Gunung Rinjani : The trek you will never forget
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
– Toast with scramble Egg
– Egg Sandwich
– Fruits salad
– Egg sandwich with fried potatoes
– fried / soup noodle with boiled egg
– Rice with vegetable and mushroom soup
– Soup noodle + boiled egg
– Fruits Salad
– 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.