This summer I spent nearly 2 months in Indonesia and trekking Mt. Rinjani was definitely the highlight of my journey. It wasn’t easy but it is definitely worth it. The best weather conditions to go there are in July and August. Unfortunately, those two months are also the high season, so prepare to meet a lot of people on the way. It turns out I have a lot of things to mark down. I will split this article into two parts. The first one will be dedicated to the preparation and some important things to be taken into consideration before climbing the second highest volcano in Indonesia. In the next part, I will take you to the summit with me. (:
I am fond of independent trekking and always check all other variants before I settle for the idea that someone else will tell me where to walk and how much time I need to spend on places. I checked my options to go independent to Rinjani, as well. I have to say that for that mountain it actually makes sense to go with an agency. If you do not travel with your tent and low-temperature sleeping bag you will need to rent those ones. The most of the people which are traveling in Indonesia don’t even have a proper jacket, like me, so you will need to rent it as well. Checking around how much this will cost plus the permissions to enter the mountain it turns out it will be not so much less than the price of a guided tour. Plus you need food for three days and water for a day and a half. Consider whether you like to carry all of those and remember - it is a steep way going up.
I have to admit that whenever someone was telling me that climbing Rinjani was the hardest thing they have done, I was thinking “Well, people who go to Bali are not exactly the trekking type”. After I have done it, I decided that it was also one of the hardest things I have done, and I have been trekking for nearly 10 years, to a lot higher elevations.
All agencies are providing pretty much the same things to the participants. You get three meals, sleeping bag, tent, 2ltr of water per day and you do not need to carry any of this stuff. If you also need a jacket or hiking pools make sure you get this written down on your receipt before paying. There are a lot of middlemen which will sell you the tour with all of the perks but meeting with the agency, later on, you will be surprised that not all of the things are included in the price in their opinion. So, have it written and signed. My agency tried to convince me I don’t need jacket at all. Good thing, that I have experience and insisted on one. On nearly 4000m – one of the stupidest things you can do, is to go without a jacket.
I had to argue a lot for the trekking poles and managed to get at least one. They really will help you walk on the little lava rocks which are not at all stable. I read a lot of articles that the best thing is to book your trip when you arrive in Senaru (the starting point of the trekking). I will have to disagree. The prices of the agencies booked directly there were a lot more expensive than if you do it from another popular tourist area. Plus the agency will take care of your transportation to there, so you don’t need to deal with taxi drivers and this is a huge plus, believe me.
I got the tour for 1300000 (~82 euros) and that was the lowest price I have heard at that time. Good bargaining skills will help you out with that. There are a few options for the trekking duration. The optimal one is 2 nights 3 days. It will give you time see the caldera, enjoy the hot springs and go to the summit. You can do the trek starting from two different points, both use the same camping spots. One of them is starting from Sembalun, trekking to the peak second day, going down to the lake the same day, sleeping on the edge of the caldera and going down the third day. The second choice is starting from Senaru, going down to the lake on the second day, going to the summit on the third one and going down the same day.
The best choice here is starting from Senaru. The first reason is that I have met people doing it the other way around and on their second day, when we were enjoying bathing in the lake and the hot springs, they were so exhausted of climbing up the peak the same day, they couldn’t enjoy it as much as we did. The second reason is personal, but I guess most of the trekking lovers have it in common. The summit for me is something that comes in the end. You don’t start with it, just to say I pass that thing, now the easy part comes. It is actually a reward for the walking up and pushing yourself to make one more step. As the rewards usually come last, the summit also comes at the end of my journeys.
Stock yourself with a lot of energy bars. You do not need special trekking shoes. Running shoes will do the work. You will be mainly walking on small lava stones and no matter what sole you have it is going to be slippery. Having your own headlamp or torch will be the best thing because many agencies do not provide you with one or the batteries run out during the three hours walking in the dark climbing the summit. You will read about that in the next part :). While waiting here are some other Indonesian adventures I had:
Thank you if you made it this far. I will appreciate your upvote if you liked it. Cheers, Eva (:
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