I’m sure you’ve seen the photos on Instagram. A vibrant sunrise abover the clouds, highlighting a steep volcano in the distance. This is something that can only be achieved by climbing Mt Batur, Bali’s most active volcano. But don’t let that scare you off since climbing Mt Batur has become one of those must have adventures if you are in Bali.
While so many of the photos you see on social media make it look like a glamorous experience, don’t let that fool you. This hike, while relatively easy, does require some preparation. And after having climbed the mountain myself, I can share with you some tips and tricks I wish I’d known before I commenced the trek.
Mt Batur is 1,717 meters above sea level and takes on average 2 hours to climb. I wasn’t able to find out how long the hike is online, but my friend’s fitness watch said we’d clocked a 10km round trip by the time we’d finished.
The main track itself is made up of slippery dirt which can become muddy and extra slippery in the rain, and at times you will have to engage in some good old rock scrambling, though this is mostly towards the end. If you choose to take the ‘hard track’ be prepared for a lot more rock scrambling and a much steeper ascent.
Finally, I’m a averagely fit person with one less ACL than everyone else, and while I found the hike achievable, it can be a real struggle for others. And while you don’t have to engage in any sort of real training before undertaking the trek, a bit of cardio resistance would be beneficial.
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but I cannot tell you how many girls I saw wearing strappy sandals and long, flowy dresses trying to climb the mountain. This just isn’t reasonable given how steep and slippery the trail is. Most of the girls who I saw in this ended up hitching a ride on the back of a motorbike to get to the top. If you actually want to get the experience of climbing the mountain AND get your Instagram shots, take a dress to throw on when you reach the summit. Just be aware that there is limited privacy to do so.
Motorbikes are in operation on the mountain on the ‘easy’ trail for anyone who is struggling. For the low, low price of 500,000 IDR (about $50 AUD) you can get a ride up and back down the mountain. Be aware however, that these bikes cannot make it to the summit due to the rocks surrounding it, so you will have to walk/climb the last 10%.
I probably should have made this tip number 1. While your guide should provide you with a hand-held torch before you start your trek, it is not the easiest and more convenient thing to carry. I found carrying my torch really annoying as I had to keep it in front of me so I could see where I was going which meant I lost some of the balance that comes from swinging your arms as you climb steeper sections of the mountain. For most of the walk I tucked my torch under the left shoulder strap of my back pack so I could go hands free, but this was only convenient when it stayed in place.
I would recommend packing the following items in your day bag:
I know this one seems a bit gross, but trust me. Just as the descent can be tough on your knees, it can also be tough on your toes if your nails are long.
This was probably the best post-climb treatment we could have organised for ourselves since it allowed us to rest our weary muscles. The hot springs are only about 5 minutes from the base of the mountain where you begin your walk and since you will be there just as it opens, you will likely have them all to yourself.
have you climbed Mt Batur? Have I missed any vital tips?