Mountains are sacred in Indonesia, and one of them is Mount Rinjani in Lombok. Rising majestically at 3,726m above sea level, it’s the second highest active volcano in Indonesia. Hiking Mount Rinjani is not for the uninitiated or the faint-hearted, but the journey is one hell of an adventure.
In this next hiking guide, we’re covering everything you need to know about climbing Mount Rinjani!
When is the best time for climbing Mount Rinjani?
In general, hiking is possible from April until the end of December. The trails are closed from January to March as this is the monsoon season, and heavy rains make hiking a very dangerous affair.
How fit do you need to be?
We’ll be honest – Mount Rinjani is a very difficult hike, and it’s not for beginner hikers. The ascend takes at least two days, though most people do a three-day hike. To add on to the challenge, the terrain is sandy, steep and slippery. Your body and mind will be pushed to its limits. Once you reach above 2,000m, it gets very cold and it’s near freezing at the summit. The descent is not any easier. It seems to go on for days and is a real leg-breaker.
In short, you need to be fit to attempt the hike. Both physically and mentally.
Which trail should I take?
There are two main entry points: Sembalun or Senaru. They are on two different sides of the mountain, and most people start the hike from one village and descend to the other.
If you’re short on time and can only do the 2D1N hike, you will climb ascend and descend from the same route. The Sembalun route will give you the option to summit at sunrise, but this is extremely gruelling and perhaps only possible for very experienced hikers. Although the terrain is mostly flat, you are completely exposed to the hot sun during the day.
The 2D1N hike from Senaru goes through the rainforest and is a shaded route, but will only take hikers to the crater rim opposite the summit. It also gets rocky and very steep!
Our recommendation is to do a 3D2N hike. This way, you won’t have to choose between one or the other! You just have to pick between the ascending trails. Do you want to take the easier terrain up but be in the open sun? Or would you prefer to take the harder route up but be sheltered by the trees?
If you prefer to go at a more leisurely pace, you can also opt to do the hike over 4D3N.
Do I need a guide?
You can technically hike Mount Rinjani without a guide, but this is highly discouraged by the local authorities and community. Unless you’re a very experienced hiker and this is not your first time on Rinjani, we would not encourage you to hike without a guide. Getting lost or injured on the mountain is no small matter! (I’m really not kidding – a friend of a friend got lost on Mount Rinjani and it was terrifying. Thankfully, he was fine in the end.)
How much does it cost?
You’ll find many tour operators offering the trip in Bali and Lombok itself. There are probably over 100 of them, large, small or informal, providing all types of packages to Rinjani. Prices and quality of the service varies considerably. As a rule of thumb, the cheaper they are, the less you should expect). The hike is very difficult, so it’s best to pay a little more for expert guides with good equipment (camping gear, tents etc.)
You can expect to pay on average, about US$250 – US$300 per person for a 3D2N hike. It may cost less if you have a bigger group, or more if your package includes other points of interest like the hot springs.
What is included in the package?
Your Mount Rinjani package should include the following:
- An English-speaking, licensed and experienced guide
- Meals, snacks and drinks
- Tents and sleeping bags
- Pick up and drop off within Lombok
- A one-night hotel stay in Senaru or Sembalun before the trek
- Park entrance fee
In addition, you should also check to make sure that your guides tidy up after themselves and don’t leave any litter behind! Littering is a problem on Rinjani (and in many parts of Indonesia), and we should all do our part to not leave any traces behind.
What should I bring?
We encourage you to pack as light as possible. Rinjani is an exhausting hike, and you’ll regret any extra weight you choose to bring along. Here’s a basic list of what you’ll need:
- A good backpack so you don’t hurt your back!
- Good hiking shoes. Probably the most important equipment you’ll need.
- Clothes that layer easily. Don’t forget that it gets cold and near freezing at the summit! You’ll want some clothes that can keep you warm.
- Long hiking pants (not jeans!)
- Hat, gloves, scarf. For some extra warmth at the summit.
- Clothes for sleeping in. Don’t forget you’ll be spending at least a night on the mountain!
- Undergarments. For obvious reasons.
- Sunblock. The sun will be extra strong since you’re high up in the mountain. Make sure to stay protected!
- Wet tissues. There’s no running water on the mountain of course, so wet wipes will be handy for wiping yourself down.
- Toilet paper. For obvious reasons too.
- Snacks. Your guide will usually provide some, but you can also bring your own protein bars and the likes.
- External charger. Just in case your phone runs out of battery.
- A (reusable) water bottle. Hydration is important during the hike!
- Plasters. You’ll thank yourself for remembering this when you get blisters on your feet.
- Hiking pole. They are incredibly useful for difficult hikes. You can also ask your guide if they can provide them!
- Headlamp. You’ll be doing part of the hike in complete darkness, so it helps to have some light. As with the hiking pole, your guide may provide them.