Mount Batur is one of the most popular volcanoes to hike in Bali. Often climbed for sunrise, the view from the top offers an incredible vantage point to watch the sun rising behind Mount Agung (Bali’s tallest volcano). In this guide I will cover everything you need to know about hiking Mount Batur for sunrise, including difficulty, cost, best time to visit and tour schedules.
Mount Batur is an active volcano, once 3,000 to 4,000 metres in height but explosions over the past few thousand years has brought it down to its current height of 1,717 metres above sea level, with the hike having an incline of 700 metres.
Is it safe to hike an active volcano?
The last eruption of Mount Batur occurred in 2000 resulting in various lava fields that can be viewed from above. The volcano is constantly monitored and is considered safe to hike.
In terms of difficulty, it’s considered to be somewhere between Mount Kintamani (being fairly easy) and Mount Agung (being pretty hardcore). Hiking usually begins at 4am for sunrise and takes roughly an hour and a half.
For me personally, this was one of the more challenging hikes I’ve done, purely because its a steep climb almost all the way up. The volcanic rock and sand can also make the track slippery.
Location: 1-1.5 hours north of Ubud
Hiking track: steep, rocky
Hiking time: 1.5-2 hours up, 1-1.5 hours down
Average tour cost: 600-900k rupiah (roughly $60-90 AUD)
Toilet: Only at the bottom
Getting to Mount Batur
You will want to book a tour for this one for 2 main reasons.
- You’ll want a driver to navigate the long, windy roads in the dark
- You’ll want a guide to take you up the volcano in the dark
Book Mount Batur Sunrise Hike
Almost all tour companies offer a Mount Batur sunrise hike, as well as most accommodations. I’ve added a general tour itinerary below so you can get an idea of what to expect. Note that this was only my experience, and schedules may differ between companies.
Mount Batur Sunrise Hike Tour (Sample Itinerary)
2:15am - Pick up from accommodation (Ubud)
3:00am - Arrive at base camp for coffee and pancakes
3.30am - Drive to Mount Batur
4:00am - Start hiking
5.30am - Reach Mount Batur summit
6:00am - Breakfast
6:30am - Sunrise (sunrise time will depend on time of year)
7:30am - Explore volcano
8:30am - Hike down
9:30am - Drive back to accommodation
Pick up will be earlier (around 1.45am) if you’re staying around Seminyak or Canggu for example.
As above, we were picked up by a driver from our accommodation in Ubud at 2:15am and drove 45 minutes to base camp. Here, we were served Balinese coffee (amazing by the way) and freshly cooked banana pancakes. We were then driven a little further to reach the base of Mount Batur. Even through the darkness, we could see crowds of hikers and local guides preparing for the big trek.
Hiking to the summit of Mount Batur
We met our local guide, Alex at the bottom who gave us each a head torch and a bottle of water. Alex carried up our second breakfast (as if I didn’t already feel like I was in a Lord of the Rings movie) and helped us navigate our way up the mountain in the darkness.
The climb was steep, with almost no flat walking sections. The volcanic rubble was slippery at times and but our guide was always there to lend a hand when our little legs just wouldn’t work anymore.
As someone who actively avoids cardio, this hike was a tough one for me. Even with several breaks in between I was sweating profusely and felt like my heart might explode. But before I knew it I was at the summit and damn did it feel good.
There is one main stopping point about 25 minutes from the top which actually sells snacks and drinks so expect to spend a good 5-10 minutes resting here before the final climb.
The whole way up we were surrounded by clouds and it drizzled on us intermittently. We were worried we wouldn’t even see the sunrise because of the cloud cover but as we reached the top, we came out above the clouds and could finally see again.
Warning: it is absolutely freezing at the top so make sure to bring warm clothes!
It was a lot busier at the summit than expected, so we picked a spot up front for uninterrupted sunrise views. Our guide brought us breakfast just before sunrise; a banana sandwich and eggs boiled from the volcanic steam.
As soon as the sun rose, the monkeys arrived. Make sure to watch out for your belongings and keep your snacks well hidden. They are capable of opening backpacks and even stole my friend’s Oreos from inside her bag.
After sunrise, you are free to walk around the edge of the volcano. You can see volcanic steam seeping its way through the rock, view the massive lava fields caused by the last eruption of Mount Batur and spot the beautiful Lake Batur below.
Also worth mentioning is that the hike back down was nowhere near as hard as I expected. I thought the way down would be even more steep and be really hard on the knees but it was surprisingly easy, even if we were all slipping every 5 minutes.
Best time to hike Mount Batur
The best time to hike Mount Batur is in dry season which runs from April to October in Bali. June to August are the busiest months so if you want to avoid the crowds, I would suggest coming in the shoulder months of April/May or September/October. However, our local guide said that you are most likely to get a nice cloud blanket in August!
What to bring
- Warm clothes (even with gym pants and a thick jacket I was freezing until the sun came up)
- Camera (drones are okay too)
- Dry bag to protect your gear from possible rain
- Hiking pole (not essential but great if you have one)
- Hiking shoes or runners
- Our tour guide provided us with food, a small blanket to sit on, water and a head torch
I hope this post helped you get an idea of what it’s like to hike Mount Batur for sunrise. It truly is one of the best views in Bali so get out there and give it a crack!