Mount Tambora Travel Guide, Trekking Package Itinerary and Tips
Mount Tambora in Sumbawa island just east to Lombok is the site of the largest volcanic explosion in recorded history.
In April 1815, the volcano erupted so violently that it was heard over 2,000 kilo meters away and 71,000 people were killed. 160 cubic kilo meters of fragmentary material ejected in the explosion was responsible for 1816′s ‘Year without Summer’ around the world. It is no surprise, then, that the crater is enormous – over 7 kilo meters in diameter. Thankfully, the volcano has calmed down considerably since the world-famous eruption.
Getting to the starting point is an adventure in itself. Tambora is on the island of Sumbawa, which is served by unreliable daily flights from Lombok. To be on the safe side, you may want to take the ferry over from Lombok.
Once on Sumbawa, if you have a large group, you may perhaps even wish to charter a boat from the port of Badas to take you directly over (6 hours) to the small logging town of Calabai instead of the 8 or 9 hour journey by road.
The Tambora office (where you get a permit) is in Pancasila next to the village field and it is recommended that you take porters from Pancasila rather than Calabai. It takes just under one hour along very bumpy roads to reach Pancasila from Calabai.
Mount Tambora Ascent Route
You can begin the long trek to the crater in Pancasila village itself, but better still arrange for a vehicle to drive you up the trail as far as it can go. The hike takes 8 or 9 hours to the crater rim. Because the trail starts at quite a low elevation, the first few hours of hiking through jungle are hot and sweaty. There is clean spring water about an hour from the start of the trail.
If you can’t manage to start early in the morning, the best thing to do is to camp at Pos 3 (5 hours from the trailhead, nearby water source) or Pos 5 and then have a second night on the crater rim itself. Once you emerge from the forest, the vegetation becomes less and less and you can look back to the nearby coast and onward across the black volcanic sands.
Mount Tambora Descent Route
The best route to follow after completing the climb is descending down again through the same route up. The normal time needed is 6 hours for good hikers.
Where to Camp in Mount Tambora
There are some flat areas that are good for camping near the top but be warned it can get quite windy and difficult to keep tent pegs firmly held in place. The crater rim is one of the world’s most fascinating places and the views at sunset over Mount Rinjani in Lombok are fabulous.
As for the incredible size of the crater itself, photos cannot really do it justice. The highest point is on the western edge of the crater and is marked with a cairn and Indonesian flag. Be careful when walking out there because certain areas are not stable and there are one or two fairly deep rock trenches.
Ways to Get to Mount Tambora
There are some options to get to Mount Tambora:
- Mataram – Sumbawa – Dompu – Kempo – Tambora: More less 15 hours by land + sea.
- Mataram – Bima: Only 35 minutes by airplane.
- Bima – Dompu – Tambora: 5 hours driving.
- Bima – Dompu – Sanggar: 4 hours driving
- Teluk Sanggar – Tambora: 3 hours driving.
Best Time to Climb Mount Tambora
Tambora is open for trekking activities all the year, however the best time for trekking is during the dry season, i.e. April to October, same as Rinjani. November is the beginning of rain season and the trail starts to be slippery. From what we heard December can be already very wet and January to March are the toughest months to visit.
Mount Tambora Trekking Package
This is a sample itinerary if you take Mount Tambora trekking package via Lombok.
Pick up from Lombok airport and transfer to hotel, meeting service and overnight.
Early morning depart to East Lombok after breakfast to catch a ferry to Poto Tano Sumbawa. Drive through Sumbawa island while lunch provided in local restaurant in Sumbawa Besar. Arrive in Pancasila base camp in late afternoon, trek to Mount Tambora reserve and camp at the jungle gate.
A full day trek through the beautiful rainforest of Mount Tambora. This beautiful jungle is one of the best rainforest in east of Indonesia, overnight at Post IV.
At 03.00 Am in the morning, assisted by your trekking guide climb the summit of Mount Tambora ( 2.801 M ) and enjoy the spectacular sunrise over Mount Sangyang in the east of Sumbawa island and the greatest caldera of Mount Tambora. Return to your your camp and breakfast. After breakfast, walk down to Pancasila and arrive in late afternoon and drive to Bima airport or back to Lombok.