jungle trekking sumatra climb mt. kerinci active volcano tea rainforest
Towering over the Sumatran landscape, Mt. Kerinci demands respect. At 3805 meters tall, Gunung Kerinci is the highest active volcano in Southeast Asia, and even rises above the iconic Mt. Fuji in Japan, and Lombok’s Mt. Rinjani. Trekking up its forested slopes, protected within the Kerinci Seblat National Park, is quite challenging as there are no switchbacks – it’s just straight up to the top along a ridge trail. But the views at the top are truly unbeatable, making the struggle and sweat to the summit more than worth it.
*Something to think about: Getting to Kerinci takes a serious amount of time! It’s a bit of a shame to just climb the mountain and immediately make the long drive out of the region. Consider exploring more of what this massive and diverse region has to offer. Go on a night safari to spot wildlife, get close to the local culture on a village tour, or take a multi-day jungle trek deep into the Sumatran rainforest. Opportunities for adventure abound

Difficulty: Climbing Mt. Kerinci is a tough, strenuous hike – even those in great shape are wiped out by the end. Make sure you’re prepared. The trek is not technical, however, requiring no ropes or other special equipment.

Activities: Jungle Trekking, Camping, Bird Watching, Wildlife Spotting

Elevation: From 1500m-3805m

Terrain: Jungle, Mountains

Nearest Village: Kersik Tuo, Kayu Aro subdistrict, Kerinci regency, Jambi province, Indonesia

  • A quality pair of hiking shoes – preferably waterproof – are essential.
  • Comfortable trekking socks are also highly recommended – possibly the most important item.
  • Long trousers and a long-sleeved shirt. Preferably made from quick-dry material.
  • A small backpack with a rain cover to carry your personal items, like clothing and toiletries. Extra things you don’t want to bring on the Sumatran jungle trek can be stored at the guesthouse.
  • Your own water bottle, to cut down on single-use plastics.
  • A headlamp, as you’ll be scrambling up the mountain in the dark for the final ascent.
  • A waterproof jacket in case it rains, and for the almost-freezing temperatures at the top.
  • A beanie/cap and gloves, plus a warmer hooded sweatshirt or something similar to layer with can also help with the cold for the pre-dawn climb to the summit.
  • Sunscreen could be useful. Being so close to the equator, it’s easy to burn quickly-especially when the air is so deceptively cool. However, you will be under the rainforest canopy the majority of the time, with your time spent above the tree line mostly being in the early morning and late afternoon.
  • Optionally, trekking poles can be useful – especially with reducing knee pain on the descent if you’re prone to that.
  • It’s close to freezing at the top, so make sure you dress in layers and bring a warm beanie and gloves if you can. Best to avoid times of extended rain, but, as Mt. Kerinci sits within a tropical rainforest, be prepared for it. Also best to avoid weekends and public holidays, as local students can crowd the campsites and are prone to being disruptively loud.
  • No fancy accommodations here! You’ll be sleeping rough in tents on sometimes uneven/rocky ground, with very thin camping mattresses, plus two nights in a very simple, somewhat dingy guesthouse in the village. If you are looking for typical tourist creature comforts, Kerinci may not be the place for you. That said, there are some wooden cabins available that are a bit of an upgrade from the usual. They don’t come cheap though – per two-person room they would be an additional 450,000 IDR from the listed price. Let us know if you’d prefer that.
  • Food is very traditional local fare. Vegetarian and vegan options are available, if you let us know ahead of time.
  • Most treks up the mountain start after an overnight in the village of Kersik Tuo, but it’s also possible to begin from Sungai Penuh.
  • As an active volcano, caution needs to be taken, and you climb Mt. Kerinci at your own risk. When on the mountain, guides will judge whether they feel it’s safe to try to reach the summit, depending on weather and current volcanic activity levels, with guests expected to follow their lead. Conditions can be unpredictable.
  • As it is a rainforest, expect and prepare for rain at some point during your trek, no matter what season you’re travelling in.
  • The guide and porter(s) will carry all camping equipment, like tents, sleeping bags, mattresses, food, and the like. All you need to carry is your own clothing, toiletries, and whatever other personal items you want to bring into the jungle. Extra items can be stored at the guesthouse.
  • You are in a rural, isolated, underprivileged part of Sumatra. Guides and porters are from local communities- many farmers themselves when they’re not guiding. They are all in the process of learning and are not 100% proficient in English or customer service- so don’t expect skills on par with touristic areas like Bali. Thank you for supporting and encouraging them in their improvement process – this is also an aspect of community development and education, and we appreciate you being a part of it as they continue to progress.
  • 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 town of Kersik Tuo is the ideal place to base yourself before and after the trek, as it sits right at the foot of Mt. Kerinci, and has the most accommodation choices. Being on the edge of the beautiful tea plantations is a nice bonus.

Many travelers come overland via the city of Padang in West Sumatra. Expect the drive to Kersik Tuo to take around eight 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 Kersik Tuo, roughly a nine hour drive.

The city of Jambi is also a possible launching point, although since Mt. Kerinci is in the northern part of the Kerinci region, the drive from Jambi would take roughly ten or eleven hours. 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’re proud that 100% of our proceeds goes directly to local grassroots conservation and community development initiatives here in Kerinci. This 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.

Come discover Kerinci for yourself! Learn about the region, visit our itineraries page, or view additional points of interest around Kerinci to create your own custom trip. Be sure to check out our travel tips when you’re ready to start planning.