Bali Diaries - 6 - Mount Batur
Hiking up a volcano in the middle of the night to see the sunset sounds surreal, and trust me, it is.
We woke up at 1am, and our drivers were already waiting for us. All the traffic clogging the streets of Bali during the day is totally absent, it feels like you are driving in a deserted island. We drove for one hour or so until we reached the bottom of the volcano. There, our guides were waiting for us. For your information, a local guide is mandatory, since a couple of tourists died few years ago, by going were they shouldn’t.
It was a bit cold, strange feeling in a tropical island. Equipped with flashlights and water, we started our walk at around 2:30, not that easy as you must pay attention were you set your feet. Also the hike is not as easy as it seems, especially if you don’t have a good pair of hiking shoes. You’ll go from 1200 meters to 2170 in a bit more than one hour.
At first the walk is in the middle of the forest, you can’t see anything, and as it’s too early in the morning you are in this dreamy state until you reach the summit. On the way up we met quite a few other groups of hikers, every one with its own guide; we even met a couple of dogs on the way.
While walking I had a chat with one of our guides, he told me that during high season he does the hike every day of the week, as the number of tourists is increasing quite a lot and there are not enough guides to rotate and take a day off.
We reached the summit of the volcano at around 4am. It was pretty cold, so we had some coffee and banana sandwiches to warm ourselves up, slowly the sky started to brighten up and the outline of the landscape started to emerge. I guess we have been extremely lucky as the sky was clean from clouds, and the fog was floating on top of the lake at the bottom of the volcano, creating this fairy tale effect on the mountain in front of us. After a good half an hour taking pictures from every possible angle, our guides decided to put on a little show. One of them started to play the ukulele and sing some Balinese song. Slowly everyone started to take part and in no time we were all singing and laughing.
The crowd of hikers started to disappear and 7am we were pretty much the last one up there, still cheering and laughing. Then our guides decided it was time to make a move , but instead of going down the same way, this time we took the panoramic path.
We walked around the volcano ridge, on this extremely narrow and scary path, but the view from there is breathtaking and totally worth it.
It took us a good 3 or 4 hours to walk down, but that’s cause our guides were extremely friendly and we stopped several times to sing and make jokes.
We reached the cars at around noon, completely exhausted but happy.
That day is probably one of the fondest memories I have of Bali. The nature surrounding everything, not yet spoiled by human beings. A great group of friends struggling together to reach the top. And the friendliness of the Balinese people always smiling and friendly. Yes we payed the guides to take us to the top, but they behaved as friends all the way, that’s something I admire from the people living in that island.