At 3,726 metres above sea level, Mount Rinjani looms large over the entire island of Lombok in Indonesia.
Of the 130 volcanoes in the country, Rinjani is the second-highest (topped only by Mount Kerinci on Sumatra).
Rinjani’s ominous silhouette is a constant reminder of the powerful forces rumbling just beneath the surface of the earth.
That power is what draws hundreds of intrepid hikers to Rinjani every day.
Mount Rinjani is an active volcano located on a small island in Indonesia called Lombok. The easiest way to reach the mountain is to fly directly to Lombok International Airport (Airport Code: LOP) and then taking a long drive to the foot of Mount Rinjani. This drive takes about 2.5 – 3 hours, going through Mataram and circling half the island before finally getting to Rinjani. It features long windy roads on cliffs with tons of wild monkeys on the side of the road.
If you can’t fly directly to Lombok, the best way is to transit through Jakarta or fly into Bali and take a boat out to Lombok. However, this would take a lot of time and you might have to stay extra overnight somewhere.
Mount Rinjani trekking opens from April until January. After January the rainy season kicks in and Mount Rinjani trekking can get quite dangerous. April and May are the quietest months of the year for trekking and actually, have some of the best views as the landscape is incredibly green. The best time to climb Mount Rinjani would be in May to enjoy the best views and quieter crowds.
There are two main points of entry to Rinjani National Park.
You can ascend from the village of Sembalun or from Senaru. On three- and four-day hikes, you depart from one village and descend to the other.
We highly recommend starting in Sembalun because of the way the trails are configured.
The first day of ascent from Sembalun is steep and sandy. It looks like it would be absolutely brutal going in the opposite direction.
Likewise, the descent to the crater lake is so steep and rugged, that it would be a real leg-breaker going the other way.
If you want a more off-the-beaten track experience, book a private tour and ask about one of the less-used routes, like the trails from Aik Berik or Torean. We wish we had known about them before our trek!
You’ll sleep snuggled in a tent at a campsite on the crater rim or by the lake.
Our tent was clean and modern, if a little bit short for our long bodies! The sleeping bags had been freshly laundered and the camp pillows were also clean.
You won’t find much solitude at your campsite though, since hundreds of other trekkers will be camping right alongside you.
The climb on the first day starts sweetly. Trotting on a gentle path cutting through green vegetation, the hike to Mount Rinjani seems easier than anticipated. The group is excited and adrenaline drives legs and soul during the first hours. However, after lunch, expect a three-hour prolonged, steep and dusty climb. Never underestimate the journey, but as always when hiking, feel and respect your body. Patience and resilience are the best qualities of expert climbers.
The hike to Mount Rinjani can be done without local guides. By showing a paper with an official permit, prepared hikers can attempt the trek solo. However, having expert guides leading your journey could be essential to your trek. They’ll be your superheroes, carry all the camping gear, and, most importantly, they are local so they know the mountain, her secrets, moods, history. Connection with the surrounding natural environment is essential when hiking, as much as having the latest gear. Also, a good guide will motivate you during your lowest moments, one step at a time.
When you start your journey on the second day, it takes approximately three hours, with the first two fairly easy, but the last part is very steep, with loose stones and slippery dirt. It’s tough. But the smile you’ll have at the top will make it so worth it. Reaching almost 4,000m above sea level, the view will be something that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. You’ll be able to admire Lombok, Sumbawa, Bali and Segara Anak Lake, while the sunrise will gently caress your skin and warm your tired body.
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