The alarm broke the perpetual lull of a dark, humid night. Half asleep, I glanced at my mobile screen, it was 2 a.m. My legs were still sore from the previous day’s temple hopping. Reluctantly I got up from the bed and woke her up from a soothing sleep for the tantalizing task ahead. Today’s itinerary, though physically challenging, is supposed to be the highlight of our Bali vacation. We gathered our half-asleep tired selves together and left the cosy warmth of our homestay with our driver for ‘The Sunrise Trek’ to the active volcano ‘Mt. Batur’ .
It was a 45 min drive to the starting point of the trek from Ubud. The place was already buzzing with tourists and guides. Our driver did all the formalities with the tourist office and we met our guide Pandi, a local 21yr old boy studying in Tourism University. He told us that he do this trek 2-3 times a week to support his sister and himself, a family of two.
At around 4a.m. we started our trek with hundreds of other tourists like us. Each navigating through the narrow trail amidst wild grasses with the help of a flashlight since it was pitch dark. As we moved up the grass became shorter and trail, rocky and uneven. Taking breaks at regular intervals and praying to local deities’ statues on the way; we reached half way through the trek. Pandi told us that the trek ahead is much more steep, slippery and rocky with no proper trail so we need to be more careful. It was still quite dark so we decided to keep the photography part for the downward trek and focus on getting to the top, to the mouth of volcanic crater before sunrise. After a tirirng trek of around 2 hrs from the starting point, we reached the summit. The area was flat and clear to accommodate hundreds of trekkers coming here daily to witness the beautiful sunrise. There was a permanent shade housing a tea and snack shop and since it was very cold outside we decided to settle in till the sunrise.
At around 6 am, shimmering orange beams started taking away the darkness of night sky. A cool breeze was blowing which still kept us inside. In sometime the sky bathed in orange but the sun was still nowhere to be seen, although, for the first time during our trek the lighting was good enough to take out our camera. As the light increased we could appreciate the panoramic view of Lake Batur at the bottom of the mountain with Mt Kintamani, another volcanic hill in the backdrop. As sun started rising the whole view seemed like coming out of a painting and the scenery provided perfect picture opportunity. Our guide helped us with a lot of pictures and with sun at its full glory we went to explore the volcanic crater. Mt Batur last erupted in 2008 and is dormant ever since. Steam and gases coming out of crevices in rocks are the only signs of the violent activity going on in the heart of this calm mountain.
Enjoying this nature’s bounty to our heart filling extent we started our trek down the treacherous route. Slipping, falling and panting we reached down to the starting point. Our driver drove our exhausted selves back to the comfort of our bed.
How to get there: 45 min drive from tourist town of Ubud, in Bali. Trek is quite famous and any driver or tourist operator ( who can be found in Bali) would be able to arrange it from any town in Bali.
Cost: Around 1500000 IDR including guide, fees and return drive from Ubud.
Duration: 4-5 hrs, starts daily at around 3-4 am from base.