Mount Batur Bali Hike: Sunrise Trekking At Gunung Batur Volcano

The Mount Batur Bali trek is one of the most popular and epic hiking experiences on the island of Bali, Indonesia.

This tour is not very hard to do from any part of Bali, and the guided hike takes you up a still active volcano — Gunung Batur — that’s 1,700 meters tall.

Mount Batur sunrise trekking is especially popular because you can catch amazing views of the sunrise from the top of the mountain, usually in a sea of orange clouds.

I did the Batur hike in 2017 for my birthday, and then again in 2020 during the Coronavirus pandemic, and both times the trek was a completely memorable adventure in its own way.

This guide will explain how you can hike Mount Batur, with or without a guide, and everything you need to know before you go!

Quick Facts
  • Distance: 2-3 miles (3-5 km) return
  • Elevation Change: 2,000 ft (600 m)
  • Top Elevation: 5,633 ft (1,717 m)
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Duration: 4-5 hrs return

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Best Mount Batur Tour Guide

First of all, if you’re looking for a vetted tour guide for visiting Mount Batur Bali, here’s a top rated Mount Batur sunrise trekking tour from Klook starting at 450k IDR ($32 USD) that includes hotel pickup/dropoff and free breakfast.

These prices are very competitive based on what we’ve seen being quoted in Bali, and the online reviews are highly positive too. They even have add-ons you can choose like jungle swings, massages, ATVs, and rafting.

We’ve used Klook for lots of tours and activities around the world, and they’re great! Highly recommended.

Book It Now: Mount Batur Bali Sunrise Tour

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Where Is Mount Batur?

The Mount Batur volcano is located in the Kintamani highlands, on the northeast part of Bali island.

It’s about 2 hours’ drive from Kuta, Canggu, and Sanur, or about 1.5 hours’ drive from Ubud.

Or if you stay directly in Kintamani, you can walk to the volcano from your hotel!

Where To Stay: Batur Volcano Guesthouse

About The Gunung Batur Volcano

Mount Batur (also known as ‘Gunung Batur’ in Indonesian) is an active volcano that’s believed to have formed in a massive eruption about 25,000 years ago.

At one time (before it blew its top), Batur was even bigger than Mount Agung, Bali’s tallest volcano. Almost two dozen eruptions have happened here since 1804 when recording first started, and Gunung Batur last erupted in 1999-2000.

That sounds scary, but any signs of impending volcanic activity are constantly monitored by the Indonesian government so rest assured that Batur is very safe to climb!

Since 2015, UNESCO lists the Mount Batur caldera as a global geopark for its fantastic volcanic landscapes.

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Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
What To Expect

Mount Batur sunrise tours start with a very early morning pickup (2 AM-ish) so your guide can drive you all the way to Kintamani for a hike to the top of the volcano in time for sunrise.

This is a very popular hike, so you’ll most likely be trekking in the company of dozens (if not hundreds) of other international and local tourists all sharing the same path.

At the top, you cross the rim of the volcano and then you’re greeted by packs of Balinese monkeys eager to share your sunrise (and your snacks!). Keep a close eye on them.

On our last hike to Batur, one monkey stole our entire snack bag, and by the time we got it back he had looted the Pocari Sweat and drank it in front of us. Nakal monyet.

Where To Stay: Batur Volcano Guesthouse

The Sunrise

The sunrise view at Mount Batur is awe inspiring.

On the right you have Lake Batur and the peaks of Gunung Abang, with the Mount Agung volcano just barely visible above them.

Directly behind the sunrise is the Bali Sea, and on a clear day you can even make out the shape of Mount Rinjani on Lombok island way off in the distance!

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How Hard Is It?

The hike up takes about 2 hours (give or take) depending on your fitness level, and it’s steep but not dangerous at all as long as you stay on the path. If you’re feeling unsure about this hike, just DO IT!

Anyone can do the trek, but I wouldn’t take that to mean it’s a complete joke either. The climb up is a decent calf killer, and the walk down is a bit of an ankle buster.

You will be plenty sore after the hike! Plan on a foot massage afterwards.

Where To Stay: Batur Volcano Guesthouse

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What To Bring
  • Jacket: Bring an extra layer. You’ll be cold at the start of the hike, and then shed your jacket in the first hour as you heat up. Then you’ll probably want your jacket again at the top while you sit and wait for the sunrise.
  • Footwear: Regular shoes are fine, but sturdy hiking shoes are better. You’ll be walking on slippery gravel and steep inclines or declines at times.
  • Poncho: If you go during the rainy season (especially December to February), you might want to bring a rain jacket just in case.
  • Water: Most tours will give you a small bottle of water for the hike, but if you can bring 1.5L that’s better.
  • Snacks: Again, even though most tours include free breakfast, you’ll probably be wanting energy snacks to go with it.
  • Headlight: Mount Batur sunrise trekking tours will provide cheapo flashlights, but a quality headlight will be even better.
  • Camera: Duh! A small tripod could be handy too since it’ll be dark before the sunrise.
When To Go

You can hike Batur any time of the year, but the very best months are May to November, when there’s less rain and the mountain visibility is best.
 

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Mount Batur Tour Guide / Mafia Requirement

Even though it’s a fairly simple hike that could be done solo, Mount Batur is controlled by a local trekking group (mafia) that doesn’t let anyone climb the volcano without paying for a local guide.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve climbed Mount Everest and you’re the picture of fitness, you’ll still be forced to hire a local guide and pay your dues.

People who try to climb the mountain without a guide have reported being verbally abused by locals (“you’re a terrorist”) and even shoved, kicked, or physically threatened. Hopefully the Bali government will step in and put an end to this.

As much as I don’t like rewarding this kind of bad behavior, keep in mind it is motivated by poverty. Kintamani is very poor. And there are a few other benefits to hiring a guide:

  • Transport: Who wants to be driving in a foreign country at 2 AM? Better to pay someone else to do it for you.
  • Navigation: Even though the path is easy to find in the daytime, it’s definitely more tricky in the dark before sunrise.
  • Assistance: Guides will give you a hand on the mountain, and help you snap photos with the sunrise.
  • Supplies: Most tours include some things you’ll need for Mount Batur sunrise trekking, like breakfast, bottled water, flashlights, etc.
  • Peace of Mind: Is $30 really worth getting into a fight with locals on your holiday?

Book It Now: Mount Batur Bali Sunrise Tour

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Mount Batur Without Guide – Directions

If you’re resolved to hike Mount Batur without a tour guide, the best way to attempt it is on the north side of the mountain.

The trail on the north side is more quiet and only seems to get used by people starting directly from Kintamani village (i.e. locals and overnighters).

This side wasn’t monitored by anyone when we went, but that may change. My best advice is to navigate to Red Lava Campground and then walk up, up, up the slope.

The path to the top is easy to follow without a guide, even in the dark — just follow the elevation. There are dozens of converging trails that all meet at the summit. The only challenge whatsoever will be finding the start, so give yourself some extra time for that.

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Mount Batur Sunset Trekking

If you don’t like waking up early for the sunrise, there’s also sunset trekking at Mount Batur.

The Mount Batur sunset isn’t quite as dramatic as sunrise since you don’t have Gunung Abang in the background, but you’re still bound to get some great views.

Better yet, if you’re staying in Kintamani and have a drone, you can fly up and take pics of the sunset without any trekking! That’s what we did from our Kintamani hotel. Pics below.

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Where To Stay

Nowadays there are lots of great budget friendly Kintamani hotels if you want to stay overnight near the trail. See below for some recommendations.

The main advantage of staying in Kintamani is that you have easier access to the Batur volcano so you can wake up later for the hike. That means starting at 4 AM, instead of 1-2 AM if you start from other areas of Bali like Ubud, Kuta, or Sanur.

The other reason to stay in Kintamani is that there are some other great things to see besides the volcano. You can soak in the natural hot springs at lake Danau Batur, visit the traditional villages and temples, etc.

Hotels Near Mount Batur Bali

 

More Bali Travel Tips

I hope you were helped by this Mount Batur trekking guide.

Don’t forget to check out my complete Bali Travel Guide with free tips, info, photos, and more!

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