Climbing Mount Batur, one of the sacred volcanos of Bali, is a mind-warping experience if done before dawn. The volcanic sand runs away beneath your feet like an hourglass and the tassels of pine trees flow by you in the dark.
My friends and I raced the sunrise to the peak, and arrived just in time. Here, Tyler does a triumphant handstand with the neighboring Mount Agung behind him.
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Mt Batur Sunrise Hike
If you want a small challenge, then arrange a trip to Mt Batur. The hike up the mountain takes about 1.5 - 2 hours, depending on your physical ability. The hike starts at around 3 am, in total darkness with a flashlight. This was my first hike up a mountain and as a generally fit person I found this hike a bit challenging. My friend who is not in shape found the hike to be nearly impossible. Anyone can get to the top with a bit of effort though, but make sure to arrange the trip through a company that has more than one guide, so that you can get help if you are slower than the rest of the group.
Wear something breathable for the hike and bring an extra jacket for when you reach the top. You have been sweating the whole way up and your clothes are damp from the clouds you may have hiked through. So when you reach the top, you are freezing!!
The sunrise is worth all the effort, but be aware the place is packed with tourists, I would estimate that about 60 other people made the trip the same morning as us. We had about 10 min with the beautiful view before the clouds came rolling in. Then we went around to see the crater, etc. The viewpoint is at around 1,500m, you can hike a further 200m, but for us it was pointless because of the clouds, we could see nothing. The way down was for me way worse than the way up because I kept slipping on the small rocks... I nearly fell 3 times...very dangerous. So good hiking shoes are advised :-)
You are transported up a volcano not far from Ubud by minivan, and then you (mountain) bike downhill with a guide. You pass tiny villages, ricefields, temples. All at your own pace, and you can stop wherever you want, to speak to locals, visit a school, purchase a snack... You likely won't see other tourists, and the guides are excellent about explaining everyday Balinese life - that's what you're surrounded by. I've been to Indonesia several times, but this was one of the best experiences!
Hike Gunung Batur, one of Bali's most active volcanoes, under the cover of night and arrive at the summit in time to watch the sunrise over the clouds and neighboring Gunung Agung. A seriously life changing experience!