Mount Batur – The Sunrise Trek

Imagine waking up at 1am, getting picked up by your guide and doing a trek to the top of the volcanic Mount Batur. Elevation: 1,717m. You are hiking in pitch black, with only a torch to guide you, after 3 hours of smaller and bigger struggles, you finally get to the peak.

Right on time for the sunrise. You then finally get the time to look around – and it hits you.

WOW.

The view, the colours of the sunrise, the clouds below you, the height of the mountain. Mind blowing.

You knew it will be unreal, but you didn’t expect that kind of un-realness. And then you think to yourself: I am really here – I’ve hiked all the freaking 1,717 metres in pitch black and my dream is finally happening.

 

Mount Batur – The Sunrise Trek

{Something that should most definitely be on your bucket list.}

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Edit : This was the very first proper Mountain hike that I have done,
which is why at some points I might have had over exaggerated a little bit. 

I woke up at 1:15am to be exact, got dressed, completely forgot to check whether I have a substantial amount of snacks in my bag and together with Kirsten went outside to wait for our 2am pick up.

We drove around Ubud to get the rest of the group and took a stop where the driver gave us coffee/tea and a small pack lunch (breakfast).

We then drove towards Mount Batur. Everytime I looked out the window, the view was mind-blowing. From looking up at the mountains to looking down at the clouds slightly lit up by the moons subtle light. My eyes, even as tired as they were – couldn’t ignore any of it.

 

-> My Ultimate Ubud Bucket List <-

 

Then, the car stopped and our faces lit up – we’re here.

Our driver provided us with a torch each and introduced two guides that will be helping us to make it to the top – a young woman and a young man. There was quite a lot of other groups as well, which made it feel less scary in a way.

We then started the hike towards the base of Mount Batur, second by second it was getting darker until the only light leading our way was the moon and our torches.

The hike seemed easy at first. However, the dusty pathways were slowly getting steeper and narrower. Listening carefully to our guides instructions and concentrating on not falling, were the only things keeping us from thinking about how high up we were going.

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I felt like I had it under control, it was tough but doable, but then we stopped and the guide pointed to the peak popping out from the clouds : “We are nearly there.”

Wow.

It wasn’t the distance as much that got us worried, but due to the sun starting to subtly illuminate the peak – we could get a slight idea of how steep it is. That will be interesting.

Surprisingly, I was keeping up with the front of the group and felt quite confident.

Then all of a sudden, our rocky path turned into a black, dusty sand. After every step I took, I went 3 steps backwards – all the rocks that were keeping me steady disappeared and I had nothing to grab on to.

That’s when my worries kicked in (surprised they didn’t earlier).

I need to think for a sec.
There is nothing to grab on to, if I fall or trip – I will be flying off this mountain in no time.
S**t.

Watch my Mount Batur clip here: Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 18.38.06

I stopped. And stood still for a second, shining my torch to see the closest rocks.
There wasn’t any, all I could see was the seriously steep dirt pathway right in front of me plus people struggling.

Then, someone grabbed my hand and led me forward.

Shocked, I followed. I pointed my light on the person – it was the girl guide, smiling at me. How did she get here so quickly I had no idea, she was just at the back of our group helping the others.

I then took a quick peek to my side and saw what must be the most incredible view I have ever experienced.

I was above the clouds.

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I know, I know, most of us have seen clouds from the plane etc. But I was there – with no metal structure around me – just myself, above them. Breathing the fresh & crisp air and watching it through my own eyes – not behind the glass window.

Falling over the edge didn’t feel as scary for a second – it almost seemed like I would just bounce back up when hitting the marshmallow-y lining.

I then quickly returned back to the hike/climb and carried on with the struggles that didn’t seem as scary anymore.

And we reached the peak.

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I didn’t know what to do. I looked around and was completely stunned.

Is this real?!

I started grabbing my gopro, camera, phone  – selfie sticking it all out.
Running from one edge to the next – thinking to myself ‘This is freaking incredible. How will I be able tomcapture this beauty perfectly..?!’

I then stopped : ‘Just breathe it in for a minute Eli’ I thought.

So, I sat down and did just that. Then, Kirsten found me and we sat together, with other peeps from our group. We didn’t say much. Not much needed to be said. The only words I could get out were:

WOW. Just wow.

The sky and the clouds were beginning to light up more with a gold tint & the sun started revealing itself. I could sit here, trying to put into words how exquisite the views were.. but it still won’t do it justice.

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There are quite a few benches at the top to relax on as well as local stands with snacks and drinks. So bring some cash just in case.

Make sure you don’t forget like I did at first, about stopping and realising that you are actually there.
That was the time I realised I don’t do that enough and it has stuck with me since. 🙂

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After over an hour, we began to make our way down to the base of the mountain. It’s not till then that we realised how challenging the hike really was.

Walking through the pitch black, strangely made it feel less scary as we couldn’t see what’s below us and how far below us.

Everyone started to walk much slower, thinking : “this is crazy”.

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Many of us agreed that climbing the mountain at night is definitely a lot less scary than it would be during the day – many of us decided that we might not have done it if the sun was already out.

Maybe, that’s why it is ‘the sunrise trek.’

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However, it didn’t fully hit me until I saw a girl from another group being walked by two guides – she had tears in her eyes and kept repeating “I can’t do it..”
I don’t think I have ever seen eyes that frightened before.

She then stopped and completely broke down – knowing that the only thing to do is just carry on walking. She looked at the seriously steep path, leading towards the clouds.

It was heartbreaking to watch.

We had to carry on. Our small conversations ended and we were using all our concentration on not falling down. I was also concentrating on not looking further than a few steps ahead of me, otherwise a slight panic was hitting me.

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About half way through, I noticed something that made this experience even more unforgettable.

‘There’s a monkey!’

‘Wait.. there’s loads of monkeys!!!’

Now, please excuse me while I get carried away with the pictures, again.

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After I was done with having the time of my life, once again. We carried on walking.

We reached the base of Mount Batur at about 9am. Looking up at where we just came from felt nothing but crazy. We seriously just did it.

“We gat skillllss guys!!”

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Our driver met us by the van and we said our goodbyes to the guides. My favourite – the girl gave me a pretty flower and said something in Indonesian. Yup, we’ve bonded even with the huge language barrier.

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After a couple of minutes driving, everyone was passed out. But I couldn’t sleep – everytime my eyes closed, I had the sunrise view right in front of me. How can I sleep after an experience like that?!

Then we made a completely unexpected stop at a Coffee & Tea Plantation (at no extra cost)..
full post coming very soon! <3

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As I mentioned before, I’d recommend doing the trek with a tour guide – unless you’ve done a lot of hiking before. The paths can be misleading in a day, so you can only imagine what it’s like at night with only a torch to guide you.

So, My 10 Tips:

1 – Book a guided tour (unless you’re very experienced)
2 – Do not do the hike if you are really scared of heights.
3 – Wear hiking boots, shoes or running trainers.
4 – Bring a rain jacket (it rained slightly every now and then).
5 – Bring a small backpack.
6 – Wear sport leggings / long & comfy pants (in case slipping – it’s an extra layer to protect you).
7 – Bring an extra snack, an energy bar etc.
8 – Water is a must (you will be provided with some as well)
9 – Bring tissues, hand sanitiser and money for any purchases at the top.
10 – Just stay confident and keep going. Walk closely to your guide, in case anything would happen.

& HAVE FUN!!! <3

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Details about the tour:

I have booked the tour through a hostel. Most accommodations will allow you to do that, there are also tour stands all over Ubud, Seminyak etc selling them.

The tour company is called: Uma Kutuh Sunrise Trekking Tour – I couldn’t recommend them enough.

We paid about IDR 350.000 each, but you can get it even cheaper.

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Thank you for reading.

I’d love it if you could share this with your friends <3

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