5/8/18: 2 AM Hike Up Mt Batur

My alarm went off at 1:45 am.

I woke up, not as tired as I thought I’d be, and quickly got dressed into my shorts & t-shirt and threw on my plaid shirt.

I walked over to the reception area to meet with the rest of my trekking group. By the time we were all gathered, there were about 10 of us. None of us really spoke much– it was way too early (or late?) for conversation.

About 5 minutes later, a guy came down and called our names. Once he had everyone, we walked over to the shuttle bus. It was a big, nice, comfortable bus– yay! There were already a few people on it when we got on.

We drove literally 200 feet down the road before stopping at Puji Bungalows for our first breakfast. They gave us each a pancake and some coffee or tea.

The pancake most likely had egg in it, but I ate it. I figured I should eat something before the hike.

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Finished with our food, we headed back to the bus.

We drove for about an hour to the entrance of Mount Batur.

When we stepped off the bus, it was pretty cold. I was worried that my thin plaid shirt wouldn’t be enough to keep me warm, especially at the top of the mountain.

We met our guides– we had three– and got going.

The first half hour was just a simple paved path. I talked with a German guy named Christoph, who was just on a 3-week break from work. He works in the automotive industry. I told him I went to Penn State, and he actually had heard of it because he follows some American football.

We eventually got to a more rocky path, and walked on that for another half hour. The path got more and more crowded, and we had to wait a few times because of traffic jams. People passed us, later we passed them, and this continued on for a while.

I chatted with a British girl named Amy for a majority of this section. She was really cool— she grew up in England but has family in Australia, did the Disney internship in Orlando one summer, works in Whistler, Canada, and has traveled to more places in the US than I have.

Then we got to the base of the mountain, where the real climb would begin.

It was crazy; we looked up and saw the lights from everyone’s flashlights all the way up to the top of the mountain. There must have been hundreds of people climbing the mountain all at once.

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Lots of people
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Climbing in darkness

We climbed for about an hour to the first viewpoint.

It wasn’t so bad— there were some rocky/slippery bits and steep areas, but we took a lot of breaks.

At the first viewpoint, we had the choice of either staying there to watch the sunrise or to keep going to the very top of the mountain. We were confused because our guide kept saying, “We go up to the top together or stay here together.” So we weren’t sure if “together” meant all 15 of us do the same thing, or if we had a choice. Eventually, we figured out that together meant the whole group.

However, 9 of us wanted to go to the top and 6 of us wanted to stay. We thought it would be fine to split up since we had 3 guides.

It was funny; they REALLY didn’t want us to go. The guides kept saying things like, “It’s a much harder hike;” “More slippery and more dangerous;” “Same view as here.” However, I wanted to do it. I was already there and wanted to get the full experience.

After  a bit of negotiating and pushing, we got our guide to let those of us who wanted to go to the top go. The other two guides would stay at the first viewpoint.

It was another 30 minutes to the top. This last stretch was a bit more challenging than the other parts of the hike. It was more slippery and steeper, and the darkness made it worse.

When we got to our final stop, the first rays of red light were just starting to peak over the horizon. We saw some mountains way off in the distance, and we asked a guide which mountain it was. They told us Rinjani, which is the big mountain way over on Lombok, the neighboring island. Crazy that we could see it from here!

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Mt Rinjani in the back
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Mt Agung (the one that erupted recently)

We sat down, and our guide brought over some bamboo mats for us to sit on. How nice!

We opened up our little breakfast boxes that were given to us before we started the hike.

Inside was a piece of toast and banana.

Little did I know this would be the only food I would have for the next 5 hours.

For some reason, I had a feeling Amy was vegan so I asked her.
She was indeed. My vegan radar is pretty freaking good!

We sat there, watching the sun come up in awe. It was a slow and beautiful process.

I’ll just leave the photos here and stop attempting to explain in words.

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The clouds were amazing. They were moving so fast, and the reflection of the sun on them was stunning.

 

I was sitting by Amy, the British girl, plus a Canadian named Jill and a Dutch girl named Anne. We all chatted and took pictures for each other.

By 6:30, the sun was fully up and we started our climb back down.

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Monkeys came and took everyone’s food

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The way down was WAY worse than the way up.

I fell about three times. The first two were fine– I just slipped and got back up with no injuries.

However, on the third fall I hit a rock with my knee, which made me bleed a bit.

I was so happy when we got to solid ground. Falling so many times was pretty embarrassing.

We rested for a bit. My guide saw the blood on my knee, and told me to sit down so she could clean it.

Everyone really went out of their way to be helpful—

The German guy busted out his first aid kit and gave me some cleaning spray, iodine, and even a big bandage.

The guide cleaned my knee for me and helped me put on the bandage.

I had iodine all over my hands, so this Dutch girl name Anne held my water bottle for me and poured water over my hands so I could rinse it off.

I was so grateful to be around such thoughtful and kind people!

The rest of the way was essentially just going down a big paved road.

Amy, Jill, Anne and I continued to talk on the way down.

Anne and I discovered that we were both going to be in Lombok around the same time, so we decided we’d meet up there and do the whole island together. I was really glad I met her because I had been looking for people to travel around Lombok with.

We got back on the bus, met up with the other 6 people in the group who didn’t go to the top with us, and started driving back.

We all dozed off in the bus, and were abruptly woken up as we parked at a coffee plantation.

Everyone was so tired and really not in the mood to walk around and be educated on how coffee beans are grown.

A few people in the group had already done the tour, and were PISSED. They were hardcore complaining, and didn’t even stay with the group because they didn’t want to hear it all over again.

I understood that it would be annoying, but it was also a bit rude to the staff of the plantation to just go off on their own.

The tour turned out to be SUPER quick: a girl showed us some baskets with the different types of beans, quickly ran through how they sift the beans to make them into powder, and then ushered us off to some benches so we could sample the coffee.

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The beans

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We were presented with 15 different types of coffee and tea. Most of them were way too sweet for my taste, but there were a few that I enjoyed, like the ginger tea and hot cocoa.

It was around 10 at this point, and we were all starving and hoping for some snacks. The staff answered our prayers by bringing over spicy peanuts. Everyone, except me, happily munched on their little snacks as I sat there cursing my stupid peanut allergy.

We got back on the bus and rode for another 45 minutes to our hostel. The way back was really scenic as we drove through lush rice patties.

We were dropped off at the hostel around 11 am, and Anne and Jill had to rush off to catch their boat to the Gili islands.

Amy, another Dutch girl named Michelle who was in our group but I hadn’t met, and I went to get some food together after we showered and changed.

We went to Umah Pizza down the street from our hostel. I got cap cay (pronounced chap chay), an Indonesian dish, and a banana/papaya smoothie.

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My cap cay

The food was pretty good but a bit salty.

We walked back to the hostel and I promptly went to my bed for a nap.

I napped from 1 to 3:30, interrupted just a couple times by people coming in and out of the room.

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My little nook

I felt so much better when I woke up.

I got my laptop, put it in my backpack, and went to find somewhere to work on the blog.

I first stopped by Perama Tour‘s office to book my shuttle bus to the port so that I could catch the ferry from Bali to Lombok on the 10th.

Once that was accomplished, I walked into a random place called Warung Laba Laba and got a coconut. The coconut was HUGE, and only 20k, which is cheap for a restaurant. Plus the meat inside was delicious. Such a delight!

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I blogged until 6:30, and then went to meet Amy & some others for dinner.

We went to Sawobali again for their vegan buffet. None of the others had been there before, so I was excited to introduce it to them.

It was me, Amy, Michelle, and another dutch girl name Cindy.

We all got our first plates, then our second plates, and then of course dessert. I can’t go to this place without getting one of their sweet treats.

Amy went up to ask about their cakes, and discovered that only the bottom row was vegan. Turns out that the brownie, situated on the top row of the display, that I got the other day was not vegan. Wtf!! I don’t understand why they have non-vegan stuff if they are a vegan restaurant.

I ordered their passionfruit ice cream, which had a coconut and soy milk base.

It was DELICIOUS— probably one of the best ice creams I’ve ever had (vegan or non-vegan). It had whole pieces of passionfruit seeds in it, which I loved.

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We walked back to our hostel and went up to the roof for acoustic night.

I ordered a Bintang (Indonesia’s national beer brand) and sat down with the girls.

There was an Indonesian guy doing covers, and he was really good. He was taking requests and asked me what I wanted. I said Coldplay, and he asked which song. I thought of the first one I could think of: Yellow.

I felt like such a basic bitch requesting Coldplay, but oh well. They’re good, ok!!?

God, I hate Bintang. It tastes worse than Chang. Or for my US readers— It’s on the same level of Natty Light or Coors Light. This might deter me from drinking for a while… it’s either this nasty crap or expensive cocktails.

I listened for about an hour, gulped down my last bit of beer, and then went back down to talk to Adrian for a bit before bed.

I was so happy to go to bed early— I was exhausted. I could barely have a conversation with Adrian because my brain was just dying.

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