive vacation.
Have you tackled the Mount Batur sunrise hike? Is the Bali volcano tour on your bucket list? Let me know below!
If you found this post helpful, you may also enjoy:
- Top 10 Things To Do In Bali
- Learning To Scuba Dive in Koh Tao, Thailand
- How To Plan A Trip Around The World
LIKE THIS POST? PIN IT FOR LATER!