Best Hikers Accomodation and Best Route for Hiking Mount Rinjan – Full Guide
Mount Rinjani, the second highest volcano in Indonesia, is notoriously challenging to climb. What a sensible idea, I thought to myself, as I set my heart on summitting the beast of a mountain. It has a blood-curdling reputation as one of the most mentally draining hikes in the area, as to complete it successfully, your body and mind must adapt and overcome obstacles between the
changing scenery of sprawling grass fields and sheer rock faces on the way to the summit. This trip is not for beginners or the physically unfit. Never has, never will be. The journey requires strict concentration and constant focus. But, if you have what it takes, it is also the most rewarding experience possible for those who summit. Read on for my personal tour recap of the hike and be your own judge as to if you are up to this mammoth challenge over four huge days. I realized I loved every minute.
Day 1 – Sembalun Departure
The time had come to finally face the big day. I had read up judiciously about Best Route for Hiking in Mount Rinjan on all the available travel guides I could get my hands on, making sure not to pack more than what I could feasibly carry on my back for four whole days. At 0600 hours on the first day I was picked up from my hotel and driven straight to Sembalun. The first part of our journey was to register at the Rinjani Information Center (RIC) in Sembalun Lawang (1,156 m), meet our guide (and porters) and arrange National Park entry tickets. The game was on.
The trek started for real in the mid-morning sunshine, a beautiful day out with tiny water droplets glistening in the sun as we strolled on by the fields of grass next to the walking track. I made many friends walking among others that shared my die-hard adventurous spirit, and we chatted as the sounds of our feet on gravel filled the air. Everything else was muted, faded like our attention could not be shaken from the task in front of us. I came to respect the porters and guides for their knowledge and technical skill during the climb, and I do not believe it would have been half as successful if we did not have their constant support. They were amazing.
After three hours of brisk walking we arrived at Pos 1 Pemantauan (1,300 m) and after resting for about an hour, we made our way further up to Pos 2 Tengengean (1,500 m). Collective gasps escaped the mouths of my hiking companions as we looked on in utter awe at the majestic summit of Rinjani (3,726 m) as it came into view as we followed the hiking track. This was our first up close view, and obviously our group was still completely dedicated towards summitting. After another hour ascent to Pos 3 Pada Balong (1,800 m), we completed the steep climb to the campsite at the crater rim Plawangan II Sembalun (2,639 m). This is a view not to be missed on the trek.
The magical aura of the crater meant that it felt as if we were literally stepping back in time once we rounded the edge of the current climb to the campsite. The untamed beauty roared in all its power, the afternoon sunlight glistening on the shimmering water. It was as if the lake was inviting us forward into its beauty, but not without a warning as to what was in store for the rest of our attack on the summit.
Day 2 – Summiting Rinjani
I barely slept that night, huddled for maximum warmth in my tent. The previous day’s climb had finally caught up to me and I ached in more places than I cared to admit. I found it interesting that one observation kept surfacing in the darkness of my tent, and that was how the foliage had changed from dusty fields to lush green forests over the course of the day. I also remembered looking up in the summit with awe as the environment got once again harsher turning to brittle stones and scree that screamed at us to be careful. It seemed as if even the mountain was out to get us to fail and give up. Not now though. I did not come this far to only come this far.
A 0300 hours start was necessary to commence the long trek upwards on volcanic rock to reach the summit (3,726 m) before sunrise. After three hours of intense exertion and mental fatigue, we finally summitted. The amazing sunrise views were something to behold across the Wallace Line to Bali, Mt. Agung and Sumbawa. The sunlight danced across other lower peaks in the area and poked through the clouds that surrounded Rinjani, teasing us with its warmth and glow. We had finally defeated Rinjani.
After summitting we made out way back down the ridge to the crater rim camp for a delicious breakfast of protein and carbohydrate heavy foods. It is important to note that the cheaper hiking companies only serve fast burning foods like two-minute noodles. It is more than worth it to spend a little more dosh and receive some better rations to fuel your body for the fight that Rinjani brings. And trust me, it is a lot of fight.
After this enormous breakfast, we made out way down to the lake itself. It takes two to three hours down the steep trail to the Crater Lake. In my opinion, the descent was a lot more difficult than the ascent, simply due to the massive amount of pressure that gets placed on your legs and knees. Slippages were common on the steep terrain for our group and a first aid kit is paramount as a piece of kit any tour company should have for the trek. It got so steep that at one point it was easier to slide down on my glutes instead of facing the damage that could be done to my knees. I slid for a total of a couple hundred meters at one point! I got my pants nice and muddy. We arrived at the lake camp in the late afternoon and so our day ended here with weary minds and bodies.
Day 3 – Lake Exploration
The third day of the hike was a day spent in well-deserved relaxation. After a huge breakfast to at least attempt to replace some of the calories I had burned in the last couple of days, we enjoyed the lake through swimming and exploring the caves nearby. These ancient caves felt amazingly prehistoric in nature and I loved the formational architecture within. Something that piqued my interest was the pilgrimage hot springs, which are believed to have healing powers, and it felt illegal how tranquil it was to enjoy a scotch with my feet up in one of these springs. That night we enjoyed another delicious meal prepared for us by the porters, before kicking back once again to admire the beauty of the natural environment around us, and the amazing stars that filled the crystal-clear sky. I fell asleep satisfied with a full stomach and recuperating muscles.
Day 4 – Back to Base
The final day was spent making the trip from the Crater Camp back to base at Sembalun. Four days of challenging trek had concluded in the most scenic and soul restoring of ways.
So, what really stood out for me on this trip? I enjoyed the struggle and achievement so much that having concluded my trek, I started my own hiking company to provide Best Hikers Accomodation in Mount Rinjani to others with the same amazing feelings that I attribute to this monster of a mountain. It was a struggle, but the results made the challenge more than worth it. If you are considering this adventure, I would recommend packing light, reading as much as you can, and spending time getting to know the other members of your trek! Goodluck!
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