Mount Batur


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Climbing High to Witness the Summit Sunset.

Published by Michael Dib

Gettng there from Ubud

Welcome to the continuation of the Indonesian experience series. I had one of the better travel experiences of my life back in Ubud. It was surely one that you can not miss if you’re visiting this beautiful country. It honestly shone when it came to food, culture, charm, pricing, nature and more. You truly have not visited Bali if you miss out on Ubud. We left off with us packing up all our stuff at our hostel at the Wayans family hostel and grabbed a ride that will take us to our next great destination: Mount Batur. Getting here is relatively cheap by tour buses or guides due to the country’s economic situation. For that reason, I highly recommend giving tips when tips are deserved as they are very highly appreciated. Regardless, we booked ours through our hostel and ended up going from there. It's pretty easy and I recommend you do the same. Otherwise, you could do it online or through a hotel or one of the many booking booths set up for different adventures around Bali.

I have mentioned this a few times so far during the series but it's important that I repeat it. Make sure to do some preliminary research when buying any tickets or tours. There are times that the prices would be upped if you’re a foreigner as you would not be the wiser. It's understandable that in some cases they have prices for locals and separate prices for foreigners. I am sympathetic to this concept as the extra money charged goes into government taxes which helps the country try to improve itself, it's GDP per capita and alleviate its citizens from poverty while still making the same activities available to all. It's the whole concept of equal opportunity for all. Or it could simply be viewed as a rip off for foreigners. Although honestly, with the prices of the place it still isn’t that expensive for many of us to afford so I would not feel cheated here. Although, some places where there is a standard for how much you pay as a tourist sometimes gets ‘skewered’ for the benefit of the vendor. Remember, things here are not black and white. Haggling is a way of life and price skewering is not completely unheard of. So, do your research before going further in.

Anyway, we took the jeep ride after a short bus ride all the way to the mountain. We had to wake up early in the morning while it was still dark. We enjoyed our last breakfast at the hostel before getting on the jeep. We picked up four other people who seemed to know each other. Two seemed to be in their mid 40s with one being a father that may have been in his mid 60s with his young daughter that was several years older than us. We didn’t chit chat much as we were all feeling exhausted. I reckon it must have been 3-4am. The reason why we wanted to do this so early was to see the sun rise in the background with Mount Batur as the centre of this picturesque scene. I was told it was a very spectacular experience.

Climbing High to Witness the Summit Sunset.

(Source:http://www.baliwonderlandadventuretours.com/bali-jeep-tours/explore-mt-batur-crater-2-days-1-night-by-4-wd-jeep/)

The climb

I fell asleep a couple of times in the jeep so I couldn’t recall exactly how long it had taken us. My mate looked as dead as I felt. At Least I felt better with a sense of solidarity. Personally, I reckon lack of sleep has to be one of the worst things to experience as a day to day suffering. Avoiding blown limbs and disease. I felt a killer stomach ache and could barely keep my eyes open. Although, I knew it would be worth it at the end.

At one point I was awoken to the sound of the jeep coming to a halt. It was still dark outside but we had scaled halfway up the volcano. The area was cold and pitch black. We had been dropped off at a large parking lot (which was basically the side of a road) and put on our emergency jackets which we got in case we travelled to cold areas. I was very thankful we decided to be prudent and bring them along. We separated from the rest of our group and took of together.

The road became narrower as the road became steeper. Along the way we saw many small stall that were selling different snacks such as cobbed corn that was smoking hot in the cold. They also sold hot soups in cups and many different things. They also sold knick knacks and warm clothing. We skipped most of these till we reached the area right before the summit. We were basically only a ten minute walk away. I bought a hot cobbed corn to help warm me up. I was shivering since I only had a light jacket to keep me warm. We sat down in this closed area. It was crazy crowded with different tourists. I was surprised to find that the majority were actually tourists.

The view

It seemed that the tourism business did a great job widely advertising the sunset view of Mount Batur. I didn’t mind the crowd too much as they weren’t obnoxious. They were all tired  from an early rise and not keen to cause any trouble. The place we were waiting about had complimentary banana fritters ready for anybody’s pleasure. However, to partake in the sweet and fried dessert you’ll have to buy something else to eat in the restaurant. This is, of course, completely reasonable. While overall the prices here were not expensive they were relatively pricier than the regular prices. Which makes sense as this whole experience is very touristic but also very pleasant. After waiting for about thirty or so minutes we finally made our way towards the summit. It took us about ten minutes of walking with the now moving crowds to get to the summit. There were people as far as the eye could see.

Climbing High to Witness the Summit Sunset.

(Source: https://indonesia.tripcanvas.co/bali/mount-batur-guide/)

We spotted a structure that looked like a gutted temple. This must have been the place where ceremonies would take place while looking at the mountain range around. This is exactly what we saw. There was a long row of rails that kept us from falling into the abyss below that was blocked by clouds. We truly were high up. The surrounding ranges poked their heads from the clouds around. Although, Mount Batur was the one that stuck up the most prominent of all of them. I was taken aback as to how beautiful it all looked. It is strange to say this about an immovable mountain but I truly felt how Mount Batur was a force of nature. Truly a showcasing of the earth’s natural beauty. At this point we could only see the outlines of the ranges in the distance. It was quite beautiful. In around fifteen minutes we finally saw the sun breaking the horizon and rising high into the sky. It was a striking view. It was also a beautiful day as there were no high clouds except the lower clouds.

Climbing High to Witness the Summit Sunset.

(Source: http://mountbatursunrisetrekking.net/mount-batur-trekking-white-water-rafting/)

There were many people around with their phones, GoPros and high quality professional cameras out and recording the whole scene. We stuck about for thirty minutes soaking in the majesty of the area and the sight in front of us. From the steps that lead up to the prayer area we were able to see even more of the surrounding area. Once the early sunrise was over we headed straight down the road to our jeep. It was a bit of a trek before we found our guy and also our fellow travellers. We did not leave immediately. Apparently we were also provided with breakfast. We were guided to an open hut where a local lady sat waiting for us. Here we ate many different goodies which included more banana fritter. We stuffed ourselves as we had a long trip to go. We were then dropped off back in Ubud. We picked up the heavier bags that we had left behind at the hostel thanks to the kindness of the owners.

To the bus

We then decided to grab an Uber over to a bus station in Denpasar which would allow us to take a cross island bus to the ferry we wanted to get to in the western part of Bali. This ferry would take us to East Java. The uber dropped us off to said bus station where he helped guide us to where we had to go. Apparently the people here were notorious for overcharging tourists if you weren’t careful. From there we paid an incredibly decent price and got onto a very basic bus. No air conditioning, crappy chairs and one that would get stuck in traffic for quite some time. We picked up people along the way and the bus slowly became full.

The big conclusion

We’ll conclude this story here before moving on to our next adventure towards Java. This piece also concludes the Bali leg of my trip. It's halfway through. The second half we will focus more on the Indonesian island of Java. Overall, Bali has been one of the most interesting travel experiences I’ve had this part of the world. While there were moments that felt that things were too touristy, this was not the case most of the time. Perhaps it's because we had come during the raining season which is basically known as the off season for travelling here. This is mainly due to the fact that Bali is known for its beaches, snorkeling, surfing and much more. It is truly an island paradise. However, I would not allow that to discourage you to visit Bali on other parts of the year. It stays relatively warm in this part of the world and there would be a lot less people and cheaper prices for hostels and other services. Hopefully this part of the series will help inspire you to not only visit Bali but also the more natural part of Bali outside Kuta’s very touristy and hectic nature.

Climbing High to Witness the Summit Sunset.

(Source: https://backpackerlee.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/the-ferry-from-java-to-bali/)

The main parts that I highly recommend checking out is the food and nature. The food you will eat here will surprisingly have more flavour than what you have back home quite often. The fruit definitely packs a punch when it comes to richness in flavour. There are also many different types of exotic foods that you may never have tried before. Keep an open mind and eat well. Also, feel the more natural side of the earth as you will have many parts untouched by man compared to Europe where it's very compact and most of the land has been cultivated or these types of forest ecosystems filled with a diversity of life. Regardless, check out Bali for yourselves. Happy adventuring and stay safe!

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