Bukit Anak Dara is the iconic peak in Sembalun that rises from the strawberry fields creating a dramatic outline across the sky. Just looking at it makes you want to go up it. The way to the top is a little difficult but if you like adventure then this is the trip for you.

I hiked Bukit Anak Dara in October 2019 so here is my account below.
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I had been staying in Sembalun for a few days hiking around the area and Gunung Anak Dara was certainly at the top of the priority list. The mountain is amazing! It rises sharply from the ground below creating an almost sharks fin sticking out of the water. The moment Pak Nanang at the guest-house told me that there was a trail up there I knew I had to give it a go.
Click here for the start of the hike.

 

Not many people around knew where the path was so I ended up just searching google earth to see where the trail actually went. Sembalun isn’t heavily forested so most of the time you can see the trail by looking at the google earth images and seeing where the trails cross the peaks. Most of the hills are covered in grass so they are quite exposed to the elements but they make for pleasant hiking as there are always great views. 
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I will start by saying that Gunung Anak Dara is a kind of advanced hike as the trail goes directly up the side of the hill using ropes and is at a very steep angle. I went in the dark and couldn’t actually find the trail. When the sun rose I could make out the trail but I couldn’t believe that it was actually the trail. I followed it up and it was extremely steep. If you fell here there would be no stopping yourself so thats the reason they’ve installed the rope.
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I stayed at Radiya guest house which I booked via Booking.com. Pak Nanang is very friendly and showed me all of the trails around the town that can be hiked. He is a wealth of knowledge and cooks a mean nasi goreng for breakfast. 
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Start of the hike
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The trail begins right near the popular Bukit Selong sunrise spot and continues past Bukit Selong and right along the ridge line to where it meets with the sharp “sharks fin”. Even hiking to this point the views are spectacular and you wouldn’t even need to continue on to have a good time. 
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Because I left in the dark, I arrived at the end of the ridge line still in the dark and couldn’t find the trail to continue. I waited an hour or so and took in the views of Rinjani and the other mountains that surround Sembalun. As the sun rose I could make out the trail that went up the side of the mountain and I couldn’t quite believe my eyes. The trail we straight up the side of the hill and I didn’t know if it was too dangerous to try but I decided to find out. The trail actually cut across a notch in the ridge and went straight up the hill. If you want to follow the trail the GPX track is at the bottom of the page. 


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Once I got over the notch I went straight up the side of the hill. This section is STEEP! There are no 2 ways around it. If you are scared of heights or just don’t like the thought of going up a very steep, grassy slope then you can just go back the same way along the ridge to Bukit Selong. You can see the trail in the photo below cutting its way right up the side of the mountain.
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I carried on and there are some roped sections that have been installed so that you can pull yourself up the hill. After about 15 minutes of going up you’ll find an odd boulder just sitting there in the grass. Who knows how this boulder got here but it is the only one up there. After the boulder its another 15 minutes and by now you’ll be on the very grassy summit area. The summit isn’t that exciting as its just a knee deep grassy mountain top. One crazy thing that I did see at the top was a dog up there just hanging out in the grass. I have no idea how it got up there but it certainly couldn’t see where it was going because the grass was just way too long.
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Summit

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Once I reached the top I decided to go down the other side instead of going back the way that I came. From the top you can see the trail cut through the grass and its easy to follow it all the way down. I reached a joining point in the path and took the left to head down the trail. The trail leaves the grassy slopes before heading into the jungle and then popping out into the strawberry fields.
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It was still early morning and the workers were all getting ready to head off to work for the day. It’s a really cool experience because all the workers are riding around on their motor bikes with their blankets wrapped around themselves.

It was another 2km walk and I was back at Radiya Guest House enjoying my morning coffee and a delicious breakfast cooked by none other than Pak Nanang himself. 

Would I recommend this hike?

 
This hike was one of the hardest ones that I completed during my stay in Sembalun. The thing that made it hard was that the trail was overgrown by the grass and it appeared that the trail hadn’t been used for some time. It is part of the Rinjani 100 trail race but it was cancelled in 2019 due to the earthquake. Trail maintenance hasn’t been good so the path is overgrown. The Rinjani 100 is back in June 2020 so by then the trail should be in really good condition. It is no where near as popular as Bukit Pergasingan but if you want to climb the most iconic mountain in the Sembalun area then you have to give Bukit Anak Dara a go.
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Logistics for the trip

How to get there

 

I walked from Radiya Guesthouse to the start of the hike and then back again. I did get lost at the start due to it being dark and the google maps not showing the correct starting point. I’ve added below the exact starting point. You can always ride to the start and just park in the parking lot for Bukit Selong. Its secure parking there and you wouldn’t have to worry about the bike at all. 

For the exact starting point of the hike click here.

Where to Stay

I stayed in at the hotel Radiya Guest House in Sembalun and it was around a 5 minute drive from the guesthouse to the base of the climb. If you don’t have a bike it’d be a 20 minute walk to the base through town.

How long is the hike

I did the loop hike from Radiya Guesthouse which was 11km and took me 2.5 hours of moving time. I did stop for an hour waiting for sunrise so the total trip time was closer to 4 hours. This hike is reasonably difficult and would only recommend it if you’ve hiked a lot already. 

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Gear

  • Small backpack
  • Head Torch 
  • Rain proof jacket and pants (the weather may be clear but you want to always be prepared. Mountain weather is unpredictable) 
  • Breakfast and snacks 
  • Warm Jacket 
  • 2l water minimum 
  • Camera
  • Hiking boots or trail shoes with really good grip
  • Hiking poles – the trail is very steep in parts 

 

 Do you plan to hike Bukit Anak Dara? Let me know in the comments how you get on.

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