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Camping at the top of a volcano - Mount Batur, Bali

Hiking Mount Batur is probably the most popular mountain experience on Bali. Conquering this mountain was always on our Bali bucket list, but camping at the top was totally a spontaneous decision, which we didn't regret even for a minute. Alright, we might've regretted it for just a minute, but you'll hear about it later!

Most of the people prefer hiking the mountain before the sunrise, to watch the sun rising from behind other peaks visible from the top, but only few people decide to camp at the top. During the sunrise, you can see dozens if not hundreds of other people, who decided to get up early to admire this beautiful spectacle. So if you're willing to have more privacy or even duble the experience by staying for sunset, camping on the top will be a fantastic option for you!

Few Facts about Mount Batur

Mount Batur (Gunung Batur) is a one of two active volcanoes on Bali. Last time it erupted in 2000. The total elevation of mount Batur is 1,717 m (5,633 ft). This volcano is located at the center of two concentric calderas north west of Mount Agung, in a region called Kintamani. The south east side of the larger 10×13 km caldera contains a caldera lake.

It's incredible, what great views you can see there in exchange for a small effort just like this 1 hour hike!

Is climbing Mount Batur safe?

Although Mount Batur is an active volcano with its latest eruption relatively recent, you really have little to worry about. The situation on the volcano is constantly monitored and all the treks would be immediately put on hold if there would be any chance of a risk. Besides that, during your trek, you'll be accompanied by the local guide, who's probably spending daily more time on this mountain than at his home.

How to get to Mount Batur and how to organize your hike and camping? How much does it cost?

The first thing you need to know is that you can't hike Mount Batur on your own. This situation is regulated by the local government, based on safety of the tourists and supporting the local economy. According to information we learned from our guide, Nyomen - The trekking association is taking care of the mountain, keeps it clean and maintains the trails. So you can be sure that your money will be spent wisely.

One of the most popular ways to organize your hike and camping is booking an experience on the AirBnB App. This is a very comfortable and safe way of signing up for the trek, but the prices on AirBnB might be higher than the prizes you might get, if you'd hire a guide through your hotel - what we recommend! Just ask at the reception for a mountain guide and then get yourself a good price.

A fair price for Mount Batur Sunrise Trek is IDR 200K per person and anything between IDR 500K and 600K per person is a great price for camping overnight at the top of the volcano. I'm sure you can bargain the lower prize if you're planning on hiking with a bigger group. The price of the transportation isn't included, but you can get there and back, from any place on Bali for IDR 500K - 700K.

Hiking Mount Batur

There are many different routs which can take you to the top, but 3 of them are the most popular:

- Culali - starts from the south and it's the most popular among tourists coming from south for the sunrise hike. This route is longer than the others, but less steep too. Expect it to be the most crowded in the morning. You can get there on a scooter and hire a guide at the place.

- Toyabungah - starts from the lake, which is the most popular attraction in this region. Probably the best place to find a good accommodation.

- Serongga - this is the route which we took. It starts from the north and it's the shortest from all. We chose it simply because our guide lives there.

Doesn't matter from which point you start, the views will be quite similar and the entire hike will take you anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. As you know, we're hiking quite a lot and in our experience this isn't a difficult trek, but you should still be wearing a proper footwear. Some comfortable sport shoes will work just fine. One third of our trail was going through some loose volcanic sand so it's very easy to slip and slide down on your ass (especially during the decent). We were hiking up slowly and careful with only few stops to take photos and the whole hike took us not more than 70 minutes. We were actually quite surprised when our guide told us, that we already had half of our way behind us.

What to wear and what to take with you when hiking Mount Batur

Bali is one of the hottest places we have ever visited, but when we've got to the bottom of Batur for the first time we felt like it was the right time to put on some layers.

On the top we saw people wearing all sorts of things from flip flops to towels, but nothing can make your time spent in the nature more pleasant than being well prepared for the weather conditions. We recommend you to take with you:

- comfortable shoes (sport sneakers are fine, just be ready to get them dirty),

- 2 thermoactive t-shirts (switch them at the top),

- long hiking pants (I hiked in hiking shorts and it was alright, I wished to have long pants next day in the morning),

- backpack of choice (enough to fit the clothes, water bottle and camera),

- hat or a hoodie (It's very windy at the top),

- windproof jacket,

- rain coat (especially during the rain season),

The guid will provide you with:

- flashlight,

- Dinner/breakfast (or both if you decide to camp),

- water,

- tent, blanket, sleeping bag (if you decide to camp).

Camera Gear

As a professional, I always carry all my gear with me, but you don't have to. I found myself using the 24-70 focal length the most while photographing at the top. If you have a lens in this focal length, be sure to take it with you. Obviously, you can't see the mountain from the mountain, so be sure to take your drone with you if you have one. The most interesting compositions will be possible from the air.

Our experience when camping on Mount Batur

We are very happy that we decided to camp overnight. Unfortunately, because of the bad weather conditions we couldn't see nor sunset or sunrise, but if you decide to do your hike during the dry season it will surely be rewarding. More than that, you won't have to get up in the middle of the night to hike up for sunrise, like most people do.

We were very lucky with picking the right guide. Nyoman is a very interesting and humorous person. He and his team made our trip unforgettable.

When we just got to a shelter at the top, they welcomed us with a cup of hot beverage and after a brief look over the caldera we've got served with incredibly delicious dinner. You can find them on Instagram at @bali_batur_trekking

This was one of our most memorable trips in our lives. It's incredible, what great views you can see there in exchange for a small effort just like a short 1 hour hike! If you're in Bali you can't miss this adventure.

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