Sembalun is one of the two key gateway village`s to an arduous trek up Mount Rinjani, Lombok. There is a lot more to this area than that though, and those visitors less inclined towards serious trekking should not be discouraged from visiting here. Sembalun is beautiful and has one of the best scenery and it is magnificent all around, including some notable waterfalls, rice- and strawberry fields and apple tree gardens.
The village of Sasak is in Sembalun region.
The area around Sembalun and Senaru was the birthplace of Lombok's unique Wektu Telu belief system - ancient animist practices combined with Islam.
From the main north coast road, turn south at the small town of Bayan from where it is about 8 km to Sasak village, next to Senaru village
If you are coming from the main tourist areas in West Lombok, expect to pay about Rp 300,000-400,000 for a taxi or chartered vehicle.
You can hire a transportation from the main tourist areas in West Lombok
It is possible, if a little difficult, to get to Senaru and Sasak by bus from Mataram. From the main Mataram bus terminal take a bus headed towards Anyar. These are infrequent, there is no reliable timetable and the journey is 2.5-3 hours. From Anyar, regular bemos run to Senaru and Sembalun area until about 4PM every daily.
Once you are around here, just walk. It`s amazing around here.
At 3,726 m, Rinjani is the second highest volcano in Indonesia, second only to Mount Kerinci on Sumatra, and it dominates the landscape of the relatively small island of Lombok.
Within its huge 50 km² caldera sits the crater lake Segara Anak (Child of the Sea). Eruptions within the caldera have formed a new small cone called appropriately enough, Gunung Baru (New Mountain). Segara Anak has a natural hot spring.
The mountain and its satellites form the Mount Rinjani National Park (Taman Nasional Gunung Rinjani) - officially 41,000 hectares within the park boundaries and a further 66,000 hectares of protected forest outside.
In 2008, the Indonesian government proposed to UNESCO that Mount Rinjani be one of the world's official geoparks. If this was approved by UNESCO, Mount Rinjani would become the first such geological park in Indonesia.
Another key attraction, aside the Mount Rinjani itself are some of the well known astonishingly beautiful waterfalls. You might find it hard to locate these waterfalls, so it is recommended to hire a guide. There are many good guides available around Sasak village.
Climbing Mount Rinjani is not to be taken lightly and hiring a guide is a must. There are at least other two extra options, not mentioned anywhere, to climb the Mt.Rinjani.
Option 1: Climb the mountain with a night trek and reach the crater for the sunrise and come back in the same day (better start at 10.30/11pm if you want reach the crater rim for the sunrise and do it in full moon nights). You can do it by yourself or with a trek company (the price should be between 400.000 and 750.000). Some wild animals can be seen on the way such like wild pigs or deer,but it's rare, more probably you will meet some semi wild dogs which are not harmless, just through a stone and they will disappear. Take a torch/flashlight which last for 6 hours, some food and at least 3lt of water. If you're not interested on the sunrise and you want just see the crater you can starts later but remember after 10.30/11am the crater is covered by the clouds so you will not see anything and a fit person can reach the crater in less then 6 hours but normally takes 7-8 hours.
Option 2: you can arrange your trek from Tete Batu the costs are pretty much similar to all the others the big difference is in what you will see. You will approach the mountain from the south side which is much easier and the view of the volcano in the lake is far much more closer
There`s many nice local souvenir stalls around the two villages.
All of the local bungalows and homestays have simple cafes attached.
There are a few simple warungs on the road between Senaru and Batu Koq villages. The local Sasak food is excellent — try to to stick with the authentic local cooking. The local food is good and it`s part of the travel to this area.
There are quite a few places to stay in both of these villages.