Mount Rinjani in Lombok, being the second highest volcano in Indonesia after Mount Kerinci in Sumatra, is one of the most popular trekking in Indonesia. This is because it offers amazing adventurous hike that promises breathtaking view at the peak. It is also partly because of its good location in Lombok which is many independent travelers’ favourite.
Standing at 3,726 m, Mount Rinjani is one of the most active volcano in Indonesia, similarly to Mount Bromo in Java. It bears a caldera of 50 km square that holds a crater lake called Segara Anak (Child of Sea), which has a natural hot spring.
Mount Rinjani had been proposed by the government to UNESCO to be one of the world’s first official geoparks if approved.
Where is it
Mount Rinjani is situated inside Mount Rinjani National Park at Lombok, Indonesia. The national park is a 41,000 hectares of mountain and surrounding forests that represents the Nusa Tenggara ecosystem.
To be awe in nature’s best combination of beauty and danger, an active volcano that can be so foreboding and desolate yet so beautiful. The demanding trek that requires two days to conquer the mountain will make it all worthwhile when greeted by the view at the summit.
When is the best time to go
Weather at Mount Rinjani is like the rest of Indonesia, divided into two seasons – dry and wet season and the temperatures are quite even.
Best time to go is May – November during the dry season where there is less rain but more tourists. This is also the safest time to do trekking.
Time to avoid going is January – March when the park is normally closed due to heavy rain.
At other times, it is possible to trek Mt Rinjani mostly due to the tropical climate but please do not attempt to climb Mount Rinjani during lots of rain time because the path may be treacherous. Always check out for local weather before attempting the trek.
Also try to avoid weekends if you do not want the crowd.
What to see
Mount Rinjani of course.
Segara Anak Lake, the vast crater lake with a new cone forming in it, called Gunung Baru
Mulang Pakelem – the annual Hindu ceremony at the crater lake, dated back to 18th century when the Balinese invaded Lombok. You will get to see hundreds of white clad Hindu pilgrims sitting and praying at the lake.
During rice-planting season, the people here would have ceremonies on Mt Rinjani and Segara Anak lake where they would release small artificial fish made of very thin gold into the lake.
What to do
Other than trekking and summit Mount Rinjani, you can:
Explore Gua Susu (Susu Cave) – one of the famous caves in Rinjani worth visiting. The other two caves that you can explore is Gua Payung and Gua Manik.
Enjoy the natural hot springs in Aik Kalak at the crater rim
Explore local villages at Senaru where there are nice waterfalls around the area or at Sembalun Lawang where you can find weaving villages.
Trekking Mount Rinjani
There are two routes to go up Mount Rinjani:
Easier and most convenient route, it starts about 2 km to the west of Bayan village, on the way to Anyer. The trek will lead up to Batu Koq and from there to Senaru. From Senaru, the trek summit will take two days of 10 hours solid climbing. On the third day, if you still have the energy, you can do a steep trek down to the caldera where you will be rewarded with natural hot springs bath and also the view of the crater lake.
Sembalun Lawang ascent
This is the harder but claimed to be a more interesting route to trek Mount Rinjani is the Sembalun Lawang on the east side of the mountain. This trek is less well marked and a guide is highly recommended. You would need two nights via this ascent, one night to reach Pelawangan Sembalun campsite (9 hours) and next night to go up the summit of Mt Rinjani and down back to Sembalun.
Hike and climb to the summit of Mount Rinjani
Most people will start at Pelawangan Sembalun around 2-3am in order to catch the sunrise at the peak. The starting path is difficult for its steep and slippery and the final ascent is worst where it is narrow. Travelers report that if you do manage to make it to the top, the view is magnificent and well worth it with view of the crater and all the way to the island of Bali while surrounded by giant clouds. The photography here is also amazing!
Up and down both sides
To get the best of both routes and they offer different views of the place, you can always climb up one of the route and down the other. Recommended way is to trek up via Sembalun Lawang, cover the rims and even summit if you like and then down to the caldera before heading back to Senaru.
|Take extra precautions and safety when you plan to trek up Mount Rinjani and whether you want to reach the summit or not. There have been reports of fatalities here. The trek is also challenging and not to be taken lightly. Make sure your guide are well concerned with the safety of everyone. Also stay informed with the volcanic activities as it is still an active volcano.|
Also please keep the mountain clean and do your bit to clean up after yourself. It is also recommended to take a guide or join a hiking trip up Mount Rinjani for safety.
Where to stay
You cannot stay within the park itself but can always find various guesthouses and basic hotels at Senaru or Sembalun Lawang. The popular ones are Green Haven Homestays, Matra Bungalows and Rinjani Lodge *. If you want to go upmarket a little, at northwest Tanjung can be of choice. Many other travelers normally stay at Senggigi * instead and travel to Mount Rinjani by road for trekking.
You should decide on your accommodation base on which route you are taking to trek Mount Rinjani.
|-> Find the best hotel deals near Mt. Rinjani at Booking.com *|
How to get there
The popular way to get here is via Senaru village on the north of Mount Rinjani, it is also closer to the popular resort areas such as Senggigi.
Another way of getting there is via Sembalun Lawang entry point on the east of Mount Rinjani, and at 1,150 m, it is closer to the summit from here.
Fees / permit cost
The entry to the national park costs IDR 150,000 / person. Most times this is included in your trek package but do check before you sign on to any.
Sail to nearby Gili Islands for an escapade, and there are a few more mountains for you to climb if you haven’t have enough.
Always be safe and check the seismic activities report or on local media. This is a very active volcano therefore extra precaution for safety is recommended. Last Rinjani eruption was on 23 May 2010.
Some people might hit altitude sickness here, so know yourself.
Bring a jacket and gloves as it may get chilly up there. Remember proper attire like windproof clothes and appropriate hiking boots and headlamp.
Also, do not forget your sunblock as you can get sunburn easier the higher you go.