Mountain hiking isn't easy especially to Mount Batur which stands at 1717m above sea level. That means, a hiker would have to expect 2km of walking up to the crater and another 2km down. Based on my experience, Mt Batur hiking is not for the unfit, this includes overweight individuals, old folks, kids. In fact, those without proper shoes with traction will tend to wear out fast and will quit before reaching the top. However, if I can make it, so can you, and many Westerners who made it easily.
This brings me to...
WHAT TO SEE ON TOP?
Sunrise, and it's beautiful. What you can expect to see is a good view of the sunrise and beautiful view of the plains of Mt Batur below. But it is the journey through the tough terrains of Batur that makes your hiking trip something to be proud to finish the hiking (at least for me bcos I made it after 6 times I felt want to quit). At the peak of Mt Batur, there's a retreat camp where visitors get to sit and rest with chairs and tables, some outdoor wooden stools to admire the beauty of nature's sunrise (we may not see it in 10 years time due to global warming). Some guests get to have breakfast as part of their hiking package, some simply enjoy the view with their SLR cameras. For me, I enjoy the view, the photography, the breakfast and best of all, the feeling of successfully made it after a strong determination of defeating the evil part of me that tells me to quit.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
I had a driver guide who drove me from Tuban to the foothills of Mt Batur, and later to return to Tuban for 350,000 rp in the 1 day trip with visits later to Jimbaran and Uluwatu. However I was too tired after the hiking that I had to cancel Jimbaran and Uluwatu and straight back to the hotel in Tuban. I paid him 200,000 rp. He graciously accepted knowing that I got too tired.
I also paid the guide 450,000 rp per person for the hiking trip. It's quite expensive bcos I heard from hotel guides that it cost only USD$20 to get a hiking guide. Anyway, considering that for 2 persons, total price is 900,000rp includes breakfast at Mt Batur and later lunch at the hotspring resort (Lake Batur Resort) and I also have 2 guides (one of them is his assistant). So...in a way, it is like 1 to 1. I know I gonna need it bcos the steepness of the mountain will need someone to pull you up.
DETAILS ABOUT THE HIKING
About the trekking to Mount Batur, it is NOT FOR AMATEURS and UNFIT. I started off from the hotel in Tuban at 2am with my driver guide. He drove off passing by Ubud and Kintamani before reaching the carpark where most visitors will start their hiking. It was cold at 15'C. Why the chill temperature? I have no idea. Was told to bring a jacket to keep warm.
At 4am, I started the walk with the guide. The sky was superbly clear, can see the sky painted with stars (like the song by Enya "Paint the sky with stars". The temperature then was very cold at 15'C because of the morning cool I guess. As I keep walking about almost 1km before reaching the slope, that was where I started panting. The walk is about 2 hours, it should be 1 km flat walk, 1km slope walk. The slope walk was the killer, I stopped 6 times with heavy breath and had almost 6 times to quit and felt like want to return to the base camp at the foothill. The guide asked me to rest. I know every rest is useful for unfit fellas like me in order to continue to finish the trekking to the top. I counted, I stopped 6 times, each climb was very steep and every thigh muscle you pull, it will take your muscle to move an 87kg body upwards to lift to another step. As far as my memory recalls, I had even small tip toe steps to continue the hike. At one time, my body was completely flacid, losing strength to even hold my grip. I had to rest and rest every 5 mins. Every time when rested, every step I climb was heavy breath.
The guide was encouraging me that we are almost there pointing upwards. When I look upward, it was another 10 storeys high. Those who made it, had good stamina, able to control their breath and maintain metabolism. It was tough for me but upon some screams from my wife who was already at the top that she is there and it's just a few steps, I hustle up and I made it, panting the way through and was glad to reach the top (I wouldn't do it a 2nd time).
WAS IT WORTH THE HIKING?
The sunrise was nice, it was actually the wait for the sunrise which was the good part, and the sigh of relief after a strenous trek of 2kms (2 hours of walking). In my opinion this trekking is for fit people, not for any tourist without preparation. After the hiking, I had breakfast of boiled eggs and bread with steam banana. Taking a pee would have to pay 5000rp. Tea will cost you 10000rp. A coke will cost you 25000rp. It makes sense to bring 1litre of water to get up there. I was having only a 500ml water and it wasn't enough. Was it worth the sweat, the trouble of getting up there? Yes it is, it's a test of will, a test of your body and mind. I'm a very unfit person and it was the will of determination that I pull myself up, telling my lower limbs that this is the test where you can lift yourself. Other than the sunrise which is the resulting goal, I do agree that another great view is the sky with the stars. I've never seen such bright stars in the night sky before. That was something awesome for those who knew what I meant. At the top, the guide also brought us to visit the crater which I think is very dangerous, one fall, you'll never see life again. There is a plain up the crater which looks over Lombok, Mt Agung and the lake below. It was beautiful there.
HIKING DOWN IS ANOTHER PROBLEM
Walking up the volcano and down to the foothill has a different problem...you use your muscle to pull yourself up, and you use your muscle to brake when walking down. I had near muscle cramps after almost 1.5 hours of braking when going down slope. My advise is always wear tracking shoe with good traction and gripping, never wear sandals. I saw a girl who was wearing sandals and I pity her, if she ever had foot cramps or blisters later. The problem of walking down the slopes is always the thigh muscles that have to brake to support your weight which stress your muscle and will go into injury if continuous stress to the muscle goes on. It happened to me...near cramps and I knew...I had to go slow. Pls be advised, never test yourself when you have near cramps....cos when u have cramps, you cant proceed anymore for at least half an hour. The entire camp will hate you for that. Walk slowly, prevent cramps, time is not running out when it comes to Mt Batur, unless the volcano unleashes it's lava flow.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.