Mount Batur: Bali, Indonesia

Our alarm rang just before 2:00 am for what others called a bad idea. We chose to do the sunrise hike up Mount Batur with our two 4-year-old girls, in the rainy season. What could go wrong? After a 30-minute drive, stop for pancake and tea, then another 20-minute drive we were ready to start our way up the mountain.

It was 4:00 am as our guide and us four wove our way around strongly scented onion fields with what seemed like a hundred others. The moon was in full force and we could see stars in the sky. These were perfect conditions for a sunrise hike.

After 15 minutes Bexley had enough and wanted to be carried, not to mention her headlamp tension clamp broke resulting in it sliding off her head so she couldn’t even see her feet in the dark. Up she went on Tyson’s shoulders and we continued on. We joined again with a paved track wide enough for one vehicle that numerous scooters were taking advantage of. After 1.5 kms of this it led us to the end of the easy section. This is the point where Lidija had to call it quits as well. Being nestled in the Trail Magik carriers meant that they could sleep at will and not worry about foot placement. From here on however, the terrain changed dramatically. The path had steepened and the steps were forming that little legs could not manage. Climbing up the black lava rock in the midnight sky was difficult to negotiate. Every step had to be placed perfect as we moved our way up the mountain. We could see lights at the summit already and noticed that the moon had now disappeared behind some clouds.

We reached a shelter just before sunrise and the true summit was no where to be seen. Our guide took us over to some benches and mentioned that if we wanted to see anything here was the best place to do that. With our shirts wet from sweat we all donned our warm shirts, with their ThermKids wind/rain jackets for the girls. We were served hard boiled eggs and bananas as the morning got brighter and soon enough we realizing we were looking down onto cloud cover. Maybe a mountain sunrise in the rainy season is really grasping at straws. We did have a few clearings where we could gaze onto Lake Batur and the fields below, but those didn’t last long.

Our guide led us over to the rim of the crater and we were allowed to feel the steam vents releasing their stored up heat. We also had a chance to look over the edge and into the crater. Now full of green foliage we could see monkeys making their way through the trees and up to greet us. We are never that big of fans of monkeys and tried our best to keep our distance but that doesn’t alway go as planned. Lidija wanted out of the carrier to walk around, and this was right at the time the monkeys were emerging in full force. I had to race to pick her up quick as one monkey nearly climbed up her back.

Traditionally you should have panoramic views of Bali in all directions including the stunning Mount Agung and the Bali Sea behind it, but the clouds had another idea of what our view should be. As the morning started to heat up and we worked our way back down the mountain. The girls were getting their second wind and wanted to hike their way out of here. Having multiple routes to the top, we now took a more friendlier path that was easier on the knees as well as better footing even for the girls. This route was also the route the dirt bikes take to get people up to the top for their adventure so we had to keep on the lookout for them zooming by. The clouds were lifting and we were pleased to see all the surrounding landscape, lakes and fields that this beautiful area has to offer.

I wouldn’t say that climbing Mount Batur was overly challenging or dangerous for us and the girls, but we would suggest doing this in the daytime with kids to make it more enjoyable for all. You might not get to see the sunrise this way, but neither did we.

Mount Batur:

  • Max elevation: 1717 m
  • Last eruption: 2000
  • Hike distance: 6 km return
  • Elevation gain: 500 m
  • Duration: 4 hours return

After returning to the car park we thanked our guide for the days experience and a separate driver started off on the slow and windy return to Ubud. We had the option to stop off at some hot springs for a soak but we were more interested in returning to the comfort of our bed for a well needed mid morning nap. The plus about the sunrise hike however is that we still had a full day to explore all the sites and sounds of amazing Ubud and everything that goes along with it.

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