Why I’ll never hike Mount Batur in Bali again

In the middle of the night, our van which was to drive us to Mount Batur, an active volcano with 1,717m elevation in Bali, Indonesia, picked us up at our villa. In darkness, at 3+am or earlier, we arrived at the foot of the mountain. Wayan, the guide who will lead us up the mountain, handed out torchlights for better visibility. Our hike up will take a few hours.

We’re hiking up Mt Batur to catch the sunrise today.

At that time, I had never been one with an active lifestyle. The hike upwards was nothing short of challenging, steep steps and trying for me, us extending hands towards one another for an additional lift, taking care not to stumble.

Also, the higher up we went, the colder it got. It was unfortunate for me that I happened to be nursing a cold and the air was getting too thin. I was sniffling, coughing, and having difficulty breathing properly. Wayan gave me a thick shawl to wrap around myself.

The worst part wasn’t about the coughing or the weather, but my shoes..

I was wearing an old pair of sneakers, thinking they will suffice. Halfway trekking upwards, the sole of one shoe came off, to my embarrassment. We abandoned that sole and continued trekking upwards, me praying silently that these shoes will last me through this mountainous activity.

Before we even reached the peak, the other sole came off too, goodness!

Mount Batur • The Petite Wanderess

Once we reached the summit and could finally rest, Wayan whipped out glass bottles of Coca-cola from his bag to sell to us at 50,000 rupiah/bottle, exorbitantly priced indeed, but you’ll find no convenience store anywhere on Mount Batur. It sure must be no mean feat for him to be trekking up the mountain alongside us, carrying a heavy backpack, and making sure the group stays safe.

Mount Batur sunrise • The Petite Wanderess

The sunrise was quite pretty, a peaceful, quiet scene as the sky lits up. If only it wasn’t that cloudy. In awe (and as for me, trying to minimize my breaths because each inhalation makes my throat itch), we watched the scene below of us.

Nearby, we explored the crater, marvelling at smoke emitting from various spots. This was, after all, an active volcano (it last erupted in year 2000).

Using the ‘toilet’ at Mount Batur

Mount Batur trekking • The Petite WanderessThe soil on the top of Mount Batur was black, due to it being a volcano. Being a mountain, naturally there were no toilets up at the summit. We had to take turns to duck behind/under a kind of mat-curtain to squat and do our number 1. There’s a first time for everything indeed.

Descending Mt Batur

Mount Batur • The Petite Wanderess

The descent was even more challenging than the ascent. We really had to watch our steps and come down slowly. During the descent, the stitches at the bottom of my shoes were breaking off and the inner soles can’t be contained much longer. At this rate, I’m gonna be walking barefooted down the mountain in no time, the shoes nothing more than pink canvas wrapping the top and sides of my feet. I was mortified! Once I reached flat ground, I was literally dragging the remnants of my shoes. My friends were caught between finding the whole thing hilarious and empathizing with me. On hindsight, it was actually hilarious because it’s so ridiculous. I was just super glad we didn’t have to visit more places after leaving Mount Batur!

Mount Batur • The Petite Wanderess

shoes after a Mount Batur hike • The Petite Wanderess
my sneakers, totally destroyed

Trekking up this mountain was an experience that I’ll never forget, because I can tell others that I nearly died climbing this mountain, ha! It’s also an experience that I’ll never try again. I think I prefer to watch Mount Batur from afar the next time.

Wear the right shoes, either hiking shoes or sports shoes at least. This activity is not safe for kids. The ground is uneven, rocky and steep. You need a decent level of fitness to do this activity. The air can get very thin and it gets cold further up. Bring layers which you can put on or remove accordingly. There are no shops nor toilets up on the mountain, so get water ready if your tour group will not be providing.

Have you hiked up Mount Batur before? How was your experience like?

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Mount Batur sunrise • The Petite Wanderess

Visited: Dec 2009

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