Guide to Trekking Mount Rinjani, Lombok
Mount Rinjani in Lombok is the second highest volcano in Indonesia, right after Mount Kerinci in Sumatra and one of Indonesia’s most popular trekking spots. This strenuous hike may be one of the greatest challenges in life but if you succeed, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking sunrise and a view over the whole island including the Gilis and even Bali.
Standing at 3,726 m in the north center, Mount Rinjani takes a good chunk of the whole Lombok, and its massive caldera of 50 km square holds a crater lake called Segara Anak (Child of Sea), which has a natural hot spring. The Gunung Baru, a new volcano forming in the crater lake, is one of the most active volcanos in Indonesia, similar to Mount Bromo in Java, and adds to the scenery as an incredible landmark.
The government had proposed Mount Rinjani 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 in Lombok, Indonesia. The national park is a 41,000 hectares of mountain and surrounding forests that represent 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 requires three days to conquer the mountain and will make it all worthwhile when greeted by the breathtaking view, including sunrise at the summit. For people with less time, two days trek is available, but you will miss some of the experience as you won’t go down into the crater, take a dip in the crater lake and relax in the soothing hot springs.
When is the best time to go
Weather at Mount Rinjani is like the rest of Indonesia, divided into two seasons – the dry and wet seasons and the temperatures are quite even.
The best time to go is May – November during the dry season when there is less rain but more tourists. This is also the safest time to go trekking.
The time to avoid going in January – March when the park is normally closed due to heavy rain.
At other times, it is possible to trek Mt Rinjani primarily due to the tropical climate, but please do not attempt to climb Mount Rinjani during lots of rain 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, no description needed.
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 the 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, local people have ceremonies on Mt Rinjani and Segara Anak lake, where they release small artificial fish made of very thin gold into the lake.
What to do
Other than trekking and summiting 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 are Gua Payung and Gua Manik.
Enjoy the natural hot springs in Aik Kalak at the crater rim
Explore local villages at Senaru and nice waterfalls around the area or at Sembalun Lawang where you can find weaving villages.
Trekking Mount Rinjani
Usually, the trek starts either at Senaru or Sembalun Lawang. In both villages are plenty of travel agencies offering 2-3 days treks including – next to their guidance – water, food and accommodation in tents for a reasonable price. You can book online if you are on a tight schedule or show up and find a party leaving the next day or the day after. It is not recommended to try the trek on your own as even though the route is quite easy, it is physically demanding. Also, make sure to bring a warm jacket, hat, and gloves. Trekking agencies can usually provide sleeping bags and mats, sometimes even extra clothing if you are in need.
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Senaru – Summit – Sembalun
On the first day, you hike up from Senaru to the crater rim and take your camp. On the second day, you go down into the caldera, take a relaxing bath in the hot springs, and even swim in the crater lake if you like. You hike up the crater rim at the opposite site and take your camp. On the third day, you start hiking to the summit at 2-3 am. If you make it, you reach the top towards sunrise and get rewarded with a stunning view. After that, you trek down to the camp and finally to Sembalun.
Sembalun – Summit – Senaru
You start at Sembalun and hike up to the crater rim to take your camp. On the second day, you start hiking to the summit at 2-3 am. On the other way, if you make it, you reach the top towards sunrise and get rewarded with a stunning view. After returning to the camp, you descend into the caldera and take a soothing bath in the hot springs (this is awesome after climbing the summit on the same day). You hike up at the opposite side to the rim and take your camp. On the third day, you descend to Senaru.
If you have less time and only want to spend two days and one night, you can start at Sembalun, hike to the summit on the second day and go back to Sembalun without descending into the crater.
Hike and climb to the summit of Mount Rinjani
You start at the crater rim around 2-3 am to catch the sunrise at the peak. The path is difficult as it’s steep and the ground is mostly soft sand means that for every two steps forward, you might drop one step back. Furthermore, the way is fully exposed means there can be strong winds, and it can be freezing. This said, this trek is not an easy one, and you should bring decent physical fitness. If you manage to make it to the top (quite many won’t due to exhaustion, so be prepared!), the view is magnificent and well worth it looking at the crater and to the island of Bali and the Gilis while surrounded by giant clouds. The photography here is also out of the world!
|Take extra precautions and safety when you plan to trek up Mount Rinjani and whether you want to reach the summit. There have been reports of fatalities here. The trek is also challenging and not to be taken lightly. Make sure your guide is well concerned with the safety of everyone. Also, stay informed about volcanic activities as it is still an active volcano.|
Also, please keep the mountain clean and do your bit to clean up after yourself. Taking a guide or joining a hiking trip up Mount Rinjani is also recommended for safety. If possible, choose an agency that takes responsibility for keeping the mountain clean and carries the group’s waste back down.
Where to stay
You cannot stay within the park 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, northwest Tanjung can be of choice. Many other travelers normally stay at Senggigi * instead and travel to Mount Rinjani by road for trekking.
It would help if you decided on your accommodation based on which route you are taking to trek Mount Rinjani.
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 east of Mount Rinjani, and at 1,150 m, it is closer to the summit from here.
Entry to the national park costs IDR 150,000 per person. Most times, this is included in your trek package but do check before you sign on to any.
Where to go nearby
Back to Lombok beaches like Kuta beach or Senggigi and Tanjung.
Sail to the nearby Gili Islands for an escapade, and there are a few more mountains for you to climb if you haven’t had enough.
Always be safe and check the seismic activities report or local media. This is a very active volcano therefore, extra precaution for safety is recommended. The 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 headlamps.
Also, do not forget your sunblock, as you can get sunburned easier the higher you go.
|1. Book the best accommodations – Booking.com* or Agoda.com *|
|2. Find the cheapest flight options that suit you – Omio.com * or 12Go.asia *|
|3. Rent a car in advance and make your trip more convenient – Rentalcars *|
|4. Make the most of the time that you have! Exciting excursions, professional guides, and more – Klook *|
Photo credits from top: NeilsPhotography, Paul Hessels, NeilsPhotography, Blek, Jos Dielis, Trekking Rinjani, Trekking Rinjani, Paul Hessels and Trekking Rinjani