Transportation: You can organize the sunrise climb / tour, or rent a motorbike and drive up there for the views
Costs: Entrance fee is free unless you do the guided tour, Motorbike: 50,000 IDR
Suggested Time: Best early morning or late afternoon, sunrise and sunset are epic!
Located in the north of Bali about a 90 minute drive from Ubud, Mount Batur is a sacred mountain according to Hindu belief. Elevated at 1,717m above sea level, the active volcano draws tourists year round to summit the mountain for (depending on the weather) an epic sunrise.
I personally ran out of time to do the summit tour otherwise this would be a guide on that tour, what I can tell you is that I’ve heard it’s pretty epic! You will head off from your homestay/hostel at 2am, start the ascent around 3.30am and reach the peak for breakfast at about 5.30 / 6am to watch the sunrise from the edge of the crater. By all reports its a relatively straight forward summit and for the more experienced trekkers it’s fairly easy to do it without a guide, which will always cut costs!
If you don’t have the time or the energy to summit the volcano it is well worth heading to the viewpoint, on Jalan Raya Penelokan, to marvel at the active volcano and the beautiful lake that sits to the east of Batur. It’s free to go to the viewpoint and on a clear day you can take some amazing photos of the volcano and the lush green scenery, unfortunately as you’ll see from my photos it was not a clear day, in fact it was raining and grey… sometimes you’re lucky sometimes you’re not! So please take my word for it because my photo’s are nowhere near as stunning as they would be on a clear sunny day with the clouds rolling past the volcano.
The last eruption was in 2000, but one of the largest eruptions was in the late 1970’s and on the south face of the volcano you can still see the huge scathes of scorched earth from that eruption, where nothing has regrown and all that left is black ash and the remnants of volcanic lava. I met a local man who made paintings using the volcanic ash left behind by that explosion, he still lived on the side of the volcano and made the beautiful hand crafted paintings using the ash.
I would definitely recommend that you go for a drive to the mountain if you have the time, the drive up there is beautiful, climbing through quiet paved highways through the mountains into a much cooler climate and if you need a break there are many eco-tourism places on the main road running to Batur from Ubud where you can stop off for a free tour and free coffee tasting session. Get that caffeine hit and get back on the road! Once up there the views are breathtaking and the next time I’m back in Bali i’ll be climbing this mountain!