This post came a little late. It’s been a month since we hiked Mount Rinjani in Lombok, Indonesia with my best friend. Recently, I’ve had friends asking me about trekking Rinjani, so here is my humble guide to Mount Rinjani.
Mount Rinjani is located on the island of Lombok, a ferry ride away from the world famous Bali. Everyone has heard of Bali, but few know of the hidden treasure just a little east of it. In fact, Bali and Lombok belong to the same archipelago called the Lesser Sunda Islands in Indonesia. Mount Rinjani is an active volcano, with a caldera on top which is filled partially by the crater lake known as Segara Anak or Child of the Sea. The caldera also contains many hot springs which are free for hikers to explore and take a dip after an exhausting hike in the day.
Rinjani was the only proper trek I had ever done, but I had to say — it is not for the faint-hearted. I encountered many seasoned trekkers along the way, who told me that the summit climb in Rinjani was one of the hardest route they had ever did. If you are serious about hiking Rinjani, be prepared to be mentally and physically challenged on the mountain.
Difficulty level: 9/10
Experience: Beginner to experienced hiker
Flight and Transportation
The simplest way to get to Lombok Island is to fly, it only takes 2 hours 45 min. Direct flights from Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) to Lombok International (LOP) are available by AirAsia. A pair of return tickets cost about RM300 – RM500 depending on the season you go.
Finding the right Trekking Company or Guide
You will need a trekking guide and porter for your trek in Rinjani. Not because the mountain hides mazes that makes you go around in circles or beasts and carnivorous plants that eat you up alive, but for the sheer amount of water, food and camping equipment you have to carry. You will tire yourself out before getting to the crater rim. The routes on the mountains are well established and you will see travellers and trekkers along the entire route, but a guide could be a savior if you need a shortcut after half a day of hike. I recommend:
Rinjani Trekker (www.rinjanitrekker.id)
- What the trekking packages from this company include:
- Transportation from and to the airport
- 1 night accommodation at their base camp before you start your trek
- Trekking guide and porter
- Camping equipment up in the mountains, water and food.
Trekking Route & The Length of your Trek
Most trekking companies in Rinjani offers 2 routes up Rinjani:
- Sembalun Village — Plawangan Crater Rim — Crater Lake Segara Anak — Senaru village
- Senaru village — Crater lake Segara Anak — Plawangan Crater Rim — Sembalun Village
Yes, route 2 is basically the reverse of route 1. And I would definitely recommend route 1 over route 2.
- Day1 (via Sembalun): We started off at Sembalun Village and eased into our trek with 3 hours of levelled trails with amazing sceneries before ascending up dense forests to the crater rim (if you choose Route 2, you will do this on the last day). For the first night we camped at the crater rim before our 2 am summit push. On the second day, after we descended from the summit at around 10 am, we packed up our tents and continue the descend from the crater rim to the crater lake.
- Day2: We had a choice of staying at the lake for the night or continue to ascend back up the crater rim. And honestly camping at the lake was the BEST night spent on Mount Rinjani.
- Day3: We ascended again up the crater rim via a different route and camped in the dense forest where we shared our meals with monkeys.
- Day4: We had to descend through dense and steep forest to Village Lawang (if you choose Route 2, you would have to do the ascend as soon as you start off your trek, which can be daunting and exhausting before you even do the summit push).
I was a complete novice at trekking (my friend is what you can consider a hiking freak, she hikes Mount Kinabalu 2 weeks before Rinjani), but I did have a decent level of fitness before our attempt at Mount Rinjani. And we were both crazy over the idea of trekking a volcano and camping over a crater lake, so we chose 4D3N for our package. You can choose the length of your trek depending on your willingness to stay in the mountain and your fitness level. The route for 3–5 days is generally the same.
I’d recommend 4D3N for all beginners! If you think you have a decent level of fitness, go for 4D3N. I would not recommend 3D2N because the package does not allow you to camp at the Crater Lake. Once you reach at the lake, you have to continue your ascent into the forest and camp in the forest instead because that’s the only way to allow you to finish the entire trek in 3 days. And trust me, you dont’t want to miss the best part of Rinjani — breathtaking starry night, the great migration of morning mist (for the lack of better words, it’s mythical) and a relaxing bath in the hot spring.
What You Need for Trekking Rinjani
- Waterproof windbreaker or a rain jacket / rain coat — pouring rain is common in Rinjani, we got completely drenched in the forest, but fortunately it was on the last day of our trek.
- Proper trekking shoes/track shoes — I cannot stress how important shoes are, they can either make or break you in the mountain.
- A good sturdy backpack — a backpack with proper back support is crucial. And pack only the absolute necessities. Your back and legs will thank you a million times on the mountain.
- An attitude of being physically and mentally challenged — the trek itself is difficult but if I could do it without any prior physical training, I think anyone could. But the mountain will challenge you physically and mentally and pushes you to your limits over and over again for that 4 days. There was not a single moment on the summit push we did not feel like giving up. Determination was what sustained us through that 5 hours of excruciating climb. And what the mountain rewards you for your relentless spirit is beyond what you could ever ask for.