Travel guide to Mount Rinjani and Senaru in North Lombok

Indonesia is a paradise for adventure seekers. The Komodo National Park has some of the best diving we've ever experienced. But venture above ground and you will find an incredible landscape just waiting to be discovered.

Indonesia is located at the meeting point of the Eurasian, Indo-Australian Philippine and Pacific Plates on the Western side of the Pacific “Ring of Fire”: the edges of the Pacific Ocean where many tectonic plates meet and of course collide, causing the majority of the world's earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

So, it certainly receives its fair share of dramatic landscape as a result of all this seismic activity!

Guide to Senaru: map of Ring of Fire circling the Pacific Ocean rim
Map of the tectonic plate meeting points circling the Pacific Ocean and forming the Ring of Fire

But let's firstly get one thing straight: this is hardly your typical gay destination. Certainly don't come here expecting to find gay bars, pride parades and other rainbow flag inducing entertainment.

This is a destination geared to the adventure seeking, trekking enthusiast who doesn't mind roughing it a bit.

Guide to Senaru: toilet tent view of active Mount Rinjani from volcano rim
Sebastien roughing it – the view of the active volcano from our toilet tent at the crater rim of Mount Rinjani

#1 WHERE IS SENARU VILLAGE AND MOUNT RINJANI?

Mount Rinjani is one of the highest volcanoes in Indonesia, rising to 3,726 metres (12,224 feet) and located near Senaru village in the Mount Rinjani National Park.

Senaru is located in North Lombok island, at an altitude of 600m (1,969ft).

#2 TREKKING THE ALMIGHTY MOUNT RINJANI

Most people visit Senaru Village as a base to start and finish treks to Mount Rinjani. We did a 2 days/1 night trek to the crater rim (around 2,600m / 8,530ft), where we camped for the night.

This was one of the toughest treks we've done, despite it taking only 2 days, the feeling in our legs afterwards was enough to rival our experience trekking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal.

View from Mount RInjani crater rim Lombok island Indonesia
Sebastien admiring the sunrise view from the RInjani Volcano crater rim where we camped for the night

The first day of our adventure to the crater rim involved an intense uphill 7 hours climb. We set off from Senaru village at 8am and arrived at the crater rim at 4pm with 1 hour lunch break.

By the time we arrived at the crater rim we were absolutely exhausted. And being quite high up, the temperature dropped quite a bit. Feeling absolutely knackered and cold, we ended up cursing and arguing a lot to each other and questioning why on earth we bothered to do this in the first place.

Then this happened:

Sunset view from crater rim of Mount Rinjani in Lombok, Indonesia
Sebastien enjoying some sexy #sunsetporn above the clouds from the crater rim of Mount Rinjani

The views from above the clouds made the trek completely worthwhile. We had a beautiful sunset and woke early the next morning to watch the sun rise over the mountains through the clouds. An incredible and romantic moment; all the complaining and bickering suddenly forgotten!

And in any case, day 2 was a lot easier as it was only a 4 hours downhill trek back to Senaru (with no breaks).

Mount Rinjani guide to Senaru Seb reaction
“ANOTHER 4 HOURS?!!!” The Rinjani trek taking its toll on a tired Sebastien

It is of course perfectly safe to trek to the crater rim of Mount Rinjani, especially if you use a reputable tour company who are eco minded.

The trek to Mount Rinjani gets busy and rubbish unfortunately left behind by inconsiderate people. Our porters and guide however made a point of ensuring we left no rubbish behind and even collected other people's plastic waste disregarded along the way.

It's absolutely incredible to see a tour company doing this. For this reason alone, we urge all travellers to support and use an eco-minded tour company.

Planting tree sapling at Mount Rinjani volcano carter rim
Sebastien planting a tree sapling at the volcano crater rim of Mount Rinjani – an eco friendly and very unique initiative by Green Rinjani

We had 1 guide and 2 porters for our trek and took the deluxe service, which cost $260 per person.

We realised it was well worth the cost when other groups looked at our larger tent with envy and seethed jealously at our delicious, well prepared meals. We even had our very own personal toilet tent.

Our toilet tent on our Mount Rinjani trek on Lombok Island in Indonesia
Camping in style, a toilet with a view…Sebastien showing off our very own personal toilet tent

The actual active part of the volcano is in the centre of the caldera where a new mountain (called Barujari) was formed following the eruptions in 1994 and 1995 and is now surrounded by a lake.

In fact Mount Barujari recently erupted (literally days after we visited!), grounding flights into Bali and Lombok. As a result, the Mount Rinjani National Park remains closed until further notice, but we advise checking with Green Rinjani for the latest news.

View of Mount Rinjani volcano on Lombok island in Indonesia
Sebastien admiring the view of active volcano Mount Barujari, surrounded by lake from the crater rim of Rinjani volcano where we camped for the night

#3 EXPLORING THE DRAMATIC WATERFALLS

Senaru is surrounded by 2 popular and quite dramatic waterfalls in the Mount Rinjani National Park, which can be visited as a half day trip.

The first one, closest to the national park main entrance is called Sendang Gile, It is named after a legend about a prince who hid here after being chased by a crazy lion (Gile means crazy in the Indonesian language: Bahasa).

Sendang Gile Waterfall at Senaru Village Lombok
Admiring the Sendang Gile Waterfall at the Mount Rinjani National Park

The second waterfall is called Tiu Kelep (Tiu means pool and Kelep means fly) and is around 45 minutes trekking from the main entrance through the thick jungle and small rivers. We recommend wearing flip flops or sandals instead of trekking shoes which you would just end up carrying and going barefoot.

But it's well worth the effort, if anything for the impressive jungle scenery along the way.

Tiu Kelep waterfall in Mount Rinjani National Park Senaru Village Lombok
Tarzan Sebastien at the Tiu Kelep waterfall in the Mount Rinjani National Park near Senaru Village

The waterfalls get quite busy on weekends attracting many locals who believe a dip in pool area by Tiu Kelep can cure many diseases and make you look younger.

Sendang Gile waterfall Mount Rinjani National Park near Senaru Village Lombok
Enjoying the Sendang Gile Waterfall with this group of locals at the Mount Rinjani National Park

#4 WHERE TO STAY IN SENARU

We based ourselves at the excellent Rinjani Lodge during our stay at Senaru Village and cannot recommend it highly enough.

The reason why we completed day 2 of our trek in only 4 hours with no breaks? We had the Rinjani Lodge infinity pool on our minds to look forward to and drive us on.

Put it this way, tour guides have Rinjani Lodge as an important stop on their itinerary, so their guests can wow at the pool and take a refreshing dip with an astonishing view of the mountains and countryside around you.

View of Rinjani Volcano peak from Rinjani Lodge infinity pool, Senaru Village in Lombok
Stefan pointing to view of Rinjani Volcano peak from Rinjani Lodge infinity pool

Staying here you have this incredible pool all to yourself because they have one pool for members of the public using their restaurant and a second separate one for the private use of guests.

View of Mount Rinjani from infinity pool at Rinjani Lodge at Senaru Village
Stefan enjoying the infinity pool at Rinjani View with magnificent view of the mountains

Rinjani Lodge works closely with the local tour companies, so you can use it as a base to leave your large bags/suitcase when trekking.

And returning here after a strenuous trek to nearby Mount Rinjani is absolute bliss. After 2 days of no showering and absolute exhaustion, returning “home” to just relax in the Rinjani Lodge infinity pool was a great way to motivate you on that 4 hours long return climb down.

Rinjani Lodge infinity pool view of Senaru in Lombok, Indonesia
Sebastien relaxing at the infinity pool of Rinjani Lodge after a 2 days strenuous trek at Mount Rinjani behind him

We felt completely welcomed at Rinjani Lodge. The staff at Rinjani Lodge are locals from Senaru village and were extremely welcoming to us as a gay couple.

Rusman staff member at Rinjani Lodge at Senaru village, Lombok island
Rusman, one of the excellent and really friendly staff at Rinjani Lodge

Rinjani Lodge also has a terrific restaurant serving a variety of delicious local and Western food. We were really impressed by the quality of the food and just ate all our meals here. Try their ginger Lombok coffee and prepare to be blown away.

Breakfast at Rinjani Lodge at Senaru Village, Lombok Island in Indonesia
Seb enjoying a ginger Lombok coffee with his breakfast at the Rinjani Lodge

There's only 5 rooms and they fill up quick, so we definitely advise booking in advance to stay in this little village paradise.

Just watch out for those cheeky monkeys…they also like the infinity pools a lot!

Stef and monkey at Rinjani Lodge infinity pool at Senaru Village, Senaru
Spot the monkey! Stefan with new monkey friend sharing the infinity pool at Rinjani Lodge

OUR FAVOURITE TRAVEL TIPS

⭐️ TRAVEL INSURANCE — We recommend you always take out travel insurance before your next vacation. What happens if you suffer from illness, injury, theft or a cancellation? With travel insurance, you can have peace of mind and not worry. We love World Nomads travel insurance and have been using it for years. Their comprehensive coverage is second to none and their online claims process is very user friendly.

⭐️ SAFETY & SECURITY — All travelers can sometimes encounter danger when traveling. CloseCircle is your “virtual body guard” mobile app which provides security alerts and support wherever you are in the world. They have a 24/7 emergency response team monitoring their users who will contact you immediately if the SOS swipe button is activated. Support can include anything from practical advice, to free evacuation from areas with extreme weather or security risks. You can read more about CloseCircle in our article about how to stay safe whilst traveling.

⭐️ ONLINE ANONYMITY — A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a must in many countries: it allows you to surf anonymously and maintain your privacy whilst traveling. You'll particularly need it in countries where dating apps are blocked by the government. We recommend ExpressVPN, a reliable and cost effective service which we used and loved during our travels.

⭐️ HOTELS or APARTMENTS — When we plan a trip, we always look for the best hotel deals. We love Booking.com because not only do they have a comprehensive listing of accommodation options, they also offer the best prices. Added bonus: they provide 24/7 support and free cancellation for most listings.

⭐️ SIGHTSEEING and ADVENTURES — When we travel somewhere, we like to seek out the best experiences, whether it is cooking with locals in Bangkok, hiking on a glacier in Patagonia, or going on a wildlife safari in Sri Lanka. Our favorite place to look is GetYourGuide because they have over 30,000 highly rated activities, a user-friendly booking process with free cancellation and a 24 hour customer support.

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32 thoughts on “Travel guide to Mount Rinjani and Senaru in North Lombok”

  1. Hi stefan…!
    I am herman from senaru village would like to say thank you for sharing your info.i am senaru people and guide rinjani feel very happy with your post.
    With your articel,many people know about our village and our mountain.

    Best regard
    Herman

  2. Hi Stefan, it’s such a really inspiring post. Most of mountain guide and porter who work on Rinjani are from Senaru and Sembalun village, they get a direct benefit from tourism industry especially from trekking services. Wish your article inspires many traveler to visit our country.

  3. looks so amazing! thanks for your post about Lombok especially about Mount Rinjani that we proud. be sure to visit to Lombok again 🙂

  4. Wow, that pool looks amazing! I just visited Lombok including the two waterfalls as part of a famil trip, but if (when?) I return I will definitely try and stay at the Lodge.

  5. hahahaha how you make me smile and as always with honest and great reviews. So, now I actually even want to go, and you know I am actually not very big on strenuous physical activity! But the good meals AND the toilet tent…well that bought me over! Ok, I will admit it, the Rinjani lodge looks pretty nice too! I’ll definitively use Green Rinjani, love their eco-conscience

  6. This trek sounds like something I would love to do. The cold night is probably the only thing that would wake me up to see the beautiful sunrise. Your pictures are stunning!

  7. I’d probably be a little cranky about the trek and and the cold too, but looks like it was worth it in the end. And a toilet with a view… can’t beat that! The lodge looks spectacular, though I wouldn’t be happy about sharing it with a monkey!

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