Mount Rinjani (3.726 m) is a volcano located on the island Lombok, west of Bali. When I first heard of the possibility to hike it I got excited immediately. I had never hiked such a high mountain before.
I booked a 2 day and 1 night tour with Rinjani Trekking Center. We’d climb the volcano, spend 1 night in a tent at the top and then descend the mountain the next day.
Initially I wanted to do a 4 day tour to the summit, the crater and the crater lake. Unfortunately, this wasn’t possible because the path to the peak was closed due to a past earthquake. This meant that I couldn’t climb the summit at 3.726 m but only up to the volcano rim at about 3.000 m. While this was a bit disappointing I was still excited to climb the volcano. The path was already being restored at that time so it should be open again soon.
Tour operator: Rinjani Trekking Center
Price: 1.750.000 Rupiah / approx. 100 €
– Transport from Gili Air (where I was located before) to Senaru
– 1 night in Senaru before the hike
– A guide to Mount Rinjani
– A tent and a sleeping bag on the mountain
– Porters who carry water, food and tents
– Transport to my next destination, Kuta in Lombok
I was in a group with two french couples, a Japanese girl, a British girl and a Swiss guy. We were brought to the small village Senaru where we’d start the hike the next day. When we arrived at our accommodation we were told that we’d have the whole afternoon free to ourselves. As they told us that there were stunning waterfalls only a 30 min hike away we decided to explore them together with a guide from our accommodation.
The waterfalls were impressive and it was definitely worth hiking there. It was an easy hike through the forest but there were quite a few stairs to climb so I recommend wearing good shoes. We couldn’t go swimming there as the water is not deep enough and it’s extremely cold. When we returned to our accommodation we prepared our bags for the next day and went to bed early.
The next morning we woke up at 6:00 am. Still sleepy we got up and were served Balinese coffee and a pancake for breakfast. It wasn’t much but it gave us energy to wake up and start the hike.
The first part of the hike was very easy with hardly any elevation gain. It was perfect to chat with the other group members and to get to know them better. But obviously this didn’t last long. As we progressed the path got steeper. Luckily everyone in our group had about the same level of fitness so we didn’t have to wait for anyone. We walked through the woods on a well-maintained path. The first part of the trek took us about 3 hours with small breaks in-between. Everyone was starving already as we only had a small breakfast so we were extremely excited for lunch.
At around 10:00 we finally had our lunch break. We expected a sandwich or anything else that would be easy to carry. But no, our guides and porters actually started to cook for us. They were equipped with a gas cooker and a frying pan and they prepared a delicious meal for us. I can’t even describe how good it felt to sit down and eat something. After lunch we had some more time to relax before we continued the ascend.
Shortly after the lunch break we reached the clouds. At this point we had been hiking for 4 hours already. It got more tiring and we needed more and more short breaks.
After we passed the clouds it got even more exhausting. First, because the path got continuously steeper and second because we were exposed to the sun so we were sweating even more. As it got steeper my legs started to get shaky because my muscles were already tired. I didn’t even look up to the peak anymore. I just looked down on my feet and put one foot in front of the other. Like this I wouldn’t have to think about how much of the trek was still ahead of me.
At around 15:00 and after a total of 7 hours of hiking we arrived to our campsite at the volcano rim. Happiness fulfilled us as we had finally reached our place to sleep. The area was full of tents and the toilet was a hole in the ground in a special toilet tent. But all this didn’t matter – everything that mattered was that we did it.
First things first, we entered our tents, laid down and just relaxed for a while. It was so satisfying to take the weight off my feet. But the break didn’t last long. Soon we forced ourselves to get up again to explore the area, after all we came here to see the volcano crater. The view of the crater and the crater lake were impressive.
When we returned to our tents we were super hungry again so we asked our guides if they could prepare us an early dinner. They laughed at us because we seemed to be constantly hungry (which was kind of true) and they prepared dinner for us at 17:00. The meal was delicious again and it tasted even better with the stunning view and the accomplishment of this day.
At around 18:00 the sun was about to set. The view of the sea of clouds and the sun going down was breathtaking. As soon as the sun was gone it became cold really quickly. After all we were at around 3.000 m above sea level.
As it got cold we said good night and went into our tents to jump into the cozy sleeping bags. When the darkness had settled I looked outside again to check if the stars were visible and I was left speechless. Everything was quiet and you could only see the shadows of the surrounding mountains and a clear sky full of stars. I stood there for a few minutes and just looked up in awe. Moments like this are unforgettable and make you appreciate the wonders and the beauty of nature. But soon I started to freeze so I returned back into the tent again.
The night was everything but comfortable. Our tent was on an uneven ground so we permanently kept sliding to one side of the tent. Plus, it got extremely cold. I got a few hours of sleep but most of the time I was awake trying to find a comfortable position or avoiding to slide down. Even though I hadn’t slept well and I had dreamed of a cozy bed, I still had a smile on my face. These are the moments in which I’m simply thankful for having the privilege to live a life full of exciting adventures – in this case, spending the night on a 3.000 m high volcano in Indonesia. Fulfilled with a feeling of content I turned around, wrapped into my 5 layers of clothes, until I finally fell asleep.
The next morning I was woken up by chatter and people walking past our tent. Still half asleep I checked the time and realised it was already 6:00 – time to get up and watch the sunrise. We opened the door of our tent and couldn’t believe our eyes. The whole sky was lit in pink and purple while you could still see the moon shine over the mountain peaks. Everything seemed so unreal as if it was out of a fantasy movie. Once again I was left speechless.
We left the camp site to walk up to the volcano rim. The sunrise itself was a bit disappointing. The sun rose behind the summit of Mount Rinjani so all we saw was the sky getting lighter but there was no sight of the sun. Usually people would hike up to the summit in the morning before sunrise but we couldn’t do that as the path was closed due to the past earthquake.
After sunrise we got breakfast, enjoyed the views one last time, packed our bags and then we made our way back down at around 7:00. My legs were still a bit shaky as they were so exhausted from the climb. It was pretty hard to descend as my shoes had no profile at all so I just kept sliding down the sandy path. I can’t even count how many times I slipped. Luckily I’m used to being in the mountains so I was quite good at balancing myself out. The descend took us about 5 hours. We got one last lunch on the way down and then we headed back to the accommodation in Senaru to take a shower. After taking a shower a taxi picked us up and I was brought straight to Kuta where I continued my journey.
Hiking Mount Rinjani was a great experience and the feeling of accomplishment you have when you reach the peak is amazing. If you like climbing mountains and you’re an adventurer like me I definitely recommend doing this hike during your Indonesia trip.
- Bring baby tissues, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, warm clothes for the night and maybe snacks if 3 meals per day aren’t enough for you.
- You should have a certain level of fitness if you want to climb Mount Rinjani. I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who doesn’t do sports at all.
- Inform yourself about the different tours that are offered and then decide for the one that suits you most. You can choose between 2, 3, 4 or even 5 day tours.
- Plan your trip in a way that you can relax 1-2 days after the hike. My muscles were extremely sore afterwards.