TREKKERS’ PARADISE

Indonesia 2018 | TOURISM | PHOTO ESSAY: MOUNT RINJANI NATIONAL PARK

Mount Rinjani offers adventurers a three-day experience in one of Indonesia's most spectacular landscapes.

Mount Rinjani and the surrounding peaks and forests recently joined two other Indonesian geoparks on UNESCO's Global Geoparks list. Mount Rinjani National Park is one of the main highlights on the island of Lombok. Rinjani is accompanied by Batur Geopark on the island of Bali and Mt. Sewu Geopark in East Java province on the fourth-largest island on UNESCO's list along with 125 other geoparks in 35 countries. Interest in the natural wonder spiked in 2017, with international tourist arrivals up 28.57% and domestic tourism up 44.18% compared to 2016. Aligned with definition of a UNESCO Global Geopark, Rinjani will continue its focus on conservation, education, and economic empowerment in addition to fostering sustainable tourism in the 41,000ha park.

Mount Rinjani
The namesake volcanic mountain of the broader national park, Mount Rinjani is Indonesia's second-highest volcano, scraping the sky at 3,726m. The trek to the summit is not technically challenging, though it is physically demanding. Those who venture to the top are rewarded with awesome—by the word's most literal definition of inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence—sunrise views. Hikers can start in the nearby village of Senaru or Sembalun, where there are several companies offering guided tours and the necessary equipment like tents, sleeping bags, food, and water.

Segara Anak and Gunung Baru

The dominating peak gives way to a 50-sqkm caldera called Segara Anak, meaning “child of the sea.” Within this natural hot spring is Gunung Baru (New Mountain), which is the small-cone of a new volcano. While hikers can reach the summit and return in two days, most tours are three days to include a walk into the caldera and a relaxing dip in the hot springs.

Mulang Pakelem

At the end of the dry season, which runs from May to November and is the best time to summit Mount Rinjani, is the Mulang Pakelem ceremony. The origins of the ceremony trace back to the 18th century. The Hindu ceremony, with pilgrims dressed in white and consisting mostly of prayer, invokes fertility and rain just before the wet season.