The Mount Rinjani Trek began in Senaru, Lombok. Senaru is a small mountainside village at the base of Indonesia’s second largest active volcano, which is a whopping 3,726 meters high! It’s the main hub for anyone wishing to take the Rinjani Trekking challenge. There are many accommodation options and tour operators to help you organise your trek. My friends and I stayed at Blue Mountain Cottage Homestay… it is budget accommodation for 100,000 rupiah per night ($10) for an air conditioned room and private bathroom. The room sleeps 2 so thats only $5 each a night, BARGAIN!
The owner of the homestay helped us to organise a 3 day and 2 night trek to Mount Rinjani. After some haggling we managed to get the price for the trek down to US $100 per person. This is inclusive of porters, food, water, tents, sleeping bag and a guide.
The adventure began early morning when a driver and our guide met us at the homestay to take us to the starting point. We piled in to the back of his ute and drove through some villages for around an hour before arriving to the official entrance office of Mount Rinjani National Park. We had to provide our names and passport number as a safety requirement so everyone was accounted for at the end of the trek.
And then we were off! With a clear view of Rinjani in the distance I was anxious to see what surreal landscapes laid ahead. The first 3 hours of the trek were quite mellow, and some thick fog made its way up the mountain side, cooling us down with its breeze. We stopped to rest for an hour while the porters were quick to whip up a big serving of nasi goreng for lunch!
It was another 3 hours trek through some slightly harder terrain before reaching the crater rim. This is where we set up camp for one night. (Well, by we I mean the porters, since they insisted on setting up our tents and preparing dinner for us!) We wandered down a ridge trail to find a good viewpoint for sunset and we were spoilt with an incredible view of the lake and another volcano inside the lake. The sun was setting behind the opposite ridge from where we were standing, saturating the sky with bright reds and warm, delicate oranges. Looking back at the camp site was an unreal sight of colourful tents perched on the rim of the crater. Talk about a room with a view!
Our guide informed us that we were to start the trek to the summit at 2:30am the next morning. So, we enjoyed our meal the porters prepared for us then made our way to the tents to rest up for the big finale.
Before I knew it I was being woken up by our guide, handing me a banana pancake through the zipper of my tent. It was 2am and time to start the hike to the summit for sunrise.
One hour in and the 5 of us had already managed to have split up. I must admit, it was not an easy climb. The temperature was below freezing and the wind was howling across the narrow ridge that we had to walk across. There were lava tubes and large rocks to take cover out of the wind to warm up. The last kilometer to the summit was the most challenging as the ground surface was covered in loose rocks… I was literally taking one step forward, to then only slide back down 2 steps.
The sun was just poking up over the horizon as I reached the summit 3 hours later. My fingers were frozen and I was struggling to take photos, hoping for the sun to warm me up soon. The 5 of us regrouped at the summit and we climbed down in to the crater to get some shots. It seemed majority of other trekkers had already started to descend as the cold temps and strong winds were almost unbearable. We were the last group to descend from the summit… but it was definitely worth spending more time at the top to witness the sheer beauty as the sun lit up the inside of the volcano.
We arrived back down at our campsite on the crater rim at around 9am. We had to eat breakfast quickly before making our way down into the crater towards the lake. At this point my leg muscles were tightening up, which was not a good feeling knowing we had another full days hike ahead. 2-3 hours later we made it down to the lake where there is a natural volcanic hot spring. We spent some time here to recharge our batteries, and to shower off the sweat!
Our porters once again prepared us some mi goreng for lunch and then we set off to climb to the crater rim on the opposite side of the lake. The views on this side of the crater were spectacular. The blue lake was glowing and the dense jungle created a naturally moody scene. It’s hard to believe there was another volcano… growing inside a larger volcano… which was then surrounded by a lake! I felt like I was in a Jurassic Park movie set!
We made it to the top of the rim 2-3 hours later, which is where we thought we were camping for the night… but it so happened our porters had continued on walking down to another camp spot to set up. We were pretty disappointed because we wanted to see the sunset from the rim, but we didn’t have much choice but to follow our guide to another campsite.
We trekked down for another 1.5 hours before reaching the campsite. Upon arrival I was absolutely exhausted, so I skipped dinner and went straight to bed.
The following morning was the last day of the trek and it was a beautiful trek down through the shaded forest. I spotted lots of monkeys swinging around impressively from tree to tree, wishing I could swing around with them! The end of the trek ended at the road that lead us down to our homestay. We were all so hyped to have accomplished the 3 day trek that we tipped our guide and porters 50,000 rupiah each for their efforts!
I would rate this trek at an advanced level and I recommend for non experienced hikers to choose the 2 days & 1 night or 4 days & 3 nights option. The 3 days & 2 nights was very full on as there was not much rest time, though it’s manageable for an experienced hiker.
Like I said at the beginning of this article, we paid US $100 per person, so expect to pay this amount or more depending on your budget.
The Mount RInjani Trek is one of the best adventures I have ever been on, and a truly unforgettable experience!