Mount Rinjani is one of the most popular and challenging treks in Indonesia. It is located on the island of Lombok and stands at 3,726 meters tall. The Mount Rinjani trek is known for its stunning views of the crater lake, hot springs, and beautiful waterfalls. However, it is not an easy trek and requires a good level of fitness and preparation.
Ultimate Mount Rinjani Trekking Guide
In this guide, I will share with you everything you need to know about trekking Mount Rinjani (Gunung Rinjani)
Where is Mount Rinjani?
Mount Rinjani (Gunung Rinjani) is located on the Indonesian island of Lombok. It is the second-highest volcano in Indonesia. The mountain is located within the Rinjani National Park, which is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. The trek to the summit takes you through lush forests, past beautiful waterfalls, and to the edge of a stunning crater lake. I have pinned the exact location of Mount Rinjani on the map below.
Why should you do a Mount Rinjani Trek?
Embarking on a Mount Rinjani trek is an unforgettable experience that should be on every adventurer’s bucket list. The trek is challenging, but the rewards are worth it. The views from the summit are breathtaking, and the surrounding scenery is simply stunning. The trek takes you through lush forests, past beautiful waterfalls, and to the edge of a stunning crater lake. Along the way, you will encounter friendly locals, learn about the local culture, and make new friends.
The sense of accomplishment that comes with reaching the summit is unparalleled, and the memories will stay with you for a lifetime. Additionally, the trek allows you to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of modern life and reconnect with nature. It is a true escape and a chance to challenge yourself physically and mentally while experiencing the beauty of one of Indonesia’s most iconic natural wonders.
TOP 3 PLACES TO STAY ON LOMBOK
Is trekking Mount Rinjani hard?
Trekking Mount Rinjani is considered to be a challenging and strenuous trek, owing to its steep inclines, long distances, and varying altitudes. The most popular route for the trek begins from Sembalun Lawang village, and the ascent to the summit takes around two days. The first day involves a steep climb up to the Plawangan Sembalun crater rim, which is about 2,639 meters above sea level. The ascent on this day can be demanding, with a constant incline and a distance of around 11 kilometers.
On the second day, the trek continues toward the summit, which is another 3.7 kilometers from the crater rim. The final ascent to the summit is a challenging climb that involves navigating through loose rocks and scree slopes. The duration of the trek can vary depending on the fitness level of the trekker, but it usually takes around three to four days to complete the entire trek.
How many days do you need to trek Mount Rinjani?
If you’re planning to trek Mount Rinjani, there are several options to choose from depending on your fitness level and time constraints.
- Two nights: The most popular and recommended option is the 3-day, 2-night trek, which allows you to summit the peak, visit the crater lake, and relax in the hot springs.
- Three nights: For those with a more leisurely pace, the 4-day, 3-night trek offers the same locations with more free time to enjoy the mountain.
- One night: The 2-day, 1-night tour from Sembalun is the most challenging option, which includes the option to summit at sunrise. However, it’s recommended to give yourself more time on the mountain if you’re not in excellent shape. The 2-day, 1-night trek from Senaru is the easiest option (but still very, very steep), providing incredible views of the crater but not reaching the summit or lake. This trek is perfect for those who want to experience Rinjani but cannot handle longer treks of more than one night.
Booking your Mount Rinjani Trek in advance
It’s best to book in advance for your trek up Mount Rinjani so that you can take advantage of the free pick-up and drop-off from the airport or ferry. I also found that booking with GetYourGuide gives you the option of free cancellation but still uses a completely local company.
They offer one-night, two-night, and three-night treks up Mount Rinjani. I did the three-night trek and recommend that one as you get to hike around the crater rim rather than just up and down from the summit. Their porters carry the camping and cooking equipment and prepare your meals while up on the mountain.
Book your tour now: Mount Rinjani 3-Day Trek
Best time for trekking 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.
What are my favorite pieces of hiking gear?
There are four pieces of gear that I simply never forget when I go on a hike. These are four items that I using right now and this list gets updated every year! Here are my hiking essentials.
- Arcteryx BETA AR Rain Jacket: This is my go-to rain jacket. It’s super light, folds down into a tiny ball, and protects brilliantly in a storm. This one never leaves my backpack.
- Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots: For the best ankle support, waterproofing, and durable exterior I’m a fan of tough but light hiking boots like these Salomons for my adventures.
- Black Diamond Head Torch: I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve arrived back from a hike unexpectedly late. I always keep this lightweight but strong headtorch in my bag for the unexpected.
- Darn Tough Socks: These are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever worn and last for years. They also have a lifetime warranty and you just send them in with a hole and they replace it no questions asked.
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. There are also flights directly to Lombok from Bali. Once you arrive to the airport or ferry port, you will need a private transfer or moped to reach the northern villages of Senaru or Sembalun to begin your Mount Rinjani Trek.
My Mount Rinjani Trekking Experience
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 names 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 local tea.
For each meal, our guides cooked 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, and 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 leave 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. After a few deep breaths of preparation and 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 and 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 and 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 toward 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 an 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!
WHERE TO STAY IN NORTHERN LOMBOK
If you are visiting attractions in the north such as Tiu Kelep or Mount Rinjani you should choose one of the three accommodations in the ‘Northern‘ section below.
- Jeeva Santai Villas – Luxury Villa: Great location on the beautiful Mangsit Beach but also within driving distance of Tiu Kelep and Mount Rinjani. It is a location that offers the best of both worlds.
- Hakiki Inn Bungalows – Value: Set on the edge of rice fields with the jungle feel but the comfort of a private bungalow.
- Blue Mountain Cottage – Budget (but also value): This is where I stayed. The room was very basic but it was comfortable enough with a basic private bathroom.
WHERE TO STAY IN THE SOUTHERN REGION OF LOMBOK
If you are staying in the south to enjoy the beaches and surf in Kuta, Lombok you should choose one of the three accommodations in the ‘Southern‘ section below.
- Harmony Villas – Luxury: The beautiful white theme throughout the property contrasts against the emerald green pool and plants. The villas are laid out impeccably and the best part about this 4-star villa is that it actually isn’t as expensive as it looks.
- Martas Windows – Value/Luxury: This place is incredibly beautiful. Bungalow-style villas surround the modern pool at this amazing property. For less than $80 a night, you can get yourself what would cost hundreds of dollars in most other countries at Martas Windows.
- Boogie Hostel Kuta Lombok – Budget: The Boogie Hostel is everything you ask for in a hostel. It’s super modern and clean and has lots of chill spaces as well as lockers for your gear and blinds for privacy at your dorm.