UPDATE FEBRUARY 2020: I was always interested in trekking Mount Rinjani, the highest mountain on Lombok Island, ever since I first visited Indonesia, so finally in April 2019 I finally did it. I had just finished building a library for a rural community in Bali with our GiveBack GiveAway foundation, and after 2 weeks in Bali, we were off to Lombok to celebrate. Before we could crack the beers and jump in the ocean though, we wanted to earn it so 6 friends and I signed up for a 1 night/2 day trek up to Mount Rinjani’s crater rim. And it was worth all the steep hills and sweaty stresses.
To help you guys out, I’ve answered all the main Rinjani questions below here, followed by a recount of my experience trekking Mount Rinjani too.
Where is Mount Rinjani? And How Do I Get There?
Mount Rinjani is a volcano on Lombok Island, in Indonesia. Lombok is the lesser known little brother of next door Bali.
To get to Lombok is super easy, you can either take a 25 minute flight from Bali (roughly $50 or so), or you can take a 5 hour, bumpy boat ride from Bali. Also, you can know fly directly to Lombok from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Most people come from Bali though. To get to Rinjani from either the airport or the boat terminal, your operator will meet you, pick you up and drive you to 1 of the 2 towns from which you begin climbing Mount Rinjani, Senaru or Sembalun.
What’s the Best Time to Hike Mount Rinjani
The dry season, so April to November. During the rainy season (early January to the end of March) the trails are actually closed, making it impossible to climb Mount Rinjani. I climbed it in April and the weather was great, apart from being freezing at the summit, but it’s almost always like that.
How High is Mount Rinjani? And How High is Rinjani Crater Rim?
The summit of Mount Rinjani is 3726 meters (12,224 feet), whereas Mount Rinjani Crater Rim altitude is 2639m (8,658 feet). As of June 2019, it’s impossible to climb to the Summit of Mount Rinjani due to an earthquake and a landslide rendering the route impassable. However, don’t worry – the famous views, and the photos you’ve probably seen of Rinjani are all found at the Crater Rim, so you can still enjoy that. This is exactly what our group did it and was amazing.
How Much Does It Cost to Hike Mount Rinjani?
You can either hike to the Summit (not currently possible due to the landslide), or to the crater rim. The Summit trek is 3 days/2 nights and costs around $250USD, the Crater Rim takes 2 days/1 night and costs roughly $185USD. My group booked with Ali Trekking, and it cost us around $160 or so but we had a group so it was a little cheaper.
Is It Difficult to Climb Mount Rinjani?
It’s not easy! The 3-day Summit climb is legitimately difficult, I’d say 7/10 for someone who is in shape. Tough, but very possible. The 2 day Crater Rim trek, which we did, is still not easy. If you’re moderately fit, play some sport or hit the gym, then you can do both treks without training specifically for them. If you’re out of shape, I’d suggest training for up to a month or so in advance. Each day is 6-8 hours hiking, and it’s steep, so it’s no joke. But if you’re traveling, and you’re active, then, by all means, sign up and do it, it might be a challenge but you’ll get up.
Trekking Mount Rinjani; My 2 Day/1 Night Experience
After volunteering in Bali for 2 weeks, we had planned to celebrate with beaches, beers, and paradise in the Gili Islands, off the coast of Lombok island. But before that, we wanted to get trek Mount Rinjani to the crater rim. We were 2 guys and 4 girls, and the last 2 weeks hadn’t exactly been perfect training, burning the candle at both ends. Despite that, we were determined to get to our destination.
I had booked our Mount Rinjani Crater Rim Trek trip with Ali Trekking, and as part of that package, they’d pick us up at Lombok airport after our short hop across from Bali. From there we’d be driving to the North of the island to the town of Senaru. Senaru is one of the 2 towns from which you can start your climb, the other of which is Sembalun. It doesn’t make too much difference which you choose but generally, if you’re doing the Crater Rim trek, you’ll probably start from Senaru, like us.
The drive from the airport to Senaru is actually pretty long, 3-4 hours, so aim to land in Lombok around lunch time. That should get you into Senaru around 3pm and you can enjoy the views. If you go with the same operator as us, they own 2 hotels in Senaru, you can stay there for the 1 night (included in the price). Both hotels are decent, with WiFi, hot showers and amazing views.
The following morning you wake up around 6am and have breakfast at the hotel, before taking a very short 5-minute drive to the start point from the trek around 7.30am.
There’s not too much more to say from here, other than you start around 8am and stop for lunch about 11.30. One thing to note though, like I mentioned above, is that the whole thing is seriously steep, and it starts off that way right from the start.
You have porters with you though, so the only thing you carry is a little daypack with your water and snacks, the porters have all the tents, food etc. Once you reach the mid-point around 11 to 12, you stop for lunch. Here the porters will set-up a little cooking station and make you fried noodles or fried rice (with chilly sauce, yum!). We ended up chilling here for over 90 minutes, but you can get on your way faster once you’re done if you wish.
The next couple of hours are the last sections of trees, still steep, and still tough, but at least you’re undercover. The final push, you’re at about 2500+ metres of altitude so less trees and more sunburn. The girls in our group found the last 1.5 hours a real challenge, so be ready for it. 3 large, steep hills that go on for quite a while before finally you reach the campsite.
As the porters assemble your tents, you can walk the last 10 minutes from camp to the crater rim, and you’ll see why so many people make this epic hike. It’s just gorgeous. For us, the crater was quite cloudy, so we didn’t get that postcard shot, (until the next morning), but the clouds make the most amazing natural scene from camp.
After soaking up the volcano views, you come back to camp and relax. It’s probably still only about 4pm, with dinner around 6.30. So chat with you group, check the view and relax. I wish we had bought a bottle of booze, there’s something about camping and strong alcohol that makes an amazing mix, but alas we didn’t. Still, sitting above the clouds, after a beautiful hike, was a wonderful evening regardless. Our guides even revealed a bottle of Bintang beer for us each after dinner, which was a welcome touch.
One word of warning though, as soon as the sun sets, it gets FREEZING. Like almost 0 degrees freezing. So bring wooly hats, gloves, thermals and a big coat. You’ll need it. A lot of our group were really chilly during the night and struggled to sleep. The porters bring decent mattresses and ok sleeping bags, so no drama there, it’s just the right clothing that you need to bring.
After a chilly night, you’ll wake up for a 7am breakfast. Some people wake up to watch sunrise on the volcano, but the sun doesn’t rise at the right angle so I wouldn’t bother personally. That said, absolutely go to the Crater Rim first thing when you do wake up, the clouds normally haven’t formed yet and you get a crystal clear view of the whole rim. It’s beautiful. A spot of brekkie, and you begin your descent around 8am.
All things being well, you’re due for lunch around 11am or so. We decided to tell the porters to skip lunch, so we could get down quicker and get to Gili T – I’d recommend you do the same. And we were at the foot of the mountain by about 1pm. From there, we got dropped to the port near the Gili islands, a 1.5 hour drive, and we organised a private boat to take us to Gili T. We were having smoothie bowls and cocktails by 5pm. Now that’s effiency!
Trekking Mount Rinjani was a really worthwhile hike, and it made our time in the Gilis even more special. It’s a shame that the summit is closed, but the Crater Rim is spectacular and still allows you to push yourself hard for the hike. Our operator was great, he was well priced, easy to deal with, spoke English and was quick to answer emails and queries in the lead up to the trip, so thanks to AliTrekking.com.
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