ii. Trekking package details
iii. Day by day itinerary
iv. What to bring & wear
v. Pre-trip training
vi. Gili islands
$290 for flights (used skyscanner)
$400 for trekking package (with Adi Trekkers)
$70 for accomodation in Gili islands
$150-200 extra on food, drinks and transport
ii. TREKKING PACKAGE DETAILS
After our research, we chose to go with Adi trekkers. For 4D3N they quoted 325USD for deluxe, 400USD for VIP. My friends and I decided to go with the VIP package, and I would really recommend it!
The porters carry our tents, food, everything. They don’t walk alongside with us, in fact they go ahead of us to set up everything before we reach our camping ground. Only the guide and any additional porters you hire, will be with you. Most groups did not hire additional porters. The guys in our groups carried their own bags but the girls decided to hire a porter to carry our bags, we compacted it into a huge hiking back (50-60 litres) and got them to carry it while we did carry our own day packs. A porter costs an additional 25USD per day.
Reasons I love the VIP package:
1. Meals were a feast, they were so tasty and really filling, complete with drinks and fruits. We never did finish our meals, ever.
2. After every long stretch of hike, our porters had already reached our destination before us and prepared chairs and tables for us to rest at. We had snacks and drinks to replenish our energy after every hike. Other hikers didn’t have the chairs, and we saw that most of them had to sit inside their tents to eat.
3. Rice wine (on top of normal beer)
4. 8cm thick mattress (vs normal yoga mat for sleeping). They also provided a thick sleeping bag that was a lifesaver on those cold nights.
5. Free hiking sticks (1 or 2 per person). They’re of good quality from decathlon.
6. Amazing first day accomodation at Rinjani Lodge (more written below)
7. Provided transport from airport, and also to Gili Islands after the hike (more written below)
iii. DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
Adi trekkers settled everything for us, this everything was very smooth. The moment we stepped out of the airport, we had someone escort us to a car and drive 3 hrs to Senaru. We stayed in Rinjani Lodge, which was so amazing, with great views to wake up to. There was a swimming pool with infinity pool-like vibes but we had no time to hang around! We left Singapore at 11am on Sat and only reached our accomodation at 10.30pm.
Once we reached we packed our bags properly into:
a. Bag to leave in the office before we leave for the trek – mainly Gili islands things
b. Day pack – for the guys, they carried their bags themselves but the girls hired 2 extra porters for our bags & clothes, so we carried something like a “day pack”
c. Bag for porter to carry – mainly our clothes for the 4D3N
Woke up to an amazing view of Mt Rinjani. Had complimentary breakfast at Rinjani Lodge. Transport was arranged for us by Adi Trekkers to the Adi Trekkers Office, where we left some of our belongings (mainly things for R&R).
We were driven to sembalun, our start point. Started at 9am and hiked upslope till lunch at 12, where we had a 1 hr break.
Very big lunch spread that was so much more than the other hikers! Couldn’t finish our lunch oops
Upslope to crater rim
Dinner and then went to bed at 7pm as we had a really really early and big day tmr. Plan was to wake up at 1.30am. It was a very very cold night, I layered up the most this night.
Woke up at 1.30am for breakfast and started the hike proper at 2.30am. On hindsight we should have left a bit earlier so that we could catch the full sunrise. Reached the summit at 7.30am. Sunrise was at about 7am, we caught it from the side slope but not the tip of the peak.
Pic credit: Hilary
So we took 5 hrs up, 3 hrs down. The normal European pace is supposed to be 3 hrs, 2 hrs down. The hardest part is filled with sand and small stones, with every 3 steps up you’d slide 1 down.
Honestly the descent was difficult as well, with the daylight now revealing the insane slopes we climbed up, we couldn’t believe we had climbed up this path. Knees, calves and thighs were maxed out and add to that the fear of falling and sliding down. Also the weather become a lot warmer on the way down.
The joy when we reached back to campsite and handed a cold can of coke and chair to sit on, is indescribable!
We had lunch and a one hr rest (wiped down and tried to nap but it was so so hot). Then proceeded to journey down to the lake.
This part was tough. It was a full 4 hours of steep descent. Had to use our arms to hang on to rocks, had to use our hiking sticks to reduce the impact on our painful knees.
Shermin’s gleeful face on reaching the lake
We were given drinks (orange juice – Minute Maid) and freshly made popcorn (I am constantly amazed by what they can cook out there) we rested and took in the view of the settling sun from the lake and had dinner. Slept daily early at 8-9pm (we joke this is our Rinjani bedtime)
We were supposed to wake up at 8 (that’s right, a full 12 hours of sleep) but the morning sun woke the girls up at 6am. The porters and guide were already up and offered us a hot drink. We watched the sunrise as we sipped our warm drink, and went back to sleep till 8am.
When we woke, we saw the porters fishing, and Adriel took a swing at it! Not too shabby!
Took us about 45min to walk to the hot spring, and it was AMAZING. Dipping our bodies into the warm water made our muscles relax, and it felt really really great! We felt really energized and refreshed – also because we hadn’t had a shower till now.
Walked back to the lake for lunch, and spontaneously decided to jump in and attempt to swim to our campsite.
For lunch, we tried the fish that the porters caught in the morning!
After that we began our hike up to Senaru crater, took about 3-4 hrs. It was a pretty fun route, with some bouldering, walking on the edge of the cliff, fun stuff like that. It started off cooling but became rather warm quickly.
Small break to rest and take photos. Worship pose!
Nothing can beat the beauty of the sunset from the Senary Crater Rim. I know some people miss out on this if you choose the 3D option, but this is so so worth it!! We just stared and squealed and sat in awe during the sunset.
pic credit: Hilary
We had a really nice last night talking till late, the only night we stayed up later than the porters! It was a cold night, but we had plenty of rice wine to keep us warm heehee.
Woke up at 7am and it was a downslope hike all the way to the end, at Senaru village. We ended at 1230.
Adi Trekkers were amazing because we were provided transport to our next destination without even requesting for it! Shermin had to go to the airport, a car was arranged for her. The rest of us headed to Gili Islands – they didn’t just arrange a car to drop us at the jetty, they also provided a boat to just 3min away from our accomodation on Gili Air! Really impressed with their service.
iv. WHAT TO BRING & WEAR
I was so confused after reading people’s advice because it seemed like I had to pack for both very very hot and very very cold weather. So my plan was to bring layers. Layer up if cold, strip down if hot.
I brought a total of
- 2 shorts (wore it quite often, esp during the day when it was hot. Day 1 was very warm so I’d suggest this for then.)
- 1 tights (wore this over thermal pants during summit hike)
- 1 sweatpants (bought from Uniqlo and I loved it! Kept me warm during the cold nights and summit hike)
- 1 thick jacket (preferably waterproof)
- 1 sweater that I could wear under the thick jacket when it got really cold (the nights)
- 1 set of longjohns/ thermal inner wear (for cold nights and summit hike)
- T shirts. Brought one for each day, couldn’t bear feeling dirty for so long. I would say 3 is a safe number if you wanna pack light, can wash some of them at the lake and it dries up pretty well during the day.
- knee guards and ankle guards (if you have had previous injuries)
- Blister plaster (trust me, there’ll be at least one person in your group who would need this! Bring enough to change it everyday!)
- Pain killers (I didn’t think it would be necessary but a friend’s knee injury acted up pretty severely and she couldn’t have continued on the intense hike without Anarex – mix of paracetamol and muscle relaxant)
- Deep heat rub (after a long day of hiking, this was very useful to somewhat reduce the pain in our legs)
- Sunblock (it gets very very hot during the day, everyone got sunburnt!)
The following were very very crucial and useful. You can get them from Decathlon at very decent prices. I used to doubt their quality but now I can vouch for it, it’s good enough for Mt Rinjani!
- Thermal packs (esp for the cold nights, and the cold summit hike)
- Day packs / backpacks
- Raincover for bag. It didn’t rain when we were there but would have been really useful if it did! Pretty compact too. Wouldn’t want our clothes and stuff to get wet, would be really unpleasant to wear and heavy!
- Headlamp (compulsory for the summit hike, light enough for the hike, powerful enough to last all the days and nights without need to bring extra batteries)
- Anti-blister socks (My friends got this, I didn’t. They have thickened padding at toes and back of ankle, which is really really crucial. There was a point in time when it was painful to walk because there were blisters on my big toe and small toe on both feet, likely from descent from the summit. Every time I placed any kind of weight on it, I winced. Not a pleasant experience!)
- Hiking shoes – yes, they are good enough for Rinjani! Get the ankle cut ones if you’re afraid of spraining your ankle
v. PRE-TRIP TRAINING
I wouldn’t say we are the fittest bunch, but we really tried to up our fitness about 4 months before the trip. Generally exercised 3 times a week, including stairs training once a week. We went to Skyville@Dawson (47 floors), tried to hit about 3-5 times depending. Nearer to the trip, we added weights on backpacks, walked down (to train our calves) and wore our hiking shoes to wear it in.
On hindsight, I would recommend to do the stairs least 10 times, for about 2 months before the climb. Do squats and burpees to strengthen your legs, trust me, they will thank you during the hike!
vi. GILI ISLANDS
So there are 3 islands – Gili Trawangan (the party island), Gili Meno (untouched by tourists, very quiet), Gili Air (the in-between).
We chose to stay in Gili Air. Chose to stay in Sejuk Cottages, very decent place but I guess if I was to critique it I would say the aircon wasn’t that cold, especially given the hot weather it would have been appreciated. I was also woken up every morning at about 5am by the cackling roosters, my first thoughts every morning being “stupid chickens”. Would have preferred a seaside location as well, this one was a 4min walk from the waves. For the price we paid however, very decent. It was about SGD20 per night per pax.
Here are other places I happened to check out as I was walking by that looked nice, not sure about prices though! Coco Resort, Turtle Beach Resort (10min walk from harbour), Nusa Indah (20-30min walk from harbour).
Food isn’t that cheap in Gili Islands.
We had breakfast at our accom (Sejuk Cottages), very decent prices and good food too! $2-3 for food, $1.5 for drinks (iced coffee frappe, fresh orange juice). Other restaurants outside that served breakfast (not that many, mind you) cost about $4-5.
Lunch and dinner costs about SGD$7-10 per pax. If you pamper yourself, seafood meals can go up to SGD$20 per pax. Cocktails cost about SGD$4-6 per pax. It isn’t too difficult to find happy hour deals though, generally between 4-6pm.
We really wanted to end our last night off with a bang – fresh seafood. An amazing restaurant with tables and chairs by the beach, under a blanket of stars, is Scallywag restaurant. Would definitely recommend this, all the more for romantic couples.
During the day, just choose a random place to get drinks from and settle yourself in a seat to enjoy the view, swim, read a book, ponder about life, anything!
- Gili Trawangan
We took a half-day trip to Gili T. The accommodations looked really fancy and expensive but would be amazing if you feel like splurging. Some great places are the Oceans 5 resort and Villa karang.
We took a fast boat from Gili Air to Gili T, it costed us about SGD 8.50, and when we returned SGD6 (apparently this can be bargained LOL). Public boat is a cheaper option but it only departs from Gili Air at 8.30am and departs from Gili T back to Air at 4pm, so you got to really plan it well if you want to catch the public boat.
So all of what we did was spontaneous, did not plan anything. We had a massage (duh! after our intense hike it was quite painful HAHA).
There was this place that played a movie outdoors on a screen every night, and had a package (with dinner or cocktails or popcorn+soft drink). We signed up for it earlier in the day and got front row seats! We watched Pirates of the Carribean, and it was the most amazing experience! Looked up and saw the stars too, it was simply amazing!
You must most definitely find a good spot to watch the sunset from! Thankfully it wasn’t too far from our accomodation, and we actually did it twice – just sat at the beach and swam, while marvelling at our amazing God’s orchestra of the sunset.
We spontaneously got a package for SGD10 per pax from our accomodation. It is very easy to sign up on the spot, there are posters and shops pushing it everyday. On hindsight, it would have been better to get a private snorkelling tour so that your experience, view and underground pictures aren’t surrounded with people and the bubbles they create. But hey for SGD10 I ain’t complaining.
It lasted from about 930am till 2pm. They brought us to 3 spots between the islands. Flippers and goggles were provided. We just had to turn up in swimsuits and don’t forget your sunblock, it was very very hot!
We got to see some sea turtles, fishes, corals and this pretty cool statue.
Many of the shops also provide 3 day diving certification courses, with their own swimming pools for training.
- Getting to the airport (Lombok)
We didn’t really plan how to get to the airport after Gili Islands, but thankfully most things seem to work last minute and spontaneously at Gili Islands. We walked by “Mama Sang accomodation” and they had this sign (quite commonly seen even on other shops) for a “shuttle bus” to the airport and it cost about SGD20 each. However the timing did not quite work for us, and we decided to get a private boat and car so that we can make it for our flight. It costed us about SGD20 each for this.