MOUNT RINJANI TREKKING REVIEW: PHOTO BLOG
Trekking Mount Rinjani was one of the most epic journeys of the year for me! We endured three days and two nights led by our guide and two porters to the summit of Mount Rinjani, an incredible 3,726 meters. I’ve written this Mount Rinjani review blog to help you set up your trip and to share with you my experience so you will have some idea of what to expect for your own journey!
I also wrote a full guide about 16 adventurous things to do on Lombok. You can check out my most popular Lombok article by clicking the link below:
Where is Mount Rinjani?
Mount Rinjani is a volcano at the center of Lombok, an island in Indonesia. Lombok is only a ferry ride or 1-hour plane flight from Bali mainland.
How to get to Lombok
Senaru is in the North of Lombok. This is a small town most trekkers base themselves in before and after their trekking adventures. I arrived in Lombok via ferry and headed straight north with three other friends. You have a few options from the dock to get to Senaru. Our taxi cost 400,000 rupiah or $34 USD and wasn’t too bad to split but you could also rent a motorbike at the dock. The airport is further south and the taxi cost our friend 500,000 rupiah to make it up to Senaru.
Best time to climb Mount Rinjani
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.
Mount Rinjani Height
Mount Rinjani is 3,726 meters high. It’s higher than any single point in Australia!
Mount Rinjani Homestay in Senaru
We stayed out Blue Mountain Cottage and booked our Mount Rinjani Trekking experience through the homestay. It was $100 USD for three days two nights trekking. Our equipment wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t the most polished experience but it was good enough! The homestay itself is super basic but right near Tiu Kelep Waterfall and near where the trek ends. It was about $9 USD a night for a double bed so we split the rooms and paid $4.50 each per night. The homestay is run by really nice locals who offer food out of the restaurant at the homestay and they will organize your laundry and transport for you as well.
My Mount Rinjani trekking review blog
We began our Mount Rinjani trekking experience crammed in the back of a truck with all the gear bouncing around. We wound through the mountainous roads of Senaru, crammed tightly by our heavy load until we arrived at the check-in counter. Here we signed our name and found out that there were 150 other people trekking that same day.
The trek began through some quiet farm fields as we felt the full force of the Indonesian sun. There was no shade and we were at the full mercy of the piercing heat. The reality of the trek began to hit us after an hour, knowing that we had 6 left today alone.
Lunch-time on day 1 was at a random shed with a bunch of other tourists around. Our guide laid out an orange tarp and we sprawled out, looking like we were on our way down after three days rather than fresh on day one. Lunch was rice, chicken, and vegetables with some Indonesia tea.
Each meal, our guides cooked a rice or a noodle dish that was actually really tasty, especially considering they were carrying all of the cooking utensils, spices, sauces, and ingredients.
For the next 4-5 hours, we made our way along the trail up some mildly steep hills. This section was relatively long but more enduring rather than acutely difficult. The most surprising part of the hike on day one was the diverse scenery. At times we felt as if we were inside a mysterious forest and at others, we were in a canyon, rocks on the floor and monkeys looking down on us. I definitely didn’t expect the inside of a volcanic crater to look anything other than a few bushes and some rocks but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
We arrived an hour before sunset at our camping spot. On the edge of an epic cliff, we pitched our tent, clouds well below us. The campsites are not clean, that’s the first thing we noticed. Trash lays all around, toilet paper and human feces are scattered throughout the campsite and the surrounding areas. It isn’t the guide’s fault or the trekkers really. For such a large-scale tourism operation the local authorities need to take responsibility and pay porters to carry out the trash and it would be my recommendation to have a dedicated drop toilet rather than having people dig holes everywhere and subsequently leaving their trash wherever they please.
Trash aside, our camping spot was magnificent. We sat on the cliff-edge watching the sun go down over the sulfur lake in the center of the volcano. We felt pretty good about ourselves after the first day but knew that we would be waking up at 2 am to begin the pilgrimage to the Mount Rinjani summit.
At 2 am we rolled out of our tents and enjoyed a pancake and coffee prepared by our porters and guide. A few deep breaths of preparation and off we went on the predicted 3-hour pilgrimage to the Mount Rinjani Summit.
This was the most intense period of the three day Mount Rinjani trekking experience. With our head torches on, we battled to find our footing on the fine volcanic sand that paved the way. It was a case of two steps forward one step back, which can get not only physically draining but mentally exhausting.
As we climbed higher and higher, the temperature began to drop. Our skimpy gloves and jacket our homestay owner had given us no longer kept us warm. The freezing wind was unforgiving and whipped across our faces. Our only warmth was hiding behind rocks or to keep moving onwards and upwards.
Along the way, we passed a couple who were crying scared without their guide as the wind threw them about on the ridge. We passed others huddled behind rocks, taking a respite from the wild winds. Others marched on past us at an amiable pace. But the beauty of the pilgrimage is that whether you arrived first or last we were all destined for the same destination, and what a view it would be.
My sister and I arrived at the top, relieved the trek was over but astounded by the view. For the past four hours, we had been so focused on clambering up the mountain we had only stopped for brief moments to look at the view, which had been covered in clouds. Now at the top of Mount Rinjani, we could only look out in silence, in awe of the scale of the landscape and the scale of our achievement throughout the last 24 hours.
The climb down was much easier although with each step blisters and a bit of quadricep burn began to make the battle a little tougher. Plenty of slips later and some nice views inside the crater we made our way back to camp in just under a couple of hours. However, it was no time to rest!
After a quick breakfast, we packed up our gear and began clambering down the ridge towards the sulfur lake and the hot springs. As we had walked up in the cold hours earlier we had been dreaming of hot springs. However, now the hot sun was making the hot springs a little less desirable.
Nevertheless, we scrambled down the rocky path towards the lake. Looking out across the lake towards the active volcano inside of a volcano was mind-blowing! What wonderland was I in?
A short walk from the lake we found the natural hot springs. Temperatures of 40+ degrees meant we were steaming in the water and under the hot sun. It was a double-oven but the water felt so great on our feet and skin after the cold conditions earlier that morning.
We didn’t want to leave the hot springs. However, we had a 3-hour hike ahead of us to climb back to the top of the rim on the other side of the lake to camp. This was a painful part of the day. The legs were heavy we had been hiking more than not in the last 24 hours and it was starting to take its toll but our spirits remained high.
We arrived at the top of the rim and many others had already set up camp. We had run out of water due to a bit of communication error and bad planning by our guides, which meant we had to keep going lower for another hour to a natural water source. Our group was a little ticked about this as it meant more walking and no sunset on the rim. Shit happens and we laughed about it later although our guide wasn’t the best at delivering that news!
We ended up camping at a random spot surrounded by forest but we were all pretty tired so we ate and fell asleep straight away.
Our final day was just a straight trek down the hill. The burn in the quads was intense but we were in the shade of the forest canopy for most of the day. As we exited the hike after more than three hours we made one last stop at the coffee plantation, with a great view from above of Tiu Kelep.
Jorden created this vlog from our journey up to the summit of Mount Rinjani!
It was an epic three days and something I definitely recommend if you are up for a challenge!