Booking your tour
It may be tempting to organise everything beforehand, but not book in advance, wait to get to Bali and negotiate a pricing with the local guides. We used Jero who we found on Tripadvisor, he can be contacted on +62 819 0408 2208. We paid 1.3million rupiah, roughly $65 each, plus a tip at the end.
You can kill two birds with be stone here, and ask your driver to stop st the coffee plantation on the way back from the volcano. This is where they make the famous Luwak coffee, made from the poo of the Luwak! It’s seriously strong, and worth a try!
Where to stay the night before
Tour guides are accommodating and will travel to pick you up. Seminyak, Kuta, and Uluwatu are all manageable but will cost more and require you to get up way earlier. We travelled from Ubud, roughly an hour away from the mountain.
In order to travel from Ubud to make it to the top in time for sunrise, you must be up and ready to leave at 2.30am. We didn’t waste money staying in a fancy hotel as we wouldn’t even get the full night out of it. We stayed in a Homestay which was cheap and central. Having said that, it was busy and loud and we didn’t get much peace and quiet until well after midnight. Research a suitable and QUIET place in the area you stay in.
What to wear
We saw the two sides of the spectrum when it came to attire of the mountain! Some Americans arrived in their sleek mountain gear, poles in hand and very expensive looking hillwalking shoes. The Asian tourists, more used to the heat, took on he volcano in heavy leggings, huge jackets and woollen hats. I was hot just looking at them. We even saw Russian girls attempt to ascend the mountain in trainers with a built-in heel, fake eyelashes and hair extensions…that one was weird. We opted for comfy shorts, loose tshirt and rainjacket/jumper. I was slightly worried my trainers wouldn’t cut it, but they did me just fine.
What to bring
We brought one small backpack between us which Darren graciously carried! A rainjacket or jumper is a definite to pack. At 1,700m it’s chilly on top of the volcano. Mosquito spray is another necessity. I would recommend bringing some chocolate and small quick snacks to keep energy and morale high!
We brought water also, but our guide had extra should we have needed it. He also provides the torches. Don’t weigh your bag down with unnecessary items, like tripods and heavy cameras. We saw plenty of people trudging up the mountain with these, only for their guide to have to carry them when the weight became too much, not fair!
Respecting the mountain
As per usual with any tourist area, there is always the a**hole who had no regard for where they are or how they act! Make sure you bring all your belongings and bottles with you, and minimise the litter around.
The volcano is an amazing experience and of course should be photographed! Make sure to have respect for your fellow hikers though, some people take to the mountain to meditate and escape the hectic life beneath. There is a certain air about the mountain and screaming selfie takers stand out like a sore thumb.
As for the wildlife of the volcano, it’s their home so respect it and them. Keep a safe distance from the monkeys and don’t tease the dogs! Keep your belongings close at hand or they will soon be in the claws of the monkeys!