How to Climb Mount Batur Bali Indonesia for Beginners
Bali is truly one of those destinations that have everything — from beautiful beaches, to rice field terraces, countless temples, and a lively night scene. To top it off, it also has volcanoes!
One of them is Mount Batur, located in the Kintamani region, Bangli Regency, in the central part of Bali. It has the largest caldera in the world — which measures at 13.8 x 10 kilometres — and is part of the UNESCO’s Global Geo-park Network.
As with any other mountain, the best time to climb Mount Batur is early in the morning, so that you can catch sunrise at the summit. From Mount Batur, you will see the sun rise over nearby Mount Agung, also another active volcano in the region.
The best time to visit Bali is during the dry season, which falls between April and October. In July and August, it can get pretty crowded with summer vacationers, so if you’d like to avoid crowd, it’s best to go on the shoulder months of April, May, September, and October.
December through March is the rainy season, and although Mount Batur may still be open for visitors during this period, it’s not advisable to go after heavy rain, as the mud and loose gravel can make it treacherous to climb. Besides, the clouds would likely obscure the views of Mount Agung from the top, so you wouldn’t be getting the best pictures.
Another thing to do before visiting Bali and Mount Batur is to check the news and activity updates of the volcanoes. Keep in mind that both Mount Batur and nearby Mount Agung are active volcanoes, with their most recent eruptions in 2000 and 2019 respectively. If there’s any sign of activity at all, it’s better to postpone your trip.
How Much Does It Cost to Climb Mount Batur?
The price for a tour package to Mount Batur may vary slightly from one tour operator to another. It also depends on which part of Bali you’re staying at, what side trips you want to include, and whether you want a private or group tour.
Many travelers like to combine their Mount Batur hike with a visit to the Hot Springs. This can cost around Rp 800,000 (approx. USD 60) per person for a private tour, while a group tour without any excursion typically costs around Rp 500,000 (approx. USD 35) per person.
A tour package usually includes everything from hotel pickup and drop-off, a mountain guide, water, flashlights, a simple breakfast at the top, and lunch/brunch after the hike.
How to Book a Tour to Mount Batur
The easiest way to book a tour to Mount Batur is to do it through your hotel/hostel. If you’d like to shop around for better prices, you can try the tour agents that are available at every tourist spot in Bali (pretty much everywhere, basically).
Alternatively, you can book online through booking apps like Klook. If you’re not sure what Klook is, click here to read my honest review. The best thing about booking through this app is that you get to read reviews by other travelers to see if it’s any good.
Can You Climb Mount Batur Without A Guide/Tour?
If you’re an experienced hiker and don’t like the idea of going on an organized tour, it’s possible to climb Mount Batur independently. You’ll also save a lot of money by doing so.
However, at the beginning of the trail, you will encounter a guide association booth offering climbing packages starting from Rp 400,000 (USD 28). If you’re Indonesian, they’d probably let you off easily, like they did to Valiant Vabyo from Ithaka Travel.
Otherwise, be prepared for touts trying to harass you and telling you it’s not permissible to go without a guide. They may even give you the wrong directions just to get you to hire one.
If this happens, politely decline and just go on your way. The trail, although not marked, is pretty obvious, and there will likely be other hikers you can follow.
How to Get to Mount Batur
If you’re climbing Mount Batur independently, you will need to organize your own transport to get to the trailhead.
Mount Batur is located in the Kintamani region of northeast Bali, which takes about 1.5 hours by car from Ubud, and about 2 to 2.5 hours from Kuta / Seminyak / Legian.
There are regular public transports going to the area, but you’ll need to arrive in Kintamani the day before your hike, as all public transports don’t start until after sunrise.
Here are your options:
- Bus from Ubud. You can get the tickets from travel agencies in the city.
- Minibus from Batubulan minibus terminal in Denpasar. A one-way trip costs around USD 3 and takes about 2 hours.
What to Expect on Mount Batur
As I stayed in Kuta, I was one of the first ones to be picked up (the driver met me at my hotel lobby at around 1.45 a.m.).
While he picked up the other hikers, I caught up on my sleep in the back seat, so I actually have no idea what the journey was like. During the brief instances that I was awake, I could see dark roads, and as we neared our destination, the mountain was visible against the starlit sky.
We arrived at around 3 a.m. and met our guide at the car park. Each participant was handed two small bottles of drinking water. Despite my sweater, I was shivering in the cold and couldn’t wait to start the hike.
The earlier part of the hike was fairly easy. We stopped a few times to catch our breath and gaze at the Milky Way. It was only near the summit that the trek started to get steeper and with more rocks.
Depending on the speed of your group, you should be able to reach the summit within 1.5 to 2 hours.
Once you’ve reached the top, you can find a spot to sit back and wait for sunrise while your guide brings over some breakfast and hot drinks. If you’re hiking without a guide, you can buy your own breakfast at the shop. Yup, there’s a shop on the summit.
As you look at the horizon, you will see two mountains. The one nearest to you is Mount Agung, a 3,000-metre-high volcano, which is the highest point on the island. If you’re wondering, that one takes 8 hours to climb.
And in the far distance is 3,726-metre-high Mount Rinjani on the island of Lombok.
You will spend an hour or so on the summit before making your descent, so feel free to wander around till it’s time to go. You will find some areas where hot steam comes out of the volcano (this is where they boil the eggs).
I had read that some people encounter monkeys at the summit, but I didn’t see any, which was a good thing, because I’m a little scared of them.
The descent was slightly faster but scarier for me because of my fear of heights. Now that it was bright enough, I could see just how high up we were. But I was able to make it back to the car park without incident.
Finally, the driver took us for brunch/early lunch at a nearby restaurant where we could see the mountain that we had just climbed.
How Difficult is Climbing Mount Batur?
Mount Batur stands at 1,717 meters (5,633 feet) above sea level, and takes about 2 hours to climb for someone of average fitness.
I’m not a very athletic person, but I had done a few other hikes before Mount Batur, including Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia and Mount Rinjani in Lombok, Indonesia, both of which required 2 days to summit and descend. I’d say that Mount Batur, with its 700-meter elevation gain, is not even half as tiring or treacherous as those two.
If you’re a regular hiker or a fairly active person, this should be easy enough for you while still giving you a good workout. There are some parts where it gets quite steep and you have to watch your steps on the loose gravels, but nothing overly intense.
If you’re not used to any kind of physical activity, however, it might be best to train with a few short hikes or cardio at home to build your stamina. You might also consider getting a private guide so that you won’t feel pressured to keep up with other people in a tour group.
What to Wear on Mount Batur
Wear comfortable workout clothes and bring along a light sweater. I wore a long-sleeved Uniqlo HeatTech thermal wear and stretchy jeggings (jean leggings), also from Uniqlo.
The temperature may vary depending on the season and altitude. It can go lower than 15 degrees Celsius if it is cloudy or had been raining previously. If you summit early, you’re going to brave the cold while waiting for sunrise.
So, I suggest wearing thin layers that you can add or remove accordingly. I felt quite cold when we first arrived, but once I started moving and got my blood pumping, it was warm enough for me to shed my sweater.
There were two Canadian girls in my group who only had on tank tops and shorts for the entire hike. They were offered jackets by our driver who had brought a few spare ones, but being Canadians, of course they didn’t need any!
However, the one thing you can’t go without is proper hiking shoes with good traction. Regular sports shoes would also be okay, but you need to be extra careful especially at the last part of the hike where there are loose gravel.
If you’re hiking in the rainy season, it’s wise to bring a raincoat or waterproof jacket as well.
Other Things to Bring to Mount Batur
Before booking, check with your agent what is included in the tour package. Most guides will provide drinking water, a simple breakfast, a flashlight, and maybe a hiking stick for each participant. A hiking stick would be helpful for this hike, but not entirely necessary.
- If you feel more comfortable using a headlamp instead of a flashlight, it’s better to bring your own.
- The breakfast at the summit will be very basic — probably boiled eggs and/or fruits. I’d recommend bringing some high-energy snacks with you, like chocolate or cereal bars to refuel yourself before, during, or after the climb.
- Some cash with you to tip your guide. Around Rp 50,000 per guide should be acceptable. There’s also coffee being sold at the summit for Rp 30,000 per cup.
- A phone or camera. Trust me — you’re going to want to take a photo at the summit.
- Sunscreen – very important in Southeast Asia, and even more so at high altitudes, as you will be more exposed to the sun.
- If you don’t have big enough pockets to fit in all of the above, bring a small daypack and perhaps a waterproof bag for your electronics in case it rains.
- If you’re going to make an excursion to the hot springs, don’t forget to bring swimsuits and towels.
Final Thoughts on Climbing Mount Batur
Is Mount Batur worth visiting?
First of all, do bear in mind that Mount Batur is one of the most popular tourist spots in Bali — more popular than Mount Agung, which is more challenging — so expect to see a lot of people, especially during the peak season. On average, Mount Batur receives 70 climbers every day.
If you crave solitude on the summit, then I’m afraid this is not for you. The cafe at the summit also makes it feel a bit too commercialized.
But I don’t mind any of these and I personally think Mount Batur is worth waking up early for. The view at sunrise is absolutely amazing (if the weather is good, that is).
However, even if you aren’t blessed with good weather, the hike itself is enjoyable enough and suitable even for beginners.
Have you ever climbed an active volcano? Share your experience in the comment section below.
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