My day started at 1am. It was pitch black, raining and honestly the thought of climbing a mountain on about 6 hours sleep wasn’t very appealing.
It took about 1 hour to get to the car park where our hike up Mount Batur began. We all had our back packs, flash lights and we were all knackered before we even started. I love walking, I’ve got plenty of walking experience behind me but hiking I can’t say I have much experience with. I booked this tour because I absolutely love sunrises and sunsets. My favourite times of the day and the image I created in my head of watching the sunrise whilst at the top of a active volcano just seemed like a once in a life time thing.
We started the hike and about 10 minutes into it we were all dripping in sweat and I mean dripping. Working in 45 degree heat in Australia was nothing compared to hiking at 3am in high humidity. I started off in the lead. I was loving the work out, my legs had never felt so strong before. There are around 200 people going up this mountain, it’s one of the most popular tours in Bali. We are all split into small groups and my group consisted of two people from the Philippines who were slightly more experienced than me when it comes to hiking. Nevertheless we stuck together as a team and our tour guide gave us plenty of breaks for as long as we needed. You pass a couple of temples on the way up and almost all of the tour guides stop and pray for a few minutes before continuing (which also gave us a nice mini break). There was no rush to get to the top. We still had around 3.5 hours till sunrise and the hike itself only takes around 2-3 hours.
When you reach about 1/3 of the way up you have a choice to either take the track on the left which is the easier one but it’s the track where all the motorbikes go up or the track on the right which is steeper and harder. Obviously we took the track on the right because who doesn’t love a challenge?! About 15 minutes into walking up this track and the sweat was just pouring out of us. Literally. My hair was drenched, my clothes were drenched, my mascara had ran everywhere and as I was looking at the ground to see where I was walking the sweat was just dripping off my face. It wasn’t pleasant but it made me pretty proud of myself. I was enjoying the workout! The hike itself probably isn’t that difficult compared to other hikes, it’s the humidity that makes it more challenging.
When we reached half way we had about a 10minute break. By this point we could see all the city lights way down below us and the night sky was gleaming with stars. We saw roughly around 10 shooting stars. Honestly it was magical.
That bright white light shining way above the others is Venus. On the second picture there is what looks like a star below Venus and that is Mercury. The sun rose right behind Venus and Mercury. Also visible in the night sky was Jupiter and Saturn. Don’t think I have ever seen so many planets at once!
Eventually we reached the submit and let out cheers of praise. Everybody high fives each other, pats each other on the back and lets out a ‘Wooooo’ at the top. You’re all there for pretty much the same reason and you’re all aware that it isn’t an easy track at all to hike up. A lot of sheer drops, dodgey volcanic rocks to climb, loose gravel/stones, high steps to go up and down all whilst it’s pitch black with just a small flash light which eventually loses it’s battery when you’re almost at the top. The praise you get from others and the fulfilment you feel when you get to the submit just adds to the day. It makes it even more special.
We parked our sweaty bodies on a bamboo bench and patiently waited for the sun to show itself. Thankfully the rain and fog had cleared and we had our fingers crossed for a clear view. We had about half an hour till the sun was due to rise so we all just sat chatting, necking our water, coffee and tea (Well everybody else had coffee…nobody was surprised the English person was having tea…). There was a group of people providing the entertainment by playing the guitar and singing songs. The atmosphere was so incredibly positive. It was so cold at the top and everyone was looking a bit rough, absolutely shattered but the moral of the entire hiking group was so uplifting.
It was almost time!!! Our tour guide came and brought us breakfast just in time for the sun to rise. Banana sandwiches (fucking delicious) and a selection of fruits and chocolate bars. We had a great view of the sunrise and the other active volcano in Bali called Mount Agung which you may have seen on the news/social media had a minor eruption not that long ago.
I honestly can’t quite describe the feeling I had. Not only did I get to eat a delicious breakfast on the top of Mount Batur but I got to eat a delicious breakfast and watch a gorgeous sunrise on the top of Mount Batur. It was kinda emotional. I was so proud of myself as I have never achieved anything like this (or even close) in my life. I got to see one of the most beautiful, natural phenomena’s in the world from a place that makes the experience even more unique. Honestly if you ever go to Bali you need to do this. If walking isn’t your strong suit you can opt to get a motorbike which takes you about 3 quarters of the way up then you’ll just have to walk about 10/15 minutes to reach the submit. It’s so worth it and I am so lucky to have experienced this.
Once again our tour guide was more than happy to take our pictures and once we finished our breakfast we explored the crater of the volcano. Mount Batur hasn’t erupted since 2000, which I suppose isn’t that long ago but it adds to the adventure right?! There are hot springs that surround the crater and volcano. Steam still comes out from the crater which we got to warm ourselves up by! Was like a nature spa.
We explored the crater, hot springs and were joined by some of the stray dogs who followed us all the way to the top along with a group of monkeys! Like could this day get any better?!
At around 8:00am we had made it back to the starting point. This experience has been the highlight of my solo trip. I met a bunch of amazing people from all corners of the world with different stories to share. It’s been an experience I will never forget, there was something special about this that really hit home and touched my heart.
Bali you are fucking incredible!
Sending my love to you all,