Gunung Batur is without a doubt the most popular hike in all of Bali. Everyday hundreds of hikers reach the summit in time for sunrise. I spent years thinking this mountain was a tourist trap after a pretty lousy experience there in 2011. It wasn’t until 2019 when I returned that I discovered there was another trail that no one ever uses that my mind was totally changed about this mountain.

I hiked Gunung Batur in September 2019, October 2019 and February 2020 so here is my account below.
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In 2011, I went to Toya Bungka with my best friend to try and climb the mountain. We had heard about all the “mafia” that run the area and it wasn’t until we arrived there that we understood what people meant. When we asked where the trail was we were met with huge resistance saying that you must take a guide. We were both pushed by some of the “guides” and then we just decided lets just leave this place. We didn’t want to even climb after such a terrible encounter. It was a terrible experience and one that is all too common on the mountain. There was even a petition going around about the mafia of Batur. I wanted to keep the hike a secret since I first found out about the southern route in 2019. The thing is the Bali Ultra Trail races uses this route and there is now a segment on strava so the secret is out. It still gets no traffic though so you’ll most likely be alone if you choose this route.


It wasn’t until last year that I started to get curious about Mount Batur once more. I looked on google maps and discovered that there was another trail from the south leading straight to the summit. I checked Strava segments in 2019 and there was no sign of any segments on the mountain. When I checked back this year there is one on there that takes the southern route up the mountain.
Click here for the start of the hike.
 

Start of the hike a

I was staying in Canggu and my friend was staying in Kuta. We hired a driver to collect my friend from Kuta and I rode my scooter to Ubud and met the driver there. Together we all carried on together and made it to the start of the hike by 3.30am. 
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This trail is frequented by off road motorcycle riders and you’ll see plenty of evidence of their pay ground. You follow the road all the way until you see a big ridge rise from the black sand on your right hand side. Just follow the motorbike trails until you come to the main trail on the ridge. From here its very straightforward and you just follow the trail until you come to the summit ridge. 
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Summit

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The views from the summit are really something special as you can see Gunung Abang and Gunung Agung to the east and then you can see the whole massive crater laid out before your eyes. The steam comes off the mountain creating a really cool atmosphere. 
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The benefit of taking the southern route is that you’ll essentially have the whole place to yourself. Almost all the other hikers (hundreds of people) take the route from the north east and end up on the other side of the mountain. The summit area is like a huge horse show and not that many people decide to walk over to the southern side. 

Would I recommend this hike?

 
This hike is by far and away one of the best hikes in Bali. Because Agung is closed due to volcanic activity, Batur is the next best thing. I only say this because I took the route from the south. I have personally had a terrible experience going from the side where all of the tourists hike up from. Its like hiking with hundreds of people vs hiking alone, it really is a huge difference. If you are adventurous and can find the way in the dark using google satellite then you’ll be fine. There are no trees so even if you do go off the trail its very easy to get back onto it. If you take the southern route it is 100% worth your time.
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Logistics for the trip

How to get there

I drove my scooter from Canggu leaving at 2am to Ubud. My friend hired a driver from Canggu and we met halfway along the journey at around 245am. We then continued on reaching the base of the climb at 330am. We then set off in the dark for the summit. 

For the exact starting point of the hike click here.

Where to Stay

I stayed in at the hotel Bali Full Moon Guesthouse in Canggu and it is around a 90 minute drive from the guesthouse to the base of the climb. If you don’t have a bike or don’t feel comfortable to ride a bike then you can get a car to bring you to the base, wait around and then take you back home for 550k-600k. 

How long is the hike

My friend Callan and I started at the bottom of the hill near The Caldera Manajamen and hiked to the summit and back by the lava field. The return trip was around 10kms with a 1.5 hour ascent, about an hour on the top and then about an hour down. The hike is amazing with views all around as there is no forest hiking. 

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Gear

  • Small backpack
  • Head Torch 
  • Rain proof jacket and pants (the weather may be clear but you want to always be prepared. Mountain weather is unpredictable) 
  • Breakfast and snacks 
  • Warm Jacket 
  • 2l water minimum 
  • Camera
  • Hiking boots or trail shoes with really good grip
  • Hiking poles – the trail is very steep in parts 

 

 Do you plan to hike Gunung Batur? Let me know in the comments how you get on.

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