Benang Stokel in the village of Aik Berik in Central Lombok is about 27km east of Mataram, a little less than an hour’s drive. Locally Benang Stokel is well-known for its 2 waterfalls, the Benang Kelambu waterfall and the likewise named Benang Stokel waterfall from which the trekking up to Rinjani starts.
The waterfall and starting point for this track can be reached in about 30 minutes by jeep. Trekking through dense forest, the ascent up to the crater rim takes around 6 hours. From here, the descent to the crater lake is about 3 hours. This track offers lots of variety, with the famed Tiara Dewi Anjani waterfall as one of its highlights, and with some luck one might encounter a herd of deer.
This track is especially favored by those looking for a completely different angle of approach to Rinjani. For centuries this route has been used by hunters and fishermen looking for their prey in the dense forest and crater lake.
This track offers no opportunities for a climb up to the summit of Rinjani, except if you plan to bring along a rubber boat to paddle across the crater lake to the Sembalun side of the lake. Should one wish to do so our team can accommodate one.
Farmland, dense forest, pine forest, river and waterfalls.
plenty of water sources.
Type of tour:
Fully organized (combination of adventure, leisure, eco tourism, safety).
Individual or group departures are available upon request.
Starting in the morning from the Rinjani Trek Centre in the village, the climb to Plawangan II at 2,638 m will take about 8 hr via POSI (1,300 m), POSII (1,500 m) and POSIII (1,800 m). Starting altitude is1100 m, so there are no humid conditions to deal with. First half or more of the trek is literally a breeze. The trek through savannah grassland is windy and easygoing, with gentle ups and downs, and the only obstacle to look out for are the “cow pats” deposited by the villagers’ cows along the way. Rolling hills and amazing scenery help to ease the tiredness, unlike the enclosed tropical rainforest of Senaru route. From POS 2 to POS 3, the climb is still manageable. The challenge for Sembalun route is from POS 3 to POS Extra, as the uphill gradient can be 50 degrees at times. Young children will find this section challenging as some steps are set quite far apart. Cooler weather up here may give the impression that the body does not need fluids, but do drink more to prevent altitude sickness setting in. Strangely, there is a guy selling cold drinks (Pocari sweat, Coke etc) here at the campsite at exorbitant prices (40000 Rp per drink) for those who crave it. Overnight at the campsite here and go for the summit starting at 3AM the next day. You need to be well rested as this is a stiff task – the final climb is nearly 1,100 m on difficult ground.
Sembalun Lawang is set in an ancient and fertile caldera to the east of Mt. Rinjani, the preferred access route for summiteers. The rich soil produces high quality market garden crops, including the famous garlic and rice, staple of local farmers. Seismic activity is monitored daily at the government Rinjani Volcanology Centre.
The beautiful valley of Sembalun is also known for its hill walks, recently restored traditional village, active cultural performers and local weavers.
Some home stay (losmen) accommodation is available and trek services are based at the Park’s Rinjani Information Centre. Also enquire about the local walks: the Sembalun Lawang Village Walk, to experience the scenic beauty of the village or/and the Sembalun Wildflowers Walk, a two day one night hike to see the wildflowers at Propok in Gunung Rinjani National Park.
Sembalun is divided into two villages, namely Sembalun Lawang village and Sembalun Bumbung village which are 2 km apart. The two villages are well known traditional villages have a lot of history about the Sasak people. The area looks like a dry lake, transformed into a fertile land.
Sembalun as a tourism object is already well known inside and outside the country, because from this village climbers begin the hike to the top of Mount Rinjani to enjoy the beautiful sights. At Sembalun Lawang village there is a Beleq village where one can see the artefacts of traditional houses of the local Sembalun people, the grave of Majapahit or Gajah Mada and the traditional Tandang Mendet dance of the local people.
There is a big statue in Lawang of two big ‘onions’ indicating that this area was once one of the biggest producers of onion (bawang bombai) / garlic (bawang putih) / shallot (bawang merah) in Indonesia.
In Lawang is the Rinjani Information Centre. Nearby is the Rinjani Volcanology Centre. To the west, there is a major greenhouse project using soil and hydroponics techniques there, producing vegetables for local and export markets.
Just off the way to Sembalun, Sapit is a combination of beautiful sights, agriculture, and mountains. The traditional society in this village ploughs agricultural land and garden with their traditional ways. There is accommodation there with brilliant views across the rice fields to the coast and Sumbawa Island. You can take walks to various interesting places.
This is by far the most used route as it allows the (relatively) less strenuous trek to the crater rim only. You start at an elevation of 600 m in Senaru village, normally in the late morning or early afternoon and make the 6 hour ascent to the crater rim before dark. First part of the trek is through tropical rainforest. Look and listen out for the lutung, or black monkey, swinging through the trees in the late morning. They are extremely shy, unlike for the common macaques which may gather near rest stops waiting for scraps. The route passes through POSII at 1,500 m, breaches the treeline at 2,000 m (POSIII) and then it is a bit of slog up gravel paths to the camp site just below the crater rim at 2,600 m. There is no clear path at the last section nearing crater rim, at an incline of 45 degrees. There is a POS Extra after POS 3, but it is pretty much gone, and the remaining bits have been chopped up by porters as firewood.
If that has not sapped all of your energy you can then make a very precarious descent down to shores of the crater lake and bath in the hot waters. You need some confidence to do this as it is a steep descent of 600+ m using handrails and ropes.
And then it is back to Senaru the way you came. Local guides claim going down is faster, but speed varies for individuals. Patience is vital for first timers, as it can get frustrating watching porters sail past you with their load balanced on one shoulder, clad in slippers or even walking barefoot. Descent from POS Extra to POS 3 can be slippery when weather is dry, as scree tends to give way under your feet. From POS 3 to POS 2, the descent can take 1.5 to 2 hours, as savannah grasslands fades away, and the humidity and heat from the tropical rainforest begins to set in. Useful tip: request for guides to cut out a wooden trekking pole if you did not bring a trekking pole with you. It will be extremely handy during the descent, especially when legs are aching from the strenuous climb.
There is an option to go on to Plawangan II where you overnight again before making the ascent to the absolute summit. This is not especially recommended from the Senaru side though. If you want to get to the top, the climb to Plawangan II is best made from Sambulan Lawang.
SENARU VILLAGE ROUTE
The village of Senaru, an easy 2.5 hours drive from Mataram or Senggigi, is the main access to the National Park. As a non-trekking destination it is also popular – a cool, flower-filled mountain village stretching along a hillside spur above Bayan. Senaru has a range of accommodation in simple home stays (losmen), and a number of cafes serving delicious local specialties. The Rinjani Trek Centre at the trailhead offers displays, ecotourism activities, and visitor information. Village guides, including several local women, escort visits to the adjacent traditional village, three waterfalls, and a number of Village Walks. Circuits include the one hour Rice Terraces and Waterfall Walk, or discover the highlights of Senaru in a lovely half-day Senaru Panorama Walk.
The cool, flower-filled mountain village of Senaru on the slopes of Mt. Rinjani stretches up a hillside spur along a winding road above Bayan. It is a scenic 2.5 hours drive from Mataram or Senggigi to Senaru. The Desa includes the hamlets of Senaru, Batu Koq and Tumpang Sari, and all offer accommodation in simple but pretty homestays (losmen) with lovely views.
The Rinjani Trek Centre is located at the top of the village at the trailhead. It offers information for visitors on the Rinjani Trek, the National Park, Sasak culture and the range of ecotourism activities available for visitors to Senaru. National Park and village entry fees are paid here, and all porters for trekkers have to be hired from the Senaru Porters Group which is also based in the Rinjani Trek Centre. Village guides, including several local women, have been specially trained to escort visitors around the sights. Arrange a guided excursion through the Rinjani Trek Centre or your losmen.
Senaru Traditional Village
A visit to the Senaru Traditional Village, situated next to the Rinjani Trek Centre where the Rinjani trail begins, is greatly enhanced by asking a local guide to show you around. The Sasak inhabitants are the cultural guardians of Mount Rinjani and its surrounding forest and safeguard its spiritual values. Locally guided visits include opportunities to experience the villagers’ daily life, visit their thatched houses, prepare meals using local produce, and understand their traditional way of life.
Morning waterway walk and sunrise
Leave your losmen early for a one and a half hour escorted walk through the fields, past traditional villages and along the irrigation channel that winds through village fields past crops and houses. Enjoy visiting local homes, seeing early morning activities and learning about farming methods. Witness the sun rising from the sea beneath the spectacular sweeping views of north Lombok from the summit of Mt. Rinjani to the coast.
Evening walk and sunset
Below the Senaru Traditional Village, a one and half hour escorted walk along village trails brings you to the “secret waterfall” or “traditional swimming pool”, the Tumpasan Senaru. Enjoy a refreshing swim or late afternoon laze. On the return trip, visit some local hamlets as the people return from their fields, and enjoy the sunset over Mt. Agung in distant Bali from a vantage point in a local orchard.
Senaru panorama walk
Discover all the highlights of Senaru on an easy half-day walk through the scenic landscape of palm-fringed rice terraces, waterways, traditional village and rainforest waterfalls. Follow the irrigation channel that winds through the village fields – the lifeline of the district. Local women will guide you, happy to share their special knowledge of culture, customs and nature. This tour departs every morning from the Rinjani Trek Centre.