This Sunrise Hike In Bali Is A Must For Any Nature Lover

Among the many sacred places in Bali, Mount Batur offers a trifecta of one-in-a-lifetime experiences — hiking alongside monkeys, watching the sunrise from atop an ancient mountain, and, as The World Travel Guy suggests, cooking your breakfast in the heat vents of an active volcano. The 5,633-foot peak is nestled in the Kintamani highlands and is known for spectacular sunrise displays that people begin the hike to, starting at 2 a.m., to get a front-row seat to the light show.

Don't let that whole "active volcano" thing sway you from tackling the hike; the last eruption was in 1999, and the government closely monitors its volcanic activity. With this in mind, The Blonde Abroad blog mentions that the relatively short, 3-mile roundtrip trek is a popular tourist attraction. That, combined with the fact that, although steep, the trail does not require advanced technical hiking skills, so it's a very achievable trail for most nature lovers.

The basics

David, the author of The World Travel Guy, suggests that staying close to Mount Batur, in the village of Kintamani, is optimal. You can just walk to the mountain instead of making the two-hour drive from Canggu, Kuta, or Sanur. And this ends up being sage advice because regardless of whether you do the hike solo or with a group, most people begin at the sleepy-eyed hour of 2 a.m.!

Of course, this makes sense, considering you need to hike a few miles up a steep mountain and settle in — all before the sun comes up. So, you'll want to plan ahead to ensure your pack is prepped with hiking essentials like a headlamp, water, poncho, and snacks.

Because the hike is relatively short (with an elevation gain of 1,650 feet), and the popularity generally means there are plenty of other hikers on the trail, it's usually a very doable solo hike. But if you want to team up with a guide, plenty of local companies, like Get Your Guide, offer hiking Mount Batur hiking packages.

The wow factor

So, to get on the trail at 2 a.m., you might need to get up around 1 a.m., depending on how much wake-up and coffee time you need. So, what the heck is so special about this place, and why should you give up a night of sleep?

First, according to Culture Trip, Mount Batur is one of four sacred mountains on the island of Bali. As the local story is told, there was a tremendous eruption in 1926, yet, despite the magnitude, the shrine inside the mountain's temple was untouched by the destruction. But most outdoorsy tourists flock to the mountain for a less formal form of spirituality — the appreciation for the wonder of nature. Here, the sunsets are an extraordinary show of fiery-orange rays of sunshine and a glow that fills the landscape entirely.

And if that's not enough, you'll get to hike alongside monkeys, as captured by the YouTube video posted by danz beard. Surely, they're adorable, but The World Travel Guy quickly reminds us to be aware because the monkeys have been known to steal people's snacks. So, if you're looking forward to cooking breakfast in the hot, volcanic steam vents, don't let the monkeys steal your morning grub. But all in all, Mount Batur is short on miles and long on life-changing experiences.