Mount Rinjani in Lombok is the second highest volcano in Indonesia right after Mount Kerinci in Sumatra and one of the most popular trekking spots in Indonesia. This streneous hike may be one of the greatest challenge 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 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, similarly to Mount Bromo in Java and adds to the scenery as an incredible landmark.
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 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 are 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 soothening hotsprings.
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, 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 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 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 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 just 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 really physically demanding. Also make sure to bring a warm jacket, hat and gloves. Trekking agencies usually can 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, taking a relaxing bath in the hot springs, 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 at 2-3 am to the summit. 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 at 2-3 am to the summit. Same as 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 soothening bath in the hot springs (this is really awesome after climbing the summit at 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 at 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 2-3am in order to catch the sunrise at the peak. The path is difficult as its steep and and the ground is mostly soft sand that means for every two steps forward you might drop one step back. Furthermore, the way is fully exposed that means there can be strong winds and it can be really freezing. This said, this trek is really not an easy one and you should bring a decent physical fitness. If you do 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 all the way 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 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. If possible, choose an agency that takes responsibility in keeping the mountain clean and carry the groups waste back down.
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.
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.
Where to go nearby
Back to Lombok beaches like Kuta beach or Senggigi and Tanjung.
Sail to 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 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.