“I thoroughly enjoyed my two-day experience with Rinjani Family Trekking. The food was great, the porters were helpful and the guides were extremely knowledgeable. I certainly felt we were in good hands and that we were seeing the true face of this stunning area.”
Jo Hegerty, Australia

“Vom 20. Oktober bis 24. Oktober 2013, waren wir mit Armasih unserem Tourorganisator und Guide unterwegs. Wir buchten bei Ihm eine 5 Tages / 4 Nächte Tour zum Gipfel des Gunung Rinjani auf Lombok. 3 Nächte im Zelt und eine in einem seinen zwei kleinen aber gut eingerichteten Bungalows. Tolle 120 cm Betten ( 2 Stück! ) sowie Warmwasser Dusche und Lademöglichkeit für die Kamera Accus. (Keine Selbstverständlichkeit in dieser Gegend). Seine Frau kochte uns ein besonders leckeres Abendessen, bevor es am nächsten Tag zu Fuss Richtung Rinjani ging. Die ganze Tour war ausgezeichnet organisiert, von der Abholung mit einem sehr guten neuen Fahrzeug, mit bestem Equipment (Einzelzelte), bis zu den lecker zubereiteten Speisen während des ganzen Trecks. Armashi ist auch sehr umsichtig im Umgang des anfallenden Abfalles, was man von anderen Tourleadern leider nicht gerade behaupten kann. Auch gab es an jedem Übernachtungsplatz ein eignes Toilettenzelt. Armasih kennt sich auch extrem gut in Sachen Pflanzen und Tierwelt aus und hat diesbezüglich immer etwas Interessantes zu erzählen. Sehr geschätzt haben wir auch seine ruhige Art mit uns sowie auch mit seiner ausgezeichneten Manschafft  umzugehen. Auch wurden wir nicht ständig zu „Tode gebrabbelt“ was bei vielen anderen Guides oft der Fall ist. Kurz und gut, für uns der beste Touroperator für den Rinjani ( ich war schon 5 mal oben, drei mal mit anderen Anbietern, die beiden letzten Male mit Armasih ).”

Pedro, Switzerland und Charly, Austria

 

My first trip there was in 2004, with the sole purpose of climbing Rinjani. Mount Rinjani is the second highest volcanic mountain in Indonesia andis part of the celebrated “ Ring of fire. At 3726 metres, it looms
majestically above the surrounding gunungs (maountains) and bukits (hill) in East Lombok. The Gunung Rinjani National Park, estabilished in 1997, lies within a unique bio-geographical transition zone known as the wallaceae, where the flora and fauna of south East Asia meets that of Australasia. Every year, the locals make pilgrimages and
peform a ceremony where they throw jewellery into the lake and make offerings to the spirit of the mountain. The locals also often climb the mountain to bathe in the hot springs (Air Kalak) which they believe have curative powers for all kinds of diseases. Over the rim of the volcano is a huge crater and some 600 meters ‘Child of the
sea’. A baby volcano, Gunung Baru (‘New Mountain’), 2351m High, rises out of the lake, spawn by a massive eruption of the mother volcano hundreds of years ago. Gunung Baru is an active volcano which last erupted in 2010. The combination of volcanic geography and stunning scenery makes the Rinjani trek one of the most beatiful and satisfying
treks in Asia. Climbing season is from April to October; the track is closed during the rainy season from November to March. Visitor who are not into trekking can also choose a relaxing stay at one of the villages in the lower reaches of the mountain.
We started our trek from Sembalun Lawang on the eastern side of the mountain. Upon arrival at Mataram airport on the silkair flight from Singapore, we were met by our guide and whisked off by van to Sembalun Lawang (1156), a journey of 3 hours. After a hot dinner, we spent the night at a simple but clean guest-house, all primed up for our climb
the next morning.
The first day of our climb dawned bright and sunny. After a hearty breakfast, we were introduced to the coterie of porters who carried our camping equipment,food, cooking utensils and even chickens for our dinner during the trek! We were first brought to the nearby Volcanology center to check out the seismograph, register and pay the
trek fees. The center provided fascinating information and pictures of how the volcano, its caldera and lake had been formed and the local flora and fauna that we would encounter on the trek.
The trek started with a gentle ascent through open grassland used by the local sasaks to graze cattle. It was a pleasant walk lined in places by different local flowers and plants. There were rest stopss at huts along the way, POS 1 (1300m), then POS 2 (1500m), and POS 3 (1800m) where we had a steaming hot luch of noodles cooked by our
porters. Our guide told us the hut was also called the ‘Hut of regret’, because according to a local legend, a woman escaping from a personal tragedy rested here, overwhelmed by difficulties and filled with regret because she could niether return the way she had come, nor did she desire to continue the climb up the mountain. Well, we felt no
such regret as we continued our climb, recharged by the delicious luch. From thence, it was a relentless uphill trek for 3⅟2 hours through pine-like casuarina locally known as Cemera. We were amply rewarded when at last we crossed over the rim of the volcano. The view that greeted us just “took our breaths away”! below us lay the beatiful emerald lake,partially shouded by clouds, and above us, glistening in the hot evening sun was the majestic peak of Mount Rinjani, beckoning us to attempt our conquest in the wee hours of the nex morning.
The tents were being pitched by our porters who had arrived earlier, despite their loads and the fact that most them were either barefoot or wore only slippers. The sunset was stunning. We gazed across the
straits at the faint outline of Gunung Agung, the sacred mountain of bali. summiting Mount Rinjani proved to be the most challenging experience in my trekking life. Going up was difficult enough; we were constanly struggling with the step incline, struggling against sliding down the impossibly loose scree, but nothing can beat the descent. It
was a frightening experience, literally flying down the steep slopes.
Our guide was superb. Without his help and ingenuity, I might not have made it. The views and the sunrise at the peak were spectacular. We had a 360 degree view of the Caldera, the baby volcano and the lake
the surrounding seas, all the way to Bali across the straits.
After second breakfast, we descended 600 meters to the lake, our day 2’s campsite where we had the luxury of soaking our aches away in the hot seprings and enjoying a meal of fresh fish caught by our guide and porters. The lakeside views are indescribably beatiful, the shimmering waters, the reddish hues of the baby volcano as the sun retreated down its baren slopes, the rustling of the trees as we lay in the tents gazing out at the lake, and the most spectacular sight of all, at night, the entire galaxy of Scorpio streched out across the night
skies,clear as clear cloud be, even to amateur stargazers. On subsequent climbs, when I brought other groups of friends, I factored in an extra day at the Caldera lake for the trekkers to just unwind, enjoy the hot springs and drink in the beauty.
The nex two days’ treks were relatively easy, perhaps also because ofthe rest at the hot springs. We made our way to the other side of the
lake where we climbed the rim, turning back constantly to take pictures of the crater lake. The last day’s trek was through thick tropical forests rich in flora, bird life and a variety of buterflies.
We saw the endangered black ebony leaf monkey and heard the lmating cry of the local deer. We had and amazing guide Armasih, from Rinjani Family Trekking, who had keen interest in and knowledge of everything from the local flora and fauna and medicinal herbs to ancient stories and custom of Rinjani, and modern farming methods! Our trek was made
all more enjoyable because of his vast knowledge and humour. By the time we reached the other end of the trek in Senaru, we had become good friends.
I went back five times in the following years, bringing my family, friends and fellow climbers, and each occasion, my trusted guide Armasih ensured everyone had a unforgettable experience. Afterclimbing the mountain, we explored the Gili islands. For Me, Gili Trawangan was the perfect place to hang up My dirty boots,put away my trekking poles, and just relax and soak in the water and the sun. What better way to end my holiday, from majestic mountains to the gentle lapping of waves on the white sands, look across to Mount Rinjani in
the distace and thinkking,”Wow, to think I just climbed that!”.

By Seah Siow Gek
Singapore