Trekking Mount Rinjani: A Breathtaking Experience
Gunung Rinjani is located on the island of Lombok. Rising at 3726m, not only is it Indonesia’s second tallest volcano, but it is also a sacred volcano to the Hindus and Sasaks, who make pilgrimages there a couple of times a year. It was with sparkling eyes and a great load of excitement that I started what would be a 3 day trek!
You can prebook the trek online in advance, but I wouldn’t recommend it as they are usually overpriced and you can easily book directly with a tour operator in Lombok or on the Gili Islands the day before you start the trek!
I opted for the 3 day trek starting in Senaru. This route would take me through the forest on the first day, down to the crater lake and to the hot springs on the second and up to the summit on the third day! I ended up paying 1,200,000 rupiah for the 3 days trek (with the transport to Senaru, I booked the trip in Senggigi, and a night at a hostel included).
If you’re planning to start the trek in Sembalun, you might want to consider this:
- Though it gets quite chilly at night, it is hot as hell during the day. The first day of both routes is spent hiking up some 2000 meters to reach the first base camp. Might as well do it in the shade of the forest’s trees rather than in the burning sun of the desert like landscape of the other route- that also happen to be a more fun trail to hike down.
- From Sembalun, you will go up to the summit on the second day, while with the other route, you get to the top on the third day. Now this is a personal preference. The summit to me was the cherry on top of the cake, the goal I was looking forward to during the whole trek. Though by the third day, odds are you will be physically more tired than on the first day. It’s up to you!
DAY 1: The first day was spent hiking from Senaru to the crater rim. This was hands down the toughest day for me. Mainly because since I was afraid of not having enough water at disposal, I was carrying a grand total of 4 liters of water. (I know, i know). You start the climb in the forest, passing dogs and monkeys on the way. As the afternoon comes to an end, you reach the first camp base at 2600m. I remember finally losing the trees of sight. We were finally out of the forest. I turned around to check on the rest of my group and got stroke with an awe feeling.
That first glimpse of the landscape, above the clouds, was already beyond what I was excepting. I was up for a few surprises. A few minutes later, we reached the first camp, we set the tents and ate dinner while watching the sunset. It got chilly pretty quickly and everyone gained their sleeping bags pretty early.
DAY 2: On the second day, we hiked down to the crater lake, bathed in the host springs, had lunch by the lake and hiked up to the second camp, which is at the base of the summit.
DAY 3: We woke up at 2 am to start the ascent to the summit. Wrapped up in warm clothing, head lamps strapped to our heads, we started to hike the 1000 meters that were separating us from the summit. Not gonna lie, it was tough. This last bit of the trek is notorious for the volcanic gravels that cover the ground. For every two steps you take, you slide one step back down. It is a physically and mentally challenging hike, and some people chose to skip it, but if you feel like you’re in good enough shape, go for it! After all this is why we climb mountains, right? To push our limits!
A hundred meters to the top, I was consumed by a feeling of sheer ecstasy and then of accomplishment, watching the sun rise on top of the world. In my group, we all made it to the summit, which made the moment that much more special.
The rest of the day was spent hiking all the way back down to Sembalun, where a van was waiting to take us back to Senaru. It is dirty, smelly but with a smile on our face, that me and a couple of people from my group headed to Gili Trawangan to relax and celebrate our achievement!
You will need: a headlamp, a warm jacket and hiking shoes.
P.s: don’t forget that you can only climb Mount Rinjani during the dry season (April to December)
GO EXPLORE & GOOD LUCK! 🙂