Rising to the elevation of 3,726 meters above sea level, the grand mountain of Rinjani is the second highest volcano in Indonesia. It sits nearly at the entire portion of northeast Lombok and serves as the highest point of the island.
Frequently referred by mountaineers as “the mother volcano of Indonesia,” Rinjani has been a trekking mecca for ages. The hikes to its peak are challenging and sometimes torturous, but with its unlimited spectacular panorama and inspiring ecological features, Rinjani is worth every step.
It takes multi days through variety trails to reach the summit. The first climb is relatively easy but as we go higher, fog will get thicker that we must cautiously take small steady steps. The most grueling section is the last trail leading to the summit. It’s only 300 meter long but dangerously sandy, dusty and full of slippery gravel.
But once you reach the highest rim, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking vistas of the Gilis to the northwest, Sumbawa to the east and Bali’s Mount Agung especially when the sky is clear. And then as you gaze down at the crater bowl, you’ll find yet another heart-pounding view of massive and deep blue lake of Segara Anak (literally means the Child of the Sea). While the lake is surrounded by expanse golden grassland and dense forest on all side, it’s dotted with newly emerging active volcano cone in the middle that adds its beauty.
Along with Mount Agung in Bali and Bromo in Java, Mount Rinjani is sacred for Sasaks and Hindu Balinese. Each year during full moon, a troop of traditional clad pilgrims journey to the mountain and toss various offerings into lake before marching towards the holly peak. During Balinese Pakelan ritual, the offerings are even in the form of gold and jewelry, making the lakefloor full of scattering hidden treasure.
Just a short walk from the bank of the lake, there are a series of natural hot springs that will treat your sore muscle after longhour hiking. Locals call the springs Aik Kalaq and those who suffer from any skin disease will come there to find healing.
In fact, it’s not enough to describe the magical appeal of Mount Rinjani and all its features simply with words or pictures. One should hike and witness it in person to have a true appreciation of this magnificent volcano.
Where to Start?
Basically, the hike to Mount Rinjani can begin from anywhere around north Lombok. However, it’s better to depart via the villages of Senaru or Sembalun as they will lead us straight to the main starting point. Moreover, we’ll also get cheaper price if we book our tours at one of the villages. Be cautious however, as the transport to those villages can be very difficult and coasts a lot of money.
Arranging Rinjani trek packages are easily done anywhere else around Lombok including at Gili Trawangan and Senggigi. Booking tour via the many Bali travel agents is also possible with the most direct from Padang Bai. But be noted that the closer to Rinjani we book our tours, the better the price and quality are. To hire porters is a must as tourists are not allowed to hike the mountain alone.