Rinjani
Hiking,  Indonesia,  Rinjani

Gunung Rinjani : The trek you will never forget

All You Need To Know About Trekking Rinjani (Almost)

Gunung Rinjani ( 3,726 m) contains one of the best treks South-East Asia has to offer. In fact, in my opinion, it was one of my most memorable and enjoyable treks. Okay, “enjoyable” might not be the best word to use. This trek is a pretty holistic and all-encompassing trek, with its breath-taking amazing sights, wide variety of trails, tiring yet not too technically difficult which makes it possible for amateurs to complete.

“If I had only 1 trek that I could do in South-East Asia,  it would no doubt be Mount Rinjani.”

Just a teaser : volcanic lakes to swim in, savannah grass to breeze through, boulders and rocks to climb, breath-taking sunsets and sunrises you’ll never forget, plus the innumerable stars you’ll try to count while camping at the top of a mountain. What is there not to love about this?

Having said that, a certain amount of fitness, combined with iron-will is most likely required to enjoy the trek and complete the trek. Like most treks, I believe if you have a strong enough will and is able to keep going one-step at a time, you’ll be able to complete it, it is just about how long you take.

You need at least 3 days for the trip unless you’re crazy and decide to do a 2 day 1 night climb ( by the same route) or you’re running up and down Rinjani so you can complete it in a day. Most people combine it with exploring Bali (massage, beach, relax, important things after a 3 day climb), or going diving at the Gili islands after the climb. Others explore the Flores islands to the east of Lombok. Therefore, climbing Rinjani makes a good 4 day trip by itself, or a 1-week trip when combined with other sites.

*Shoutout to Yuk Lun and Jingzhou (the king) for coming on this trip with me and celebrating my birthday!

*If you wish to get someone to organize, I can organize it. I have set up my own travel agency, so check it out here: http://www.littlemonsterstravel.com/rinjani3d2n/ or http://www.littlemonsterstravel.com/rinjani4d3n/  

Update 2020: Rinjani is open this year after the volcano eruption disrupted hikes for 2 years. However, with the Covid-19 situation, the routes, prices, entry system will all be changed!

Essential Trip Expenses :

Total Budget : SGD 280-350

As I did this trek in 2013, prices have changed from then in terms of the trek prices, but the other price estimates are still pretty much accurate.

Return Flight to Bali SGD 126. 

Accommodation : Free! In the mountains!

Transport :  

Taxi to Padang Bai : ~300,000-350,000 Rp

Slow Ferry to Lombok and back : 45,000 X 2

Package Trips :

3D2N Rinjani Trek with Ariee :  RP 1,250,000 (~SGD 125) -> Update : You won’t be able to get these prices in 2018

Others – 
Tips : Up to you, but seeing how much they carry, your food, water, tents, I think they deserve quite a bit. 150,000 RP is usually the standard.

Essential packing list : A good jacket that can withstand cold and the wind. Headlights. Hiking pole if you have. Rain cover for your bag. Emergency dry set of clothes. Tripod + Camera to capture the night sky!  

Getting There

The first thing you need to know is that Rinjani is in Lombok, which is the island beside Bali. If you think island means small, just google the size of Bali, Lombok, and then Singapore. They are all way bigger than Singapore.

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There are several ways to get to Lombok, and how you do so depends on what kind of trip you are looking at.

1) Direct flight to Lombok.

This is the most comfortable option and it can be inexpensive. It usually costs slightly more to fly directly to Lombok.  Moreover, from Singapore, only Silkair and Airasia has the route to Lombok and only 3 times a week. You can fly direct from other Indonesian cities too and its cheaper. You could fly from Bali-Lombok but I wouldn’t advise that cause the cost and the time taken is the same as the fast Ferry (transport to airport etc)

2) Fast Ferry to Lombok

The other alternative is taking a fast boat which takes 2 hours and cost about 250.000 IDR or more. This is the most popular option.  By Perama, the first boat is at 8:00 am and the last at 1:30pm I think. There are of course other fast boat options which you can get there. You can also get it as part of a package for Rinjani, or for Gili islands. They usually drop off at Senggigi I believe.

Once you are at the harbour in Lembar you can take a taxi and negotiated the price. The cost of the taxi is 35.000 IDR for person and it takes 45 minutes. It is possible also to take a bus if you arrive during the day the cost is 15.000 IDR, but at night they used to charge 30.000 IDR for person.

If you decide to carry on to Senaru by taxi it is approximately 4 hours in total. The price from Mataram to Senaru is 350.000 IDR. It’s also negotiable.

3) Slow ferry to Lombok.

This is the cheapest option from Bali. The only downside is the transport to Padang Bai which factors in as cost, but if you split it with people its definitely cheap.

You can take the ferry from Padang Bai to Lembar. The 24h operational slow ferry cost 45.000 IDR (2015, March) and takes 4 hours 30 minutes apparently, but let me tell you it takes around 6h most likely if you include waiting and docking time. The ferry can take long time to turn. There is a ferry trip every hour from what I remember. However, you get to travel like the locals do, which makes it an interesting experience.

Choosing your Trek

You can book your trek in Bali or Lombok. I guess for the cheapest option, it would be to go straight to Lombok and book there. The general rule of thumb is the closer you are to the trek, the cheaper it becomes. If you intend to do it yourself, I think it is possible but you need to bring your own camping equipment, register at the office. Most people go with a guide ( provides them with a source of income).

TIP : To get a reasonable price for your hikes, the general rule is to always negotiate in the country’s currency. For most cases, it works. Try to almost always negotiate in Indonesian Rupiah. Also, try not to reveal the number of people you are going with first when you are asking for the prices. The more people you have, the stronger your bargaining power. 

If you choose to get to Bali or Lombok and book there, do realize that most of the time these people are the agents. If you choose to do so, it is advisable to make sure you know every detail of your trek and who you are going with.

Here is a list of some essential information you should have to make your decision.

1) The guides

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The Boss

There are guides who can speak english, and guides who are just there to bring you up. The most expensive ones are usually the ones who can converse, tell you more about the Rinjani, the stories, the culture, the history.

Most importantly, it is ideal to get local guides, guides who are responsible or at least guides who know what they are doing. You also want to have responsible guides and porters who do not just throw trash around(hopefully) or burn plastic. For me, its important to see that guides are passionate about respecting, preserving and teaching people about this amazing area. They should have walkie-talkies as Rinjani is still an active volcano. The good thing about settling your trek before you get there is that you can be assured by who you are dealing with.

*When I first started writing this post, I wanted to teach people how to be the most hardcore budget traveller ever, but that’s not really it. There are definitely ways to do it even cheaper. Most importantly however, you can be budget, but still be mindful about how your money impacts the people and the environment. Sometimes it might be better to pay slightly more. When you see how tough their lives are, you will wonder whether that extra 5-10 dollars that you save makes more difference in your life than others. Therefore, I believe it is just most important to know who you are going with, and to understand where your money would be going. So do get to know your organizer and your guides.  

2) Number of you’re going with on the trek

Some guides bring like 15-20 people. It can be a chore when you’re grouped with many different people with different pace. It would be good to know the guide-people ratio as well as porter-people ratio. Usually there is at least a guide per 4-6 people.

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3) What is provided

Depending who you book with, some have better food, some have better beds, some set up toilet areas for you, and some provide unlimited water. I guess water provision is the most important. You just want to make sure they provide the tents for you, and the entrance fee is covered. Request for a breakdown, they usually give it.

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4) The itinerary and route to choose, and number of days. 

There are a few routes in to the summit. The route from Senaru and the route from Sembalun are the 2 most popular routes, while there are the lesser known ones which I won’t touch on as they are seldom offered and I didn’t do it. The main difference for the routes is on which day do you wish to scale the summit.

It makes more sense to do 4 days if you wish to have more time to enjoy the scenery or take more time to go down. You get to camp at the lake which is quite nice if you take 4 days I guess.

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Senaru : You get to see the crater rim and sites around the lake on the way up. The first day is a long walk through the forest which I personally do not like. I always prefer ending in a forest because I find the forest walks boring so it becomes more of a GTFO mountain time. I don’t like going to the summit on latter days as I think I’ll be too tired. You’re going all the way down after the summit. Ending at Sembulun is quite nice though as you will walk through the grassy patches and the villages.

Sembulun : I prefer the one from Sembalun as it takes me to the summit on the first day, and I rather go back down on the gentle forest ground. It is just the reverse route of Senaru. The difference is, whether you do 3 or 4 days, the first day is always the summit day.

Like most treks, Rinjani is best climbed or should I say, can only be climbed during the dry season, which is from April-November. Be warned, the trekking trails are generally closed outside of those periods, which is during the rainy season. The peak season is usually from June-August. I went in end June and it wasn’t so crowded, I heard it gets way way more crowded in July-August. How the crowds affect you, is essentially when you camp, for the nights and for food and at the crater lake.

Too many people jostling for camp sites, the lake or the spring, makes it quite unpleasant, especially with some of the trash accumulated. As it is a longer hike, please be mindful of the trash and as the saying goes, take nothing but photographs/memories, leave nothing but footprints.

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One of my favorite pictures at the summit!

 *Warning, this post is a long travelogue filled with pictures and details on what the hike is actually like. Spoilers alert. 

Rinjani Sembalun 3 Days Route : Day 0 

Day 0: Arrival at Lombok

Begin: Bali Airport End: Senaru Village
Elevation gain: ??
Distance: Across the sea

The true backpacking way is to take the slow ferry across the islands. Fast ferries are for noobs. I kid, take this option only if you are really on a budget and if you have loads of time. The taxi from the airport to Padang Bai took around an hour.

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The ferry terminal view from the ferry

 

Upon reaching there, make your way indoors past the gate to the ticket counter, ignoring everyone else like a plague just in case they try to scam you. Most likely, a surly ticket person will process your ticket silently. There are many people selling drinks, food like packet nasi lemak and local snacks that can cheer you up, or fill you while you wait for the Ferry. Guess what, we missed the ferry so we had to wait for another hour.

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The outer deck! Our tags are still on our bag.

The ferry journey supposedly takes around 4 hours, but as it is a passenger ferry, it can hold vehicles too. Waiting for the ferry to rotate into the harbour, and waiting for the vehicles to load and unload takes a long time. It took almost 6-7 hours for us. The next annoying thing is the second hand smoke because everyone smokes in Indonesia, and everywhere.

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Beware of second hand smoke

As we pre-arranged our trip, we got picked up at the ferry terminal and reached Senaru at around 1am as Lembar to Senaru takes around 2-3 hours. We asked to stop by one of those cheap Nasi Padang stores on the way where we had some food, which cost us maybe 1 SGD for a plate of rice and a few dishes.

At Senaru, we stayed at Pondok Indah “Hotel”. It is frankly just one of those normal homestays in the mountains before the trek. Don’t expect too much. No hot water I think, and the shower was in another room.We then met up with Airee where he went through the basic details on the trek.

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Photo taken next morning.

I booked beforehand with Ariee which I believe is under Rinjani Experience, or Ariee adventure. They should have many alias. John is Ariee’s uncle.  John is a very famous and respected (and of course rich) guide in Senaru. So, from what I gathered, I believe the few of them, who are more educated or entrepreneur would set up the websites and be the coordinator, for example Ariee would have 30 guides under him and run a few of the companies whom we know online as “Green Rinjani” or Rinjani Experience etc etc.

Just a rough idea of what they offered. This is word for word.

Rinjani Trekking Backpacker Service / Min 2 – Max 8 person
Equipment: Tent, Sleeping bag, mattress, cooking utensil
Fruits : banana and pineapple
Drink : aqua water, coffee and tea any times
Snack : Wafer, biscuit, Tim Tam, gabin.

Meals as like:

Breakfast
– Pancake
– Toast with scramble Egg
– Egg Sandwich

– Fruits salad

Lunch
– Egg sandwich with fried potatoes
– fried / soup noodle with boiled egg
– Rice with vegetable and mushroom soup
– Soup noodle + boiled egg

– Fruits Salad

Dinner
– Fried Rice with fried Egg
– Steam Rice with gado gado ( Veg with peanut sauce )+ Tofu
– Steam Rice with vegetable and mushroom soup + fried chicken
– Steam Rice with chicken curry
– Fruits Salad

Sounds like a feast? Like I said, Don’t expect too much ha ha. Noodles are basically instant noodles.

What does this all mean anyway? You either go straight to the top where you believe they can give you a better discount, or go straight to the guide because you believe you are cutting the “agent”. However, I have friends who approached the guides directly, but the price quoted is actually still higher.

Essentially, just be aware that all the different companies or organizations you approach online to pre-book could possibly all be run by the same few people.

As a rule of thumb, this situation is a natural progression for most treks with guides. The pioneer or famous guide will expand and have many guides under him. It could be a good thing because the area becomes more organized if led by the right people.

Day 1 : Senaru Village – Sembalun Village(1,150m) – POS 1 (1300m) – POS 2(1500m) – POS 3 (1800m) – Sembalun Crater Rim (2639m)

“Warm-up”

Begin: Sembalun Village 1,150m;

End: Sembalun Crater Rim 2,639m

Elevation gain: 1489m;

Time: ~7 hours of walking

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Getting ready!

We woke up at around 6am, to get ready as well as just nice for sunrise but little more than 4 hours of sleep.  A simple breakfast consisting of banana pancakes and coffee, plus a dose of adrenaline and excitement is enough to keep me awake while being transported to Sembalun Village (45 minutes) to settle some simple admin matters and registration at the Rinjani Information Center (RIC). We also left some stuff at the guide’s house so that we don’t have to bring everything up to Rinjani.

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6 of us and the guide! Here we go from Sembalun!

Sembalun Village (1,150m)

The trek starts from Sembalun Lawang(1,150m)  at around 9am and  takes around 1.5h – 2h.  It is a nice breezy walk with a gentle ascent, first walking past the villages and their planting fields, the cattle grazing areas before going to the open grassland. Beyond which, the majestic Rinjani will peer at you while you march forward.

I remember the first moment Rinjani pops out in full view. While just admiring the villages and farmland, I turn the corner and suddenly this gigantic great slab of rock, like one of those paper cones at the clinical water coolers, staring at us, or other mere mortals undaunted, leaving me slightly awe-struck all excited-jumpy inside as I go, “Holy! Thats where we would be soon! We’re climbing that!”

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Turning slightly up past the fields
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The first peek at the looming mountain!
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The grazing cattle, wondering, “Where are these animals heading to?”
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Upwards here we start!

POS 1 (Pemantauan) 1300 m

We took a 5-10 min break before moving onwards. In my mind, “Break? Why? Lets move on.” Hindsight 101, take breaks when you can.

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Rest point 1! The guide is too cool to rest.
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The porters with our food and tents, no idea how they do it.
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“That’s where we would be reaching next” Sky’s the limit!

POS 2 (Tengengean) 1500 m :

After the break, we embarked on a similar walk, except we started ascending. We walk on for another hour for some warm-up calf exercises before taking another short break,

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Other Hikers! Bring your own tent!
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POS 3 (Pada Balong ) 1800 m :

We stop for lunch though I wished we could walk on further. My mindset at that time was that I don’t need to eat much as I would rather just push myself all the way, reach the end and rest.

Although the trek wasn’t very steep or long, I guess carrying a load makes me slightly weary such that at the moment i unload, I was suddenly pretty glad we stopped for lunch. My shoulders were starting to hurt slightly. The bright side is that you can see other groups also stopping for lunch and if they stop later you can see their slightly shagged faces as they climb up and that glitter in their eyes when they realize its lunch. Lunch was around 2h at POS3. There are also monkeys roaming around so entertain yourself.

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Pos 3!
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Time to take a break at the bridge!
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Starting the fire for the chicken

The chicken looked big when they were cooking it, but it’ll magically shrink in size when it is on your plate. I half suspected someone stole the meat away, but thats how kampong chickens are.

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That’s how you do a fire!

You are bound to notice the amount of trash at the lunch area, especially after preparing the lunch. The instant noodles plastic cups/bags littered on the ground, the non-biodegradable items that are happily thrown around is a worry. Despite how wonderful the hike is, seeing all this litter around makes me feel quite sad, as well as confused over whether my impact is actually making this worse.

Would a greater influx of hikers help change this situation by creating a better culture, or would it become worse? Either way, everyone please take note of your footprint.

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The sad part about popular treks

Sembalun Crater Rim (Pelawangan Sembalun) 2639M :

After lunch, is where the real trek of the day starts. It is first a continuation of the grassland uphill, gradually getting steeper like a gym machine cranking up the resistance. Slightly higher up. the scenery will start to change as you will start to be surrounded by the massive pine trees called “Cemara”. Here, you will go through patches of forest, lean against some trees, grab whatever branches for support as they become your silent best buddies in this hike. This time, it’ll take 2-3 hours of unrelenting uphill.

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This is still the nice uphill part.
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Is the arrow pointing forward or up? I think its both.
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I love those leaves. I imagine a whole civilization of small liliputs running around them.
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The beautiful trees guarding us
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The king of the mountain!
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This is most likely what you’ll look like after awhile
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Just warm-up guys! Slow and steady!
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One step at a time
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Oh it gets steeper.
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and steeper
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A clear blue sky.
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The trail to the summit

As we go higher, there are a few vantage points where you can catch the trail to the summit, like a boomerang trail hooking across the clear sky. You will continuously see a “summit” which is actually just another ridge, but the view is still amazing.

After climbing the last turn, you will be rewarded with absolutely magnificent and unforgettable panorama. My view is always focused on the next step, or looking at the person’s bag or ass in front of you, once you step out into the clearing, the amazing view rushes at you, like breaking into another world. Rise above the fluffy mush-mellow clouds and they slowly part to grant the entrance of the volcanic lake Segara Anak (Child of the Sea Lake) and crater rim. On the other side of the view, you can see North of Lombok and the Sembalun village, and further ahead you’ll see the Rinjani summit.

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We are here!
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Nothing like chilling above the clouds
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Happy 3 friends!


I thought it was the end, but we walked further down to get a better camp spot. So the earlier you arrive, the more chance of you getting a better spot. That is also why the porters rush ahead to secure a good spot. There is actually a mini-race between the porters. At that moment I was all ready to lay down my bags and just lie down, but there was another 15 minutes to go to our spot.

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We thought we could camp here, but no!
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Almost there!
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Initially jealous when we walked past other people’s tents.
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The place to finally rest! Day 1 is over!
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I love the dotted trees lined on the other side, like ants, or Ent hikers.

Like pampered hikers, we just threw our stuff down, while the porters helped us fix up the tent. They also lay a mat for us while they prepared dinner, and we just sat around, too exhausted to do much except the enjoy the beautiful view and wind. It is also a good thing to reach up here fast so you have more time to enjoy the view while the sun is up. I realised that it might be better to camp further up so for the summit climb, you climb less in the early morning.

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The porters helping to fix up our awesome tents!
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View of the lake while we rested
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Others do Yoga
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How I wish I was Sun-Wu-Kong and I could ride those clouds
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Streaks of light over the crater rim, a-m-a-z-i-n-g
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Tent faces the view, starting to feel like a premium hotel.

Enjoy the sunset, as it descends very quickly. The golden glow of light enveloping over the area is a sight to behold. Once the sun starts to set, the temperature starts to drop quickly too. The wind chill is especially cold.Within 15-20 minutes, boom, suddenly its dark and cold. By then, we were shivering and wearing our jackets while eating our dinner.

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The sun starts to set over the horizon, very quickly
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The waning light, now the clouds give this ethereal feeling without the light.
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Starts to get cold.
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Our dinner, now you know what I mean by the disappearing chicken meat.
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Candlelight dinner in the mountains <3

After dinner, I simply crawled back into the tent to rest for the summit climb. Its another 6 hours of sleep before a whole day of climbing. It gets really cold so I was wearing my jacket even in the tent, while the howling wind played outside. Although the climb wasn’t that difficult, it was still strenuous and my legs were wobbly. I just spent my time stretching and hoping that my muscles will recover for the summit climb.

TIP :  Wake up in the middle of the night, at around 11pm-12am when everyone is definitely asleep. If the sky is clear, get out of the tent ( the wind isn’t very strong usually at this time), and enjoy the scenery. I had this experience when I woke up to pee. The gazillion stars twinkling; the hushed atmosphere as everyone is sleeping in the tents that dot the landscape; hearing my own breath while at the top of a mountain, is a feeling I’ll never forget. If you like staying up awake at 2-3am, this is for you.  

Day 02: Sembalun Crater Rim(2.639m) – Summit (3.726m) – Segara Anak Lake and Hot springs (2008m) – Senaru Crater Rim (2,641m)

“See-Saw”

Begin: Sembalun Crater Rim 2,639m;

End: Senaru Crater Rim 2,641m

Elevation gain: 1087+633 = 1720m

Time: ~12 hours of walking

Sembalun Crater Rim(2.639m) – Summit (3.726m)

When I woke up in the morning, my body was groaning for me to not do this. It was all tight but I was still pretty excited and quite pumped up. Time for some bananas for energy!!

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That’s me looking dazed.
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Yuk Lun looking fashionable.
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The king, just being the king. EVER READY.

Upon leaving the campsite, the path is rather steep passing high altitude vegetation for around 2h in the darkness on slightly muddy slopes and rugged landscape. If you’re lucky, the moon will light your path. Make sure to have headlights so that you can have proper footing which helps a lot!

Soon, I reached the ridgeline walk where the path is compact and nice to walk. This is the brief respite, the appetizer before the main meal, the bait before the trap. I was pretty tired, but that was only the start of hell.  I repeat, the moment your feet touch the volcanic ash, it really is the start of hell. It seems fun at first walking up the ash path, but it wouldn’t be fun when you start sliding down. Apparently, its twice as long as Merapi, at around 400m long. Doesn’t sound that long when you think about it like running one lap around the track.

2 steps forward, one step sliding back.

It is akin to walking on snow without proper snow shoes. I tried all ways, running up, walking slowly, crawling with my hands just to get up. Walking in other people’s steps seems the best option. I stopped ever so often, perched and leaning on one leg, my the other leg back, panting on the slope. I look up and see many people in the same position as me, it is pretty comical. There were countless times I wanted to just stop and sit on the random rocks that scream “REST!”, but what kept me going were the others that struggled around me. We were all getting there one step at a time. I see a clearing, the horizon, and I think, I’m almost there, I can do it.

It was only halfway.

It was fucking only halfway. There was another curve to the right. As I stare down that curve, I felt my whole soul drop to the base of the mountain, back to the beaches of Bali or the comfort of Singapore, how the hell am I going to get there. I hear the footsteps of another hiker, slowly, but steadily, inching past me. That is how I’m going to do it.

My thighs and calves were burning, my butt was burning, my lungs were burning, I couldn’t go on.

I shall sit on that rock, it is perfect for my sorry legs and ass to rest on. 

The sun was starting to rise and I was thinking, I am not going to reach there. It’s pretty high already, I might as well rest. As the sky start to slowly brighten, my hopes start to fade. Should I just stay here and watch the sunrise? It is good enough! Why torture yourself just for an overated sunrise up at a crowded summit when you can have it all to yourself on this rock?

Somehow, I managed to steel myself upwards, just keep going, stop thinking of whether you can make it or not, it is a marathon. Slowly, really slowly, I seem to get closer, the summit rocks come into play, the other people silently cheering you on. The last hundred metres become a race against the clock with the fast approaching sunrise chasing you.  I grip onto the rocks, and turn the corner, to the next, and go up a final tiny ridge, as if a red carpeted walkway for those who’ve completed the Rinjani Summit.

I’ve reached the summit.

I’ve made it.

At around sunrise in fact.

The sense of accomplishment and the view is extra-out-of-the-world amazing. From the Summit, you can see all of Lombok island, Bali, Sumbawa and Segara Anak Lake. Mount Agung in Bali can be seen just beyond the clouds, another mountain I can climb some other day. The sun will also cast a shadow of Rinjani unto the clouds that form a pyramid-like shape in the sky.

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An amazing cloud formation greets me
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The sun shining upon the islands
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Shadow of the mountain
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We made it! So did this creepy photobomber.

 

Summit (3.726m) – Sembalun Crater Rim(2.639m)

It is really cold and windy at the summit, as I stood there shivering with the others. I sat there most of the time, soaking in the view and the fact we all made it up, the whole group of us. It started to get crowded as well as the fact that sunrise is indeed overrated ha! Take turns to queue up and take a picture with the sign, because everyone is going to try to hog it. Surprised nobody took it back yet. So after an hour or so, at around 6, we made our way down. This time, you can understand how far you’ve climbed, and how crazy that summit climb was.

The descend time should be around half, rule of thumb is actually 2/3 the time you take to ascend. Going down is actually hard for me because I was really scared of slipping. The trick is to go down really fast, and some crazy people actually just run down screaming like Tarzan, crazy adrenaline junkies. The porters just laugh and smile, as they take their steady steps down, without a hint of being off balance.  I was scared, so I just slid down till my knees hurt and my shoes were filled with ash.

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The amazing view while going down, that’s how much you’ve climbed
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The trail up and down, its that steep
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The others who are still climbing up. I never want to do this in the day, it is too depressing.
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The rest of Lombok.
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You’re on one side of the curve, that’s the other side
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You have the sliders (noobs) and the runners
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Around the Crater lake!
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This is the easy flat part before hell
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Enjoying the last view of Lombok before we get down
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Crawling on all 4s cause I’m too scared and tired to walk down normally.



I made it back, the latest, think I took around 3 hours due to taking pictures ( carrying a DSLR on one hand is no joke) and being really lousy at going down. I just wished I could sleep the whole day in the comforts of my tent, but a light breakfast, and we’re soon on our way after packing up. At this point, I didn’t really care already cause I’ve been to the summit (woohoo!!) so everything else was a bonus. We had to make our way down to the lake, but my knees were already trembling with every step.

Sembalun Crater Rim(2.639m) – Segara Anak Lake and Hot springs (2008m)

The trek downwards isn’t difficult, but it is slippery at times, and there are quite a lot of rocks and boulders, and slight slopes. When you start reaching the grassy plains, you know you are close to the lake. After another 3 hours of downslope, we finally reached the lake. Time to jump into the hot spring as my feet couldn’t wait to take off my shoes. The lunch area is even dirtier than the previous day as it is very crowded with both groups (Senaru and Sembalun climbers) gathered in a small spot.

There are several activites to do at the lake; swim in the lake, go to the hot spring, take a nap (yes it’s an activity), play the guitar and cards, or even climbthe relatively new 200 years old Gunung Barujari (as known simply as Gunung Baru) in the center of the lake.

Apparently, to climb it, follow the lake eastward, which eventually will lead you up the final crater. A round trip will take you at least 4 hours so to do so you need an extra night on the mountain. It is extremely active so sometimes it is closed. On the foot of the new volcano, you will reach hot springs heating a little bay.  From this point it will take you about one hour to reach the top of this still growing smoking center volcano (2,363m).

For us, we chose to go to the hot spring. We had to walk to the hot spring, which was some distance away as everything is some distance when you are tired, even lunch. There was even some portion of uphill, but what the heck, what is uphill when you’ve climbed the summit of Rinjani? It is a very small area but quite amazing because the water is naturally hot, some times too hot for comfort, but it is nice to soak and relax. As it is a 3 day hike, we did not have the luxury of chilling in the spring, we had to go soon after lunch.

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View from my tent, let me sleep please
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Guess not, off we had to go
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Downwards to the crater lake
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Nice grassland to walk through
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This is actually the easy part
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Running from the noon mist! Please don’t rain!
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Almost there!
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Lunch spot!
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Hot spring time!

Segara Anak Lake and Hot springs (2008m) – Senaru Crater Rim (2,641m)

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The view from the Senaru side.

I don’t have much pictures here because I think I was just too tired, and I didn’t care as much anymore. On this side however, you get to see more the caldera, which is filled partially by the crater lake known as Segara Anak or Anak Laut (Child of the Sea)  according to Wikipedia, as well as the new cone Gunung Baru, which should be smoking half the time. The lake also have different colours, as it is emerald green, followed by yellow patches closerto the Gunung Baru side due to sulphur I believe. It is a nice view, but somehow a different atmosphere from the first day, it should be because of the summit hangover.

If you reach here, pat yourself on the back and enjoy the last night on the crater rim. After tonight, no more stars as you will just be getting out of the mountain.

Day 03: Senaru Crater Rim(2.641m) – Senaru Village (601m)

“Are we there yet? I can’t feel my legs”

Begin: Senaru Crater Rim 2,641m ; End: Senaru Village 601m

Elevation gain : -2040m 

Time: ~5 hours of walking but feels like forever

Its a cold morning, but the view at sunrise is beautiful as usual. I woke up, just wandering around as the porters make our breakfast and enjoy the view. From this vantage point you can see in the distance a similar view as the summit, the gili islands across the ocean, Gunung Agung and the coast of Lombok island.Also, up the hill are all the other camps. Looking at the porters and guides who see this every other day, I wonder what I’ll think of if I come here so often.

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Campsites lined up the trail. The view is way more beautiful than this shot.
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Watch the morning glow embrace the rolling hills
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What muse do they have with every wonder nature provides them?
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V for victory. That’s the only reason why this picture is here.
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So long summit, I missed you…not. Amazing how we were at the top just 24h ago.
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Wasn’t joking about the view from the toilet. Is that AGUNG??
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Pack up bros. Last stretch of your worst fears is coming.

After breakfast, it is the knee breaking exercise. It is just a descent all the way, to me it was almost equally mentally challenging as the summit.

“BRING ME A HELICOPTER” 

The first hour drops very steeply though high elevation grassland via a shelter at Cemara Lima (2,480m). The paths was narrow such that I was jumping off the side walls. I wished I was as agile or used to going downhill like the Swiss people on my team, perhaps I just have a bad sense of balance.”

“LET ME ROLL DOWN PLEASE” 

Once we reach the trees, and it gets more gradual, with the last part running through the forest. There are many birds and beautiful butterflies that will mesmerize you along the way which was quite enjoyable, but my knees were hurting, feeling the pain to the bones, I need milk for it. By then, I was numb to the pain and just moving forward without thinking, hoping, and continuously hoping it will end soon.

“I NEED TO CHANGE MY LEGS NOW. BRING ME REPLACEMENT LEGS”

When the ground finally became flat, and I could see the gate before me, it was a wave of relief, that this “torture” had reached an end. We just sat around for a short lunch, before being brought back to the guide’s house to get our stuff.

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Some uphill warmup to stretch our legs
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and…down we go!
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down down down (reminds me of a song)
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Past boulders to grassy plains
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We have to reach the bottom??
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I hope the guides brought me a parachute.
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Running cause walking is way too slow and easy
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Frankly, this amazing view while you walk down?
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and the porters carry stuff like that for 3-4 days. I shall stop complaining now.
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The man of the moment, the young porters
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Chopping wood, because we need fire.
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It says, “WARNING! You are reaching the end of your amazing trip, please turn back and walk up again!”
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You’ll orgasm when you see this sign, I swear.
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WE DID IT!
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Goodbye Lombok!


After that, we stayed an extra day in Lombok and took the slow ferry back to Bali.

That sums up the trip! It was an amazing trip, one that would leave your body aching for the next 3 days.

“I thought of whether I would do it again.”

I highly doubt it, I can’t imagine myself going through those 3 days again.

But, for everyone else who have not done it, please do, I beg you, attempt to climb Rinjani once in my lifetime. It will change you.

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8 Comments

  • Louisa

    Wah you can still narrate in such detail from so long ago. Airasia flies direct to lombok from sg too

  • Johnny

    Such a detailed post about Rinjani! Totally the exact information I was looking to find. Planning to go this coming June/July. Thank for all the useful tips! Would like to ask if you were to do it again (IF.. xD) would you choose 3 days again or 4 days trek? I am reasonably fit (or should i say was?), been to Mount Batur and Mount Kinabalu and used to hike once in a while in Malaysia. Would you recommend me to take 3 days or 4 days trek? Thanks and hope to hear from you soon!

    • ganworm

      Hi Johnny,

      Thanks!

      I think the decision of whether to do 3 or 4 days lies with the company and the type of trekker you are. For me, if I had good company and all of us wish and love to spend more time on the mountains, I would choose 4 days because it is more relaxing going down. Going up is still the same if you do Sembalun route. It is nice to spend time at the lake with your friends, provided the weather is good.

      But if you are the kind that is there just to conquer the mountain, 3 days is better. It can be pretty crowded in Rinjani and one can have way better food and better rest in Lombok ha!

      If you go by Sembalun route which I recommend, fitness doesn’t make a difference to why you choose 3 or 4 days because the 1st day and summmit day is the same for both itineraries. Therefore the only difference is whether you wish to rest at the lake after summit or not.

      I hope this helps!

      If you are looking for someone to plan the trip for you, I can plan it for you too =)

      • Johnny

        Hey was going through all over the internet again before my trip (going to hike beginning of July) and then found my own comment in your blog LOL!!! Thank for your reply! Will be doing the 3D2N tour as my main goal is to summit and got to Bali. How should i contact you? I haven’t get the agent/company yet for my Rinjani hike.

  • A.I

    Found this when I was googling on Rinjani. I’m not much of a hiker bt I was thinking of going up Rinjani in August. Will you say that it is easier to go via Sembalun rather than Senaru? And descend via Sembalun as well? I did read that Senaru was tough. Really appreciate your thoughts.

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