One of the best and most challenging hikes we’ve ever done is the Rinjani Trek in Lombok, Indonesia. Trekking Mount Rinjani, or Gunung Rinjani as locals call it, is not for the faint of heart, but if you are up for it, we have the ultimate beginners guide to get you prepped and ready to trek Rinjani!
Rinjani Trek: A Beginners Guide to Hiking Mount Rinjani
Why Hike Mount Rinjani?
Besides the breathtaking views and an epic sunrise? The freaking rewarding feeling and sense of accomplishment you’ll get from climbing the second largest mountain in Indonesia!
If that still doesn’t do it for you, imagine sweeping views of stunning vistas from above, a star filled sky you get to sleep under and seeing Lake Segara Anak and her beautiful turquoise waters.
Seriously, it’ll be a trek your body and mind won’t soon forget!
If all of this sounds good to you then keep on reading because we have your complete guide and everything you’ll need to know to make do the Rinjani Trek.
Where Is Mount Rinjani Located?
Mount Rinjani is an active Volcano located on the Northern side on the Indonesian island of Lombok. It rises 12,224 feet (3,726 meters) from the earth, making Mount Rinjani the second largest mountain in Indonesia.
Pretty badass right? Yeah, yeah and you’re going to climb it!
Mount Rijani Facts
Mount Rinjani isn’t just an exciting mountain to climb. This mountain is also quite interesting. Here are a few fun facts to know before you decide to climb mount Rinjani:
Mount Rijani Is an Active Volcano
The Rinjani mount is an active volcano. In fact, this is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It is the second highest volcano in Indonesia and is known as a stratovolcano, as it is built-up of layers of lava and ash. The first recorded eruption for this mountain was in 1847. Before this time, this region of the world wasn’t thoroughly explored by westerners.
Through the years, this volcano have become active several times. In May 2009, the volcano erupted with smoke and ash that drifted 8,000 meters into the sky. Then again in February 2010, the mountain erupted with a column of smoke that rose 100 m from the volcano before it erupted yet again in May of that same year, which resulted in 1,600 meter tall smoke and ash eruptions. The biggest eruption occurred a second time in May 2010 when an ash plum rose 5.5 km from the mountain.
The latest volcanic action occurred in August 2018 when a 6.4 magnitude earthquake caused landslides on the north of the island. Since then, the volcano has been mostly quiet.
The Volcano Is Closely Monitored
Despite all of this volcanic activity, you shouldn’t be too worried about climbing Mount Rinjani. The volcano is closely monitored through the Gunung Rinjani Observation Post in the village of Lawang and warnings are sent out whenever activity is detected.
To be safe, just be sure to check in with the observation post before you begin your hike.
The Mountain Is a National Park
In 2008, the Indonesian government proposed that mount Rinjani become one of the official geoparks and this motion was soon approved by UNESCO. Mount Rinjani National Park now consists of 66,000 hectares of protected forest.
Several endangered fauna species are protected in this park. Animals like the rusa deer, the Indian muntajac, the sucunda porcupine, surili monkeys, helmeted friar birds, cockatoos, and many others live peacefully and safely in this national park and all fall under the protection of the local government.
Volcano Height and Size
To reach the summit of this mountain, you need to climb up to 3,726 meters high. The mountain is a tough climb and very few actually reach the summit. Most people stop at about 2,700 meters, at the crater rim, because the views are still excellent and the climb is manageable up to this point. The last 1,000 meters to the top is a lot steeper and requires a lot more finesse and climbing skill.
The Rinjani National Park consists of 41,330 hectares within the park boundaries and 66,000 hectares of natural forest surroundings.
Lots of Waterfalls to Behold
While you are visiting Mount Rinjani, you can also explore some other scenery. In the rainy season, Rijani National Park has many beautiful sights to seek out such as hot springs, the Sembulan crater, the Senaru crater, and various waterfalls. Each of these scenes and locations are absolutely brilliant and worth the journey.
Mount Rinjani, How To Get There By Plane
If you are a ways away from the island of Lombok, the easiest way to get to Mount Rinjani is to fly into the airport located on Lombok (Airport Code: LOP).
From here, expect a 2.5 – 3 hour drive north to get to the villages (Senaru or Sembalun) that surround Mount Rinjani.
These villages are where you will want to stay the night prior to your trek.
Mount Rinjani, How To Get There From Bali or The Gili Islands
If you are close by, say on Bali or the Gili islands, a fast boat / ferry is a great option.
If you are on the island of Bali you can get to your Mount Rinjani trek by catching a fast boat to Lombok. There are plenty of tour companies on Bali that you’ll be able to book a fast boat to Lombok through.
Consider booking a fast boat with either a tour company or through your accommodation a day or two prior to your desired departure date. Also, be sure to arrive to your reservation on time.
When planning your route, understand that there are three departure town ports…
- Padang Bai (most common)
Choose which is most convenient for you in terms of logistics and price.
* Our recommended fast boat company from Bali to Lombok is Blue Water Express. Sure, you may pay a little more but the seats are comfortable and it’s safe!
From The Gili Islands:
If you are on the Gili Islands, you can take a ferry from the Gili Islands and get dropped off at Teluk Nare Harbor, which is located in Senggigi on Lombok.
The boat ride from Gili T takes about 15 minute + a 2 hour cab ride north from Sengigi to the villages of Senaru or Sembalun.
Regardless of where you are coming from by boat, once you arrive onto Lombok, make your way by car/taxi to the villages of Senaru or Sembalun.
These two villages are the jumping off point for your Rinjani Trek.
Mount Rinjani, When To Go
When planning your Mount Rinjani trek, it’s best to pay attention to the rainy seasons. Understand that Indonesia is hit with two different monsoon seasons and to make your Rinjani trek the best it can be, you’ll want to avoid the rainy seasons.
The best time to trek Mount Rinjani is from May to November. During these months, the weather is dry but this also means these months are peak season which means more tourists on the mountain.
The times to avoid trekking Rinjani are January – March. Heavy rain hits Lombok during these months making the Rinjani trek super dangerous.
Mount Rinjani National Park typically closes during these months due to the unpredictability and safety issues in climbing Rinjani. Not only is it dangerous to literally trek the paths during the rainy season, but rock and mudslides are common.
Is Mount Rinjani Hard To Climb?
We’re not going to sugarcoat this… yes, Mount Rinjani is hard to climb. Like, frustratingly hard. But even so, this mountain is still fairly easy and safe to climb compared to other, higher mountains in the world.
We went into the Rinjani hike thinking “pshhhh, we’re two fit humans who have hiked loads of times at high altitudes, we got this.” Well, Rinjani laughed in our faces.
We’ve hiked in the Himalayas and to the summits of some of the tallest points in the United States and we will say, Mount Rinjani kicked our butts.
Why is The Rinjani Trek so Difficult?
Two words – the elevation and the terrain….ok, that’s four words, but you get it.
Over the course of 8kms (5 miles) you have a 1500m / 4,922 feet climb – and that’s a up, up, up hill climb. The hardest and most steepest part are the last 4kms which takes around 4 hours to climb.
Correct, one Kilometer per hour. You read that right.
The reason why it takes so unbearably long is because of the incline and the unmanaged trails. The trail terrain is loose rock and dirt, so it’s hard to keep your footing at some places, the worst being the ascent to the top for sunrise.
It goes without saying but proper footwear is key for this hike. Aka, no sandals like Tevas or Chaco’s. The loose rocks and dirt will fill them and make the climb unbearable. Proper trail runners or hiking boots are a must! Don’t skimp out on quality either.
Where to Stay Near Mount Rinjani: Sembalun Or Senaru?
Sembalun and Sanaru are the two villages closest to Rinjani and the the two main points of entry to Rinjani National Park.
Our recommend, and where we stayed, is Senaru. Senaru has more accommodations, trekking companies and places to eat than Sembalun. Plus, it has a two waterfalls, Sendang Gile and Tiu Kelep, that you can check out!
TIP: Whichever village you decide to start the trek in, you’ll finish in the other village. Try and plan your accommodation in the village you are finishing in. For us, we started in Sembalun and finished in Senaru, and Senaru is where are accommodation was.
Where to Start The Rinjani Trek: Sembalun Or Senaru?
We highly recommend starting your Rinjani Trek in the village Sembalun. It’s the easier and better side of the mountain to start the trek off from.
Most companies start the trek from the Rinajni Trek Centre at Sembalun, but some do not. If you are set on making Sembalun your starting off point, make sure you request this route with your trekking company ahead of time.
We stayed in Senaru the night prior to our trek. Most of the tour companies have offices in Senaru so if you are looking to book a trek in one of the two villages, make sure you head to Senaru.
If you stay in Senaru, your trekking company will pick you up the morning of your trek. It’s a 1 hour car ride to Sembulan where you’ll start your Rinjani ascent on foot.
If you start from Sembalun, your trek will end at Senaru. It’s super convenient because then you’ll be able to retrieve your bags from your accommodation and head onto your next destination or chill in the village for another night.
Rinjani Trek Costs
Mount Rinjani Trek Entrance Fee
Regardless if you go solo or with a tour company, an entrance fee must be paid to enter Rinjani National Park.
You’ll check in at the Trek Center prior to the start of your hike and pay the 150,000 IDR ($10/$11 USD) per person per day. Not a bad price to visit one of Indonesia’s top spots.
However many days you are in the park will determine your final entry fee cost.
Mount Rinjani Trek Tour Company Packages
The typical length of the tour packages for Rinjani are listed below. The packages below are pretty standard regardless of what your company you choose to go with.
2 Days / 1 Night
Climb up to the crater rim for sunset. Camp at the crater rim for the night. Wake up early and hike to the summit for sunrise. After you summit for sunrise, you’ll begin your trek back down to the entrance where your transportation will be waiting for you.
This option is the most rushed and most strenuous on your body. Your two days are jam packed with long, difficult ascents and descents on very little sleep. However, if you are up for the challenge, this option is the most budget friendly. We recommend a longer trip though if you want to get the most out of this experience.
3 Days / 2 Nights (MOST POPULAR)
Climb up to the crater rim for sunset. Camp at the crater rim for the night. Wake up early and hike to the summit for sunrise. After sunrise, descend to the lake and swim in the hot springs prior to beginning your climb up the other side of the crater rim for sunset. Camp here for the night and then climb back down the next morning.
4 Days / 3 Nights
Same as the 3 day / 2 night package except you camp at the lake on Night 2, check out a cave, and enjoy some free time. This option is definitely not as rushed as the others listed above but it’s also the most expensive and time consuming option. If you really want to get the most out of your trip, this is the best option.
TIP: Please make sure you allot one extra night to each of these options shown above as you’ll need to stay the night in Senaru or Sembulan prior to your hike the next morning.
Trekking Rinjani Without A Guide
While hiking Mount Rinjani without a guide is possible, we’d like to convince you not too. For most of the guides and porters, this is their full time job.
Being your porter and guide is how they feed their families and make a living.
Also, hiking without a guide and porter can be extremely dangerous. If you get hurt or lost, you’ll be in some serious trouble and there’s no guarantee anyone will find you.
Hiking Rinjani is no walk in the park by any means. It’s inclines and elevations are demanding and the terrain can be unforgiving.
In addition to your personal belongings, you’ll have to rent gear from Senaru like tents, sleeping bags, etc and carry all your food and water for the duration of your hike as well as all your trash.
There are no shops in along the way so if you run out of something or forgot something, your shit out of luck.
If you do decide to trek Rinjani without a guide, you’ll still need to pay the park entrance fees. In addition, please sign in at the park office and let someone know your intended route and how long you will be gone for.
This way, if something does happen to you, people will have a general idea how long you’ve been “missing” and where to look for you.
Mount Rinjani Trek Tour Company Prices
The prices of a Rinjani tour vary widely and unfortunately it’s not a one size fits all answer for you.
The tour package pricing depends on a few things…
- How many days/nights you want to trek
- Which type of trek you choose – Private or Group
- The trekking company itself – Each company offers different prices based on their offerings
- Where and when you book
Expect to pay in the range of $90 – $500. Avoid booking your trek with the cheapest companies. These companies don’t provide essential services like an experienced guide, decent meals, a good sleeping bag, garbage disposal and a toilet tent.
To give you a reference point, we paid $150 per person for our 2 night / 3 day trek. However, the $150 per person did not include tipping.
Please, please, PLEASE budget a little extra and tip your guides and porters after your hike is complete.
After you see all the hard work they just put in to make your hike the best it can be, you will be happy to throw them a few bucks. A suggested tipping amount is 100,000 IDR – about $8 USD.
TIP: If you are looking to save money on your tour package, book once you arrive in Lombok. HOWEVER, please make sure to read review prior to confirming any booking with a tour company. We want you guys to be safe, not get screwed and have an amazing time!
What’s Included on a Mount Rinjani Tour
When deciding which tour company to book with for your Rinjani Trek, the list below should be included in the price they give you.
- An english speaking, licensed guide
- One porter for each person in your group
- All your meals + snacks
- Lots of water
- Tent, sleeping bag, etc.
- A toilet tent
- One night accommodation before the trek
- Transportation (if needed) to the entry point to the park
- Transport to your next destination
Always, always, ALWAYS ask prior to booking any tour what is included in the package. You definitely don’t want to deal with hidden fees. And you also don’t want to expect one thing only to find out it’s not included.
In addition to the above bulleted list, a few good questions to ask the company are below…
- Does the company takes out all their trash? Trash is a huge problem on Rinjani.
- Is the park entrance fee included in the trek cost?
- What is the group size? You shouldn’t have more than 6 trekkers per guide.
- Confirm where you are starting your trek. You should start at Sembulan.
- How long have they been in business / doing the Rinjani package you choose? The key here is that you want an experienced and reliable company.
Choosing The Best Rinjani Trekking Company
First, understand that there are loads of companies to choose from. It can be overwhelming but you really should pay attention to who you are agreeing to climb to the summit with.
Picking the cheapest tour company, while saves you some cash, usually amounts to a load of headaches and a bad experience.
Just remember, you pay for what you get.
The trekking company we used when we hiked Rinjani was Rinjani Lombok Trekking and we can’t recommend them enough! Prior to us departing for the trek, we did a “trek briefing” the night before so we knew exactly what to expect for the next three days.
The guide and porters were fantastic, friendly and really did a great job taking care of us! From pitching our tent, to cooking our meals and making sure we drank plenty of water, Rinjani Lombok Trekking took great care of us.
We booked our trek with them a few days before while we were on the Gili T. From Gili T we made our way to Lombok where we met our guides at Arenel’s Cafe in Sengiggi, Lombok.
Should You Get Travel Insurance For The Mount Rinjani Trek?
Yes. 100% yes. We bought travel insurance before we set off on our 8 month backpacking trip around Southeast Asia and we can’t tell you how thankful we were that we had it.
From a few hospital visits that could have easily cost of hundreds to thousands of dollars of our own money, our travel insurance through World Nomads saved our butts big time.
Accidents happen and are unpreventable. When climbing an active volcano like Rinjani, truly anything can happen.
Look at what happened in 2018 when an earthquake rocked Lombok. Some hikers were injured due to the quake. You really never, ever know what’s going to happen and it’s always worth it to be better safe than sorry.
Get that travel insurance. If anything, it’ll give you some peace of mind.
Where To Stay Near Mount Rinjani Before/After Your Climb
For The Budget Conscious: If you are on a budget but are looking for clean comfortable rooms, Tiu Kelep Homestay is your place! The location is great, close to waterfalls and offers amazing views of Rinjani, plus you can book your Rinjani trek directly with the owner.
For The Luxury Inclined: Rinjani Lighthouse, a cozy bungalow in the jungle with all the amenities is waiting to you. To it’s friendly staff to its comfortable serene environment, Rinjani Lighthouse is the perfect place to rest up before and after your Rinjani trek.
For Something In Between: With a garden and a terrace, Ila Homestay provides clean and comfortable accommodations for any Rinjani trekker. Plus, the friendly staff cooks up some amazing food for you to refuel.
For more places to stay in Senaru, you can check out the latest places and prices here.
Welp, that’s everything. In addition to our Rinjani Trekking: Packing List & Trek Overview, you are ready to rock this hike! Happy trekking and let s a great big “whoooooo” for us when you reach that summit 🙂
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)