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Hiking on Mount Batur in Bali: Beyond Eat, Pray and Love – I

Bali has always been a key holiday destination – from backpackers on the banana pancake trail to seasoned globe trotters who have returned to reignite their Balinese experience and also those who want to experience the Eat, Pray, Love trail. While pristine beaches, rough seas, surfers’ paradise, Hindu temples mark Bali’s soul there is another side to this Indonesian island. I decided to do a little un-Bali activity and climb Mount Batur – one of the active volcanoes on the island. Come let’s take you on a hike!

I was adamant on chucking the routine and on day 3 of my Bali trip, I decided to further upset my otherwise predictable routine by going on a hike to Mount Batur – a volcano with a height of 1717 meters located at the center of two concentric calderas.

Planning the trek

There are plenty of agents that organize tours to Mt. Batur. After comparing the prices with a few agents (we had done our homework before on TripAdvisor), we struck a deal for the Batur Sunrise Trek at a mere IDR 550,000 (for 2 people). It was a steal given that some agents quoted us as much as IDR 800,000 for one person.

Waking up and the ride to base camp

We woke up to the buzzing alarm clock at 1:30 am and by 2 am plonked into the rear seat of the pick-up vehicle. It was comforting to see that there were three other co-trekkers who had compromised their sleep to embark on the sunrise trek. The next pick up was of a lone lady who was at least 50 plus – and I thought – if she can, sure can I – well she turned out to be a seasoned trekker later unlike me. Never judge a person by his/her age!

As we cruised into the night, I could feel the cool mountain breeze on my skin. Enroute we halted at a small shop for coffee and banana fritters – something that I really needed to prepare my mind and body for what lay ahead. We reached the base of Mount Batur at 4 am– whoa there were hundreds of cars ferrying trekkers. Our driver quickly introduced us to our guides, handed our flashlights and breakfast (bread, jam, banana, boiled eggs and a bottle of water).

Sunrise viewed from Mout Batur

The first leg of the trek

At 4:15 am, armed with our flashlights we embarked on the trek on a volcanic gravel path led by our 2 guides – one in the front and one at the back of the pack. Soon I realized that this trek is not such a un-Bali activity after all! I could see a trail of flashlights as far as my eyes could reach in the darkness and understood that we have hundreds of fellow trekkers aiming for the summit by sunrise.

The first hour of the trek is quite easy as it involves walking on even land, although there is lot of loose volcanic stones strewn along the path, the walk was rather easy. Slowly the walk turned into a slight hike and I couldn’t see much of the place as it was pitch dark.

I was at the front of pack when we began the trek, and by the time we reached half way I was the last one. The 50 plus lady was way ahead of us and she was one of the first to make it to the half way milestone. Well age doesn’t matter, physical fitness does.

We took a short break half way and as I gazed up, I found myself standing under a starry night sky! I haven’t seen so many stars in the sky in a long time.

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