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Snaps from Mount Batur

Snaps from Mount Batur | blog.ditz-revolution.net

Following personal adversity, we do great (though not necessarily good) and sometimes funny things. In Wild, Cheryl Strayed set out to rebuild herself by walking 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail (goals AF). Elizabeth Gilbert ate, prayed, and loved her way through three countries. Frances Mayes traveled reluctantly to Italy and bought a Tuscan villa on a whim. Alexander Supertramp gave away all his belongings and made his way to Alaska, surviving over 100 days before he died (maybe the happiest ending of all, depending on the current state of your mental health).

When we think we have nothing more to lose, we either spiral further into self-destruction (I drank my way through December) or pick ourselves up off the ground AND MAKE SHIT BETTER.

Sometimes, getting better doesn’t mean having to do something huge like walking yourself back to the woman your mom expected you to be (I really loved Wild), giving up your worldly possessions and shedding your identity, or putting your life on pause to take a break (frankly, no regular person has that kind of luxury).

So sometimes, you just have to climb a mountain.

Climbing Mount Batur Bali

I am not a hiker, I do not climb anything unless it’s the ladder of success (I’m sorry) but a Mt Batur sunrise hike is pretty much on every list of things to do in Bali. A four-hour hike might seem like nothing but it’s a big deal to me and my potsticker of a body. A week before leaving for Bali, I revisited my bookmarks and booked a solo Mt Batur Sunrise Trek. Solo only really means you have to pay more but you still join a rather large group.

My day started at 1AM (this is the time I usually crawl into bed) and I woke up in a panic because I was supposed to get picked up in half an hour and I needed time to freshen up, do my make-up (don’t judge me), get dressed, pack my bag, and eat something. Fortunately, the driver was running half an hour late.

The drive to the starting point from Sanur was about an hour and a half. With nothing but potato chips and weak coffee in my body, we started hiking at 4AM. It’s a two-hour hike and our guides assured us we’d reach the summit in time for the sunrise.

Climbing Mount Batur Bali

The first part of the hike was an uphill climb through the forest which was still pretty easy, though my legs and lungs were already on fire. Things got harder about an hour into it, as we started making our way up through rocks. The terrain was also much steeper.

The pretty Singaporean girl in my group legit threw up.

“Why am I doing this?” she wailed.

“For Instagram, of course,” I half-joked.

Climbing Mount Batur Bali

Soon, the rocks turned into sand.

“Are we climbing… is Mount Batur a volcano?” I asked our tour guide.


“Oh. So this is volcanic sand…”


Mt Batur is an active volcano with its most recent eruption in 2000. The most major eruption was back in 1963 and it wiped out an entire village. In the dim light of our flashlights, I could see his judgy smile. I slowed my pace and took frequent breaks.

Climbing Mount Batur Bali

Fifteen minutes from the summit, we paused and watched as the sky turned light. With so many breaks, we didn’t make it to the top in time but it was all right. The view was still great. I couldn’t wait to get to the top and enjoy my first cigarette of the day.

Climbing Mount Batur Bali

Climbing Mount Batur Bali

Climbing Mount Batur Bali

Climbing Mount Batur Bali

At the summit. I was pretty much drenched in my own sweat BUT LOOK: STILL HAVE EYEBROWS. This was taken minutes before I realised I had left my cigarettes at home.

Climbing Mount Batur Bali

Climbing Mount Batur Bali

There are two trails (and two peaks, I guess) to the top. We took the easier, less sandy one. We also had the less crowded peak!

Climbing Mount Batur Bali

Climbing Mount Batur Bali

Climbing Mount Batur Bali

Breakfast with a view: two hard-boiled eggs cooked in volcanic steam, toast, and fruit.

Climbing Mount Batur Bali

Climbing Mount Batur Bali

Climbing Mount Batur Bali

Climbing Mount Batur Bali

Climbing Mount Batur Bali

Climbing Mount Batur Bali

Climbing Mount Batur Bali


  • Wear a tank top for hiking but bring an extra sweater or cardigan because it can get chilly at the summit.
  • My tour guide provided us water (I got two bottles) and flashlights but clarify ahead of time because it may not be the same for other tour companies.
  • You don’t need hiking boots. Before leaving for Bali, I checked the Mount Batur hashtag on Instagram and noticed a girl who made it to the summit in her Stan Smiths (!!!). I didn’t want to spend extra on hiking gear I’d probably use only a handful of times so I figured I could just wear my Roshe Runs. It got really dirty but it did the job.
  • Get a guide or join a tour group because you’ll be walking in the dark in the beginning. Also: safety.
  • Bring a camera (obviously) and money. They sell coffee and tea at the summit and some drinks sellers make the hike with you, carrying overpriced soda (I paid 40K IDR lol for a 350ml bottle of Coke because the seller helped me during the trek lol).
  • It’s 1717m to the peak. A burly American in his 50s huffed and puffed his way up and down the volcano, and so did a fashionable French grandfather (in jeans, a khaki jacket, and loafers). YOU CAN DO IT.

We started our descent before 8AM and it was just as hard as the climb up. Sand filled my sneakers and I had to take extra care not to trip over loose rocks and possibly twist my ankle. Buscalan was a scarier hike but Mt Batur was more physically challenging.

Since it was daylight, the tour guides were more lax and didn’t constantly try to keep us together. I broke away from the group a bit and went on my own pace so I’d have time to be alone in nature. Walking through the forest part without another person in sight was especially enchanting.

Climbing Mount Batur Bali

Climbing Mount Batur Bali

~Two hours later and with a bladder that badly needed emptying, I was back at the starting point sticky and exhausted. I splashed cold water on my face and sat on the toilet, thinking “hey, I conquered Mt Batur!” and “I am never climbing another mountain until 2020.” It was a tough five hours but I felt better. I guess sometimes, you just have to do something hard, something that will remind you that maybe there are worse things than heartbreak.

There aren’t. Everyone survives it, though.

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  • Reply Pia July 20, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    Your photos are very pretty! Makes me want to go abroad and hike on my own too <3

  • Reply Cherry July 20, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    wow helga u look great!

  • Reply Christine July 20, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    That’s amazing Helga! Would love to hike Mt. Batur one day. Sounds like a great hike and worth it for the view too :)

  • Reply Jae July 21, 2016 at 12:47 am

    You look great! I’m impressed you got close to the monkeys! They legit scared me when we were in Krabi for our honeymoon. At one point, I thought a monkey was going to charge towards me because it thought I had food for them. D:

  • Reply Kai July 21, 2016 at 10:55 am

    I’m so happy for you! Looking at the photos makes me want to book Bali and climb Mt. Batur! :)

    You’re so strong, Ate Helga.

  • Reply Justine July 21, 2016 at 11:09 am

    I love the significance of this entry. I’ve never hiked a mountain climb because I’m a scaredy cat like that but after my breakup last year I planned a tonsillectomy and quit my job. It was a hard few months but time always heals. It’s nice to have something like this to look back on and give yourself a pat on the back for conquering.

    Also, such beautiful photos!

  • Reply Tracy July 21, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Very nice photos! The monkeys are cool :)

  • Reply Jen July 21, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    The view from Mt. Batur is ah-mazing!! :) Congratulations on your five-hour hike! That’s not easy. :P
    It’s nice to know that you’re doing something else (like hiking) just to get through a heartbreak. :)

  • Reply Ayeesha July 22, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    This goes straight to my bucket list. Beautiful photography Helga. Wow, just wow!

  • Reply Anagon July 24, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    Helga I love everything :) <3

    • Reply Helga July 26, 2016 at 10:16 am

      Thank you. <3

  • Reply dawnchang July 26, 2016 at 12:05 am

    Babe, what camera did you use? Beautiful photos!!! <3

    • Reply Helga July 26, 2016 at 10:15 am

      Hi! Fujifilm X-A2. :)

  • Reply Maroon Caludin August 3, 2016 at 1:36 am

    Wow! Good for you! That sounds really amazing. And all those pictures are beautiful!

  • Reply Camille Puche August 23, 2016 at 1:17 am

    I love this, Helga! <3

  • Reply ELAINE August 28, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    I love your photos!!! <3

  • Reply Troy September 5, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Magnificent view and wonderful story Helga.

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