Help
How can we help?

Our yoga & travel experts advise us on the experiences we develop, ensuring the highest level of quality & authenticity. If you need help with anything visit our FAQ page and feel free to contact us!

510-629-9191 | help@yogascapes.com

Finding Adventure in Bali: What It’s Like to Hike Up An Active Volcano

February 4, 2016

When you think of Bali you think of beaches. And yoga. And perhaps, if you know a little something about the Indonesian island, verdant rice paddies, and colorful Hindu offerings. Trekking is not on most people’s radars. At least it wasn’t on mine when I first began traveling there. But Bali is made up of eleven mountains, including two still-active volcanoes, Mount Agung (which last erupted in 1963 and is the highest point on the island) and Mount Batur (which last erupted in 2000). These mountains dominate the landscape and provide excellent hiking for those in the know. Nighttime hikes on the active volcanoes are particularly popular. A trip to their summits can change the way you see the island—and, as I learned over the course of a couple trips there, they can yield dramatically different adventures.

Sunrise on Mount Batur

Mount Batur

I had been in Bali for about a week when a friend I met there told me about an overnight hike you can take up Batur to see the sunrise. As a night owl, I can count the number of sunrises I’ve seen on one hand, but after hearing that the hike was the most popular on the island, I was intrigued.

My hotel called a local hiking guide, and at 1:30 the next morning, armed with a backpack, a sweatshirt, water, and sunscreen, I climbed into a van with five other hikers and headed to the base of the hike, in the village of Kintamani.

We met our guides at Pura Jati Temple and headed out into the dark. At first, the walk was flat and easy. A few waves of my flashlight revealed a wide, sandy path under tall trees. But after an hour or so, the dark outline of the mountain came into view, and the real work began. As we climbed, the rock-strewn pathway grew narrower and more challenging. Large, round stones gave way to loose, soft black soil that filled my shoes.

Just as I was wishing I could take a break, I noticed a subtle red glow in the distance to my right. Wispy black clouds emerged against the midnight blue sky and I could see the outline of Mount Agung in the distance and the subtle reflection of Lake Batur below us. The red intensified, bleeding into orange as the sky lightened, and suddenly, the clouds lit up too, turning red and coral and gold. It was more beautiful than I could have imagined. I hustled up the steep incline and reached the summit just as the sun appeared on the horizon. The sunrise seemed to go on forever as our group huddled together, eating banana sandwiches while our guides practiced a gimmicky yet charming tradition of cooking eggs over volcanic steam.

When you think of Bali you think of beaches. And yoga. And perhaps, if you know a little something about the Indonesian island, verdant rice paddies and colorful Hindu offerings. Trekking is not on most people’s radars. At least it wasn’t on mine when I first began traveling there. But Bali is made up of eleven mountains, including two still-active volcanoes, Mount Agung (which last erupted in 1963 and is the highest point on the island) and Mount Batur (which last erupted in 2000). These mountains dominate the landscape and provide excellent hiking for those in the know. Nighttime hikes on the active volcanoes are particularly popular. A trip to their summits can change the way you see the island—and, as I learned over the course of a couple trips there, they can yield dramatically different adventures.

I had been in Bali for about a week when a friend I met there told me about an overnight hike you can take up Batur to see the sunrise. As a night owl, I can count the number of sunrises I’ve seen on one hand, but after hearing that the hike was the most popular on the island, I was intrigued.

My hotel called a local hiking guide, and at 1:30 the next morning, armed with a backpack, a sweatshirt, water, and sunscreen, I climbed into a van with five other hikers and headed to the base of the hike, in the village of Kintamani.

We met our guides at Pura Jati Temple and headed out into the dark. At first the walk was flat and easy. A few waves of my flashlight revealed a wide, sandy path under tall trees. But after an hour or so, the dark outline of the mountain came into view, and the real work began. As we climbed, the rock-strewn pathway grew narrower and more challenging. Large, round stones gave way to loose, soft black soil that filled my shoes.

Just as I was wishing I could take a break, I noticed a subtle red glow in the distance to my right. Wispy black clouds emerged against the midnight blue sky and I could see the outline of Mount Agung in the distance and the subtle reflection of Lake Batur below us. The red intensified, bleeding into orange as the sky lightened, and suddenly, the clouds lit up too, turning red and coral and gold. It was more beautiful than I could have imagined. I hustled up the steep incline and reached the summit just as the sun appeared on the horizon. The sunrise seemed to go on forever as our group huddled together, eating banana sandwiches while our guides practiced a gimmicky yet charming tradition of cooking eggs over volcanic steam.Around 6:30 we headed back down the mountain. The return trip was fast; thanks to the pebbles and soft dirt I essentially skied down. By the time I had reached the bottom I was tired and sore but high on the ecstasy of the most enduring and well-deserved sunrise of my life.

Around 6:30 we headed back down the mountain. The return trip was fast; thanks to the pebbles and soft dirt I essentially skied down. By the time I had reached the bottom I was tired and sore but high on the ecstasy of the most enduring and well-deserved sunrise of my life.

Mount Agung

I returned to Bali eight months later with my sister, and when she suggested, on a whim, that we hike Mount Agung, I agreed, thinking I’d have a euphoric experience like the one I’d had climbing Mount Batur. Our hotel called a guide, and at midnight, with the stars glittering above us, we headed out. What we didn’t know at the time was that we were in for a much more difficult night.

We set out from Pura Pasar Agung Temple, already 5,085 feet above sea level, with a cheerful guide named Made who seemed to know just one word of English: “slowly.” Slowly became our mantra as we began the climb, trying to use the wooden sticks Made gave us to steady ourselves.

Continue Reading on Afar.com…

Experience epic hiking adventures on our How You Glow Bali Yoga Retreat this March 26–April 2, 2016. Find out more. 

Top Photo: Randy Tan Travelogue

AFAR inspires and enables those who travel the world seeking to have deeper and more fulfilling travel experiences. AFAR's platforms include the award-winning AFAR Magazine; AFAR.com, recently named a Top 10 Site That Makes Travel Easier; the non-profit foundation Learning AFAR; and the immersive travel series AFAR Experiences.

Related

CLOSE
CLOSE