Hiking In Lombok

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.

Deciding on the Trek Route in 2019: Should I start from Senaru or Sembalun?

Due to the 2018 volcano eruption, you cannot go up to the summit of Rinjani, so I recommend starting from Senaru and going to crater rim instead. However, I will leave my notes below for when eventually the routes get re-opened again, in which you can choose to start from Sembalun. I am in touch with my guides and will update this blog periodically. Leave me a comment below if you have any specific questions!

How do you choose between Senaru and Sembalun?

This was the first question I had in mind while planning the trip, and I couldn’t seem to find any good answer for. It’s actually very simple – if you only have three days to spare, you can only go for a 2D1N trip and you have to choose between Sembalun and Senaru since they are located on different sides of the mountain. So here are the pro and cons:

If you want to summit in the 2D1N trip, then you would be going via Sembalun, which features an easier climb (mostly flat) through the grasslands to the base of the summit. The downside is that you would be walking under the sun the entire time.
If you are absolutely sure you WILL NOT attempt to summit in 2D1N, you should go through Senaru. This will take you through a steeper non-stop climb through the rainforest, and a fairly difficult rocky climb in the last leg. But it’s a more beautiful and shaded route than Sembalun. You cannot reach the summit in two days if you go through Senaru though.

I also personally would not recommend attempting summit if you are doing a 2D1N. While it’s possible, you’d be very rushed and more tired since you’ll have to do a lot of climbing on the second day.
If you are doing a longer trek, maybe a 3D2N – this is what most people choose, then you don’t have to worry about choosing as you would be hitting both sides anyway. However, if you are wondering whether to start from Sembalun or Senaru, it probably comes down to when you want to summit. If you want to summit earlier in the trip, then choose Sembalun. If not, then choose Senaru.

How much does it cost to climb Mount Rinjani?

Usually depending on how many people you are hiking with, the price varies with the more people, the cheaper it is per pax.
For a private trip with your own personal tents and provisions, guide and porters it usually costs from $190 to $340 for minimum 2 participants for 2 to 4 days trip. Longer trip is whole lot more expensive because the porters will have to carry your provisions for multiple days, and more people means more food and tents and chairs, for example. It all depends on your preferences for the hiking trip.
Most of local guides do offer to pick you up from your hotel or the airport, so you don’t have to worry about extra transportation expenses.

How Difficult is climbing Mount Rinjani?

Mount Rinjani, the second highest volcano in Indonesia, is notoriously challenging to climb. You have to keep yourself fit and in good shape at least a month or two before attempting the hike. This is important for your own safety and remember that there are no hospitals up in the mountain and there are possibly no professional medical aid amongst the group either.

The mental struggle you have to go through is probably the toughest part of the trip, 5+ hours of non-stop walking and climbing, all while carrying your own backpack or carrier bags that may weigh 5 to 10 extra kg depending on how good of a packer you are, sometimes the road seems to never end and you can’t reach your goal due to mental stress, having a good hiking partner to go together and keep the spirit up is a must on the list.

What to bring to the hike?

Here are the essentials that you will need in order to climb and climbing ONLY! Keep in mind that you don’t have to bring anything extra that isn’t needed to the climb, extra weight on your shoulder determines the burden you have to keep for the days you’re up there and will have to bring back everything, remember not to litter!

  • Backpack, preferably something with good padding and suitable for hiking to reduce shoulder stress.
  • Rain Jacket if you’re hiking in possibly rainy situation, Rinjani closes from January to end of march due to monsoon season, however there are always chance of rain, be prepared.
  • Hiking Boots
  • Dry bags, same as the rain jacket, this one is to cover your clothings etc. 
  • Headlamp, if you’re planning to summit you might need to climb early in the morning(3-4 AM) and it will be pitch-dark. A sufficient light source is needed.
  • Walking pole, having one is preferred although some have confidence in their balance and footings, accidents do happen and hiking in safety is the number one priority.
  • Warm socks, some might think you won’t need this because the weather is good and no rain means no extreme cold. It is the opposite, as opposed to rainy season, danger in dry seasons are due to the strong wind most of the time, especially in the night, and above 2500m elevation it gets super cold during the night. A good hiking socks will help you sleep better.
  • Clothings for the climb and sleepwear, and of course underwears.
  • Towels
  • Toiletries
  • Insect repellant, you might traverse a forest with lots of bugs and mosquitoes, depending on the track you choose.
  • Personal Medicine, the guides may not know your health condition as well as you are, keep yourself safe.
  • High calorie & protein bars/snacks, you can get very hungry very often as you’re using all the energy and sweat a lot. The guides do prepare your meal but not all of them are nutrition-wise, enough for your body depending on your usual diet.
  • Water, bring at least 2x 1,5L bottled water to keep yourself hydrated.
  • Trashbags, you will have to bring all your trashes down the mountain, littering in conserved nature such as mountain is a crime and you will be charged.
  • Powerbank, for you who would like to capture your moments with your phone days into the trip, and don’t have a camera. Your phone can also be used as extra torch.