Hike of a Lifetime: Mt. Batur, Indonesia

11pm: I travel to some friends’ villa in a neighboring town in Seminyak, Bali.  We then get some sleep in preparation for a long night/morning.

1:30am: Our driver, Made (“Ma-rey”) picks us up down the street and we begin our two-hour drive up North.

3:30am: We reach the bottom of Mt. Batur.  It is still pitch black outside and the temperature is probably around 60 degrees, which is way cooler than I was used to in Bali and I at the time I was only wearing a tank top and shorts!  We meet our guide, Didi, who equipped each of us with flashlights and briefed us on our upcoming hike.

3:40am: The hike begins.

While I have been on a fair amount of hikes before, this was the first one I had done at night, with a flashlight as my only source of brightness.  Thankfully, Didi had done this route numerous times so he kept a good pace and pointed out more difficult, rocky sections.

4:15am: Our group reaches a small clearing/meeting point for other hiking groups.  We take a brief water break and are joined by another local, named John, who along with Didi would guide us to the summit.

After this point, the climb definitely became steeper and more challenging.  There were bigger steps to take and some loose rocks and branches scattered about.  Of course, this would be heaps easier (that’s Aussie slang!) if we were in daylight.

4:45am: We reach another break point that is away from the trees where there is a view of the surrounding mountains.  I had never seen anything like this before in my entire life.  About a quarter distance below the mountain top was a layer of fog that looked liked white pillows covering the lake below.  It was still too dark to take pictures, but the cover photo gives you a good idea of what I mean.

5:15am: Finally, we reach the Summit! We find a nice viewing point and eat some breakfast, consisting of hard boiled eggs and banana sandwiches, which were cooked naturally using the volcanic steam!  6am: From this point on I witnessed some of the most incredible sights I had ever seen.

IMG_9076
Apologies for poor pic quality, this was the earliest photo I could take but it does the view little justice.
IMG_5444
Myself and some fellow Pitt students atop of Mt. Batur
IMG_9174
We ran into some wild monkeys on top of the mountain!

Trekking down the mountain was much faster considering we had the sun guiding us.  Once we reached the bottom, it was still early morning, around 8am! We ended our excursion with a dip in the natural hot springs as pictured below.  This was surely a great way to relive all our hiking pains and soreness.

hot springs
Hot Springs
Batur Pano
More summit views

The hike up Mt. Batur was one of my favorite experiences I’ve had the opportunity to do while abroad.  I would really recommend this trip to anyone who finds themselves in Bali!