Hiking Mount Batur on Bali, Indonesia | The Bucket List Series

The Bucket List Series: A series of short, inspirational travel articles focusing on single bucket list experiences from all over the globe. The goal; to bring you the very best things that our fabulous planet has to offer.

Mount Batur Sunrise hike In Bali, Indonesia

“You will be following Wayan today,” my Airbnb host said, turning toward me. This caused some brief confusion, as my Airbnb host was also named Wayan. Why is he speaking in third person? I thought to myself.

At this moment, a woman walked up to me, revealing herself as Wayan, my tour guide. 

“Great! Let’s get started,” I said.

About an hour and a half later, I was scrambling to follow Wayan up a steep hill. Darkness surrounded me like a blanket; the only light coming from the line of headlamps coming up behind us. My legs burned, my lungs heaved, and I was convinced that I was on the stairway to heaven. Then we stopped. 

To my surprise, we had reached the top. I say to my surprise because it was so dark that I could have been in my Airbnb bathroom and been none the wiser.

I sat and waited, the number of people around me growing as more groups reached the summit. Then, we all watched as the sun slowly poked out over the horizon, setting the entire sky—and everything below it—ablaze.

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Mount Batur at Sunrise | The Travel Runner

Hiking Mount Batur in Bali, Indonesia

When visiting Bali, it’s impossible not to hear about Mount Batur. Every town has signs and flyers posted advertising hikes to the top. Travelers rave about the hike in bars. And tour operators try to sell a tour to anyone that walks by.

Sitting in the northern part of the island, it is situated next to another volcano, Mount Agung, which presents a far more difficult hiking option for the brave-hearted.

Hiking to the top of Mount Batur tops the to-do list of many visitors to Bali. The 1,717 meter (5,633 feet) tall active volcano shoots out of the ground, providing a remarkable view of the surrounding area. This includes the Danau Batur, a large crater lake sitting between Mount Batur and Mount Agung. The early rise and steep climb are suddenly worth it once the lights are turned on and the vista can finally be seen.

Fun fact: Mount Batur was once inside a much larger volcano. Around 30,000 years ago, that volcano erupted in one of the largest volcanic events in Earth’s history. Part of the volcano collapsed, forming the massive caldera that Mount Batur sits in. So, when at the top of Mount Batur, keep in mind this was once the belly of a now extinct (and much larger) volcano.

Related Article: Wand to add more epic hikes to your bucket list? Then you’ll love trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

What to expect when you hike Mount Batur

I woke up around 3 am to gather my stuff and get ready to head to Mount Batur. It didn’t take much to get me out of bed; I hadn’t slept well due to the excitement that buzzed around my body like electricity.


I was staying in Ubud, which lies about an hour’s drive south of Mount Batur. At the base of the volcano, go to the office at Toya Bungkah, get a guide, then—warmup or not—it’s time to start hoofing it up the base of the mountain immediately.

The hike is around seven kilometers (4 miles) out-and-back with over 500 meters (1,640 feet) of elevation gain. The first half of the hike will be in complete darkness, with the only light coming from a headlamp. This just adds to the awe once the dark veil is lifted. Everything is shown in one big reveal, and it’s splendid.

For most people, it will take around two hours to reach the summit. It can be done faster depending on fitness level. It also gets steep at parts, and the footing is sometimes suspect. However, with necessary breaks, the hike can be handled by almost everyone.

For my guide, I believe she woke up with a goal to set the fastest known time to the summit. It was a good thing I wore my running shoes.

Personally, I had the most trouble with footing. As we trudged up the side of the volcano, rocks were consistently slipping after I stepped onto them. Luckily, my guide recognized this and led me toward the more stable parts.

Eventually, daylight started brightening the sky and I knew that sunrise was near, which was perfect as we had just reached the top.

I found a seat, grabbed a coffee to warm my body, then patiently waited for the sun to start a new day.

As the sun rose in the sky, so did my feelings of ecstasy. Ecstasy at the feeling that I was on a small island in the Pacific, watching something that I’d only seen in pictures and something I had to work hard to achieve.

Until now, the sunrise from the top of Mount Batur is one of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever seen. I felt like I was in a Bob Ross painting. Numerous colors painted the sky, and happy little trees and houses spread out beneath me for miles. I couldn’t have been more content.

Watch a gorgeous sunrise from the top of an active volcano? Check another one off the bucket list.

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Mount Batur | Canva

Tips for visiting Mount Batur

Getting to Mount Batur is fairly easy once on the island of Bali. Tours are offered from all the major towns, the only difference being the time to wake up and what the tour company offers (gear, meals, etc.).

For the independent-minded, skip the tour offices and go to the office in Toya Bungkah to book a guide directly through them. Just be sure to get there early, as it’s a popular attraction and spots may fill up quickly.

Furthermore, wear or take warm clothing. It can get chilly at the top, and it’s nice to have something to warm up at the summit. It may be a Pacific island, but the top of a volcano, and it gets chilly quick.

Don’t be intimidated by this hike. It’s great for any fitness level and the views aren’t to be missed. If you haven’t already, add another line to your bucket list and get that plane ticket booked to cross this one-off.

About the Author

Based in Ohio, USA, Kyle is the owner of The Travel Runner, where travel and trail running collide. The Travel Runner is your one-stop shop for all things traveling- and running-related.

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Becki from Meet Me In Departures

Adventure travel blogger with a big addiction to the World. An ex-rat-racer who was fed up with sleep-work-eat-repeat materialistic mentality that plagues modern living. I love anything to do with off-beat travel, abandoned places, temples & ruins, street art, wildlife in its natural habitat, adventure sport.....basically anything but the 9-5!

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