So every journal entry for this trip begins with:
‘Today was amazing!”
“Today was fantastic!”
“Today was great!”
But this time we have: “Today has definitely been the best day so far!” and that is because it is the day did a sunrise trek up Mount Batur.
The alarm went off at 2:30am and I was up and into my hiking gear within about 5 minutes. I don’t know why, but I’m always super alert when I have to get up at ridiculous hours. This did mean that I had 25 minutes of waiting around before we assembled at the hotel entrance at 3am ready to depart, having collected our “breakfast” of 2 slices of bread, a portion of pineapple jam, a boiled egg, a severely under-ripe banana and some chocolate wafer thing.
After driving about 10 minutes to get to the base of the Mount Batur, we set off in the pitch black at 3:15. Having split the 12 of us down into groups, we’d unintentionally formed an under 30s club and thus steamed off into the total darkness, trusting faithfully in our guide, Widiasih. It was pretty daunting to be setting off into the black, and I was slightly regretting my decision to go with the teeny tiny £2.50 headtorch I’d hastily bought before leaving, rather than a sturdier yet more expensive one.
For about 20/30 minutes the pace was fast but it was relatively flat, and we were able to push on even as we started to climb. As we went along, I started chatting to our guide, Widi as I was right behind her. I was utterly astounded to hear that she goes to Mount Batur to guide tourists to the summit, and on her return she then goes to school. 6 days a week. I struggled a bit to understand everything but I’m under the impression that this is how she can afford to put herself through school. She’s desperate to get an education, as are all the Balinese youth that I encountered, and she dreams of becoming an English teacher.
I was happy to hear that she really enjoys being a guide, as she gets to practice her English with all the tourists, but I’m still just totally amazed at how hard working she is, something which seems to be a common theme for the entire population.
On the way up, Chloe slipped, something which I was starting to notice is a common theme with her! She hurt her knee a little, but Widi was so kind to her. We stopped for a little break before continuing, at which point Widi held Chloe’s hand for the rest of the journey, something which Chloe later told me was very reassuring. Oh, and did I mention this little super-hero guide was a mere 16 years of age?!
We reached the top around 4:30, which I believe was a pretty strong effort since we were scheduled to arrive at about 6:15! This was fantastic as we had lots of choice of where to sit and thus were able to nab a pretty decent bench. (I’m reading my journal as I write this and I’ve just got to the point where I started eating the previously mentioned breakfast, including the under-ripe banana which I described at the time as “the greenest banana I ever did see”!) We were sat quite near the edge of the mountain and Christian actually dropped his egg, which promptly rolled off down the side never to be seen again, but presumably eaten by a monkey.
Our joy at being some of the first to the top was starting to wear off seeing as the sun wasn’t due to rise for well over an hour and we began to realise it was actually pretty cold up there at 4 in the morning! Thankfully there is a little shop at the viewing point where you can get hot drinks, so 5 hot chocolates were soon on order! It was the most delicious hot chocolate I’ve ever had in my life, but I can only assume that the location and company had something to do with it. Our little group sat there, eagerly awaiting the sunrise, chatting and laughing into the darkness, friends made only days before but I felt I’d known them all a lifetime.
I know, I know this post has just tipped 700 words and there are no pictures yet! Sorry about that, but it’s been dark up til now! Finally the sky began to brighten, slowly slowly. A huge benefit of being there so early is that we could literally watch the sky go from total darkness to glorious sunshine, and we drank in every moment of it.
We watched in awe as the colours in the sky changed through bright oranges and blues, and the clouds we brushed with shades of pink and red. At one point we thought the clouds might completely engulf us, but they soon dispersed. I can safely say it was one of the best experiences of my life. I’d never watched a sunrise before, and I think I picked a pretty good spot to see my first!
Before we knew it, the sun was up and it was time to get moving again. We had a look round before we started the descent, and found the other members of our group!
The monkeys had also woken up, much to everyone’s amusement!
Finally we headed back down, taking a different route which was a bit easier but still took a couple of hours! A few of us had to stop for a post-hot-chocolate wee by the side of the path, and I spent the whole time praying I wouldn’t get my bare bum bitten by a snake. Towards the bottom we also stopped to take this photo with Mount Batur behind us, which looking at now I think kind of looks like a dodgy girl band (plus Ant) album cover or something.
One thing I noticed on the way down was that our wonderful little Widi had rather worn shoes, with the soles coming off. When we met up with the rest of our group at the bottom they told us their guide had actually fallen over because her shoes were in such bad condition, she’d tripped over a loose sole. When I got back I emailed Intrepid and asked if there was any way I’d be able to find out Widi’s shoe size so that I could send her a new pair, and just yesterday I heard back from them with all the information I needed to hopefully get them to her! I’m delighted, I can’t wait to pick out a pair – I’ll keep you posted on the process!
Once we returned to the hotel (at about 9am which felt really odd), we were straight off to a nearby hot spring. I don’t remember the name of the place, but I think it was part of a hotel/spa – super fancy, with a view of the majestic mountain. It was the perfect place to relax and absorb the morning’s activity.
You wait all your life to experience and infinity pool and then 3 come along at once! Or at least they do if you visit Bali!
Finally it was lunch time, and we headed to a restaurant with another glorious view of Mount Batur.
We all sat alongside each other at the edge of the restaurant and could eat in utter awe of the scenery. Ok so the food wasn’t that great, but it was an all you can eat buffet so I’m not complaining! Plus there was peanut sauce in abundance, which was a delicacy I’d become rather
obsessed with fond of throughout the journey so far.
After lunch it was time to head to Lovina, and we all promptly fell asleep during the 2 hour bus ride as we were of course totally knackered by this point. And if you made it to the end of this post, you must be pretty knackered to! Give yourself a pat on the back dear friend, I’ve written essays that were shorter than this!
If you ever visit Bali, do be sure to do a sunrise trek of Mount Batur – if you’re as lucky as we were with the weather, you won’t be disappointed!