Bali, Day 3 ( 1 December 2016)- Conquering Mount Batur was certainly no easy feat but it definitely was the highlight of our Bali trip! We started the day in the wee hours of the morning at 2am and dragged our lazy selves into our driver’s car before falling back to sleep again on our way from Legian to our destination. When we reached, it was still dark and the sky studded with stars. The weather was surprisingly chilly so we were both lucky that we brought our jackets along. Though 10 mins into the hike and we were already stripping them off. After we got acquainted with our friendly guide who passed us a torchlight each, we were off.
Our hike started on an excited note, with us chatting and laughing about. He confidently assured us that since we’re both healthy and fit individuals, we’ll probably take around 1 and a half hours to hike up compared to the usual 2 hours. We totally LOLed at that, thinking that he had a little too much faith in us. However, the hike didn’t seem that bad since the path was pretty flat and sandy. Then he pointed enthusiastically up at a stream of dotted lights slowly making its way up a really steep mountain. That, he told us, was where we were heading to. It did give us a shock and it didn’t really register in my mind just how high we were climbing. My friend joked how he probably shouldn’t have revealed the truth to us, but we were definitely now more mentally prepared for a tough journey ahead.
Slowly though, the path narrowed, the ground got steeper with uneven surfaces and bigger pieces of rocks appearing. He told us that there were two main sections to the climb. The first part, which we were at was relatively easy, while the second part was more challenging. Although we haven’t reached the second half, I already felt it was a little tiring. But we carried on, and finally reached the midway point where we paused for a longer rest.
Then, we got ready for the challenge to come, and it was a challenge indeed. I couldn’t have imagined my fate if I hiked without my guide. A couple of times he grabbed me just in time when I lost my balance. Phew. So on and on we trekked, the fact that there were people both in front and behind us kind of keeps you motivated to keep going. It was physically tiring and a little mentally draining since you had to be alert and select the right spots to place your footing. However, the hike was still within my capability and there were even old grannies hiking along too, looking professional with their hiking sticks and probably fitter than we were heh. It seemed like a never ending hike until he called out that we were just 25 minutes away from the first sunrise watching spot, after which we could decide if we wanted to continue on to the second viewpoint or the peak. Well, our first goal was definitely just to reach the first checkpoint. And finally, we did it. We hugged and congratulated each other for making it at last, and took our first victory shot.
Already I felt a great sense of accomplishment. Surprisingly, we still had 40 mins till sunrise, which was a lot of time left (maybe we’re that fit after all hah) and since we were already here on Mount Batu, why not just go all the way to the top? Taking a deep breath, I mentally prepare myself for another similar experience and it was right that I did because the hike was even steeper than before. But on and on we trekked and before we knew it we’ve reached the top. It was a spectacular sight as the sun was already peaking behind the clouds, turning them into streaks of gold, orange and yellow. Such an amazing view, almost surreal and too picturesque like a painting, with the sun rising above the mist of clouds that shrouded the mountain opposite us, an even more challenging Mount Agung. We took more than enough photos of course, and then settled down at a nice spot to be wowed by mother nature’s beauty, while savouring the breakfast set -banana sandwich with soft boiled eggs- that our lovely guide made for us.
After staying as long as we could, we knew reluctantly that we had to start making our way down, probably the most dreaded part that we wish we didn’t have to confront. If going up was tough, going down, I thought, would be worse. But at the same time it was kind of fun in an exciting way? There was a path we took which was pretty much all sand and we were practically sliding our way down. I must have looked and sounded like a joke as I was flinging my arms wildly and screaming hysterically. Halfway down we heard someone exclaiming “Oh that looks so fun!I want to go there too!”. That “laugh till I’m crying” emoji would’ve been the perfect reaction heh. So after going pass that steepest part, I could finally enjoy the scenery around me better. He showed us the active craters that were still releasing steam and we saw soo many monkeys. After my bad encounter with monkeys at Uluwatu I was really careful not to get too near to them. But look at that monkey selfie we got!
There were many baby monkeys too which were extremely cute! But I dare not try to cuddle them. He also showed us what’s left after the volcanic eruption turned a village into black sandy flat land.
I’m not sure how long we took to reach the bottom but it was definitely longer since we took an easier but more windy road which I didn’t mind at all. It was really nice to enjoy looking at the endless stretches of plantation below us and looking back at the volcano we hiked in the morning, we just couldn’t believe that we were really just up there in the morning.
Second Stop: Coffee plantation
We spent the next half of the day visiting a coffee plantation and trying a full range of coffee and tea, including the Luwak coffee which didn’t taste any different to me since I don’t actually drink coffee.
Third stop: Holy Spring Water Temple
Fourth stop: Chilling at our pool and ending the night off at a bar along Seminyak beach. We went there looking for a bar with those colour beanbags we saw on Instagram and found way more than one heh, it was basically the entire stretch.
So my verdict on climbing Mount Batur?
JUST DO IT. The hike was tough but still manageable for me and if you’re physically fit it shouldn’t be any problem at all. Do make sure the weather is in your favour though, it’s already slippery enough without the rain and I honestly can’t imagine how I’d manage if it started pouring halfway through. But the view was indeed worth the effort!