The Ladeh Panjang Wetlands, at the western foot of Mt. Kerinci and deep within the Kerinci Seblat National Park, is the highest wetlands in Southeast Asia, at over 2000 meters in elevation. The trail there takes about 6 hours or less of fairly easy hiking, with four of those hours through primary rainforest of the Kerinci Seblat National Park. Two lakes can be found within the 150 hectares of wetlands, Danau Singkarak and Danau Sakti, the latter of which takes a further three hours to reach. The marshlands and the primary forest surrounding it are home to a wide variety of wildlife, including barking deer, tapir, and tigers.
Meet your guide in Kersik Tuo, and continue on to where the road ends in the village of Buntu. Walk through the lovely farmlands in the rolling foothills of Mt. Kerinci, on the way into the forest. Be prepared to cross a few small streams in the jungle before you come across a small sulfur vent called Gunung Belarang. Explore the area for any tiger or other wildlife pug marks before heading on to the campsite on the edge of the marsh.
After setting up camp, rest or explore the area. Don’t miss the sunset over the marshlands in the late afternoon. Take a night walk with flashlights after dinner to try to spot any nocturnal creatures that might be around, and set up the trail camera if available. When you’re ready, turn in for the night.
In the morning, head to Danau Singkarak. If you think you want to spend the day around the lake, make sure you bring your lunch with you. Be prepared to get your feet wet walking through the marshes and swamp forest for about 20 minutes before returning to the solid ground of the primary forest. The hike from the camp to the lake takes about 1.5 hours. Make sure to remind your guide to show you any orchids and Nepenthes pitcher plants along the way, and keep an eye (and ear) out for singing Siamang gibbons, which usually start their calls between 8am and 9am.
Explore the area around the lake once you arrive. Be on the lookout for any wildlife cooling off with a swim or taking a drink.
For the rest of the day, it’s your choice whether you explore around the lake, continue on to Danau Sakti (another 3 hours one way), or return to the forest and marshlands closer to camp. You could also make an attempt to reach the ridge trail at Gunung Kapur to the west. Make sure to pack enough food and flashlights in case you don’t make it back to camp before dark.
In the evening, take another night walk before heading to bed.
Difficulty: Moderate. While the terrain doesn’t get too steep, six hours is a long hike. Also be prepared to cross a number of streams and cross through the marsh, where it’s easy to get your feet wet.
Activities: Hiking, Camping, Bird Watching, Wildlife
Elevation: From 1500m-2100m
Terrain: Wetlands, Jungle, Mountains, Old Sulfur Vents, Lakes, Highland farms
Nearest Village: Buntu, Kayu Aro 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. 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 two nights.
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. Be prepared to cross a number of streams and cross through the marsh, where it’s easy to get your feet wet.
Leeches are occasionally abundant here. While the ick factor might be high, they’re actually harmless (and the green arboreal ones are quite pretty, believe it or not).
Due to the high elevation (above 2000m) evenings and mornings can be quite chilly, so make sure you have a jacket, and long sleeves and pants.
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 a good place to base yourself before and after the trek, as it has the most accommodation choices. About fifteen minutes closer to the trail-head, however, is the village of Bedeng VIII (Delapan), an old Dutch village near the tea processing factory, and where a guesthouse has recently been opened in one of the old homes. Both Kersik Tuo and Bedeng Delapan are surrounded by the picturesque tea plantation, and provide lovely views of Mt. Kerinci.
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 Ladeh Panjang 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 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.
As always, we use only local guides and porters from nearby communities, who are paid a fair, ethical wage above the standard local price.