There could be 100 people on the summit, but this is likely to occur only in the tourist season. Most tourists are guided to the sandy top of the middle crater. The topmost crater to the north is another hour’s climb, along a narrow rim only one meter wide, and the view isn’t as fine. At the top there’s a small shrine to Vishnu. See the sun slowly lighting the whole lake, catch glimpses of Gunung Rinjani on Lombok to the east. Peer into the volcano’s steaming core and sit awhile on warm rocks. Take in the sweeping panorama across the shimmering waters of the lake, spot the rivers of lava diverted by huge boulders. Look for relatively recent, all-black lava flows, lava tubes, and parasitic cones. From the southern rim take the trail down inside the crater to the bat cave. If you intend to stay in the Batur region for just a day, get down in Toya Bungkah by Rp50,000 or you may have to spend a lot of money chartering a bemo up to Penelokan. Allow time to bathe in the cool lake or in Toya Bungkah’s hot springs below—just what you need.
Note: With your own transport, the four-hour up-and-back climb can be made in a single day from Denpasar or Ubud. If you leave Ubud at 0630, it takes just an hour to drive to Lake Batur via Penelokan, then start climbing by 0800 and you’re back down to the lake by noon. (Don’t pay more than Rp200,000 one-way for a chartered bemo from Ubud to Penelokan.) If you leave Ubud at 0300, you get to the base of the mountain at around 0400 and arrive at the summit just in time for the sunset.