8th – 9th June 2016
After leaving Atres Villa in Munduk around midday we were heading for our next hotel ‘Batur Mountain View’ which was as the name suggests over looking Mt Batur an active volcano which we would be climbing the next morning for sunrise.
Shortly after leaving Atres we stopped at Munduk Waterfall. It was about a 10 minute walk down and roughly 20 minutes back up. As it is dry season in Bali at the moment the bottom was pretty dry but the waterfall itself was still pretty impressive.
As it was quite a long way from Munduk to Batur we stopped off for some lunch at a little local restaurant. The food was really good and as we were going to leave all the staff come over and asked if they could have their picture taken with us, they were all so sweet.
As the sun was beginning to set me, Mum, Alison, Janet and Alan decided to go up into Batur Village for a look around. The guys at the hotel said that the road was too steep and dangerous to walk up so they would give us a lift. Janet and Alison went up in the car but me, Mum and Alan chose to go on the back of the guys moped which was sooo much fun!! The village was completely deserted and actually quite creepy! We decided to have a look round one of the temples but left pretty quickly as it was so dark. The mist had rolled in off the mountains leaving us unable to see much further than a few meters ahead. We jumped in the taxi and went back to the hotel!
As our hotel was so remote with no restaurants nearby we chose to eat in, a choice which we will never be able to forget!! Before the 5 of us went up into the village the hotel had asked us to let them know what food we wanted – we all happily chose and told them we would eat around 8. Well… there must have been a slight miscommunication as when we sat down in the restaurant Daniels main came out before his starter, Mitchell’s main came out with his starter, all the food was cold and Alan’s arrived about 10 minutes after we had all finished eating. The guy who served us was so lovely that no one had the heart to complain, in fact when he asked us how it was I think we all even smiled and said fine! We think that when we told them what we wanted to eat they must of started cooking straight away and got confused! None of us were too bothered though as it made us all laugh and is all part of the Asian experience!
Our whole purpose for coming to Batur was to climb the volcano for sunrise and after much debate 6/7 of us had decided that we were going to do it! With a 2.45am start we all had an early night to prepare ourselves for the climb the next morning, and let me just say, with the advantage of hindsight, nothing and I mean nothing could have prepared us for what was to follow.
We left the hotel around 3am the next morning and set off for the bottom of Mt Batur. We arrived around 3.30am but our driver told us that he knew of another way up that was less busy (having read how busy it can get we were more than happy with his suggestion) so we drove a little further round the east side before getting out the car. I knew the climb wasn’t going to be easy as at the end of the day it is a volcano!! but having asked the staff at the hotel and reading reviews online we were being told the same thing ‘it’s a fairly easy gradual climb until you get near the top’. This may have been true except that what our guide didn’t tell us was that his ‘quiet route’ was actually the hardest route up to the top….
From the off the path was really steep, somthing we had not expected so early on, and we were climbing, jumping and scrambling over tree roots and rocks constantly whilst in almost complete darkness (we had head torches but they didn’t do much). Our guide wasn’t interested in helping us at all and set off at such a fast pace. After about an hour we were out of the tree line and onto even harder terrain – solidified lava rock. However, as the last eruption was in 2000 the lava rock has begun to crumble away due to the weather and hikers. This meant we were scrambling up steep (and I really do mean steep) solidified lava with loose stones, rubble and sediment. It was so physically challenging but also scary as the lighter it became the more aware we were of our surroundings and the severity of the slope we were climbing. The colours on the horizon were getting brighter and brighter and we knew we only had until 6.30 to get to the top or we would miss the sunrise (we could have still seen it further down but we were all determined to be at the top before 6.30)
We all made it to the top (1717m) in time for sunrise which was such a massive achievement for us all as it was so hard but the views were sooo worth it. We did get separated as me and Daniel were first to the top and our guide said that he would take us a ‘bit’ higher if we wanted… well another 30 minutes later we arrived and I honestly thought I was about to collapse. A few minutes in and our guide left us on our hands and knees crawling over ash and sediment with vertical drops either side. The others got told they weren’t allowed to go any higher unless they paid, which was really weird but it was just as good a view where they were and they didn’t have to climb for another 30 minutes. On the way back down I was so scared and our guide literally just dragged me down – I honestly thought I was going to fall off the edge. I wish we hadn’t gone the extra bit now but never mind I’m alive!
The way down was just as bad if not worse as we were so aware of the height that we were at and also the sheer drops either side of us. There were groups of people being really stupid and running and pushing past us and had they slipped they could have knocked us over the edge so mum was getting really angry and shouting at them which was making us laugh. Once we were further down and back in the woods we were in shock – on the way up it was so dark you could only see the person in front of you and nothing to your left or right. Coming back down we could see everything and either side of the path we had been walking up had massive drops either side. The worst part about it was that on the way up we had been stepping aside to let people pass completely oblivious to the sheer drops. Had we stepped a tiny bit further we may have fallen over the edge!
I am so glad that I did it as the views at the top were incredible and it is such an achievement but I can honestly say along with the others that I will not be rushing into doing anything like this again! Our experience may have been completely different had our guide taken us the other route (it would have been nice to have the choice) but I will not be going back to find out!!
After getting back to our hotel and showering we were back on the road, this time to Ubud where we would be staying for the next three nights.