Early on during planning, this is something that I really (badly) wanted to do. Why? Well, its a sunrise tour combined with a long hike. And, it would be the second time I have done such a hike so I wanted to compare both experiences. After reading many posts and research I found that you can also hike around the main crater which is a first for me. I was all excited!
We booked the hike with Bali Sunrise tours which is actually booked via Voyagin. Although we did stay in Kintamani for a day, we decided to do the trek on a different morning so we got picked up from Ubud. Everything mentioned in the itinerary was followed and the driver was waiting in the lobby by the time we got there by 2.30am (yes, 2.30am).
It was a breeze being chauffeured to the site in our mini air-conditioned van by this little Indonesian man. He was very polite and asked if we wanted to listed to Indonesian music too (we thought that was a bit funny in the morning as we had no clue about the language). Anyway, as the roads were free of all chaos so we made it early into our base location, which is a nicely decorated and purpose build house (it was very stylish) where most people would start their hike. It was 3.30am by the time we reached this spot.
Having had a coffee, we made a slow start to our hike from the base around 4am. Not knowing why we need to start so early, we continued on (If you do this, you’ll know why)…
At the beginning it was slow and smooth, taking a gravel road path and climbing slowly with the mountain far from our vicinity. Then starts the entry into the bushes walking up the mountain, still slowly but now you start to sweat. There were a few small groups. As the walk started to become a bit more serious, we take right turn and it was told by our guide that it is the hardest path with a long and hard walk ahead of us. Lucky we only had three fit people and older groups took the easy but longer path.
Gosh, after about 45 mins, you are quite exhausted. Dust everywhere, still climbing and a lot more to go. Slippery gravel path is hard to climb. It felt like one step forwards two steps back. One must really focus on the hike as at times its an accident waiting to happen (yikes). After about 1.5 hours, we finally made it to the top of the mountain. It was a relief. So much so that we started breathing again! It felt like such an accomplishment after an arduous long hike up this giant gravel mountain on a tiny foot path. We could now relax our legs a bit, take seat and enjoy the beautiful view of the surrounding mountains, the lake and the sunrise to come.
Our guide provided us with much needed breakfast (included in the price) which consists of some bread, banana, few other fruits and coffee. It was interesting to see the snake skin fruit which is a bit odd and strange and I sadly didn’t try it as I am not a fan of snakes. They also cook eggs with the mountain steam which you can see just behind the hut.
After enjoying our quick breakfast, it was time to head out again, this time in day light. And trust me, if it was dark, I wouldn’t be taking the crater walk. Its very narrow so there’s only room for one person and can be tricky at times. You sometimes wonder how to take the next step. Thank god, its not like this all the way but then there’s more tricky bits. This time with slippery gravel paths that are wide but which you must slide down a bit. In a way, its exciting as I have never done this kind of hike before and scary at the same time. If I were to fall by not focusing, I’d probably end up at the bottom of the mountain. We didn’t enquire if anyone has ever fallen while taking the crater walk, but it was a yes, I would have been more frightened. Its about an hours walk around the crater from the base at the top.
At the end of the crater walk, we come to another base point with a small hut. By the time we got there, there were a lot of people hanging around, taking pics, enjoying the scenery and having a break. There are no wash rooms here so be prepared for the bushes. Also, there are a few monkeys around and one with a baby monkey. They will try to steal your food and water but are not dangerous. We begin our descend from this point and it was about 1.5 hours going down to our base.
By the time we are back at our base, we were all exhausted and glad we did this great hike. To be honest, sunrise came and went and it wasn’t as gorgeous as one would expect. And this being my second sunrise tour I still prefer the first one I did in Nepal which was so memorable. However, I would still do this trek again if I can just for the sake of getting in the views.