Sunrise Hike up Mount Batur

Mount Batur, Kintamani, Indonesia

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Loop

  • RT Distance:

    5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    2624.7 Feet

Groups
Scenic

For how relaxing Bali is, this is the perfect thrill for adventure seekers. Hiking up the second highest volcano in Bali to catch the sunrise is an incredible experience that is worth the climb! 

When most people think of Bali, they think about its countless resorts, relaxing spas, or epic waves.  Although all of these things have something great to offer, there is nothing quite like trekking in pure darkness to see one of the most incredible sunrises unravel in front of your eyes.  Be warned, you will not be the only one with the Mt. Batur summit vantage point of an Indonesian sunset on your mind.  There are many guides that offer group or private tours up the volcano.  Deciding whether you want to do the trek alone, or with a guide is completely up to you.  However, do note that if you choose to hike without a guide, you will be pestered most of the way up and possibly even told the wrong directions.

Most people start their journey to Mt. Batur from Ubud, which is about 1.5 hours SWS from Mt. Batur.  However, Bali is a small island and you will find that there are many people who started their journey from somewhere else.  Wherever you come from, you want to make sure to get there by 4am at the latest (I know, it sounds painful).  If you opt to go without a guide, go even earlier to avoid most of the crowds.  Guides start trekking up as early as 2:30am.  

If you search "Mount Batur Trekking" on google maps, it should take you to the parking lot where the trailhead lies.  How you get there is up to you, but if you take any type of public transportation, your driver will certainly know where to drop you off.

Lets get to the trek.  The trailhead starts from the west edge of the parking lot.  With all the other people that will likely be there, you cannot miss it.  Turn on your headlamp/flashlight and follow the black lava gravel path towards the base of the volcano.  Do not be fooled by the mild incline in the first 3km of the hike, the climb is only about 1km, but very steep.  Once you get to the steep part of the climb, try to find the most firm footing that you can, because slipping on the loose volcanic gravel could lead to some mean gashes.  So up and up you go (for about 800 meters) until you reach the summit on the east side of the volcano's ridge.  

The climb could be done in about an hour and 20 minutes at a good pace, but most people do it in 2 hours.  Sometimes, you do not have much of a choice in this regard, as the crowds can get thick and the trail can get thin.  

Once at the summit, get comfortable and find a nice spot facing east and brace yourself for an incredible sunrise.  If you hired a guide, they will likely bring breakfast to you at this time.  To the SE is Mount Agung, Bali's tallest volcano.  The sun will rise just beyond that, over the Bali sea.  Thousands of feet below you, you will be able to see Bali's countless rice paddies.  

If photography is your thing, make sure to pay attention to the clouds drifting over the rice paddies, as well as the impressive sunrise.  

After you are thoroughly impressed with the sunrise, you can make your way back down the volcano a couple ways.  The first way (and my favorite), is to walk along the rim of the volcano almost all the way around.  The far side of the rim has some steep and loose sections that you will just about slide down.  The first 1km down will require sure footedness and care because sharp volcanic rock is really not something to mess with!  Once you get to the base of the volcano, you will follow the black volcanic gravel through some rice paddies and lava fields.  These will actually be the same rice paddies and lava fields that you passed on the way up, but now you will be able to see them!

Although the heat in Bali is year-round, this hike would not be easy (or wise) to do in wet conditions.  If you choose to do this hike during monsoon season (October-April), just make sure you are flexible just in case it rains the day you have planned to do it.  

After you are nice and sore and happy as ever, there may not ever be a better excuse to get a cold Bintang in the morning hours. 

Pack List

  • Water
  • Rain Jacket 
  • Thin sweater/fleece (it can be chilly in the mornings)
  • Headlamp/flashlight (guides provides dingy flashlights)
  • Camera
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Reviews

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Here's my account on this hike... While staying in Ubud, Indonesia I was searching for a way to get out, do some trekking and enjoy the views of Indonesia. Ubud is known for it's yoga, monkeys and super laid back vibes and access to some of the areas best volcano hiking. Using the local guides suggest by our bungalow owner I paid about $40 USD to reserve my spot in a rather full van heading to hike the Mt. Batur volcano for sunrise. That might seem expensive to some but they make the most of out the tourists in the area; if your with a group or even a pair try to negotiate that price down a little bit. Regardless one of the best $40 I spent during my time in Indonesia - here's how this adventure unfolds: 2AM Van picks me up (solo hiking) in Ubud, Indosnesia and continues to travel around town picking up other hikers 1 hour 30 mins drive time to base of Mt. Batur Arrive to Mt. Batur base camp and trailhead at 3:30AM The guides provide flashlights (thankfully I brought my headlamp with me) and you begin the trek in the dark by moonlight, headlamp and flash light First 0.3 mile of hike is relatively easy before reaching the steep switch backs heading up Mt. Batur From 4AM-6AM we hike on steep switch backs up sketchy volcanic rocks and dirt 6:10AM and 2.0 miles hiking we reached the crater summit, the guides are super helpful always lending a helping hand, a blanket to anyone who needs it, my guide stuck with me the entire time even when I lagged behind the group to shoot a few astrophotography images. 6:15AM experienced + photographed one of the most incredible sunrises of my life as the sun slowly illuminates the valley floor below and you stare at the impressive views of Mt Abung and Mt Agung 7:00AM The guides take you around the perimeter of the volcano crater for more outstanding views (this portion is optional or you can sit and take in the views) 7:45AM The guides begin to gather the groups up and start trekking down 2 miles back to car park. The way down seemed more precarious than the way up; lots of loose volcanic rocks and soil shift and move under your feet. 9AM Arrive back at parking lot; loaded back into tour vans and guides proceeded to take us back to the town of Ubud, Indonesia.

2 months ago
2 months ago

First of all, I do believe you NEED a guide to do this hike. Nothing is labeled, so I would recommend getting a guide (I believe it cost ~$50USD to have a van pick us up from our hotel (2 hours away) and have a guide take only my friend and I up and provide a lunch and bottle of water. I'm not huge on guided hikes, but I wouldn't have done this any other way! The views of the volcano when you hike the rim are absolutely amazing. Easily the most amazing hike I've ever done. Like a previous review, no chance for an actual sunrise as it was too cloudy. But the views are well worth it. DO THIS HIKE!!

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

I went there twice and despite the fact I never had a "real" sunrise because of the clouds, it was an amazing experience. Like every cool place in Bali, the place is really packed and seeing the flash lights chains of tourists climbing is quite impressive. Be sure to go there early (leaving the parking lot at 3am is good) so that you're the first one to reach the top and choose your spot. The hike is really easy, it shouldn't take you more than 1:40 to get to the top if you're used to hiking (which isn't the case of most of tourists coming there). Enjoy!

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Christian Murillo Explorer

My love for natural landscape photography is what first got me outside. Now, I can hardly stay indoors. My sense of adventure has led me to travel all over the US (mostly in the SE), and also drove me to complete a +42,000 mile trip around the world.

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