The island of Lombok is quickly becoming a popular alternative to Bali, with holiday makers looking for a slower pace during their vacation. Some come to dive, others to sunbathe but many come to hike and conquer the almighty Mount Rinjani.
Most tour operators in the area offer 1 and 2 night Mount Rinjani hikes. The tours come with a guide as well as cooks and porters who carry up all the camping equipment, which means all you have to carry is a small pack and some water.
We decided to do the 2 day 1 night Rinjani hike which takes you to the craters rim for views of the entire lake. We set off bright and early on day 1 stopping every hour or so as our legs got weaker and weaker. The hike is pretty tough, it's straight uphill, but when you see the porters dancing up the trail barefoot it gives you motivation to keep going.
It took us about 7 hours to reach our camping spot with a stop for lunch and a fair few breaks in between. We ended up being about an hour below the rim when we all decided to stop because we were too shattered to go any further. The nice thing about not making it all the way up on the first day was that we camped in a spot all to ourselves instead of with the crowds. Our camping spot was perched just above the clouds which made for a pretty unreal sunset.
Since we didn't make it to the rim the previous day, we set off extra early at about 4am to make sure we managed to make if up before the sun appeared.
As we made our final ascent to the top we were greeted by million dollar views over the crater lake and an epic sunrise which quickly erased any memory of the tortiourous hike from the previous day.
After spending an hour relaxing, admiring the views and taking more then enough photos we started to make our descent back down. We bounded down the volcano in about half the time it took us to reach the top. I think we were on an adrenaline rush after knowing we had conquered the mighty Rinjani.
Note: We found the hike pretty difficult but the guides were lovely enough to stop whenever we wanted and let us really take our time. The meals were all great and we couldn't of asked for a better bunch of guides and porters. They were so much fun and we laughed and sang all the way to the top, even when it was almost too painful to go on.
Although the porters are included in the tour price it's never bad practice to tip them $5 or so when you get awesome service. They don't get paid much and ours more then deserved it.
If you decide on a longer hike you can do anything up to 4 days, this will take you down into the crater lake and up to the summit. The Mount Rinjani hike was one of the best hikes i've done in my life and I highly recommend it to anyone who visits Bali or the Island of Lombok.