A fertile region high on the northeastern slopes of Mount Rinjani, Sembalun is one of the two main gateways to trekking Lombok’s highest peak. It’s notable for cool temperatures, beautiful mountain vistas, scenic trekking, and abundant agriculture. Sembulan is located in East Lombok Regency, about three hours drive from either Mataram or Lombok International Airport.
There are six larger villages in the region, and the two most prominent are Sembalun Lawang and Sembalun Bumbung. Only 1.2 miles (2 km) apart, these villages are the closest to Mount Rinjani and the jumping off spots for trekking in Rinjani National Park. To the east is the village of Tawun, which is located near scenic waterfalls.
Accommodations are in the villages and range from villas to homestays. The area itself is a massive, ancient caldera sitting at 2,624 - 3937 feet (800-1200 m) above sea level. You’ll find this land is fertile and lined with endless fields of rice and other crops — it is the largest spice-producing region on the island.
Trekking Mount Rinjani is the big draw to Sembalun. Trips can be booked out of Sembulan for multi-day expeditions. Rinjani is best climbed during the dry season from April to November. The trek is no joke, so be sure to book a guide and be in good physical condition. In the off-season, or for less ambitious hikers, nearby Pergasingan Hill offers a three-hour hike to 5,577 feet (1,700 m) above sea level, and has spectacular views of Mount Rinjani, Sembalun, and the ocean. There are no overnight camping treks to Persingan — just relatively easy walks through the rice paddies.
There are three waterfalls worth investigating near Tawun. Mangku Sakti is 98 feet (30 m) high and drops down a craggy stone cliff face to a pool. It flows through a magnificent gorge with tall, curvy canyon walls. As a bonus, just downstream there is a second, smaller waterfall — Mangku Kodek — in the canyon, with a deep swimmable pool. Goddess Shawl Waterfall (Dewi Selendang) has twin streams that cross as they fall down a rock face into a pool.
Both Sembulan villages have local weavers and crafts. Visit the seven ancient lumbung houses, the oldest in the area, that are still lived in today. Sembulan also offers abundant agritourism, where you can visit plantations of different fruits, vegetables, and spices. Strawberry picking with a scenic mountain backdrop is a favorite Sembulan activity.
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