Mount Batur, the second-tallest volcano on the island of Bali, towers 5,633 feet over the small island. The peak provides sweeping views of lush, green ridges, farm landscapes, the clear crater lake below, and cloud-covered Lombok Island in the distance.
Along with visiting the Tegalalang rice fields, seeing the stunning waterfalls, and learning to surf, climbing Mount Batur is one of the most popular things to do on Bali. When you feel the cool air against your skin and witness the golden morning rays creep over the horizon, you’ll understand why.
Here’s everything you need to know to get the most out of your experience.
You Can Climb Mount Batur In A Day
Mount Batur sits on the northeastern side of Bali, the most-visited island in Indonesia. Bali is approximately 2,232 square miles, and it only takes a few hours to drive from coast to coast, so the volcano is quite accessible from most parts of the island.
Most commonly, travelers explore the Ubud, Kuta, or Seminyak area the day before summiting the volcano. Depending on where you’re staying, it should only take 1 to 2 hours to drive to the hike’s starting point. You could also rent a taxi, a driver for a day, or even take the public bus. Additionally, tour companies commonly include pick-ups and drop-offs in their tour offerings. This is one of the best ways to make Mount Batur a day trip rather than an activity that adds a day or two to your vacation.
If you want to take more than a day to explore the Mount Batur area, you can stay closer to the volcano by booking a room in Kintamani and arriving the day before your climb. This option is especially convenient if you’ve chosen the sunrise trek!
You Should Hire A Guide
Without a central entrance and with its confusing web of poorly marked trails, Mount Batur can be difficult to navigate, and we highly recommend hiring a guide. Mount Batur is an active volcano, so much of the soil can be slippery and dangerous, and it’s easy to get lost without a guide.
Tour guides make the trek up Mount Batur almost every day and know which trails are safe during the dry and rainy seasons. If you’re planning to complete the trek to the summit by sunrise, guides are helpful for navigating the trails in the dark. Additionally, they are happy to share their knowledge of the volcano and the surrounding area, adding to the experience.
A Semi-Private Tour Is Best
One of the best ways to hire a guide is through a tour company that offers Mount Batur hikes. Due to the activity’s popularity, many tour companies have popped up, but there are a few things to keep in mind to get the best experience.
First, decide what kind of hiking experience you’d prefer. Some prefer to pay less but hike in a larger group, while others prefer to hike alone. Hiking in groups can be frustrating when new and experienced hikers are lumped together. If you want to avoid being part of a group of 20 people, search for an operator that offers smaller tours.
Fortunately, many tour companies now offer small semi-private tours for three to four hikers. The trails can get busy, so if you want a more serene option, this semi-private tour offers a private entrance that meets up with the main trail closer to the summit.
Hiring A Guide Won’t Break The Bank
Many trekking adventures -- including Mount Everest and the Inca Trail -- can cost a fortune! At Mount Batur, tours cost between $40 and $60 per person. This amount includes a 5-hour round trip hike, an hour of transportation each way, and a guide. The price may change depending on the pick-up and drop-off locations. Tours also often include coffee and hot cocoa before the hike and breakfast at the summit (water, bread, fruit, and two eggs boiled via volcanic steam).
There are a few extra costs to take into consideration. For example, tea, hot chocolate, and coffee are available for purchase at the summit for a small fee. Some companies also offer add-ons such as visits to Bali’s hot springs, buffet restaurants, or coffee plantations, which can raise the price of the tour. At the end of the day, you’ll also want to tip your guide for their expertise. After everything is said and done, your Mount Batur day trip may cost between $60 and $80.
You Don’t Have To Be In Excellent Shape To Climb Mount Batur
Naturally, how difficult the climb is for you will depend on your fitness level. However, most people can complete the trek up Mount Batur without too much trouble. You should be prepared for a 5-hour round-trip hike, including 2 hours spent climbing to the summit, a break at the top, and another 2 hours spent walking down.
Of course, those who regularly hike or engage in cardio will find this an easier task than those who don’t, but even if you’re quite fit, your feet will likely be sore at the end of the day.
Generally, the consensus is that the hike up is fairly challenging, but an average person can complete it in the allotted 2 hours. Most guides are also very accommodating of all fitness levels. They ensure participants take regular water and snack breaks and allow everyone to catch their breath, making the ascent less challenging.
It’s Best To Visit During The Dry Season
As is true of most tropical destinations, Bali’s year consists of a wet season and a dry season. The island’s temperatures, which range from 70 to 80 degrees, stay relatively consistent throughout the year.
Although it would be nice to cool off with a sprinkle or two, we recommend climbing Mount Batur during the dry season (May through September). Heavy rain during the wet season makes the climb uncomfortable and dangerous. With the moisture, it becomes harder to gain traction on the trails. If you’re traveling to Bali during the rainy season, consider booking a tour that allows free cancellations up to the day before. That way you’ll be able to get your money back if weather conditions are undesirable.
Waking Up At 2 A.M. Is Worth It
As you’re probably aware, many people choose to summit Mount Batur in time for the sunrise. Most tour companies offer sunrise hikes because the early morning is one of the most beautiful and practical times of the day to trek.
Bali’s year-round warm weather can make climbing Mount Batur during the middle of the day rather uncomfortable. Most sunrise tour groups begin ascending Mount Batur at the coolest part of the day (3 a.m.) to avoid the heat. Right after sunrise, you’ll start to feel the sun yourself, and you’ll be glad you didn’t start the hike later. Plus, Mount Batur lacks shade, which makes daytime hiking even less desirable.
Although it might be difficult to wake up just a couple hours after midnight, the cooler temperatures and the breathtaking sunrise are well worth it.
It's Important To Dress Appropriately
First, make sure to wear layers due to the changes in temperature and elevation. You’ll want clothing that you can easily slip on and off during the trek. The cool morning will require long pants, a T-shirt, a long-sleeved shirt, and a light jacket. Although unlikely, rain is possible during the dry season, so a waterproof outer layer is advisable. If you don’t have a waterproof jacket, a thin poncho over an outer layer is a great alternative.
As you trek upward, you’ll begin to sweat and will want to shed your outer layers. By the time your reach the top, the altitude will convince you to put your warmer clothing back on. Consider bringing gloves and a beanie or wearing a jacket with a hood to keep your head warm.
Most importantly, wear long socks and sturdy shoes with a good grip. You might see younger folks trekking in flip-flops, but please don’t follow suit! Leave sandals, flat-bottomed shoes, and fashionable boots at home. Although regular running shoes are a good option, hiking boots are preferable for navigating the rocky landscape.
You Might Get To See Wild Monkeys
It’s not uncommon to see long-tailed monkeys near the summit of Mount Batur. Watching the monkeys interact with each other in their natural habitat can be quite entertaining and a highlight of the trek. Due to the crowds, they are unafraid of people and approach boldly. Unfortunately, this means they could grab your food and personal items or even attack you. Do not approach or feed any wild animals you see, no matter how cute or friendly they seem.
You Won’t Be Alone At The Top
Although there are no official statistics on how many people climb Mount Batur every day, it’s estimated that a few hundred people reach the top most mornings. Your party might begin the trek alone, but as you approach the summit, you’ll encounter more and more groups. Though you should expect crowds at the summit, it’s easy to find an empty grassy patch on which to enjoy your well-deserved breakfast and morning light show.