How to Plan Your Epic Mount Rinjani Trekking Adventure (2019 Guide)

Last updated on: 46 Comments

A Mount Rinjani trekking tour is not for novice hikers or casual travellers. But if you’re ready for an epic 3-day journey to the summit of the second highest volcano in Indonesia, here’s everything you need to know before you go in our guide.

At 3,726 metres above sea level, Mount Rinjani looms large over the entire island of Lombok in Indonesia.

Of the 130 volcanoes in the country, Rinjani is the second-highest (topped only by Mount Kerinci on Sumatra).

Rinjani’s ominous silhouette is a constant reminder of the powerful forces rumbling just beneath the surface of the earth.

That power is what draws hundreds of intrepid hikers to Rinjani every day.

mount rinjani trekking
You can see Rinjani from almost everywhere on Lombok.

Why Do a Rinjani Trek?

The tough hike to the crater rim is rewarded by absolutely magnificent views.

Rocky black soil at the summit drops off into a lush valley filled with purples so deep and greens so bright they don’t look like they should exist in nature.

Lake Segara Anak, nestled in the bottom of the gaping crater, is a deep turquoise, echoing the spectacular colour of Lombok’s seas.

On the edge of the lake sits an active volcano, Mount Barujari, which steadily spews threatening clouds of smoke into the air.

mount rinjani trekking
Mount Barujari, inside the Rinjani crater, is still active and can erupt at any time.

And at night, the sky is blanketed with stars so thick they look painted on.

While the views inspire awe, the most compelling reason to trek Mount Rinjani is to challenge your body and your mind, leap firmly out of your comfort zone, and be able to shout “Hell yes, I did it!”

If that sounds good to you, read on for everything you need about…

How to Plan Your Epic Mount Rinjani Trekking Adventure

Could You Handle a Rinjani Trek?

I’ll admit, we went into the Mount Rinjani trek with a bit of a cavalier attitude. Sure, we’d read the stories about how hard it was supposed to be, but we’re experienced trekkers with decades of challenging mountain hikes behind us.

We’ve trekked all over Canada, Europe, and even in Vietnam.

How much harder could trekking Mount Rinjani possibly be?

As it turns out, trekking Rinjani is hard. Really freaking hard.

The Rinjani trek starts with a climb of 1500 m over 8 km. Most of that elevation change takes place during in the final 4 km, which take about 4 hours.

Yep, that’s just one measly kilometre an hour.

To make matters more difficult, there is next to no trail maintenance, so the route is sandy, slippery, and ridiculously steep.

Unless you’re a trail running hero or an actual superhero, be prepared to have your will and your body pushed to their limits on your way up Mount Rinjani.

And that’s just the first day.

The second day starts in the middle of the night, so hikers can summit for sunrise. To get the summit, there’s another 1000 m of elevation gain, along a narrow trail of slippery loose scree.

It’s cold up there, too. Even in August, the temperature hovers around freezing.

After all the climbing, the descent should be a relief. Instead, it seems to go on for days, requiring every ounce of hamstring strength you can muster, plus knees of steel, and an excellent sense of humour.

trekking mount rinjani
The descent from Mount Rinjani will put your whole body to the test.

If you come away without any scraped knees or sore muscles, you’re definitely part mountain goat!

So, could you handle trekking Rinjani?

If you’ve read all of this and you’re thinking “Hell, yeah! Bring it on!” then keep reading.

If you’re still not sure, check out my 7 Essential Tips For Surviving A Mount Rinjani Trek

What Are The Options For a Rinjani Trekking Tour?

Sembalun Or Senaru: Where To Start?

There are two main points of entry to Rinjani National Park.

You can ascend from the village of Sembalun or from Senaru. On three- and four-day hikes, you depart from one village and descend to the other.

We highly recommend starting in Sembalun because of the way the trails are configured.

The first day of ascent from Sembalun is steep and sandy. It looks like it would be absolutely brutal going in the opposite direction.

Likewise, the descent to the crater lake is so steep and rugged, that it would be a real leg-breaker going the other way.

If you want a more off-the-beaten track experience, book a private tour and ask about one of the less-used routes, like the trails from Aik Berik or Torean. We wish we had known about them before our trek!

How Many Nights on Rinjani?

Three Days, Two Nights

The most popular option (and the one we recommend) is the 3-day, 2-night trek. This gives you just enough time to climb to the summit and also visit the crater lake and hot springs.

If you’re in no rush, consider the 4-day, 3-night option, which goes to the same locations but provides a little more free time to relax and enjoy Mount Rinjani.

Two Days, One Night

The 2-day, 1-night tour from Sembalun includes the option to summit at sunrise. If you’re in amazing shape and love to punish your machine, go for it!

Otherwise, take pity on your poor body and give yourself more time on the mountain.

The 2-day, 1-night trek from Senbaru takes trekkers to the crater rim opposite the summit. This is the easiest (not to say that it’s easy) of the Mount Rinjani trekking options.

You don’t get near the summit or the lake but it does provide incredible views of the crater. If you think you can’t handle a longer trek but still want to experience Rinjani, this is probably the best option.

If you book the full 2-day, 1-night tour on Get Your Guide they will pick you up from anywhere in Lombok and provide everything for you.

mount rinjani trekking
The view of the crater lake from the Sembalun side is worth the trek!

Be aware that “one night” or “two nights” refers to number of nights on the mountain. Most Rinjani trekking companies encourage you to spend a night in Senbaru before the tour to get an early start. This hotel is often included in the price, but be sure to check!

Private Tours and Hiking Rinjani Without A Guide

While it is technically possible to trek Mount Rinjani without a tour or a guide, it is actively discouraged both by the government and the community. Unless you are an extremely experienced hiker and have hiked in the tropics before, don’t even consider it. If you’re injured on the mountain without a guide or porters, you’ll be in some serious trouble.

If you do decide to trek Rinjani independently, please sign in at the park office and pay the entrance fee. Though it’s questionable whether the fees are used to maintain Rinjani, signing in is for your own safety.

What’s The Food Like On A Rinjani Trek?

On our day-one lunch break, we were astonished to see full-on camp kitchens being set up by all the guides and porters on the mountain.

In Canada, you’re lucky to get a squashed peanut butter sandwich for lunch on a long hike.

On Rinjani, you get a heaping plate of fried vegetables, tofu and tempeh, a pile of freshly cooked rice crackers, all the rice you can eat, plus a massive fruit plate for dessert. And that’s just the vegetarian option!

mount rinjani trekking meals
Not bad for a camp meal!

This meal was not unusual. Everything we ate on Rinjani, and everything we saw being served to fellow trekkers, was freshly cooked and plentiful. There was so much food, we were rarely able to finish our meals.

Where Do You Sleep On Rinjani?

You’ll sleep snuggled in a tent at a campsite on the crater rim or by the lake.

Our tent was clean and modern, if a little bit short for our long bodies! The sleeping bags had been freshly laundered and the camp pillows were also clean.

You won’t find much solitude at your campsite though, since hundreds of other trekkers will be camping right alongside you.

What Does A Rinjani Trekking Tour Cost?

There’s a huge range of prices for trekking Rinjani, depending on which company you go with, where and when you book, and which tour option you choose. I saw prices quoted anywhere between $80 and $450 US for similar tours.

Avoid the cheapest companies, as many don’t provide essential services like an experienced guide, good sleeping bags, garbage pack-out, and a toilet tent.

You can save money by booking once you’re already on Lombok. Just make sure you know which Rinjani trekking company you’re going with so you can ask the essential questions and check their reviews.

If you don’t have time to wait around on Lombok looking for a tour with availability, it is best to book ahead. Check out some of the tours I’ve linked to on this page.

rinjani trekking porters
Porters carry around 40kg on bamboo poles. Please tip them!

Budget a little extra for tipping. After you see how hard your porters and guide work, you will be happy to supplement their incomes.

A minimum of 100,000 IDR (around $8 US) per guide/porter from each hiker is a good guideline.

How To Choose The Best Rinjani Trekking Service

Choose your Mount Rinjani trekking package carefully. Yes, you can pick up el cheapo tours after you arrive in Lombok but you tend to get what you pay for on Mount Rinjani.

I recommend ignoring the cheapest options and spending a little more to ensure you are comfortable and safe on the mountain.

Hajar Trekking took excellent care of us during our Mount Rinjani tour. We can enthusiastically recommend them.*

Hajar grew up in Senbaru and he cares deeply about the mountain and the future of tourism there. Our guide, Adi, was funny, informative, and always put our safety first.

He has been up the mountain hundreds of times, knows every rock and tree root on the trail, and was patient with our endless stops for photos and videos.

mount rinjani trekking
Stephen and our guide, Adi, still smiling after three days with us!

The two porters who took care of us were just amazing, too, working their butts off to lug our camping gear and food up the mountain and to get our campsite set up and perfect before we arrived.

What’s Included On A Mount Rinjani Tour?

These are the things that should be included in your Rinjani trekking package. If they aren’t, look for another company.

  • One English-speaking, licensed, experienced guide
  • One porter per person in your group
  • Meals, snacks, soft drinks and water
  • Tent and sleeping bag
  • Transportation to and from any town on Lombok
  • Transportation between Senbaru and Sembalun
  • Hotel stay in Senbaru the night before the trek

Some companies provide a few nice-to-have extras. This is what we got:

A toilet tent allowed us to do our business in private and to bury our waste. Without a toilet tent, you take your chances in the bushes where privacy is very hard to come by.

A camping pillow which helped us get a better night’s sleep.

Two camping chairs that kept us out of the thick Rinjani dust at mealtimes.

Winter jackets to keep us warm at the top of the mountain. Even in August, the summit was around 5 degrees celsius! Brrrr.

rinjani trekking
It’s cold at the top of Rinjani all year round.

Headlamps to make the ascent to the Rinjani summit possible. A headlamp leaves your hands free to carry trekking poles or help you scramble up the steepest sections.

Trekking poles to save your knees on the steep descents and give you extra ability to balance on the often treacherous trails.

Other Essential Questions To Ask About Your Rinjani Trekking Package

What do the porters carry? Usually, hikers carry all their personal items (clothes, toiletries etc) and the porters carry food, water and camping equipment.

What is the group size? We were on a private tour, but if you go with a group, be sure to ask about the group size. The larger groups on the trail tended to be noisy and experience more delays.

What do they do with garbage? You are going to go through a lot of food and water on the trail. Make sure your tour company pays their porters to carry your garbage out, instead of dumping it or burning it on the mountain. There is a lot of garbage on Rinjani – please don’t add to it!

Who runs the company? What is their story? We love to travel with private companies run by local people. They tend to care deeply about the environment and the longevity of their business and less about earning a quick buck. We recommend you take a look at Hajar Trekking.

Tips For Trekking Mount Rinjani

Request trekking poles. We had never trekked with poles before but they were indispensable for this trip. They’ll help keep you upright through the sandy, slippery slopes and will save your knees after hours of steep descents.

Be prepared. The trail will probably be harder than you think. Take your time, stopping every few steps to catch your breath if you need to. If you just keeping taking the next step and then the next, you will eventually make it to the top.

Be OK with not summiting. Don’t be ashamed to say “no” to the sunrise summit trek. Plenty of people don’t go up! If the first day nearly killed you, stay in your tent and rest. There is plenty of exciting hiking to come without risking injury or exhaustion just to see the summit.

Don’t get too cocky on the descent. The trail down is steep and precarious. It’s easy to slip and fall and even easier to injure your knees. Just because the porters are running down the trail in flip-flops doesn’t mean you have to do it too!

Be respectful. Try to stay aware on the trail, even when you’re exhausted. Let faster hikers go by you and always move over for porters. Remember, they are working while you are there for fun!

Don’t add to the Rinjani litter problem. It’s no secret that there is a lot of garbage on Mount Rinjani. Bring a ziplock bag with you and please pack out your own toilet paper, baby wipes, cigarette butts and other personal garbage. If you want to do more, bring a garbage bag and pick up rubbish along the trail.

Rinjani Trekking Packing List

Bring as little as possible. If you think you’ll survive without something, leave it behind! You’ll regret the extra weight when you’re on your 1200th metre of ascent for the day!

  • Hat, gloves & scarf (it’s very cold at the top)
  • Good hiking shoes (running shoes are not grippy enough)
  • Headlamp (for the night hike to the summit)
  • One/two sweat-wicking t-shirts
  • One pair of shorts
  • One pair of long pants
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Sun hat (if you don’t have one make this easy DIY hat)
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip sunscreen (our lips got burned – not a good look)
  • Sunglasses
  • Socks & undies
  • Swim suit
  • Tiny towel
  • ID and cash for tipping

Optional items:

  • Base layer (it gets freaking cold at the summit)
  • Baby wipes (if you pack them in, pack them out)
  • Soap or hand sanitizer
  • Flip-flops

That’s everything you need to know before you book your Rinjani trekking tour. If we missed something or if you have questions, ask away in the comments section below!

Disclaimer: We were guests of Hajar Trekking for our Rinjani trip. But we would never recommend something we didn’t love ourselves and you know Jarryd and Alesha wouldn’t let us get away with it either!

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Jane And Stephen

Hey, we're Jane & Stephen of My Five Acres. We're passionate about living an adventurous life – 'cause, why live a boring one? We've lived in six countries and have camped, biked, trekked, kayaked, and explored in more than 50. Stop by, say hi, and grab our free ebook 101 Travel Tips for Mindful Adventurers.

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46 COMMENTS

  1. Begin Again

    I hope I will be there some day.

    Hashan

    This is Really Help full for me thanks A million

    Joven

    Hi, any idea if mt rinjani is open to climb this year particularly in june?

      Alesha and Jarryd

      Hi Joven, we are not too sure. Please contact the tour companies. They will be able to assist you. All the best

      sky

      hi, have you got the certain information for rinjani open day, our schedule is June 1

        Alesha and Jarryd

        Hi Sky, we are not too sure. Please contact the tour companies. They will be able to assist you. All the best

    M. Jones

    Wow, I did not know this place until I read this article. It makes me want to try.

      Alesha and Jarryd

      Glad Jane and Stephen could help. 🙂

    Jeff

    I plan to climb Rinjani this April, but I check the National Park website, they say they are still closing the climb until the time that has not been determined, I think this has something to do with the earthquake last July.

      Alesha And Jarryd

      Maybe it might be or for the rainy season. Hope you get to climb Rinjani another time. 🙂

    Kelly

    THANKS TO THIS POST I was able to do my hike to Mount Rinjani, I recently did a 2 days 1-night hike from the aik berik route(1 of the 4 legal routes), it was only a crater rim trek but its worth every second of it. it was a really spectacular experience!

    We got the track and cloud forest waterfalls for ourselves because everyone still doesn’t know about it! the Aik Berik route is still ‘virgin’, clean, and not crowded.

    Note: Aik Berik Village is the only available route until 2020, and the route will be closed from January to March, so you only have ONE MONTH to go before the mountain closed due to heavy rains.

    FYI Aik berik is the only route you can enjoy on mount Rinjani, it’s not possible to reach the summit and the lake but still, you can enjoy Rinjani from a completely different angle. it is already opened on 19th November 2018 and I suggest you go trekking with an eco-friendly company such as RinjaniFoundation.com since this new company has a mission to alleviate poverty around mount Rinjani. They took care of me and my friends from start to finish, they cook the most delicious Indonesian food! check them out.

      Alesha And Jarryd

      Thank you so much for sharing. It sounds like you have a blast. Thanks for all the information.

    Alina

    is the trek open at the begining of october?

      Alesha And Jarryd

      Sorry not too sure Alina. You will have to contact the companies. This is a review on a tour one of our writers went on. All the best

    Angie

    Hi there, thanks for the informative article! I’m thinking of doing the Mt Rinjani hike in late October, would it be too cold up there? Also, I’m arriving in Bali on a Wednesday and leaving again on a Sunday. Would that be too little time to get to Lombok, do the trek and get back to Denpasar? Cheers, Angie

      Alesha And Jarryd

      Hi Angie, That is exciting for your up coming trip. We are not to sure as we have not done this hike. Please contact Jane over at My Five Acres and she’ll be able to help. Thanks.
      https://www.myfiveacres.com/

    Tony Leong

    I appreciate your post – it really helped me prepare for doing it. I just got back, and while this is fresh in my mind, here are a few things you left out/glimpsed past that may help others:

    -Bring a gaiter/handkerchief/face mask if you can – its lightweight but will protect against the insane amount of dust that will get into your mouth/eyes. I had black boogers every night, someone in my group got a piece of debris in her eye, and my throat was perpetually dry from all of the dust. I’d recommend the gaiter+handkerchief combo to battle sweat and dust.
    -The porters work so hard. I only know the figure for the guides – 35€/trip (3D/2N). The porters definitely make less. TIP YOUR PORTERS AND GUIDES. Yes, I get it, “well, I paid 1.X million and that should be enough”, and “well, they’re used to this”, is bullshit. The money means so much more to them than it does to you – back at home you’d not flinch at the idea of ordering a cup of coffee for 5€, so why not help a human being who is keeping you safe?
    -Bring a plastic bag to carry your/other rubbish with you. Especially the last day of the 3D/2B you’re only going down and it’s relatively easy (after your legs are jelly, granted) – if we all pitched in and helped pick up stuff and bring it down, the mountain would be so much cleaner.
    -Take your time and POUND water. For altitude poisoning, you usually take acetazilomide (diamox) to combat it (that’s what I did for my salkantay trek to machu picchu) but the Indonesians are not as aware – I couldn’t find it anywhere in the country. A natural way to help is to breathe deeply, take your time, and drink water like there’s no tomorrow. It’s not a race – it’s a test of will power!

      Alesha And Jarryd

      Thank you so much for your tips and advice for future trekkers. 🙂

    Helena

    hi, thanks for the blog, loved to read it 🙂
    I did the 4 day/3 night in 2006, just me and a guide plus a porter, starting from senaru going up the rain forest and coming down again through the savana to sembalun.
    It was an absolute awesome experience but I wish I had prepared better lol
    It was early in may and def the wrong time as the nights were brutally cold and the sleeping bag to thin to sleep on the bare ground of the tent. Luckily, I had brought some small heating pads which I put on my belly at night and a survival silver foil, otherwise I would not have made it.
    Another thing I didn’t know was the heavy rainfall up there at that time of the year, meaning being soaked was the norm starting on day 2 on the climb down the crater… it was always a big challenge to get my sneakers dry again and on the final descent on day 4, I simply gave up and did it in my flip flops like the guys. It rained and I had walk very carefully on the slippery grass that’s why it took us 7 hours to get down!
    Anyhow, it was a worthwhile experience and I hope to do it again, only this time better prepared.
    What worries me a bit is that there seems to be a run on rinjani in these days… that’s really bad news, when I went there were hardly any other people… so maybe the wrong time was the right time in the end 🙂

      Alesha And Jarryd

      So glad you had a great time. Sounds like you had a great adventure. 🙂

    Alvin Au Yong

    I am going to this Mt. Rinjani trekking on this Saturday, 7th July 18 and this is my first time on trekking. Thanks for your useful information and would prepare for it.
    Anybody can advice, is there any telecom service provider (mobile phone line) during the journey to the summit?

      David

      Extremely helpful article, many thanks guys.

      I am traveling in August to Lombok and for sure will try with Mt Rinjani, and will definitely contact Hajar.

      The only thing we’ve been told it’s full of trash….such a pity

      Helena

      Hi Alvin,
      could you please let us know how it was at this time of the year?
      I like to know about temperatures at night and how many people there were.
      Thanks in advance

    Maria

    Thanks for the information!
    I am traveling through Indonesia for two months (so my bagpack is VERY big!). Do you know if it is possible to leave some things at the hostel in Sembalun or I will have to carry my entire bagpack to Mt Rinjani?!?!

    Thanks!!

      Alesha And Jarryd

      There definitely would be Maria. If not at your accommodation, I am sure you will be able to leave it at the tour company’s shop.

    Ronie

    KINGS of the MOUNTAIN!
    Rinjani Trekking Club recently experienced the challenging climb to the top of the Rinjani mountain and would like to salute the fantastic supports extended by porter who help tourist and visitor achieve new heights.

    Their incredible fitness allows them to climb, bare feet or with flip flops, and even sometimes run, with heavy loads of equipment and food to ensure the best comfort for visitors. When in difficulty in the last few hundred meters to the top, they patiently wait for you; when hungry, they cook for you; when tired they prepare your camp so that you can rest.

    When you came across some groups of courageous climbers not using the support of the porter, you can be assured that their experience of the Mount Rinjani is much more demanding and somehow less enjoyable, since they do not have the comfort of climbing unloaded nor the company of truly warm and welcoming sasak people.

    Jamal

    Hello, I’m Jamal

    Thank you so much for your information for the trekking , its was helpful article for other climbers ,

    Thanks again hope you’re well and good day

      Alesha And Jarryd

      Glad we could help. Thanks

    Tan Chooi Fong

    Very helpful article. Thank you so much Alesha & Jarryd 🙂 I’m going on 23-28 JUNE 2018. Coming sooooon~so nervous and excited now!!

      Alesha And Jarryd

      So awesome. Have a great time. 🙂

    Gan

    Hey,

    Nice information on Rinjani. I don’t think you can get 80 USD for a 3D2N trek in Rinjani, maybe 2D1N to crater rim or something is possible.

    Ester

    Lovely article, very helpful!!

    I’m dying to this hike; hopefully I’ll get to it this spring.

    What do you reckon is the earliest the hike can be done after the rainy season?

    Thank you!

      Alesha And Jarryd

      Thanks so much for ready Ester. Our friend Jane wrote this article for us. It does sound like a wonderful hike. Your best option is to message her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/myfiveacres/. She’ll be happy to answer you questions. Happy travels. 🙂

    Ronie

    Hi
    I’m Ronie From Rinjani – Lombok
    Mount Rinjani, Lombok’s highest peak ( 3726 m asl or 12,200 ft. ), draws religious pilgrim and adventure tourist alike. its crater frames a lake, which is 5 miles wide and known as segara anak, which means the lake of child. this crater also contains an active volcano, Gunung Baru.

      Alesha And Jarryd

      Thank you for the information Ronie. 🙂

    Julie

    I was lucky enough to hike it in 1997 before the hoards of tourists discovered it. Spent one night in Senaru and went up from there. With no previous hiking experience, just a friend and one guide that we hired, it was physically challenging but SO worth it! I was lucky enough to hardly see many people on the mountain. I don’t think I’d like to do it now.

      Alesha And Jarryd

      Wow Julie, what an experience. So happy you got there in the early years. Thank you for your comment. 🙂

    Mickel

    Thanks you for sharing your experience. One day I will hike mount rinjani too.

      Alesha And Jarryd

      Us too Mickel. It looks amazing. Jane and Stephen wrote a great article for us.

    Herman

    wooow….!That is a wonderfull experienced trek in rinjani Mountain and is a perfect information about All of Rinjani Trekking activity.

    I’ve read all the climbers blogs that have been to Rinjani but the most complete info I’ve seen is on this blog.
    congratulations and success for you.

      Alesha And Jarryd

      Thank you so much. Glad this post could help Herman. Jane and Stephen had a great time. Happy travels

    Pilot Mark

    This looks like a great hike. I recently did a fantastic hike around the crater lake of Quitaloa in Ecuador; an exhilarating adventure in which I also had the chance to soak up plenty of local culture and knowledge.

      Alesha And Jarryd

      It does doesn’t it. Jane and Stephen had a blast. We can not wait to trek it now. Your hike in Ecuador sounds amazing. We were in South America for most of the year but unfortunately didn’t see anything of Ecuador. We will have to go back. Happy travels Mark.

    Dave | Jones Around The World

    This was a brutal hike, but definitely worth it. I actually got a black eye on the hike down. 🙁 It was also before a 3-day music festival, so not a good look! haha

      Alesha And Jarryd

      Oh no. How did you get a black eye? We are looking forward to trekking Mt Rinjani one day. Hope you had a blast at the music festival. Lest the trek wasn’t after the festival. 🙂

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