Everyone’s got their own reasons as to why they love Bali- be it the serene beaches, vibrant night life, striking sunsets or tranquil paddy fields. As for me, my reason would be a combination of all that and so much more.
For all the destinations that I have covered through travelling, never have I ever been to a place that offers such a diverse range of activities as much as Bali does. Despite the fact that Bali’s been well-known for its beaches, Bali pretty much offers visitors with just about all kinds of outdoor activities one can think of- be it dolphin watching, waterfalls, mountain hiking… you name it, Bali’s got it. Because of this, I try to experience something new each time I make a visit to the ‘Island of the Gods’. With my most recent trip, I finally decided to try something not related to any water-based activity for a change, and decided to hike through the island’s famous Mount Batur
Here are the 5 top tips and recommendations that I have gathered based on my personal experience hiking the Mount Batur:
1. Be mindful of your health and level of fitness/stamina
Look, I am not going to sugarcoat the Mount Batur hike… it was challenging. As if having to be woken up in the early hours of dawn wasn’t challenging on its own, imagine having to climb a mountain with an elevation of 1,717 m (5,633 ft)!
As much as I’d like to believe that the hike was do-able for everyone, a hike is still a hike nonetheless. By the time you reach the site location, you will be retaliated by the cold mountainous temperature, as well as utter darkness, to which will leave you with no choice but to rely on the mere light coming out of your torch completely as the only guide throughout the entire hike. The route towards the summit was extremely steep and rocky as well, meaning that you’d have to be extra cautious when hiking in order to avoid injuring yourself and others around you.
Because of this, it is extremely important to be mindful of your own level of health and fitness/stamina prior to the hike. As tempting as it may seem to be able to conquer the famous Mount Batur and possibly achieving that Instagram-worthy photo of the Balinese sunrise post-hike, it is more important to be mindful of your own health and well-being before anything else.
2. Choose reliable tour operators and get an experienced mountain guide
Speaking of health and well-being, safety should also be your main concern when it comes to hikes. The best way to ensure safety over the hike is to book the tour via reliable tour operators, as well as hike with an experienced local guide.
While there are many advantages when it comes to hiring an experienced guide, the most important benefit is the fact that they will be more familiar with all the routes and shortcuts leading to and fro the summit. This means that not only can they personalise your routes based on your level of strengths and fitness, they can also reduce the chances of hikers being lost along the way (which has happened to countless of inexperienced hikers, mind you!).
Experienced mountain guides will also be more trained to handle emergency situations better than anybody else. For a safer and more enjoyable hike, we highly recommend booking your Mount Batur sunrise hike with Touristly. On the plus side, you will also get a chance to enjoy Bali’s one and only civet coffee (Coffee Luwak) right after your hike. Talk about a treat!
3. Wear enough warm clothing
What I noticed during my hike to Mount Batur was the fact that a lot of hikers seem to be forgetting that the temperature can be extremely cold when you’re up in the summit, regardless of whether the mountain is located in the warm and sunny Southeast Asia or not. What happens afterwards is that these unfortunate hikers are left with no choice but to bundle themselves up with whatever extra clothing they had on and wait patiently until the sunrise could warm them up again.
My advice? Wear enough clothing that keeps you warm and lets you move flexibly at the same time. Think shirts, long pants/tights, sports shoes and of course, a jacket. It is also highly recommended that you dress in layers so you can bundle up when the temperature drops and layer down when the temperature increases.
4. Bring enough food, drinks, money and other hiking essentials
It is only understandable that a few hours of tough hiking will leave you feeling hungry and thirsty in no time at all, so it would only be recommendable that hikers bring enough food and drinks that would last the entire hike until the sunrise itself.
In the case where food and drinks do not last until the sunrise, it is possible for hikers to buy drinks and snacks in kiosks close to the summit itself, hence why it would also be advisable for hikers to bring a decent amount of money just in case. Hikers may also opt to bring other hiking essentials that would help aid their hike- such as trekking poles, hats, as well as a pair of sunglasses to help reduce the brightness of the hike back down.
5. Hike early to enjoy good photography spots and… enjoy the view!
Just because the Balinese sun doesn’t rise until 6 AM, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hike early! In fact, there are more benefits to hiking the Mount Batur early than not! Not only do you get to skip the long traffic in between the routes (yes, there are real ‘human traffics’ throughout the Mount Batur hike. According to the guide, a rough number of 400 people hike Mount Batur during sunrise EACH DAY!), you also get to ‘shotgun’ the best spots on the benches placed on top of the summit in order to take the best scenic photographs of the sunrise!
Mount Batur doesn’t just provide you with great views of the sunrise. Getting to the summit before sunrise provides you with views just as equally stunning as the sunrise itself. While it may still be pitch black, just sit back, look up in the skies above and you may just find yourself amazed with the clarity of the stars above. And if you’re lucky enough, you might even spot occasional shooting stars!