Friday, 20 October 2006

Gunung Rinjani 3,726 m

Date: 20 Oct 06 - 30 Oct 06 [10 days]
Location: Lombok Island, Indonesia
Altitude: 3,726m ASL
Difficulty: 8.3/10 (
Camera: Canon EOS 350D
Lens: Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC
Filter: Hoya CPL
Post editing: PS CS2
Organizer: Dan
Members: Ewe Cheong, Lilian, Sam, Lucy, CS Law, KL Tan and Andrew 
Guide: 1 local guide + several potters [for the Rinjani trek only]
My reason to go there: GoogleEarth! Yup, I’ve found Rinjani via GoogleEarth. I was just casually scrolling over the geography of Java, then Bali and then Lombok….. when I found this big lake. I later learned more about it via Google that it is actually a crater from a huge huge volcano, so I’ve made a trip there to see it for myself.

My dream come true trip .... few months of planning and gathering the rite gang, and I've made it there and back in one piece, most importantly everyone came back in one piece as well ..... 
I can't believe I went backpack with 7 other person, as we all know backpack trips are always uncertain.. if you ask me to do this again, hmmm I will probably not do it again. All in all everything was relatively smooth, we got our accommodations, meals, transportation  guide, hiking, island hoping pretty smoothly ... except for some minor glitches here and there..

Ok we flew from Penang to KL, from KL we flew to Bali ... stayed one night there, the next day we got a van to transfer us to PadangBai, we got onto the huge metal ferry and off we go  .. it was a 5 hours slow ride to Lembar, Lombok. The ferry was made of steel .. over crowded, quite messy, low class looking place ... but we are ok, we enjoy sitting amongst the locals and have a feel of what was it like to travel like that.

At Lembar we got on to the van and headed to Sembalun Lawang where we meet our pre-arranged guides and porters. I guess that is the only pre-arrangement I have made for the trip. I was surprised to see 11 porters and 1 guide. These men will be hiking with us for the next 4 days..

About the hike

Day one - I remember the sky to be super blue, super clear, and the view of the entire Rinjani mountain was perfect ..... the hike was on flat savana land for the first hour, then it was up up up all the way to the camp site of Pelanwangan 2 Crater RIM at 2639m ASL. When we got there it was already dawn, while waiting for the porters to setup our tent, we wonder around, taking pictures .. .the view was amazing, other than Nepal I have not seen another prettier place than this.. we got into our tents soon after that, and it started to rain, strong wind and it became really cold, seriously cold . .all the other guys came to my tent and we could not move out from the tent for dinner, so they brought us our dinner ... fried rice with vege, eggs and fruits. I am not sure what was the temperature that night, but I guess it was easily <10c

Day two - We woke up at 2:00am and had to start hiking at 2:30am ... it was freezing !!! A quick snack and off we go .... the reason we started so early was because we want to get to the summit before or during sunrise. The trail was brutal, it was really dusty, steep and grainy(I meant loose with volcano sand/stones) ...every step forward, it will be half a step backward, tough hike! Anyway most of us reached the summit just around sunrise and managed to see the magnificent 360 panoramic scenery of Rinjani from there. The descend was quick, it was almost like skating down ...  when we got back to the campsite, brunch is served. After that we broke-camp and headed down into the crater of Rinjani ... the next campsite was beside the crater lake within Rinjani.... the trail down was nice, superb scenery, lots of pictures and we got there just before dawn again, the porters setup camps, and cooked our dinner. ..while we where busy bathing at the hot springs nearby, taking pictures and some busy digging holes to do their big business, lol.

Day three - Originally we planned to hike all to the crater rim and camp there, however we reach the campsite very early, so we had a discussion whether to push and complete the trail 1 day early or just camp there and continue our hike as planned. After the discussion we decided to push and complete the hike at the same day, that is to reach Kg. Senaru before dawn, so everyone was on turbo after lunch .... vrooom we go and we got to Kg. Senaru before dawn, the porters found a nice place in the Kg. over looking a valley for us to setup camp, from the camp site we could see Sindang Gile waterfall, there is no river above... water just shoot out from an opening at the side of the mountain ... really cool.

Day four - The reason why we have decided to complete our hike 1 day earlier was to be able to have a day to explore Senaru, to visit Sindang Gile and Tiu Kelip waterfall ..... they are breath taking, the water 19c freezing cold and super clear. After the waterfalls we visit the local wet market and had some really good mee bakso ..then we visited the house of our guide, had tea there, etc etc 

After Senaru we went to Kuta, south of Lombok for the beach .. Kuta has some really nice and long beach, very popular with Australian surfers .... for me, it is like a huge aquarium, I spent hours wondering the beach during low tide .... there were a lot to see, nudibranches, crabs, seahorses, octopus, seaweeds, etc ... we rented bicycles to cycle around too. 

After Kuta ...we explored Sengigi, and did some island hopping at The Gili Paradise Islands of Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air, did some snorkeling .. .we could see green turtles, and bumpheads !

Later on we explored Mataram, the capital of Lombok on Cidomo(local horse cart)...

And finally got our-self a domestic flight from the airport back to Depansar where we connect back to Malaysia 

To describe this trip .....
Food: very sedap, mee bakso especially ... nasi campur, ayam taliwang, perincih kangkung...
Places: very beautiful, very natural ... especially the Rinjani region, Kuta and the Gili Islands... and the most beautiful waterfall I have ever seen -> TiuKelip Water
Transportation: we've experienced almost everything .. hike for 4 days, walk walk walk, crawl, taxi, motorbike, van, A.Asia, Domestic flight, Ferry, Boat, Cidomo....
People: Interesting culture ... friendly, but the road side vendor can sometimes be a bit annoying, hai cari makan susah...