The perks of living in Darwin – Bali is on your doorstep (well, in Australian distance terms). A swift 2 hour flight and you’re there and for a bargain price of $150 return!! I’m very good at catching flight sales…
Myself and a few girls took off for the long weekend and what a weekend we had! We crammed so much into 3 days – I’m still recovering from exhaustion now. We had the obligatory boozy day thrown in there, which ended up being not so boozy after all. A few tipsy cocktails at Potato Head was sufficient (OMG , I’m officially boring!). After a day of trawling Seminyak and being offered numerous pairs of ‘Ray Bandinos’, we headed North to my favourite spot – Ubud.
Ahhh Ubud, I do love you. You are my favourite.
We primarily went to do the sunrise trek up Mount Batur. An active volcano that is 1717m above sea level and last erupted in 2000. We booked with Pineh Bali Tours.
We were well aware that we were being picked up at 2am that night/next morning but 4 girls who had serious addictions to marvelously priced massages and the likes, ignored their 8pm bedtime curfew. I strolled through the doors of our homestay around 10pm feeling like a floaty sleepy fairy. I really do love massages and treats. So much so in fact, that in 3 days I had; 4 full body massages, reflexology, a facial, a pedicure, a head massage and conditioning and those ear candle thingys.
Anyway, It didn’t seem like 2 minutes later when my alarm was going off at 1.30am. I was considering sacking off the full thing (which would have been a very silly thing to do). I’ll openly admit I’m not the best person to be around when I’m tired! Anyway, I battled my demons and got myself ready. I’d read about how cold it can get up the volcano but I was freezing just getting out of bed (I’ve definitely acclimatized to the Darwin heat). My flimsy hoody wasn’t going to cut this. Promptly at 2am, the driver was there and waiting for us. For the next hour, we drove to our first stop – the coffee plantation. I can’t remember the journey there at all so I’m assuming I was half asleep/full blown KO’d on our way.
My god I was freezing!! I couldn’t warm up at all.
There were loads of people at the plantation, most sat outside on benches waiting for their coffee and pancakes, which FYI, were the nicest pancakes I have EVER eaten!! I’d do it all over again, just for the exquisite pancake. We were fortunate enough to get a room inside to eat (which was still freezing but nevertheless, walls and a roof do help). I’d love to be able to say the coffee was as good as the pancake, but unfortunately it tasted like arse. Extremely sweet arse. I don’t suppose pouring that syrupy milk substitute shit from the tin helped it either.
Our driver then took us to the base of the volcano where hundreds of other people were waiting to do the 2 hour trek to the top too. We were each given a torch and introduced to our tour guide, Daddy (lol). He was only 24 and had a pretty little face. It did feel a bit weird calling him Daddy though…”Daddy, please can you take a picture?”, “Daddy, where do we go for a wee?”, “Daddy, are we nearly there yet?”. Weird.
It’s safe to say I was freezing my tits off at this point and gave in to renting a questionable fleece for 50,000 rupiah (a $5 life saver). I wasn’t impressed with the colour. I looked like an egg yolk. Anyway, it fulfilled it’s main purpose – keeping me warm. So warm in fact, that on the climb to the top, Daddy carried it up for me as I ended up sweating!
The trek up itself wasn’t too bad at all. I didn’t find it very challenging due to the sheer number of people in front of us slowing us down – which I did find quite annoying. I’ll be going to the front next time! The main problem was the terrain (I really love that word – terrain). Very slippy loose stones – I think we all slipped over at some point. That and the fact you were climbing up in the dark with only a small torch. There were some high stepping parts too at some points, but they were my fave to be honest. Daddy helped us up those parts (lol again).
We didn’t have to walk too far until we above the clouds and the stars looked AAAHHMMAAZING!!!! . Before approaching the steepest part of the climb, a line of twinkling lights going up the face of the mountain looked absolutely unreal! At first, we thought it was a cluster of stars, blending in with the insane amount of stars in the sky – but we soon realised these stars were moving and were in fact not stars, but torches (I didn’t have my specks on). I wish I got some pics of it but no photo could do what we saw there any justice (well not without a tripod and a mega lens anyway).
We finally reached the top and it was starting to get that little bit lighter. We were officially way above the clouds and WOW! It was beautiful. Mount Agung poked out above them in front of us too. My favourite part had to be the moments just before the sun rose above the clouds – when the sky started turning orange and the clouds looked almost fluorescent. I’d say there were about 200 people there but we all had our own spot and view which wasn’t blocked or spoiled by all the humans.
It didn’t take long before I was freezing again and I had to get my edgy fleece back off Daddy. I’d gone from sweating to freezing in approximately 3 minutes (that might be a slight exaggeration).
We were served egg sandwiches as the sun rose – the eggs had been cooked in the steam coming from the volcano (canny cool really). Although, I did feed most of mine to the dogs there; they looked starving! I have no idea how they’re there? Obviously living from the egg sandwiches tourists give them on a daily basis. The sandwiches had no butter, or Lurpak in particular, so I was more than happy to share. Tea and coffee is also on offer up at the top, but I obviously declined as the memories of the recent cup of arse were still fresh in my mind.
After the sun rose we explored a bit of the mountain where we came across a bunch of my most favourite things in the world (after Julie, my cat)…MONKEYS!! These monkeys were much cuter (meaning less scary) than the ones in the Monkey Forest. They were smaller, friendlier and didn’t bear gigantic teeth that look like they would rip your throat out. I ended up with one on my head with its scruffy feet as Daddy teased one with a bit of bread (still laughing every time I say Daddy btw). They were all over and proper proper canny. They’d just sit and look at you, as though they were in awe of the “stupid humans who will feed me for a picture”; sometimes sitting lovingly in their couples and even families. OMG, I really want some monkeys.
There was steam coming up from the ground in quite a few spots, which looked cool and also proved fantastic for warming my icy fingers. Take gloves if you’re gona do it! There’s also a temple inside a cave there!! INSIDE A CAVE!!! How!? We weren’t allowed to go in however, for safety reasons, but we could see the start of it. Daddy was really clued up on it all and told us his mother taught him everything he knows about the volcano – how cute man.
Nature calling at the top of the mountain isn’t ideal. “Daddy, wheres the toilet?”; Daddy pointed us towards a bush A bush that was evidently used as the regular toilet bush. I’ll not go in to much detail but I will say “Urgh”. Just “Urgh”. Humans really do continue to surprise me. The bush isn’t exactly very private either and I caught one man trying to look through! Perv. A bit of advice…hold it in if you can.
On our descent down the mountain; between us, I reckon we must have slipped and fell about 50 times – in a funny way. None of us were hurt. However, we did pass one guy who’d slipped and cut his elbow, being attended to by a couple of guides. All of the guides seemed to be well equipped with first aid kits as I imagine cuts and grazes are a regular occurrence. It was really steep after all and I’ve already told you about the terrain (so glad I got to say it again – terrain). At one point I ended up flying down so fast (on my feet – not literally) that I couldn’t stop until two unfortunate Chinese school girls ended up in my way. Soz. Luckily, I didn’t knock them over. My knees took quite a hammering going down and I couldn’t wait to get down. Cue the…”Daddy, are we nearly there yet…?”
After about 5 minutes of skidding down the mountain face in the sun I was sweating again and Daddy grabbed my fleece. Aw he was so nice, Daddy. I really he think he hated us by the end though. We kept stopping and took about 2000000 pics between us. Daddy was designated photographer – although he did seem to enjoy it and was canny good at it too! We made sure he got a good tip for being stuck with a bunch of fannies/posers.
The clouds were beginning to disappear too and we got amazing views of Lake Batur; which to be honest, we had no idea was there! It looked bloody glorious!! A place a definitely want to visit properly next time.
Anyway…as a trip, I loved the full thing (minus standing in what I’m pretty sure was human faeces). That view (and the monkeys) were totally worth getting up at daft o’clock for, and even being cold – and I HATE being cold! If I could change anything, I would have liked to be at the very front so I could get up at my own pace and challenge myself a bit more. Yes, I’d definitely say I was ready for Everest now…