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Old 1st May 2017, 10:42   #1
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Hiking Mount Rinjani in Indonesia

This is a short travelogue of my hiking trip to Mt. Rinjani.

Sometimes, when age is fast catching up, one tends to start focusing on being able to achieve few difficult tasks and plan to be more fit for the days to come... and this is what exactly lead us to plan for a hiking trip from Singapore.

Based in Singapore, there are a lot of good hiking destinations in South East Asia which are easily accessible thanks to the local low cost airlines.

I had registered for the half marathon during June 2016 but work commitments and the pressure of leading an implementation team had put up a big hurdle for the preparations. The turning point was a short trip to Bintan from Singapore in August 2016. One of my friend (Vinod) had registered for IronMan event there and asked me to tag along his other companion had to drop out due to an emergency. Being the most unfit person on the whole island on those two days struck a chord with my conscience. Back to Singapore, I started serious preparations for the half marathon.

Couple of weeks before the half marathon, Vinod suggested for going for a hike somewhere nearby and we started looking for destinations. Mt. Rinjani was chosen as the destination based on the reviews we found online and we started contacting the trek operators in Lombok to negotiate the details of the hike.

The final itinerary was, I will be completing the half marathon on 4th December 2016 and start the hike to Mt. Rinjani on 7th December 2016...

A short review of the half-marathon experience:
Being honest, I had registered in the last batch to flag off as I knew that I will be slower than the other runners. This turned out to be a big disadvantage as when the last batch of runners reached the water stations, we were told that there is no more water. The event was so badly organized, we runners had to cross the barriers to go and buy water from the convenient stores along the way. I managed to complete my first half marathon in 3 hours 20 minutes despite.

Seinfeld has a perfect quote: Ah, what's to see? A woman from Norway, a guy from Kenya and 20,000 losers.
A short summary of the rest of the travelogue:
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Old 1st May 2017, 11:21   #2
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The planning

Hiking poles, Water bladder to carry in the backpack, hiking t-shirts and shorts, thermal wear, etc were all bought from Decathlon.

Since the hike is on volcanic scree, we also picked up new shoes from Merrell.

Some of the hiking tour operators we contacted were:
Green Rinjani
Lun Expeditions
Rudy Trekker
Trekking Rinjani
Hajar Trekking, etc

We decided to go with Lun Expeditions as the price offered to us very competitive than the other operators and the reviews for the operator were also good.

December is usually off-season as the trek is officially closed from January to March during the monsoons. The volcano had erupted in September 2016 and when we checked with the contact email on the official website, this was the reply we got:
Its officially CLOSED as written on the website and we still don’t know when it will be open as from Metreology and Geofisika still warning us of the activity of the baby volcano
Follow up Letter Head of Geological Agency of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources No. 2622/45 / BGLV / 2016 dated 27 September 2016 regarding Increased Activity Level Mount Rinjani from Level I (Normal) to Level II (Vigilant), then starting from Tuesday September 27, 2016 at 15:00 pm , the entire hiking trail to Mount Rinjani is closed from all climbing activities.
The trek operators were still conducting the treks and the there were few recent reviews on Tripadvisor as well in November 2016. We decided to go through the trek even though the official site maintained by the Govt. was last updated in September for the volcano's eruption.

Deluxe package for 2 persons with Lun Expeditions was booked through Whatsapp. The price negotiated for the deluxe package was comparable to the standard package being offered by other operators and it was the best deal. Lun has been the most accomodating person we have come across in our travels. He arranged for our accomodation at Sembalun (Pesona Rinjani) instead of Senaru (as was the norm with all other operators we contacted) as we arrived late in the night at Lombok and were starting the trek the next morning.

Day 1: 6th December
We started from Singapore at 14:50 and reached Lombok at 23:00 hours. From Lombok airport to Sembalun Village was almost another 2 hours drive.

Lion Air flight. Singapore->Jakarta->Lombok.
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Jakarta domestic terminal:
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Loading up on some sugar!
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Domestic airport departure gate ceiling.
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Jakarta city in the night
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Last edited by vb-saan : 17th February 2020 at 10:49. Reason: URL updated as per request
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Old 1st May 2017, 12:32   #3
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Day 2

Day 2 - First Day of the hike

We met with our 3 porters and 1 guide (Ipin) after completing the registration at the Rinjani Information Center. Day 1 trek was for 7 Hours (moving time 3 hrs 40 mins) with an altitude gain of 1,541 meters and covering a distance of 10.31 KMs from the start point. The last stage after POS 3 was a steep climb and very exhausting.

View of the mountain from Sembalun.
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Our hut at Pesona Rinjani, Sembalun.
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Lun, the owner of Lhuna Adventures and his driver - Olo.
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The government office where one has to register and buy tickets before starting the hike.
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The ticket
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Standard low cost accommodation - Stay in resort grounds in tents.
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The grasslands at the base of the mountain. This whole area is parched during summer due to bush fires.
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POS 1. First stop for rest.
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We had 3 porters and one guide with us during the trek. The porters each carry 30kgs on their shoulders and sprint away whereas the actual trekkers like us with 6KGs backpacks struggle to climb!
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This guys provides a taxi service up to POS2. Not sure on the cost but we saw couple of ladies taking the taxi service.
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The hikers:
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The beautiful grasslands at the base of the mountain.
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Fire alert area.
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POS 1 - We rested here for 10 minutes and continued to POS2.
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Lunch freshly prepared by the porters.
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You get pampered when you book for a deluxe package...
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Still a long way to go to finish the day's hike.
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This is what greeted us when we reached the crater of the mountain. Not to forget the heavy gusty winds which were threatening to push us back down.
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An overview of the day's hike.
Approximate 9 hours of hiking on day 1. Approximately 1541 meters climber covering a distance of 10.5 KMs.
Hiking Mount Rinjani in Indonesia-snip20170501_2.png

Last edited by pulsar56 : 1st May 2017 at 12:34.
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Old 1st May 2017, 13:02   #4
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Day 3

Day 2 on the mountain. (8th December 2016)

The night on the crater rim was very windy and cold. We opted to sleep through the night instead of waking up at 2 AM for the summit climb. We could hardly sleep due to the noise of the wind and it was pushing the tent on us.

We started our summit climb around 8 AM in the morning and took 7 Hours to get to the summit and back to the crater. As per the initial itinerary, we had to descend to the lake after the summit but we decided to stay back on the crater rim as it was quite late by the time we came back to the camp after the summit. Our guide and porters were very accommodating as this was a change from the planned itinerary.

The crater rim of Mt. Rinjani.
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Camping above the clouds.
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That's where we will be climbing to reach the summit.

From Wiki: Mount Rinjani or Gunung Rinjani is an active volcano in Indonesia on the island of Lombok. Administratively the mountain is in the Regency of North Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (Indonesian: Nusa Tenggara Barat, NTB). It rises to 3,726 metres (12,224 ft), making it the second highest volcano in Indonesia.[2]
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Our Dinner
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Nature's art...
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On the top of the volcano is a 6-by-8.5-kilometre (3.7 by 5.3 mi) caldera, which is filled partially by the crater lake known as Segara Anak or Anak Laut (Child of the Sea), due to the color of its water, as blue as the sea (laut). This lake is approximately 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) above sea level and estimated to be about 200 metres (660 ft) deep; the caldera also contains hot springs. Sasak tribe and Hindu people assume the lake and the mount are sacred and some religious activities are occasionally done in the two areas. On 27 September 2016 14:45 WITA Rinjani erupted.
And this is the top view of the cone which erupted on 27th September 2016 and captured by me on 8th December 2016.
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Two steps forward and the mountain will take you back by 1 step. The most challenging climb to the summit as this stretch completely exhausts you.
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This is where I sat down to rest and looked up the path. If not for the encouragement from my friend and the guide, I would definitely have turned back! The level of exhaustion this stretch causes cannot be described!
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This is not Mordor... It's the path to the summit of Mt. Rinjani.
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We were the last to summit the mountain as usually, almost everyone starts the climb to the summit at 2 or 3 AM. As we started at 8 AM, we were alone on the way to the summit. The cloud cover on the caldera lake made sure we could not capture good shots of the lake from the summit.

This is on the other side of the summit which does not have a lake.
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On the summit.
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Back to base camp on the crater.
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Summary of Day 2 on Mt. Rinjani.
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Last edited by Rudra Sen : 2nd May 2017 at 10:55. Reason: typo corrected
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Old 1st May 2017, 13:24   #5
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Day 4 - Day 3 on the mountain

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Climbing volcanic scree... Two steps forward, 1 step backward!
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We descended to the lake and in the morning after breakfast. The descent took 3 hours 45 mins (5.21 KMs) and the last 1 hour was in heavy rain which added to the beauty of the landscape around Mt. Rinjani. We spent some time in the hot springs after lunch and began the steep climb to the Senaru crater rim. The ascend is just 4.11 KMs but takes 3.5 hours. The night on the Senaru crater was very peaceful with not much wind. The sky was reasonably clear and we got to enjoy the view of our galaxy which has become a rarity with the amount of light pollution in the cities.

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The beautiful landscape while descending to the crater lake.
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The hot springs.
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The water is heated by the geothermal activity of the volcano.
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Such a relief for the sore muscles.
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Mt. Barujari, the active cone, still spewing out smoke from the last eruption couple of months back.
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This is where we would have camped for the night had we descended to the lake on the previous evening.
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Overview of the descent from the base camp on Semablun side to the lake.
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The tent where our porters and guide stayed. The rectangular tent is the toilet tent.
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Overview of the climb to the crater rim on the Senaru Village side.
The small circle you see in the map is the view you can see in the picture from the previous post.
Hiking Mount Rinjani in Indonesia-snip20170501_5.png

Last edited by pulsar56 : 1st May 2017 at 13:27.
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Old 1st May 2017, 13:41   #6
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Day 4 & 5 - Day 3 & 4 on the mountain

We camped on the Senaru side of the crater rim for the night. It was the first night on the mountain where it was not windy. This gave us the opportunity to set up the tripods for some long exposure photography.

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We woke up around 2 or 3 AM and were greeted with the most beautiful sight we had seen. Our Galaxy Milky Way in it's full glory. Unfortunately, we did not take out the cameras to click any pictures since we wanted to have enough rest for the next day's long descent.

The dawn of our last day on Mt. Rinjani.
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This was a long trek down to Senaru village through forests, covering a total distance of 11.67 KMs and it took us 6 hours 30 mins to reach Senaru. This again was an exhausting day and the trek down through the rainforest was accompanied with very heavy rainfall. As a result, very few photographs from the last day.

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Final picture with the guide at the Senaru start point.
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Old 1st May 2017, 13:46   #7
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Important Points to remember:
  1. The trek is hard and very exhausting.
  2. Book a deluxe package or private tour for a comfort and setting own pace.
  3. Warm clothes/mittens are a must during the nights.
  4. Sunscreen/Balaclava - There were few who were badly sunburnt.
  5. Pack as light as possible. (We were also carrying tripods and DSLRs).
  6. A good rain jacket to cover till feet. Our socks got wet in the rain and in turn the water seeped into the shoes from inside even though the boots we were using were waterproof.
  7. Pack Bandages for blisters.
  8. Book for a longer package to enjoy the trek than just hurrying to the next point.
  9. Off-season is the best time to visit.
  10. In the deluxe package, the porters bring along chairs for the hikers. We rarely used these chairs. It would have been better if there was another tent so that we had space to sleep properly. With two moderately built guys in a single mountain tent, it was very difficult to even move in the tent!

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Old 2nd May 2017, 09:41   #8
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing.

Last edited by GTO : 2nd May 2017 at 09:42. Reason: Bump
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Old 2nd May 2017, 10:53   #9
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Re: Day 3

Beautiful location and pretty detailed description. Thanks for sharing this.
Originally Posted by pulsar56 View Post
And this is the top view of the cone which erupted on 27th September 2017 and captured by me on 8th December 2016.
There's a typo issue. This is just to let you know that I'm correcting it.
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Old 3rd May 2017, 14:57   #10
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Re: Hiking Mount Rinjani in Indonesia

Wow, nice trekking you had there!

looking at the wet lush green atypical of Indonesia reminds me of my stay in Brunei/Indonesia/Bali. Such a serene 'un-spoilt' terrain.
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Old 3rd May 2017, 18:34   #11
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Re: Hiking Mount Rinjani in Indonesia

@pulsar56 : Excellent trek, thanks for the details. Someday I would like to do the same in south east asia Philipines or Indonesia.

For 5 day trekk looks like a great place.. bravo for doing it

Is it possible for you share the approximate costing directly on this thread or with a private message.
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Old 5th May 2017, 09:38   #12
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Re: Hiking Mount Rinjani in Indonesia

Great Pictures especially the ones taken in the night. What is the off season considered in that part of the world. Can you please share the package for the trek. Looking forward to more such T/L.

Take care man...
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