Hike to five unique lakes in the southern reaches of Kerinci, closest to the village of Lempur. On your Sumatra jungle trek, you’ll experience wildlife and culture up close as you pass through ricefields and traditionally managed customary forests (hutan adat) of cinnamon, bamboo, and other forest crops, walk along (and through) small rivers and wetlands, swim in and paddle bamboo rafts on remote highland lakes, and explore pristine primary rainforest. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot Siamang gibbons, leaf monkeys, hornbills, and a variety of bird and other animal life. A few of our guests have even been lucky enough to see Sun Bears and Sumatran Tigers! While the itinerary below is for four days/three nights, we also have 3D/2N or 5D/4N options as well.
Take a motorcycle taxi (ojek) ride to the trailhead, about ten minutes from the village of Lempur. The first lake you visit is Lake Lingkat, only about ten minutes from the village. Head around the lake and trek through the jungle, until you reach Lake Nyalo, in the middle of a small wetlands area. Keep an eye out for pitcher plants, one variety of which is used by locals to prepare a traditional dish of steamed coconut rice. A few species of wild ducks and other aquatic birds call lake Nyalo home, and you can often hear a family of Siamang gibbons calling from the trees along the bank.
From Lake Nyalo, continue uphill about two hours until you reach the third lake: Lake Duo. Set up camp here, and enjoy the afternoon swimming or rafting on the lake and exploring the area, and if you’re lucky, a clear night of stargazing with views of the milky way.
The next day, spend some more time around Lake Duo in the cool of the morning before breaking camp. Head into the beautiful cinnamon forests on your way to the third lake: Lake Kecik, where you’ll take a short rest. Eventually you’ll come to a small coffee farm and wooden hut, after which you head into primary forest. As you keep an eye out for wildlife and their tracks, the guides will point out edible forest fruits and greens, and offer a few survival skill tips.
Make camp near a cool mountain river, Sungai Manjuto, in the middle of the rainforest as the evening begins to creep in.
From the Sungai Manjuto river, continue hiking through lush, untouched forests to Lake Kaco, the brilliantly blue swimming hole and natural aquarium deep in the forest, arriving in the afternoon. Follow in the footsteps of Bear Grylls and jump off the tree hanging over the crystal clear waters, and swim around with the abundant fish and brilliantly-colored fresh-water crabs that make the lake their home. The refreshingly cool, underground spring-fed natural pool makes for a rejuvenating break after so many days of trekking.
Set up camp in the forest surrounding the lake.
Wake up next to Lake Kaco and enjoy a leisurely morning, swimming and relaxing in the lake. Eventually, pull yourself away and continue roughly three hours along forest trails looking for birds, wildlife and signs of other animals as you make your way out of the forest.
Take a break at the Siluang Bersisik Emas waterfall before you exit the forest and continue your walk through idyllic rice paddies on your way back to Lempur village.
You’ll arrive back in Lempur generally by late afternoon or early evening. Stay in a homestay in Lempur, or continue an hour’s drive back to a hotel in Sungai Penuh.
*Note: While this Sumatra jungle trekking itinerary is for four days, it can easily be extended another day, which would add significantly more time hiking within primary rainforest habitat, along with a visit to a remote waterfall. Alternatively, you could trim it down by a day to make it a three day/two night affair, still hitting all of the lakes, but slightly less time within primary forest. Let us know what best fits for you and we’ll make it happen!
Difficulty: Moderate. While the landscape isn’t too steep at any points, endurance is necessary for a four day trek.
Activities: Jungle Trekking, Camping, Bamboo-Rafting, Swimming, Bird Watching, Wildlife
Terrain: Jungle, Mountains, Lakes, Wetlands, Highland farms
Nearest Village: Lempur, Gunung Raya subdistrict, Kerinci regency, Jambi province, Indonesia
- A quality pair of hiking shoes – preferably waterproof – are essential.
- Comfortable trekking socks – with the various wetlands and streams you’ll be crossing, your feet will definitely get wet, even with good shoes. Good hiking socks can help prevent blistering.
- Long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Preferably made from quick-dry material.
- Your own water bottle, to cut down on single-use plastics.
- A headlamp, especially if you want to take any night walks.
- A waterproof jacket in case it rains, and to keep you warm in the chilly evenings and mornings.
- Sunscreen, especially if you plan on spending much time on the lakes. Being so close to the equator, it’s easy to burn quickly-especially when the air is so deceptively cool.
No comfy accommodations here! You’ll be sleeping rough in tents under the forest canopy for three or more nights, and a night or two with a local family if you’re interested – expect a thin mat on the floor of a very basic room, and a cold bucket of cold water to bathe with (if you’re not bathing in the river with locals)! But you’ll be having an experience of a lifetime.
Also, as it is a rainforest, expect and prepare for rain at some point during your trek, no matter what season you’re travelling in.
Although you may choose to stay in a hotel, we encourage staying with a family from Lempur. This provides lots of opportunities to hang out with locals around the village, optionally visit a local school, participate in agricultural work or other village tasks, prep and cook traditional dishes, and learn about the history and culture of this unique community. It’s highly recommended.
Like all of our trips, you travel at your own risk. Keep in mind that you are visiting a wild and extremely remote area of rural Sumatra, far from quality medical care. It’s your responsibility to make sure you are covered with valid travel and medical insurance.
There are now daily flights to Kerinci from the city of Jambi! You can read more about them here.
The best place to base yourself before and after the trek is in the small village of Lempur, in the southern region of Kerinci, staying with your guide’s family. It’s also possible to stay in a small hotel in the main town of Sungai Penuh, about an hour north of Lempur.
Many travelers come overland via the city of Padang in West Sumatra to the town of Sungai Penuh. Expect the drive to Sungai Penuh to take around nine hours, although it can vary by an hour or two depending on the road conditions and the driver, and if you are taking public or private transport. Padang has direct flights to/from the hubs of Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Medan, and Batam. If you are in Bukittinggi, it’s possible to drive directly to Sungai Penuh, roughly a ten hour drive. From Sungai Penuh, you’ll be met and driven on to Lempur.
The city of Jambi is also a possible launching point, taking roughly nine hours to reach Lempur, without having to go to Sungai Penuh first. The road from Jambi is less winding than the road from Padang, so a bit more comfortable. As mentioned, Wings Air has daily flights to Kerinci. Susi Air also has thrice-weekly flights directly to the town of Sungai Penuh in central Kerinci, although the flights aren’t as reliable as the Wings Air flights, and are difficult to book.
You can read more about transport to/from Kerinci, and what travel looks like within the valley here.
When booking with us, we’ll be happy to assist you with all accommodation and transport arrangements.
We are proud that 5% of the total cost of this trip goes directly to WildCats Conservation Alliance in support of forest rangers and wild tiger conservation projects in the Kerinci Seblat National Park and other areas of Sumatra. Price also includes donations to Pencagura (Nature Lovers of Gunung Raya Sub-district) to support their forest and wildlife protection activities in the area, and to the local village.
As always, we use only local guides and porters from nearby communities, who are paid a fair, ethical wage above the standard local price.