Hiking Mt Batur in Bali

31 12 2013

Kintamani District, Bali, Indonesia

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Bali is equal to beaches, art and temples, so I said..

Who would have thought that Bali then is also a place for hiking? Not me!

Two days before my flight, I realized that there was a hiking potential in Bali on Mt Batur (Gunung Batur), an active volcano. I started packing with the hope of doing the sunrise hike together with my snorkelling and touristy get-ups.

Upon landing Saturday wee hours in the morning, I told the driver-guide Edy to find a mountain guide for me. After our day tour, Edy was able to contact Komang. It was like a sparkling moment.

Excited as I was, both Edy and I left the hotel at 1:30am the following day. We drove in a dark and rugged cemented road to the northern area of Kintamani from Kuta. We reached the foggy jump off* around 2:30am, 1,215m asl.  At the parking area, I saw some hikers from some parts of the world.

Komang and I started our adventurous hike around 3am in the cold 15 deg coupled with the morning breeze. He lent me his torch. While on trail, I started doubting the weather for a promise of sunrise. But it didn’t stop me. We continued our hike until we reached a flat area near a tree after about 1 km walk where I removed my jacket due to my self-“steaming” condition. I was already perspiring in the cold environment! There I met a teenager who offered to sell soda. I didn’t buy. I don’t really like sodas. I pulled out my water container and took a sip instead.

We continued trekking up to the trail where one could see a small Hindu temple. Komang had to do puja, or called sembhayang a prayer ritual to honor a deity, the “mountain God”. I waited. I took that opportunity to pee in the bushes! Yes, out in the woods.

Good thing that the trail was generally hiker-friendly composed of greyish to blackish soft soil emitted by the volcano. It is no joke when you do “night” trekking specially on a very challenging trail. As you hike up, expect some small, medium rocks to boulder-type. We finally reached the summit lodge area at 4:35am after the 3km walk from the jump-off. It took me 1.5 hours to reach the summit of Mt Batur at 1,717m above sea level I was expecting a 2-hr hike, based on the reviews. I have ascended about 500 m asl in the dark!

I sat on the wooden bench, had breakfast and waited for the sunrise. No bright sky out there. Venus was not visible. I could not even see the woman hiker sitting next to me. After 30 minutes of my silent moment, Komang was already offering the hot Balinese tea since he saw me already feeling cold and sleepy. I only had 1 hour sleep before the hike. Komang offered the area near the kitchen so that I could warm myself while waiting for the sunrise. I went inside where all the guides were staying. Then I fell comfortably asleep with my feet up rested on the wall. After 45 minutes, Komang woke me up. It was time to do the Mt Batur tour.

We started hiking around the summit and went further down towards the volcanic steam. I never thought that Komang is also a magician aside from being a mountain guide. He created more mist at a vent that made all the monkeys around the area wondering. When I saw 3 monkeys already near me, Komang and I continued our adventure towards the bat cave. There was a small temple inside the cave. However, we didn’t go inside since we didn’t have the traditional clothing worn during worship that locals and tourists use to wrap around from waist down. This clothing is equal to the “malong”, a traditional tube skirt. Since Hindu worshipping varies depending on the deity and place, it is not appropriate for locals and tourists to face this temple in their pants.

At the mouth of the cave, I saw the photographer’s side of Komang. He made me strong! He got a palm-sized stone and held my baby digi (my 60D canon) and took a snap. Lo and behold! I really looked like I had muscles!  

Then we paid respect and offered thanksgiving prayer to the small Hindu temple, also a marker of Mt Batur. We saw some international and local tourists. I had snaps with local tourist upon their request. I didn’t know why they like having photo with me. Then snaps around the caldera where monkeys abound. I have confirmed that these monkeys were friendly since two tents were still standing freely! It could be dangerous at times..

At 7am, Komang and I started descending to the longer trail. It was a refreshing view. I had a different vantage point of Mt Batur and I saw some flora within the area. “Pelan-pelan” (slowly) was the Indonesian word of the day. It could be a good mantra while descending since small rocks could be so tricky.

Upon reaching a pavement, Komang’s other side surfaced once again. He taught me how to descend the cemented road facing back instead of facing the trail ahead of you. I admit. It was easier. Five minutes before 8am, the phone rang. Edy was already checking on us. Suddenly, it rained. Good thing we were already few steps away from the jump-off. It was my cue to use my umbrella. As a gratitude to my trustworthy Mt Batur guide Komang I gave him my bush hat, more appropriate apparel for his profession so he will no longer use his bullcap. The bush hat symbolizes our new friendship so more mountains to climb in Bali.

SAMPLE ITINERARY:

1:30am ETD Kuta hotel           

2:30am ETA jump-off, Kintamani District

2:45am Briefing for the hike (trail, safety, gadgets, things to bring, time to go back to the jump-off)

3:00am Start ascend

4:30am ETA Summit crater, breakfast, rest

6:00am Continue trek around the entire crater, summit, bat cave

7:00am Start descend

8:00am ETA jump-off, parking lot, board vehicle

10:00am ETA Kuta hotel (due to traffic approx 2 hrs instead of 1 hr)

WHAT TO BRING:

  1. Hiking shoes
  2. Jacket
  3. Hiking pants
  4. Camera (like my baby digi with wide lens)
  5. Raincoat or umbrella
  6. Headlamp, torch or flashlight
  7. Drinking water in a container
  8. Tips for the mountain guide and driver
  9. Open-mindedness

THINGS TO REMEMBER:

  1. Make sure you have a trustworthy and English-speaking driver like Edy and Batur guide like Komang J
  2. Pray pray pray for a safe fun hike!!

*starting point of the hike.h

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6 responses

3 07 2014
OS

Hello,
Could you please send me your driver-guide details in Bali (Edy)?
Many thanks,
Simona

20 07 2014
adventureh

Simona, please try this number if still working > +6381236309406. If you will do the Batur adventure, you may also ask Edy for Komang Artha, my guide. Enjoy Bali!

20 03 2016
web design bali

Wow, awesome blog format! How lengthy have you ever
been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The full glance of your site is
magnificent, as neatly as the content material!

5 04 2016
adventureh

thanks! More back blogging to do though

23 03 2016
Private Driver Bali,

Amazing! Its truly amazing piece of writing, I have got much clear idea regarding
from this article.

5 04 2016
adventureh

thanks! More back blogging to do though

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