Guides will approach you everywhere, offering their services for a starting price of Rp500,000. They’ll eventually settle on Rp250,000 for two or three people. For six people, most guides won’t accept anything less than Rp500,000 or 550,000. Guides you meet in your losmen tend to charge too much. You can easily find a guide if you arrive at the trailhead at 0330. They’ll come out of the dark and offer to lead you for as little as Rp200,000.

Although you don’t really need a guide, the fellow can help you find your way out of the clouds that can envelop the slopes of Gunung Batur without warning. If you decide to hire a guide, choose a younger man or boy; it’s a difficult ascent. It’s unnerving to hike up the mountain sweating and gasping for breath while your nimble guide scrambles up playing the flute, puffing away on cigarettes, and wearing only plastic thongs!

The guides in Toya Bungkah offer three different climbs. The short one, up and back for the sunrise, is Rp500,000 – 550,000 (four hours). The medium one involves a walk around Batur’s three caters, a visit to the bat cave, and a breakfast of eggs boiled by volcanic steam for Rp500,000 – 550,000 (five hours). The third option is the more interesting tour. Here you get the volcanically boiled eggs with banana and bread, the sunrise, a hike down to the other side of Gunung Batur, plus a trip to the “lucky temple” (Pura Bukit Mentik) three km beyond Toya Mampeh, where lava stopped just meters before the gateway. From the other side of Batur you can see two other volcanoes. For this tour they ask Rp550,000 – 600,000 (all day). All these prices apply to a group (maximum four people) and reflect first offers only.