Bust A Move are posts focused on what Tyler and Megan are thinking and learning before, during and after their move to another country.
Without a doubt, you’ll see posters for a “Bali Sunrise Hike” at tourist shops throughout Ubud—and you’ll most likely be sucked in by the poster. It’ll have much more “pop” and design sense than the other sun-stained posters surrounding it—offering rice-paddy walks and day trips to temples. You’ll ask the vendor, “What’s this?”, and he’ll respond that it’s a hike to the top of Mount Batur, where you’ll experience a truly majestic sunrise.
You’ll love this idea, and ask for details; “Well, a driver will pick you up at 2am, and…”
Now, at this point, many of you will zone out. No good phrase has ever followed “at 2am”, because 2am’s when sleep just starts getting good. But what I’m here to tell you is that waking up early can be done—and if you want an experience you can’t get anywhere else in Bali, you should power through the pain of getting out of bed at this ungodly hour.
If you’re the first to be picked up, 2am actually means 1:50am. That’s because your driver may also have 6 other stops to make before you even start your 1.5 hour drive to Mt. Batur (it's even longer if you're coming from Kuta.) The 10 or so other people that will be riding with you will quickly become your climbing crew. The 10 of you are now a randomly compiled team—you’ll eat breakfast together, take breaks up the mountain together and decide where to watch the sunrise from together.
With a few hundred other people climbing the mountain alongside you, my tip is to get to know the people in your crew. I took note of the pants of the girl climbing in front of me so we didn’t get separated and miss our ride back.
If your tour company promises you breakfast, you’ll get breakfast—even if you aren’t really feeling fried banana at 3am in a remote village warung that opened just for you.
We went on the “economy” version of the Batur hike, and some places offer you a more extravagant meal (like pancakes at the top of the mountain), but if we’ve learned anything about Bali tour salespeople it’s that they’ll say anything to sell you on something. We weren't really promised any food in particular, but they did give us a few libations at the bottom of the hill for the trek: a banana (not fried), two slices of bread and a hardboiled egg (pictured below is what I did with my hardboiled egg)
So just in case your pancake promises turn into cold-bread fabrication, just bring your own treats with you…you’ll be happy you did on the way down.
If you’re planning on what to wear, my best advice is to layer up. We know it’s Bali, and you probably won’t have felt truly cold your entire stay (unless you walk into a Starbucks…they keep that place FROSTY!) But believe me when I tell you you will be cold during this hike, then you will be warm, then you will be cold again. I changed clothes no less than 5 times.
Basically, dress like it’s the start of Fall, and the weather’s just as confused as you.
Honestly, there’s not much else to it. You just hiked about 3 miles up a mountain at 4am to get here…congratulate yourself and take it all in.
We went with a “group economy tour”, where you hike with a group or 10 or so other people, get a pretty sub-standard breakfast and stop at a touristy coffee shop on the way home. We heard some people going directly to a tour office and bargaining a price of rp. 200,000 per person ($15 USD)—we booked through our homestay and paid 350,000 ($26 USD), with our homestay mom probably getting a pretty healthy commission.
We suggest trying to keep your booking in this price range (ours definitely feels high after talking with others), and booking the day before. There are about a dozen companies doing this tour, and each one gets you from point A to point B the exact same way, it’s just a few “extras” they promise (like pancakes at the pinnacle or private transport) that they’ll ask a more premium price for…and I’m not really sure it’s worth it since you’ll still be getting the same amazing view as everybody else.
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