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Lombok

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Lombok had recently gains its popularity among us Malaysians and I have listed down top 3 things to do in Gili Trawangan at Lombok. Their famous island Gili Trawangan is one of a prefer destination and regard as a MUST visit island destination. Among the 3 little island, Gili Trawangan which is the biggest among 3 of them and sits on top of the list where it is known for happening night life, food and resort. The other 2 known as Gili Air and Gili Meno which is more well know for folks that prefer quieter and not much activities. The resorts in those islands are prefect for honeymoon. This 3 island also now know as the hidden gem of Bali/ Lombok in Maldives version.

Oh well, what are the 3 things to do in Gili Trawangan?

During in the afternoon, its pretty quiet where all activities are focus on:

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park yourself at the white sandy beach, sunbathing, enjoying the hot weather, coconut next to you and .. . .

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Or like some others, read a book under a shady area or sit inside the crystal clear sea water. .

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or biking around the island as it takes only less than 1 hour to take one huge round.

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SUNSET VIEWING:

When comes to late evening where everyone is moving around again to find the perfect spot for sunset viewing. You need to cycle to the west coast of the island as there are alot of resort do offer bean bags, or other seaside bistro that offer perfect seating while you just sit there and enjoy the music.

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As above is Hotel Ombak Sunset Resort which is well known for their famous sunset with bean bags and also Swing in the Sea.

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I found my love for this seaside bar which is 3 minutes cycling before you reach Ombak Sunset Resort. If you coming from the south, then you will reach this place first.

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spend two of my sunset over here, with its great service, and also in love with their DJ spinning, summer Jazz EDM kind of music.

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Perfect sunset that overlook the volcano in Bali.

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Transportation in the island:

To move around the island, there are only three ways as there are no vehicle permitted in this island.

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1) by cycling (depends on your resort as both my accommodation provides free bicycle to their guest). Bicycle rental can be rent per day as cheap as 50,000 rupiah.

2) by foot, walking around if you stay around the dock, which is the most busiest and concentrated area.

3) by horse cart, which is their taxi for the island.

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Activities:

1) Diving & Snorkeling are the most common things for travelers to do here as they have have a very interesting underwater world.

By Snorkeling it is best advise to wake up as early as 7am to start do your snorkeling as I was told during that period, fish are the most active. I have seen tons of different fiesh and they are by a huge school of different fishes. I got to see a school of squid and a few turtles too. Do swim to the edge of the island where the area have different types of fishes as there is where the huge cliff of the island into the ocean where the locals called it ‘The Drop’. I did my snorkeling on the north east and let the current push me down to the dock area, then I walk up to the edge and head into the sea and do that. Repeat that a few rounds as you will get to see different things.

Do take your safety as the main caution, as the island have crazy sea current! [there is even a huge WARNING sign, do not attempt to swim across to another island even though you are a olympic swimmer!]

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2) Island Hoping to different island for views and snorkeling is another thing to do.

3) Water Sports

4) Surfing

Night Life:

Restaurants:

When it hits night, the whole island on the east coast whereby the dock area is had turn 360 where all bars and restaurant came alive. Tons of seafood restaurant along the stretch, ranging from cheap (USD 10 per head) to expensive (USD 50 per head) restaurants.

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Bars :

The party in this island start as early as 9pm but ends around 12am or 1am (for weekend). Famous to the locals which is The Sama Sama Regge Bar or another one which is Tir Na Nong (Irish Pub)

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Beer here is cheap, ranging from 15,000 (RM3) rupiah  to 40,000 (RM15) for small bottle of beer  Bintang and 30,000 (RM10) rupiah – 100,000 (RM30) rupiah for big bottle of Bintang.

Food:

To grab food here there are a few recommended ones, which is the Night Market that starts from 6pm Daily at the market square in front of the boat pier on Gili Trawangan. Few varieties of food you can get from here such as fresh fish, seafood, Sate of all kinds, different rice and noodle dishes, vegetables, grilled corn on the cob and much more.

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Pretty well known in the market is their Nasi Campur, one that many peeps recommend is a stand near the entrance which is closest to the pier. Nasi Campur is a typical Indonesian rice dish with vegetables, eggs, some meat, tofu, peanuts and fried noodles.

I find that the Nasi Campur stall in the middle of the market offers much more varieties and the texture and colour do look more tempting compare to the rest. At other booths you should definitely try a their freash seafood, depending on their cathc of the day such as Red Snapper, which costs estimated about 100,000 rupiah (RM 33)

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As for mine, I order their large skewers of squid, fish cubes, that and it serve complimentary rice, and 2 choices of vegetable. Loving it as this stall is at the first where most people recommended. Well marinated squid and fish and unpack their special chili sauce is perfect! this portion is 80,000 rupiah (RM27)

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If you are a morning person and need some coffee, I was introduce by the local that Kayu Cafe serve one of the best coffee (which using Illy beans) and breakfast.

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Their menu sure look do perfect and many variety to hunt for, from sandwiches, toasties, and healthy range. Their coffee is decent enough to cover your caffeine fix.

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Next will be another location that I was introduce by the local and hotel operator is this place known as Roast House that serve one of the best food in the island which proclaim by a few people in this island, with another restaurant next to it (which is the same owner).

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Serve one of the best roast chicken as to me they are decent enough, not too dry as the sauce do bring the taste down alittle on the seasoning. Do check them out. This outlet is located on the ally directly next to the famous night market.

Acommodation:

I am a happy guy as right after my Mount Rinjani hike, I just need a resort to chill and rest and I found this perfect place that charge a very reasonable price at 600,000 rupiah (RM200) that have your own private pool.

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Love the whole setting of the resort as it sits in the heart of the island, with this place known as Les Villas Ottalia which you can make your booking through AGODA. Standing by its own out from the wolf pack, with its natural surroundings high coconut tress, small plants all around with the local villages is just perfect.

This resort is 15-20 minutes walk or estimated 1.1km walk from the pier. One of the option you can take the horse taxi to come here. Best of all is that the hotel do provide complimentary bicycle to move around.

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For the next 2 nights, then I move to Galway Bay Homestay which I book thru Airbnb. My room is decently big as it do comes with kitchen and 2 bottles of complimentary beer from the owner (David). The room is only price at 300,000 rupiah (RM100) per night.

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Serve along with healthy breakfast and if you feel that you are still hungry, the owner is more than happy to serve you another portion. Their muesli and wild honey set breakfast is to kill for.

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Love how he set his own mini community as every one in his place do know each other, as they have a mini gathering sessions at his another property at 5pm daily if you are keen to know more friends.

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As I cycle around, other accommodation which I think pretty decent and worth to check it out is as below:

Resorts:

* Have to take horse cart

1) Villa Ombak

(West Coast – Sunset area : Resort )

1) Ombak Sunset Hotel
2) Aston Sunset Beach Resort
3) Coral Flora Villa Beach Front (if you have bigger budget)

Budget: (walking is from Dock)
1) Guava Garden (10 mins walk)
2) Green Banana Home-stay (5 minutes)
3) Jati Village
4) Aaliku (2 minutes walk), Galway Bay – 10 minutes walk  & New Lumbungs (same owner and recommended)

**** Peak season starts from June – Sept – do make your booking before you head there as most of the accommodation are fully book!

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Transfer:

There are 2 ways to head back to another island one which is Bali or another is Lombok (the main island) either by private speed boat or as below thru public boat transportation.

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The difference which will be:

1) Private boat which will cost around 300,000 rupiah (RM100) to Lombok with estimated 10-15 minutes ride at a fix schedule

2) Public Boat which will cost around 15,000 rupiah (RM5) to Lombok with estimated 45 minutes boat ride at a non fix schedule. The boat will only depart if they can accumulate 45 public passenger.

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Good bye Gili Trawangan, you are a lovely island and a recommended place for those who do not prefer too noisy yet still quiet at the same time. Well balance out.

hence these are my 3 Things to do in Gili Trawangan.

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Estimated that I spend per pax for this trip in Gili for 4days 3 nights around RM 600 (including accommodation, meals and boat transfer only)

Next I will be sharing about Lombok and if you do hike, Mount Rinjani is a must.

Oh well, I just finish my 2 weeks trip recently which I did had an enjoyable trip. This is also to mark my first time traveling alone to hiking at Lombok, Mount Rinjani and travel around Lombok and to the little island Gili Trawangan. Never thought that I would do this in my entire life. Ended up to be a fantastic trip.

[Alert, Spamming of pictures]

This trip was influence by my friend (Pamela) last year as she did hiking at Lombok and with her shots of the area is amazing. This had caught my attention to hike it too. My last hike was 2 years ago – up to Mount Kinabalu which I have yet blog about it.

Back to my trip as I was exploring Bali with my family for 6 days before departing to Lombok alone for another week. There are actually 2 ways to go to Lombok from Bali, either with their local flight or by speed boat from Padang Bai (which is about 2 to 2 and half hours road trip from Seminyak). Some driver rate are charging from 300,00o rupiah to 500,000 rupiah. Mine I paid 450,000 which is quite expensive and I dislike my driver from the way how they tour us around.

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There are plenty of places that you can buy the tickets from Bali island as most of the small little kiosk or SELF declare official people are selling the tickets.

Remarks: Foreigners from Europe or Australia especially, there are quite number of passenger got cheated or ripe off from the So-Called agent at town area such as Seminyak or Kuta. Do really do your research before buying the ticket as they told you its a speed boat ticket but ended up public Ferry!

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There are alot of companies that provide speedboat services that you can purchase online as below that I manage to find out:

1) Blue Water Express
2) Gili Express 
3) Gili Bookings
4) Lombok Fastboats
5) BWS 

Many travelers are heading from here to one of a famous island in Lombok which is Gili Trawangan or to Lombok and prices ranges from USD 40-USD 60 per way.

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This is the mini habour in Padang Bai . .

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Not only travel alone for the first time that leads me to my first #selfie too.

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Water around this area are very clear and quite number of divers do stay around homestay in this area and head out for diving sites.

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I am taking Boat transfer from Mahi Mahi Dewata to Lombok that cost me 450,o00 rupiah (RM 150) that takes about 90 minutes to reach Sengigi, Lombok. Most of these boat are available in the morning only.

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Seating area inside the boat.

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Fell asleep and here am I 90 minutes later, reached Sengigi, Lombok dock.  All have arrange as my driver from the homestay for my hiking is picking me up. I have engage Treking Rinjani package for 3 days 2 nights which is all the way to Summit. Single hiker is estimated 3,300,000 rupiah (RM 1,100) all in, including meals, accommodation, transfer, 1 Guide & 1 Potter..

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Its a journey of 2 hours and 30 minutes from the dock to the campsite of Sembalun. Will be passing thru the main town and what surprises me is that population in Lombok is more than Bali.

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Mount Rinjani or Gunung Rinjani is an active volcano in Indonesia on the island of Lombok. Administratively the mountain is in the Regency of North Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (Indonesian: Nusa Tenggara Barat, NTB). It rises to 3,726 metres (12,224 ft), making it the second highest volcano in Indonesia.

On the top of the volcano is a 6-by-8.5-kilometre (3.7 by 5.3 mi) caldera, which is filled partially by the crater lake known as Segara Anak or Anak Laut (Child of the Sea) due to blue color of water lake as Laut (Sea). This lake is approximately 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) above sea level and estimated to be about 200 metres (660 ft) deep;  the caldera also contains hot springs. (Source Wikipedia)

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Before reaching, stop at this beautiful place for its great view and also strong cold wind is blowing towards me.

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Here am I at Lembah Rinjani, Villa & Resto Sembalun.

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sitted in this huge green plotted of land, all items were pretty basic.

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simple room with towels, water and best of all, do not have HOT water. its freaking cold water if you bath at night or early morning.

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While I reach too early, nothing much to do around the area, I just sit infront of my porch playing my games, enjoying the peacefulness and green landscape.

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This will be my challenge for tomorrow, all the way to the top. Got briefing for the hike from my guide before dinner

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There are 2 ways to go up, one which is Sembalun track which is much easier and got better scenery and from Senaru, it is more challenging in terms of soil and landscape.

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The next day, wake up call is at 6am, bath with crazy cold water, head to breakfast then at 7am starting our journey to crater of Mt.Rinjani. Could not wait to reach the crater for its great lake scenery. Then will stay a night there as will be continuing the journey to the summit at 2am.

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Getting excited and feeling energetic as need to finish 7 km that will takes estimated 7 hours to reach crater ring (depending on your stamina).

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I feel like I am like the old guy Saruman from Lord of the rings, hitting on a quest to find Sam.

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Along the way, met some people, talk chat and laugh as this group are all the way from Surabaya.

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Before hiking, please do remember check in yourself at the Forest rangers office to sign in your name for safety & insurance confirmation.

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Following my guide ‘Dee’, only 22 years old and the youngest I heard as a guide is 13 years old.

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Never ending mini hills, as walking up and down non stop which need to pass thru at least 8 or 9 hills.

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An hour later from my homestay, is to meet my potter at this bridge. He is the one that is responsible for all our food, tent, sleeping bags and water.

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Our basic necessity is weight around 20kg.

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This is what I mean, mini hills one after another.

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There are 3 pos stop in total as this is pos no. 1. A place for you to take a rest. Not that clean but nice enough to take shelter & recover on energy.

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Got a request from the local to take selfie with him and this guy is hiking with Japanese Slipper only.

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After 45 minutes walk, reach pos.2

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Seriously it is not easy as my backpack is only 6 kg, I am already suffering and the guy is with his 20kg. Die!

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Reach pos 3 in 50 minutes later where we will stop by here for lunch and chill.

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This are the area whereby the explosion from the volcano and the black sand are from lava last round.

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This is how my potter cook for us. Super knife cutting skills on the palm without a chopping board.

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Everything is just classic, as they gather wood sticks, stones at the side and build fire from wood.

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Another potter from another group is more classic, as he does not have the leg to withstand on his cooking utensils, he add on rock which is similiar size to add as a base.

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My lunch is Soto Noodle and rice. The portion is so huge that I could not finish and its a great lunch. Pungent in taste and just perfect.

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They made their own chilli base, its hot and spicy, too bad I did not take alot worried that will need a huge toilet break after that.

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Upon break, met another group of hardcore hikers from Malaysia.

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End my lunch with a mini pineapple by myself.

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Fear not as all ingredients that they are using are fresh from the farm below which is freshly produce by the villagers down there. What we are eating they pluck fresh form the farm such as meat, veggie, water and others. The villagers told me that those requested meat such as chicken or lamb, they will bring up to prepare along.

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This uncle is already 65 years old and super fit.

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The most challenging part of the hike is from Pos 3 onwards all the way to Crater that will take another 2-3 hours hike depending on your stamina. The condition from here to crater is all about 70 degree gradient hike. As per compare to pos 1 & 2 it is all mini  hills which is only long distance, estimated about 4-5km.

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As climbing higher, visibility is getting very low as its rainy season.

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Upon reaching the campsite at the crater ring, I am so sad that it had been non stop raining and visibility is so low. I cant enjoy my afternoon tea with magnificent view of the lake over there. Oh well, setting up our campsite and have to hide inside my tent till the next morning.. There are 6 location in total for this campside

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Girls might find this challenging as the facilities up here is consider nil. The potter will dig a hole and place a fabric around it to make it a toilet facilities. There are no place for you to bath up here. What do I do as I did read some article, that wet tissue is a must. I brought 2 pack just nice to clean up myself.

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My early dinner.

On the next morning, we start hiking at 2am to the peak. Its very challenging whereby its a sandy terrain. The put a quote “3steps = 2 steps”. The reason is that you hike up 3 steps and will fall behind one step.

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I nearly gave up on the last section of the volcano as its so tough. Lucky that altitude does not change as much as Mount Kinabalu.

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Happy that I took 4 hours to reach the summit and enjoy every single breath taking scenery up here. One overlook at the crater lake and the other one with fantastic view from the sunrise with Bali Volcano and island to be seen as the background shadow.

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At the summit here, its extremely cold as in the month of May it had hit 2-5 degree with wind factor. If its in their peak season like June-Aug, the temperature up here can be as low as -10 with wind factor as they are sharing atmosphere with Australia where its winter during that time.

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Spend about an 70 minutes up here to enjoy every single bits of it.

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this is what I mean on the last stretch to the summit. It seems like never end as the sand here is very soft and keep falling a few steps behind. This is what they mean by 3steps = 2 steps.

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Gradient hike all the way up is more like 70 degree.

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Do be careful on the way going down as its slippery and if you do not be cautious, you will be like a snowball going all the way down . .

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Never thought I would hike all the way here and that’s our campsite, as it looks like we are camping right next to the edge of the volcano.

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The unique thing which is the inactive huge volcano has given birth to a smaller one inside it. What I was told by my guide Dee that the lake will one day be gone as the active volcano keep spilling lava and soon will cover the whole lake.

Advise future hikers to hike along the lake too as it takes additional day.

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While doing your dump, this is the best toilet that you can find by overlooking a great view. 😀

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This is what I mean by missing out my great tea time by overlooking this lake in the crater.

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Taking the opportunity to enjoy it for my breakfast before heading down.

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Look so near yet so far!

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This is my heavy breakfast that they have prepare for me. Indeed if you are asking me which is better, Mount Kota Kinabalu or this, I would highly recommending this, as the view here is much better. Both is definitely 2 different terrain.

Super important things to bring for Mount Rinjani:

– Headlamps
– Sun block/lotion, hat/cap, sun glasses
– Spray for muscle/balm
– Insect repellent
– Camera
– Face towel for simple cleanup
– Long trek pants/wind proof – need for hike from crater to summit.
– Windproof Jacket
– 2-3 pcs of shorts &  T-Shirts
– Trek stick/lekki (if do not have, borrow from homestay or ask guide to chop 1 for you)
– Power Bar/ Chocolate
– Suitable walking shoes
– Warm clothing
– extra socks (2-3 extra)
– Panadol/Altitude tablets
– Plasters
– waterproof bag for camera

NOTE:
– Bring Some cash for tipping the guide and porters is recommended. Its about Rp. 50.000/person/day

– Do pack your clothes in a plastic bag, just in case it rains like dog and cat some of my clothing is wet and at crater it can hit very cold. Chances of falling sick is high.

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