Mount Batur is a volcano at 1717 m above sea level which is located in the North East part of Bali Island. Mount Batur is a lucrative business runs by locals. The only one way to hike up there is to hire a guide and be part of a wonderful flow of tourists. There is no way to escape hiring a guide as you will easily put yourself into troubles with this ‘family business’. The reasons given behind the mandatory guide are ensuring the safety of hikers and preserving the holiness of the mountain.
Safety is an over-exaggerated statement as it is an easy way up for anyone with a normal physical condition. When it comes to holiness, I am not convinced that over 300 tourists hiking at the same time and talking out loud is the key to meditation and respect of the environment.
If you are a hiking enthusiast or a nature lover, I highly recommend NOT to go to Mount Batur. Do not get me wrong, the scenery is nice but the experience is laughable. It is by far the worst hike I have ever experienced in my life. What should normally be a 30 minutes hike up to the top turns into a walk of over an hour. People are making their way in single file and you have a limited time to spend at the top. Guides have other fish to fry than letting you enjoy the landscape for a couple hours!
Mount Batur pretty much sums up my feelings about Indonesia. It is undoubtedly one the most beautiful country in the world with an incredible diversity of landscapes and cultures but also the worst country to travel to. The management of the tourism industry is totally unhealthy. You are nothing else but a cash cow. Do not get me wrong, I have met really nice Indonesians but the overall impression is bad. There is literally no travel vibe so to speak. This only engage myself. Take it or leave it.