OverviewGunung Rinjani, a stratovolcano, is the highest mountain on the island of Lombok and one of the highest in Indonesia. It is situated in the north of Lombok. What stands out most about this mountain is the beauty of the scenery in the crater and the spectacular views you get from the top. The huge caldera contains a large crescent-shaped lake (about 2,000 m), called Segara Anak (= "Child of the Sea"), and a post-caldera cone (approximately 2,800 m), called Gunung Baru Jari ( = "Mount New Finger"). The crescentic form of the lake results from growth of the cone. Lava flows have entered the lake. The central cone is still active; the last eruption took place in 2009. From the top you can see the trio of volcanoes in the east of Bali (Agung, Abang and Batur), the "Gilis", and the island of Sumbawa.
Rinjani is one of the touristic highlights of Indonesia. Many people climb it, foreigners and Indonesians alike. Sometimes the small summit area is crowded. During full moon many people from Lombok (of both Sasak and Balinese origin) climb the mountain for religious reasons. For them, Rinjani is a holy mountain. They make a pilgrimage to the top, the lake, and to hot springs, which are situated not far from the lake. They believe that the gods reside at the top and that the water from the hot springs has healing properties. They go on this pilgrimage during full moon because at this time the gods appear and so it is the best time for offerings, and the healing power of the water is strongest.
The trek is not difficult, nor is it dangerous. You do not really need a guide to find the way, but if you hire a guide and porters, they will provide a tent, sleeping bag, stove etc. Moreover, the risk of getting assaulted is perhaps not so great. Unfortunately, there have been robberies over the past couple of years, some of them involving nasty violence.
Getting ThereLombok International Airport (Bandara Internasional Lombok, LOP)
From Mataram, Ampenan, Senggigi, the "Gilis", or Labuhan Lombok go by (boat), bus, microbus and/or taxi to either Sembalun Lawang (1,156 m) or Senaru (601 m). Sembalun Lawang is situated on the eastern side of Rinjani, Senaru is situated on its northern side. The two villages are the main starting points for the trek.
Map of Lombok
RoutesThere are several routes on Rinjani.
The two main routes are the following: from Sembalun Lawang on the eastern side, and from Senaru on the northern side. The two routes are quite different. The trail from Sembalun Lawang leads up through savannah and open mountain forest. The ascent from Senaru is a walk-up through dense mountain rain forest, which noticeably changes with the altitude.
There are various ways of climbing Rinjani. The most rewarding is a combination of the two routes. On the first day you can go up from Sembalun Lawang to Pelawangan II (2,900 m ?), a place on the north-eastern part of the crater rim which is a good base camp (8 hours). On the second day you can start at 2 or 3 am, and ascend to the top, where you will arrive just in time to view the sunrise (3 hours). Make sure you arrive at the top before sunrise, not only to experience a beautiful sunrise but also to have the best chance of getting a clear view. Later the view is generally soon blocked by clouds coming up from the rain forest. From Pelawangan II to the summit the way leads up through volcanic scree. From the top you will go down again to the base camp and then you can descend to the lake, where you can spend the second night (5 hours, from the top). On the third day you can climb up to Pelawangan I (2,634 m), a place on the northern side of the crater rim, (2 hours), and descend to Senaru (6 hours). You can do it the other way round as well, but it seems better to climb the summit first and then relax at the lake and the hot springs.
You can walk up to the crater from Torean, a small village near Bayan, on the northern side of Rinjani. The trail follows the stream that flows from Lake Segara Anak and the hot springs.
You can also climb the south side from either Sesaot, Tetebatu, or from Pesugulan, a small village near Sapit. The last-mentioned route leads up to Pelawangan II.
CampingAs this beautiful area has become a major tourist attraction, crime has arrived as well. For your own safety, set up your tent close to other people's tents. This is perhaps not what you normally want and, of course, is not a guarantee of safety, but it may reduce the risk and help you feel more relaxed and so get a couple of hours sleep.
You can camp at Pelawangan II and at the lake. At Pelawangan II, there are sometimes dozens of tents. Beware of the monkeys there - they take everything they get (food, torches, etc)!
Red TapeThe area of Rinjani is a national park (Taman Nasional Gunung Rinjani / Mt Rinjani National Park). You have to pay an entrance fee of 150,000 IDR (= 10.50 EUR / 14.70 USD).
When To ClimbApril - November (during the dry season)
Mountain ConditionsFor volcanic activity check the reports published in the Global Volcanism Program by the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution - Rinjani (there are photographs as well).
Bali weather - 5-day forcast - satellite image
External LinksGlobal Volcanism Program
By the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
Mount Rinjani National Park
Lots of info + photos
Mount Rinjani on WIKIPEDIA
Info + photos
You may also be interested in climbing Mt. Sirung on Pantar Island.