Mount Rinjani (Indonesian: 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.
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. UNESCO has made Mount Rinjani Caldera a part of the Global Geoparks Network in April 2018.
After big earthquake July 2018 Mount Rinjani closed for climber and reopened on June 14th 2019 to crater rim Senaru and crater rim Sembalun, while to the top of Mount Rinjani and lake is still closed.
The adventures should explore the options of staying on the mountain for 3 nights or more with a planned trek that takes in the crater rim, down to the lake shore, the absolute summit and more. Such treks normally start in either Senaru or Sembalun Lawang however in the last couple of years some other routes have opened including the Benang Stokel, Timbanuh and Torean routes.
Senaru ascent route
This is by far the most used route as it allows the (relatively) less strenuous trek to the crater rim only. You start at an elevation of 600 m in Senaru village, normally in the late morning or early afternoon and make the 6 hour ascent to the crater rim before dark. First part of the trek is through tropical rainforest. Look and listen out for the lutung, or black monkey, swinging through the trees in the late morning. They are extremely shy, unlike for the common macaques which may gather near rest stops waiting for scraps. The route passes through POSII at 1,500 m, breaches the treeline at 2,000 m (POSIII) and then it is a bit of slog up gravel paths to the camp site just below the crater rim at 2,600 m. There is no clear path at the last section nearing crater rim, at an incline of 45 degrees. There is a POS Extra after POS 3, but it is pretty much gone, and the remaining bits have been chopped up by porters as firewood.
If that has not sapped all of your energy you can then make a very precarious descent down to shores of the crater lake and bath in the hot waters. You need some confidence to do this as it is a steep descent of 600+ m using handrails and ropes.
And then it is back to Senaru the way you came. Local guides claim going down is faster, but speed varies for individuals. Patience is vital for first timers, as it can get frustrating watching porters sail past you with their load balanced on one shoulder, clad in slippers or even walking barefoot. Descent from POS Extra to POS 3 can be slippery when weather is dry, as scree tends to give way under your feet. From POS 3 to POS 2, the descent can take 1.5 to 2 hours, as savannah grasslands fades away, and the humidity and heat from the tropical rainforest begins to set in. Useful tip: request for guides to cut out a wooden trekking pole if you did not bring a trekking pole with you. It will be extremely handy during the descent, especially when legs are aching from the strenuous climb.
There is an option to go on to Plawangan II where you overnight again before making the ascent to the absolute summit. This is not especially recommended from the Senaru side though. If you want to get to the top, the climb to Plawangan II is best made from Sambulan Lawang.
Sembalun ascent route
Starting in the morning from the Rinjani Trek Centre in the village, the climb to Plawangan II at 2,638 m will take about 8 hr via POSI (1,300 m), POSII (1,500 m) and POSIII (1,800 m). Starting altitude is1100 m, so there are no humid conditions to deal with. First half or more of the trek is literally a breeze. The trek through savannah grassland is windy and easygoing, with gentle ups and downs, and the only obstacle to look out for are the “cow pats” deposited by the villagers’ cows along the way. Rolling hills and amazing scenery help to ease the tiredness, unlike the enclosed tropical rainforest of Senaru route.
From POS 2 to POS 3, the climb is still manageable. The challenge for Sembalun route is from POS 3 to POS Extra, as the uphill gradient can be 50 degrees at times. Young children will find this section challenging as some steps are set quite far apart. Cooler weather up here may give the impression that the body does not need fluids, but do drink more to prevent altitude sickness setting in. Strangely, there is a guy selling cold drinks (Pocari sweat, Coke etc) here at the campsite at exorbitant prices (40000 Rp per drink) for those who crave it. Overnight at the campsite here and go for the summit starting at 3AM the next day. You need to be well rested as this is a stiff task – the final climb is nearly 1,100 m on difficult ground.
Over 20 villages surround Mt. Rinjani and there are many routes up the mountain, but the main access is from Senaru in the north and Sembalun Lawang to the east.
Gunung Rinjani national park lies within the major transition zone (Wallace) where the flora and fauna of south East Asia makes a dramatic transition into that which is typical of Australia. The park has a rich variety of plants and animals, although they can be hard to spot due to the terrain and rainforest cover.
Sometimes seen early in the morning is the morning is the rare black Ebony leaf monkey, know locally as lutung. The long tailed gray macaque of kera is common in Lombok and order males are seen on the crater rim. Rusa deer are forest dwellers and are occasionally seen a long the Rinjani trek train.
The smaller barking deer or kijang has an alarm call with a distinct dog – like bark. Look for the disturbed ground where the wild pig or babi hutan has been foraging. Also found in the forest is the leopard cat or bodok alas, palm civet or ujat and porcupine or landak.
A variety of colorful birds live in the forest of the park. Perhaps the best – know icon of the park is the crested cockatoo that is not found any further west of Lombok. Many of the forest-dwelling animals, insects, birds, civets, and monkeys owe their survival to the wild fig tree or beringin as a provider of food and shelter.
The pine-like casuarinas species, Cemara, are a feature of the grassy higher slopes. Orchids or anggrek are also a feature of the grassland areas, as is edelweiss or bunga abadi growing above the tree line, it is a beautiful icon of the park and one of the park and one of our best-know sub-alvine plants.
The following stories are a selection taken from a booklet for village guides containing a collection of traditional stories that have been related for generations by the people of Dusun Senaru.
The first place to rest, located where the paths from Senaru and Semokan meet. Andongan Tambing is one of the forrest entry gates and the First Camp on the Rinjani Trek. At this point the trekkers are warned to be careful of the steep slopes.
Half Way Point (Pos II Campsite)
At the second resting place (Camp II) is a stone which is called Batu Penyesalan. This marks the place where the trekkers feels a conflict about whether to continue or to turn back because we still have as far to go to our destination as we have already walked.
Usually it takes about two hours to walk here from Bunut Ngengkang.
One of the three famous caves (Goa Susu, Goa Payung, dan Goa Manik), Susu Cave is a good place for self reflection and is often used as a place to meditate. The people with unclean and envious mind will have difficulty entering Susu cave which has a narrow entrance, but people with noble and pure mind will easily enter the cave.
Inside the cave water drips from the tip of a stone which looks like a nipple, so people say the water in Goa Susu tastes different. Inside Goa Susu is hot and there is a lot of smoke which looks like cooking steam so people call this Mengukus (hot house) and sometimes people call it Rontgen (X-Ray).
Hot Healing Springs
Aiq Kalak means hot water and it is used to cure various deseases. One of the hot springs is named Pangkereman Jembangan which is meant a place for dipping. The water which spurts out of the spring is very hot. Weapons such as keris, swords, big knives, and lances are dipped in the spring to test their magic power. If the weapon become sticky it means that the weapon is bad and has no magical power. However if the weapon remain unchanged it means that the weapon has supernatural power and the power and the strength will be increased.
People also use the hot spring to make medicine from coconut cream. After dipping a bottle of coconut cream in the hot spring if the liquid becomes clear oily it can be used as medicinal oil. Then the medicinal oil is used for good things and is called Siu Satus Tunggal or in Bayan language Siu Satunggal which means that it can be used to cure a thousand kinds of desease.
Segara Anak Lake
Segara Anak Lake is so wide it appears like the sea with its blue water. The name Segara Anak means child of the sea.
Segara Anak Lake holds various mysteries and invisible power.
People feel content to stay a long time in this place because of the large community of mysterious spirits which live arround the lake. The local people believe that if the lake looks wide when seen at a distance it is a sign they will live to an old age; or if the lake seems narrow it is a sign of a short age. So in order not to be pessimistic, people quickly purify themselves by lifting up their spirits and calm soul and look at the lake contentedly.
In the area of the lake it is forbidden to have sexual intercourse, to complain or say dirty things. We must be patient when facing problems.
This plant grows along the route to Mt. Rinjani. It has thorns like the rose and the fruit is red like strawberry. It has a sweet and slightly sour taste and is good to eat when trekkers are hungry and thirsty.
Eternal Flower or Edelweis
The plant or the flowers should not be taken because it grows in the park and in the mysterious world of the spirit kingdom. In the past, someone who wanted this flower must be brave enough to fight and gamble his soul. That is why the flower is called Andar Nyawa. The flower has never wilted and is as old as the mysterious spirits.
The people of Lombok believe that the peak of Mt. Rinjani is where Dewi Anjani, the queen spirit and ruler of Mt. Rinjani lives. To the south-east from the peak in a sea of dust called Segara Muncar is the invisible palace of the queen Dewi Anjani and her followers. They are good spirits. According to a story about the Queen Spirit Dewi Anjani she was the daugther of a King who would not allow her to marry her boyfriend. At a spring called Mandala she dissappeared and changed from the real world to the spirit world.
Gunung Baru Jari
Gunung Baru is the name of the new volcano which emerged in the center of Segara Anak Lake. People believe that Gunung Baru is the navel of Mt. Rinjani. That is why if Gunung Baru erupted it will not harm the people of Lombok unless the eruption is from the peak of Mt. Rinjani. Some people said that the 1994 Gunung Baru eruption was caused by siprits who were building something because the stones that erupted were arranged in an orderly and attractive way at the foot of Gunung Baru.