When my 10-mile-running, voted-most-athletic-in-high-school best friend and travel buddy wouldn’t let me forget about how much she wanted to trek Mt. Rinjani, the second highest peak in Indonesia and an active volcano, I was slightly terrified. I had heard the stories of people having to rush through the seemingly never ending trek with shaking legs, having their guide disappear for hours, and having barely enough food to get by. But I did want to challenge myself and climb Mt. Rinjani… so I did my research.
I stumbled upon Jou Trekking’s package and the reviews raved of excellent guides, more food than anyone could eat, and an absolute great experience. I emailed the company and received a quick response. Although the prices were a little higher than the guys trying to sell everyone a trekking guide on the street, we decided that paying a little more for the comfort of knowing what we were getting ourselves into, being able to have a person of contact, and most likely a much better experience was a good idea.
Included with Jou’s trek is a free pick up and drop off anywhere on Lombok! (which might have cost as much as the price we payed for the whole trek!) We arrived to Lombok from Gili T the day before our trek. We were greeted by a driver holding a sign with my name. He drove us to the accommodation (also included), and when we arrived, they asked us if we wanted a guide to take us to the waterfalls!! Uhm, waterfalls are the key to my heart. Yes please! So our guide—who was absolutely amazing, carried all of our stuff, and made us laugh the whole time—took us to the waterfalls where we got to enjoy some nature and get some Insta pics.
Then we were taken back to our accommodation where we relaxed to prepare for trekking!
Our alarms went off at 4:15 in the morning, but it wasn’t too hard to wake up because of our excitement! As soon as we left our room, banana pancakes and tea/coffee were waiting for us. (Okay and I know everyone gives banana pancakes… and I’ve had my fair share… but these were the best banana pancakes I’ve had in Asia.) Moments after we finished breakfast, Jou offered us candy bars. The other key to my heart. I knew this was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. :p
Our accommodation was literally at the base of Mt. Rinjani so we started our trek straight from there! We trekked for about an hour in the dark until the sun rose. There are little huts along the path of the trek to stop and rest. We did a lot of resting. And ended up eating cookies pretty much every time we stopped.. don’t judge! I think Jou’s backpack was 75% filled with cookies for us. And everyone else trekking with lame-o guides didn’t have any snacks. Some people were actually like really hungry and Jou became the hero. He said he wouldn’t take anyone’s money for snacks, he said he just shared because “we’re all human.”
We continued trek trek trekking along, going at our own pace, and taking lots of rest breaks for cookies and socializing with other people trekking (some of them had no clue where their guide went).
Once we were about 20 minutes from the top, it started dumping rain. I’m super smart and decided to trek during rainy season (which is technically not allowed or safe). Luckily a big group of us were under one of those huts so we all got to hang out and bond over this crazy thing we were doing. This was actually one of my favorite moments!
I’m not an avid hiker. Yes, I enjoy hiking. But I’m not the most athletic nor have I ever climbed something so tall.
The hike was challenging. There was one point when I decided that I shouldn’t have done this. But I made it! And when I made it to the summit, I wasn’t even that tired. My legs didn’t hurt almost at all, and I seriously could have kept going!
We only did the Crater Rim trek because we were short on time and wanted to stay only one night, but also because it was rainy season and it can be really dangerous to hike up to the summit.
While the trek is technically for beginners, I don’t recommend it for people who aren’t at least slightly in shape. It’s a big freakin’ volcano mountain. Be prepared for it to be hard, but it’s definitely do-able! It took us about 8 hours including like multiple hours of sitting.
Once we reached the top, all of our tents were set up (complete with large sleeping mats, pillows, and sleeping bags), and we hopped in and listened to the beautiful sound of the rain. Our lunch was served to us, and it was warm and healthy and so so delicious!
Eventually it stopped raining and everyone came outside to look at the stunning view and hang out. Fast forward to dinner. Wait… appetizer and then dinner! We had yummy warm fried bananas and got to choose if we wanted fried rice or curry for dinner. They gave us so much food and we had a pretty insane amount of leftover food, cookies, and soda… so we were able to give it to all of the cute boys that were doing the trek with other guides. A win for everyone! 😉
For comparison, the other groups trekking were given a very small portion of rice and noodles. They were still hungry.
After dinner, we all hung out and watched the lightening in the distance! Bed time was early and we were ready for it! I slept like a baby, but apparently some of our friends on other treks didn’t sleep as well!
Everyone got up and enjoyed the beauty that surrounded us. We were the first to have breakfast ready and we had chairs set up by the lake so that we could have our breakfast with a view. They didn’t rush us back down, and we were actually the last group to leave the summit because we were busy braiding hair and doing other girl stuff.
The trek down was really enjoyable and we did it in less than 4 hours. Jou was carrying a bag and picking up other people’s trash along the way! When we were almost to the end, we stopped for a really good lunch (which we couldn’t finish again).
It suddenly started pouring after a morning of perfect sunshine. Typical rainy season! We threw on our ponchos that Jou provided for us and headed to the bottom! Even though it was raining, it was actually so much fun to hike through the puddles… actually more like rivers/waterfalls!
At the bottom, a car was waiting for us so we wouldn’t have to hike the probably 7 more minutes in the rain. We showered and were driven wherever we wanted to go!! We were going back to Bali and the port to get the ferry was 3 hours from Mt. Rinjani! So crazy that the 3 hour drive was included with our tour!
Overall I had an incredible experience hiking to the Crater of Mt. Rinjani with Jou Trekking.
It wouldn’t have been the same with another guide. So many of the other people who had other guides were bummed because they didn’t have Jou and they constantly joked with us about our luxury guide!
I would highly recommend Trekking Mt. Rinjani. Knowing what I know now, I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was challenging but do-able, it introduced us to so many amazing people, and it was extremely gorgeous.
If I haven’t convinced you already, book your trek with Jou Trekking to:
- know you will be safe and in good hands
- be able to ask questions and get the real answer (not just what they think you want to hear)
- have good/enough food
- have a comfortable bed
- support a trustworthy local’s business
- because literally everything is included in the price
Have you trekked Mt. Rinjani? What was your experience like?
I did receive a media discount for the trek, but I would have loved it either way and all opinions are my own!