We trekked to the peak of the Mount Rinjani volcano in two days / one night, though most people do it in three days / two nights. The one night hike was just enough for us, and the only thing we missed out on was hiking down to the crater hike.
If you’re thinking about doing this hike you should definitely do your research before you go, so that you know what you’re getting yourself into. Making it to the peak is no easy feat! Here’s a quick recap of our journey.
Most of the trekking companies will include a hotel room in Senaru for the night before the trek in the cost of your package. It’s about an hour drive from Senaru to the start of the trek. We stayed at the Rinjani Lodge the night before.
Once you register in the small office, you’re on your way. Just follow all of the other people headed up. The trail is pretty clear, though we had a guide for just the two of us (simply because we wanted to stay in the higher end hotel the night before, which required a “luxury” trek package).
Be prepared to get dirty on the way up (and even more so on the second day!). I didn’t find the first day’s hike too hard, but others were struggling. It was definitely a long slog up that mountain to the crater rim.
We made it to our campsite in the late afternoon, and watched as the view constantly changed with the clouds rolling in and out.
Just ignore all the garbage littered everywhere by the incredibly thoughtless tourists. And don’t get too close to the monkeys!
We had booked our trek with Green Rinjani, based on reviews that this was one of only two environmentally-friendly companies that will clean up trash on the hike. Green Rinjani’s gear (tent, sleeping bags, etc.) was in good condition, they plant a tree on every hike (though we planted it in an area that does not seem like it would sustain a tree), and they did pick up other groups’ garbage and pack out our own waste. But I was disappointed in our guide, who was sleepy and uninterested. And typically the guides on a guided hike can make or break it for you.
The campsite is certainly not a bad spot for a well-deserved beer (they actually sell Bintangs at the top, though you will pay a hefty mark-up given the effort that’s required to get them up there!).
After just a few hours’ sleep, we woke up in the middle of the night to make the long trek up to the summit for sunrise. You’ll want to wear a hospital mask to keep the dust out of your mouth, as you slip and slide your way up to the top. It is SLOW going, and you will take two steps forward, one step back. But the view from the summit is awesome.
Just don’t fool yourself. You will not have this view to yourself.
We stayed at the top as long as our cold fingers could handle it, and then slid back down through the ash to get back to our campsite and take a short nap before heading all the way back down to where we started from.
Be prepared – This trek is every bit as hard as the reviews say it is. I underestimated what I read ahead of time, assuming that it would be easy enough for a person who is in shape and used to hiking. But getting to the summit was HARD! I couldn’t walk for probably a week afterwards.