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Climbing Rinjani Volcano on Lombok

Updated: Jul 1, 2023


Check out my YouTube channel for more tips on traveling Lombok






Mount Rinjani is an active volcano in Indonesia on the island of Lombok. Rinjani is in the North of Lombok. It rises to 3,726 meters, making it the second-highest volcano in Indonesia.

In this blog, ill tell you all about climbing Rinjani, my experience, and tips on what to bring.


At the end, ill add a list of what to pack and answer some FAQs, please comment if you have any more questions. :)




After living in Lombok for so long, I had always been eager to climb Rinjani but never got around to it… Something always came up: earthquakes, flooding, or something else.


My oldest and dearest friend Zoe was coming to Lombok to visit. My birthday was coming up and we decided we had to climb Rinjani. Not a bad place to begin my 27th year on this earth.


I was nervous, but also so excited to finally be climbing this magical mountain that watched over me in the distance. And reach the top, to look over this majestic island that I had called home for so many years.

I had heard so many mixed reviews from people, some said it was so hard they turned around and others said it wasn’t too bad and definitely doable.

We decided we would be happy if we even just got to the base camp and didn't make it to the summit (although we hoped we would make it to the summit).

We then had another friend decide to join us, Kat, so we were super excited.

We had so many questions and had no idea what it would be like, or how many days we should hike, and I found it hard to find good info about the questions we had, so now we’ve done it, here is everything you need to do before you climb Rinjani.



We did the 2 days 1 night trek. We thought it might be easier to do the 2 days 1 nights and we also didn't have much time as Zoe was only in Lombok for 2 weeks. But as it turns out the 2-day 1-night trek is actually harder, because on the second day, everyone has to wake up at 2 am to climb to the summit and if you're only doing 2 days, you then have to climb all the way back down in one day and come back down at the Sembalun route, which is a harder route down (we heard). Although I was definitely glad to be in my own bed that night. So I guess it just depends on what you think you'd prefer…

If you do the 2 or 3 nights, you go to the hot springs and down in Senaru. A friend did the 4 nights and said it was also very good. So I think it all depends on how much time you have and how long you would like to spend up there, but however many days you choose will be amazing.


Day 1 - First we got a taxi from Kuta, up to Senaru, they have shuttle buses, but because there were 3 of us, we just paid a bit extra for a private car, and went up in our own time. The drive up is about 2-3 hours but doesn’t feel long because the views are so interesting and beautiful. We booked through Bambu Tours, which was great! Although when up there we saw a place called Rinjani Women, which really interested me, as I'd love to have a female tour guide and support more local women. There is also Green Rinjani and I think they collect rubbish on the way up etc. But Bambu Tours was great and we definitely recommend it, our tour guide was so helpful and very kind, we paid about 1.6 (The best price I've heard), which included accommodation the night before in a homestay, a drive to Sembalun, medical check, guide, porter, who carries your tent, water, food (all meals included). We left Kuta early in the morning and arrived at the homestay, it was basic but nice and clean. On the first day, we visited the waterfalls Sendang Gile and Tiu Kelep, they were magical. People tried to sell us a waterfall tour but we had been given a heads-up that it was not needed. We could walk there from our homestay and it's just about 20k to get in, then you can walk there yourself. The waterfalls are so beautiful, make sure to wear flip flops, because sometimes you have to walk through water so trainers were a bad move.




That night we had a briefing on what would happen, safety and also offered rental gear, i rented hiking boots, a windproof jacket, a head torch, and hiking poles, for a reasonable price, but just be careful to check the gear, the shoes were pretty worn out and the bottom almost had holes in them, also Kats pole broke. Then we went and bought some hydration sashes and snacks to take up with us, which saved

us. The guides and ports also carry snacks but we were glad we had extra, you are using so much energy you really need all you can get. If I did it again, I’d try to take healthier snacks with me, instead of chocolate bars and biscuits, id prepare something like dried fruit or nuts.





You leave your luggage at the homestay and only take your hiking bag up, your hiking bag needs to include all your clothes for the days you're up there, zinc/suncream, hat, snacks, phone/camera, and portable charger. We found we wished we took more baby wipes, just because you can't shower and you get so dirty (just make sure you bring all your rubbish back down with you) and more underwear, as you get very sweaty, and more hydration sashes or salts, because you drink so much! (I'll put a list of things to pack at the bottom) I wore leggings as I thought it would be cold, but I was very hot, up until the base camp, so I recommend taking layers, shorts, and a sleeveless top to start, then leggings and jumpers to layer over the top. I took 4 jumpers, a wind/waterproof jacket, and a blanket, and definitely needed them at the summit and base camp. We wore socks on our hands at the summit and it definitely helped.





Day 2 - The next morning, we had breakfast and set off at about 6 am, we got our medical checkup, just checking blood pressure, and then set off. When we started walking, it took about 7 hours to get to the crater/ base camp (where you camp and see the magical lake). You stop every couple hours and the guides and ports cook you delicious meals, as well as offer you water, tea, and snacks.




You arrive at the base camp before sunset, have time for dinner, and enjoy the view. With clouds on one side and the incredible lake and baby volcano on the other side. A special shout out to the ports, they set up your tents for you, cook your meals, carry your water, and all with a smile. We were blown away by their strength and ease, hiking up carrying insane weight on their shoulders in flip flops, but still speeding ahead of everyone else. We saved some money to make sure we gave the guides and ports tips at the end because they definitely deserve it.




So we watched the sunset, and then headed to bed, ready to wake up at 2 am for the summit. Some people in our group decided not to do the Summit, Kat had had a bad cough before the trip, and the altitude was giving her shortness of breath so she decided not to push herself any further. That night, we didn't sleep very well, there we a lot of loud people walking around our tent drinking and shouting, I'm not sure if it's normal, or how you would avoid it, maybe with earplugs…





Day 3 - We woke up at 2 am (in lots of layers), had a little breakfast snack and coffee, then headed up (in the dark)… All you can see are lines of lights walking up, it's a very incredible experience. It took us approximately 3 hours to reach the summit, we arrived just before sunrise. The summit is A LOT harder than the rest of the hike, it's volcanic sand, so one step forward literally feels like two steps back, especially near the very steep top. This is where we felt like we wanted to give up, but just keep moving, you can do it. When we finally reached the top, it was FREEZING, and there are surprisingly a lot of people up there. Just be very careful where you stand, because it is a narrow space with a steep drop, and there have been horrific accidents over the years of people falling off.

We took a picture at the summit, holding the sign, and took in the view, before heading down. We had done it!!!!





The way down from the summit to the base camp, was surprisingly easy, you could slide down the sand, and it kind of felt like we were skiing. (I say easy, but it wasn’t, I guess it just felt like it compared to going up the summit).

On the way down, you can simply enjoy the view, you can see the lake, the baby volcano (Mount Barujari) that sits inside Rinjani, and the view on the island to the ocean and also the sense of achievement. Just be careful because it's pretty narrow.

It took about 2 hours to get down to the base camp.



When we arrived down, we were knackered tbh, had hardly slept and had been intensely trekking since 2 am, we stopped at the base camp for a snack and relax, but a couple in our group (that didn't go up to the summit) were insisting to go back down straight away and pressuring our guide, so we didn't get long to relax before we were hiking back down and were exhausted. I heard if you do 3 days 2 nights, you go down a different route, which is less dusty and slippery.


Honestly, the hike back down was pretty intense, it was so slippery, we literally couldn’t walk without slipping, we were just trying to jump from grassy patch to grassy patch. It might also be that our legs had turned to jelly from the summit because Zoe and I seemed to be having the most trouble with slipping.


It took about 5 hours to get down from the base camp. Stopping every couple of hours for food and drinks.


We then each tipped every one of our guides and ports 100k each, they were so incredibly strong and carried so much weight, we really appreciated everything they did for us. Then we got a taxi (we had pre-booked) back to Kuta, arriving at night back home.





Some notes to take away:


The beginning is fairly easy, but very hot, then it slowly gets harder as you go up, and is harder just before the crater (base camp) but doable. There were people of all ages hiking up, from kids to adults over 60s. The summit is a lot harder/ intense. But just push through. We were very lucky with the weather (this was August time) it was sunny the whole way up, and not much wind. It was very hot at the beginning, the crater wasn't as cold as we imagined/heard it would be, but we still used long sleeves and jumpers. We are both fairly fit, in our late 20s but definitely hadn't been training for it, my birthday was a few days before and we ended up having a bit of a big night. It's hard, but it is definitely doable, just take frequent short breaks, and keep your energy with lots of drinks and snacks, stopping for breaks when you need to. The last hour to the summit is very difficult and very cold but you can do it!


Let me know in the comments if you have any questions, it seems daunting when you have no clue what it will be like and so many questions. So id be happy to help answer if I can.


Please keep Rinjani clean, and take all your rubbish down with you!


FAQ


How long does it take?


We did the 2 days 1-night trek, it was approx:

7 hours start to crater/base camp (with a couple of stops in between)

Arrive at the crater before sunset

Sleep then wake up at 2 am

3 hours to Summit

2 hours back down to the crater

5 hours back to the bottom

(but you have to drive up the day before so is 3 days altogether)



What should I bring?


Shorts, and cool tops for beginning

Leggings, and a tracksuit for higher up

Jumpers

Windproof jacket

Extra socks x 4

Extra underwear

Baby wipes

Water bottle

Hat

Zinc/suncream

Phone/ Camera

Portable charger

Snacks

Energy/Hydration sachets

Hiking boots (or trainers with grip)

Head torch

Hiking poles

(Take enough warm clothes, but only what is needed, don't overpack because you will be carrying it all)

Hair bands

Toothbrush/Paste

Sarong?

Brush?


Bag for: (leave at homestay)

Bikini and clothes for the day before in Senaru at the waterfalls also

PJs

Notepad and pen


Remember to charge everything the night before


How hard is it?


You can do it! It’s not easy but doable, get to the crater and see how you feel, then see if you want to continue to the summit.


How much is it?


We paid 100k Kuta to Senaru each (shared taxi), 1.6mil for the 3 days (all included), approx 20k for waterfalls, extra for snacks and if you want to rent trekking gear, extra money to tip porters and guides, 100k for transport back to Kuta (depending how many people you’re sharing with…


Total approx = 2million Rupiah


For prices, it's best to speak to your tour guide as they're changing all the time


Do I need a yoga mat? Blankets?


No, they supply everything, I did bring a blanket though, and used it as a scarf/ extra layer but you could do without


Do you provide hiking backpacks, tents, and sleeping bags?


They provided everything for you.


Where do we go to the toilet?


On the way up, we just found a spot in the bushes. At the base camp, they set up a little tent with a hole. It's not the nicest but fine for a night or 2.


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