Some people go on vacation and find ways to exercise every day… but that does not describe Adam and I. That doesn’t even describe us when we’re not on vacation, but that’s an entirely different story.
I am telling you this so you don’t get the wrong idea about our vacation practices. Our priorities are generally eat, relax, eat, sight see, eat, sleep, eat. In any event, though we don’t actively seek exercise opportunities on vacation, we will participate if the payoff is worth it. In Bali, that was the Mount Batur sunrise hike, and it was awesome.
Mount Batur is an active volcano, and every day hundreds (in high season, thousands) of tourists summit the mountain for a view of the sunrise. The base of the mountain is a bit outside of Ubud (about 1.5 hours from our rental), but transportation was arranged through our tour group (we used Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking and would definitely recommend them). So, at 2:30AM we climbed into a car, and by 4:30AM we had begun the hike.
A lot of the blogs we read ahead of time said the hike was super easy. Clearly we’re not the picture of fitness these days, but we generally do okay with hiking and neither of us thought the trek was “easy.” Partly because the entire way up you’re hiking in total darkness, with the only light coming from the moon and the flashlights you’re holding. But also, partly because you hike straight up for the entire time.
The trek up took us about 1.5 hours, and by 6:00AM we were sitting at the top, waiting for the sun to rise. If you go through a tour, once you reach the top a light breakfast is provided including coffee/tea, soft boiled egg sandwiches (usually cooked via the steam of the volcano), warm banana sandwiches and tim tam cookies (because why not?). The day we hiked it was fairly foggy, so when the sun did finally rise, it was a mad dash to get pictures before the fog rolled back in. But, when you could see through the mist, it was magical.
Fun fact: monkeys live at the top of the mountain, which was a complete surprise to me. And, they know that every day hundreds of tourists have food at around 7AM, so they come out in droves once the sun is up looking for snacks. It’s fairly stressful, and in the chaos one jumped on Adam and he had a silent panic attack and I couldn’t get a photo because he was holding the camera and didn’t want to make any sudden movements (this was obviously hilarious for me considering Adam’s fear of monkeys/getting rabies).
Once we made our way down the mountain, we started the trip back to Ubud. Our tour also included a stop at a luwak coffee plantation, so we popped in for a quick tour on the way back to Ubud. Another fun fact (you’re welcome for all this knowledge): luwak coffee (aka: cat poo coffee) is produced by collecting coffee beans that have been digested by luwaks (cat-like animals) then cleaning and finishing them + turning them into coffee. Overall impression: not better than any other “good” coffee, but also I am probably not the person to ask because I still add full-fat, full-sugar hazelnut creamer to my morning joe (#noregrets).