All You Need To Know To Plan A Trip To Hike Mount Kerinci (3,805m): Indonesia Highest Volcano!

All You Need To Know To Plan A Trip To Hike Mount Kerinci (3,805m): Indonesia Highest Volcano!

Introduction

Mount Kerinci (3,805 m) is the highest volcano in Indonesia and the highest mountain in Sumatra. It is surprisingly quite straight forward to plan a trip to hike Mount Kerinci, the only difficult thing being deciding the transport options.

Mount Kerinci is still an active volcano and is part of the Kerinci Seblat National Park, the largest national park in Sumatra Island, Indonesia and also home to the endangered species of Sumatran Tigers and Rhinoceros. 

The trek can be quite a strenuous 2D1N climb. The altitude gain is longer than I expected.

Be prepared for a raw experience and a muddy climb through the thick foliage of the jungle. It also gives you chance to look out for natural wildlife, like the Siamang Gibbons and their unique cries or songs. 

Once out of the jungle, you will camp for 1 night before heading up for a sunrise push up the barren and rocky slope to the summit. It requires a bit of scrambling at times  The summit push isn’t as tiring or strenuous as Rinjani or Semeru, but the weather is often more treacherous up there with strong winds. 

At the top of Gunung Kerinci, if you happen to be the lucky on a clear weather, you will get a good view of the Indian ocean, Gunung Tujuh Lake in the distance, and possibly some lava boiling in the crater!  

Following which, you will descend down the same way before getting a vehicle back to Kersik Tuo Village. 

The hike is rewarding due to the toughness of the hike and the difference in altitude gain. However, one sad thing would be the rubbish situation in Kerinci. It really spoils the hike and leaves you really heartbroken when you look at the amount of waste around.

Having said that, Mount Kerinci (3,805m) can be done with little to no experience on the mountains, provided you follow the guide. One would need good physical fitness and be okay with muddy and wet conditions.

It is accessed from Padang to Kersik Tua and can be extended to include a visit to the Gunung Tujuh Lake, highest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, or to the beautiful islands of Pasumpahan and Pulau Pagang for snorkelling! 

This post gives you an overview on main information you require to plan a trip to Mount Kerinci. If you wish to know more about how the trek is like, read my other post with a detailed breakdown on every rest point!

If you wish for me to arrange your trip, do contact me at [email protected] / Website / Whatsapp +65 88531035 / +6597511216

Technical Details

Kerinci Summit (Puncak Indrapura)
Posing for a picture on the way down from Kerinci summit

>>Peak: 3,805m
>>Total elevation: ~2,040m
>>Walking distance: 17km (~8.5km 1 way)
>>Total trek time: ~19 hours
>>Day Temperature: ~20ºc – 25ºc
>>Lowest Temperature: ~5ºc – 10ºc 
>>Trek Duration: 2D1N (advised)
>>Camping trip
>>Long Altitude Change
>>Same way up and down

Season to visit

For Kerinci, it is open all year round but you would definitely want to avoid the rainy seasons. Like most Indonesia hikes, the monsoon is usually around Oct – February. I can tell you, hiking during those seasons will be a horrible experience unless you love to torture yourself.

Kerinci is seldom closed compared to other Indonesia mountains in Java like Merbabu and Semeru, where they close annually for forest recovery or due to the rainy season. The only time they close Kerinci is if the trail is too dangerous due to rain.

The main season for Kerinci would be from April – September. I hiked in March and it was okay also. So this is a good replacement for other Indonesia mountains which are usually closed from March – May.

Transport – Getting There

Kersik Tua is the starting village for Gunung Kerinci (3,805m). Most people access it from Padang, the main airport. Padang to Kersik Tua is a 6-8 hour drive, depending on the conditions.

Flights

There are 2 main ways to get to Padang from Singapore. Unfortunately, there are currently no direct flights to Padang, which is quite sad because Padang is situated so near to Singapore! It should only be a 1 hour flight but it takes 4 hours instead. Please please change this situation, I’m looking at you airlines!!

You can choose to fly from Singapore (more convenient) or take a ferry to Batam and fly a domestic flight from Batam to Padang (faster).

From Singapore

Flights: Airasia / Garuda / Lionair

Airasia is the most recommended airline due to the number of flight timings they have in a day. The price is also usually cheaper, it cost around 250 – 350 SGD. The flights will all have 1 stopover, it is either KL (Airasia) or Jakarta (Garuda/Lion Air).

Recommended Flight Timings
Going There: 07:45 Singapore – 11:10 Padang
Return: 16.10 Padang – 21.20 Singapore / 08:00 Padang – 13:40 Singapore

This allows you time to travel to Kersik Tuo village for the 1st day. After you descend from Kerinci, you can have 1 night sleep in Kersik Tuo and enjoy if you take the 16:10 timing.

Alternatively, if you wish to come back Singapore earlier, you could just take the overnight transport and sleep in it, reach the airport by 6am.

Personal Opinion: I prefer taking from Singapore due to convenience and safety. I am okay with transits, but I actually hate changing modes of transport personally. Also, I don’t like the idea of taking a domestic flight Indonesia flight from Batam.

Batam

Taking a domestic flight from Batam – Padang is way faster in terms of flight time and often cheaper. However, it just involves a lot more transfers.

1. Singapore – Batam: via Ferry from Harbour Front
2. Batam Ferry Terminal – Batam Airport
3. Batam – Padang

Recommended Flights: Lion Air/ Citilink

14:15 Batam – 15:20 Padang
14:50 Padang – 15:55 Batam

Although there is an earlier timing from Batam to Padang at 9.20am, it would be too risky as the earliest ferry timing is around 7.40am. Therefore, you could take any of the later ferry timings (around 10am) and take your time to get to the airport. The ferry takes around an hour to Batam Centre, which is the closest ferry terminal to the airport. From there, you can take a taxi to the airport.

The taxi takes around 25 minutes, and is cost ~120,000 RP (~12 SGD).

Personal Opinion: You kind of save some time and money, but domestic lion air flight from Batam? I fear the safety record!

Padang – Kersik Tuo

Kerinci
Kersik Tuo

It is a lot more comfortable and convenient to travel via a private vehicle directly from Padang Airport (Minangkabau International Airport) to Kersik Tuo Village. Of course, there are other various options for single travellers or people on a budget, which I will list from my research.

Public Transport

SHARED CAR or RENTALS

If coming overland from Padang or Jambi to Kerinci, you can choose to use either apublic seven-seat shared taxi (MPV-type vehicle, often a Toyota Avanza) known as a Travel, or you can rent out the same vehicle all for yourself.

Shared Taxi/Vehicle

There are no public buses which ply the route from Padang – Kersik Tuo. The public transportation is basically a shared vehicle, in different forms. Some of you might be travelling from Jambi/Bengkulu instead of Padang, it is a similar concept, just a slight difference in terms of pricing.

The downside about shared vehicles is that they would have to wait for passengers to fill up the seats, or they will go around the various destinations to pick up passengers. This means a possible additional 2 hours additional to the original journey of 7 hours, expect to take 8-10 hours to Kersik Tuo if you are using this way.

Another downside is that the Indonesians smoke a lot, without regard also usually. They smoke in air-conditioned places, and don’t be surprised if they smoke inside the vehicle. Moreover, once they start, it won’t be 1 stick, it would just be stick after stick. So just be prepared for a chance that you might be breathing 2nd-hand smoke for a large majority of the journey.

Tip: Always a good idea to try to get the window seat, or the seats near the front. If you are early, try to get the front seat beside the driver!

Shared vehicles usually have a “fixed departure timing” of 9am and 7pm every day, but actual departure times can be up to two hours later, depending on the passengers. Only the MPVs are generally allowed to pick up from the airport.

The two most popular companies are Safa Marwa and Ayu Transport, and they each have a number of vehicle types that service the route

7-passenger MPV-type vehicles (often Toyota Innova):

Also known as “Travel”, cost ~125,000 IDR per seat from the city itself or ~175,000 IDR from the Minangkabau airport.

15-passenger Mini-Bus ( also known as “Engkel” )

~100,000 IDR per seat but is not allowed to pick up passengers from the airport. One issue with taking the bigger vehicles is that you might be more prone to motion sickness due to the winding roads and potholes on the way to Kersik Tuo/Kerinci.

10-passenger eksekutif vehicle
Just a more premium upgrade to the Angkok and Mini-Bus, which has more comfortable seats and legroom, and goes for ~130,000 IDR per seat.

Angkok / Bemo (Cheapest)

Credit: Jakarta Post

It is a public mini-van that travels frequently, picking up passengers along the route and whoever who flags it down. It is the main local transport but it can be very crammed and squeezy. You can get Angkoks from Sungai Penuh bus terminal near the main market area. The good thing is they run frequently but just make sure to check with the driver if he is headed the same direction you are!

Private Vehicle (Recommended)

~ 1,000,000 IDR, but you can split the cost with other people if you are travelling in a group. It is way more comfortable, faster and you can be flexible in where you stop. Also, if you share with other tourists, you have a very low chance of people smoking in the vehicle.

For my trips, it comes with transportation from Padang Airport included. If you wish for me to arrange, you can contact me at [email protected] / www.littlemonsterstravel.com

Trail Routes

Kerinci Bangku Panjang POS 1
Trail signboard via Kersik Tuo

There are technically 2 routes now. The standard or most common route is from Kersik Tuo. However, the government has recently announced that there is a new route from Solok Selatan, West Sumatra. I have never done that route so I can only give the route from Kersik Tuo which most people use.

TrailAltitudeDistanceTime
Kersik Tuo – Pintu Rimba (Starting Point)1,764m10 min
Pintu Rimba – Bangku Panjang (POS 1)1,890m1.5km30 min
Bangku Pangjang – Batu Lumut (POS 2)2,010m0.6km30 min
Batu Lumut – Pondok Panorama (POS 3)2,225m1km45 min
Pondok Panorama – Shelter 12,500m1.4km1.5h
Shelter 1 – Shelter 23,056m2 km2.5h
Shelter 2 – Shelter 3 (POS 3)3,300m0.5km1h
Shelter 3 – Kerinci Summit (Puncak Indrapura)3,805m1.25km2.5-3h

Itinerary

The standard 2D1N itinerary goes like this

Day 1:
Morning/Afternoon: Flight to Padang
Afternoon: Padang Airport – Kersik Tuo (~6-8h drive)

Day 2:
8am: Kersik Tuo – Startpoint (via vehicle, 10 mins)
12pm: Startpoint – Shelter 1, stop for lunch
4pm: Shelter 1 – Shelter 3, and camp for the night

Day 3
3am: Start Summit Hike
5.30am: Summit
6:30am: Descend Summit
8:30am: Shelter 3 for breakfast, pack up and descend
3:00pm: Exit

Camping Spots

Kerinci Base Camp (Shelter 3)
Kerinci Base Camp (Shelter 3)

There are 2 main camping spots.

One at Shelter 3 and one an hour before that (near Shelter 2). I prefer the one at Shelter 3 because I don’t like to walk so long for the summit push.

However, Shelter 3 is unsheltered (the irony!), therefore it can be very windy and cold. The other campsite near Shelter 2 is protected by the trees, so it isn’t that cold at night. This also means waking up at least 1.5h earlier and walking longer for the summit!

Personally, I still prefer Shelter 3 unless it rains.

Add-ons

A popular combination with the Kerinci hike is a trip to Gunung Tujuh Lake (2732m), which is the highest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. To get to the lake requires a hike of around 2-3 hours. So, it would be good to do it before the Kerinci Hike, rather than after.

There are various other tours like ‘Jungle Trekking’ in Kerinci National Park, but I have no idea why you would want to do that after summiting Kerinci.

A good relaxing itinerary if you wish to explore areas around Padang is to visit the islands around for a full day tour of snorkelling, relaxing at the beach and eating fresh fish caught by the local fishermen! The islands are usually Pagang IslandPamutusan Island and Pasumpahan island. A standard 1 day tour around the islands cost ~ 500,000 – 800,000 IDR depending on the number of pax. This makes a good relaxing trip after the Kerinci Hike!

How to DIY

Is it possible to DIY it? Yes.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

If you were to do it yourself, the best and most budget way would be to take public transport, and hike Kerinci in 1 day instead of the 2D1N itinerary

1 Day Itinerary (Solo)

Here are the main steps.

1. Take the public transport and reach at night
2. Once you reach Kersik Tuo, you will have to get a National Park Permit/ Health Certificate.
3. The best bet is to ask the homestay to help you with it, or to find a guide.
3. If you decide not to use a guide, you can use maps.me or my suunto GPX to obtain the trail and start as early. You can choose to hike in the night, or start earlier at 5am. This means that you are not aiming for the sunrise.

Why the 1 day itinerary?

Without the need to camp, it would save a lot of cost because you don’t need to hire porters to carry food and water supplies on top of the tent and sleeping bag.

Of course, if you choose not to do that, you can easily find the guides in Kersik Tuo who can arrange a 2D1N Trek for you. If you are 2 pax or more, it would make sense to save time and just get a package because it includes transport from Padang. Moreover, for Kerinci, the guides are the travel agents, and they are mainly all from Kersik Tuo.

National Park Permits / Health Certificate

It is mandated that you will need to obtain a National Park permit and produce a copy of the health certificate before you start hiking.

Kerinci Permit: (150,000 IDR per person per day, and 225,000 IDR on weekends and holidays),
Health Certificate: ~20,000 IDR per pax

There are several places to buy the Kerinci Permits. You can purchase them at the the national park headquarters in Kersik Tuo, or ask your homestay accommodation to help you with it. I have read somewhere you need a health certificate but I never experienced needing it as compared to my Semeru hike.

There is a registration point, but technically I think if you DIY and walked past it at night / early morning, nobody would know because the registration point is not situated at the starting point! So yeah, if you really wanted to DIY you could.

Do I advise it? Once again, no.

Should you DIY?

You can DIY if you are really on a budget, an experienced hiker and love hiking alone.

However, the trail itself is through a real dense forest. There are wild animals and people who have gotten lost before. Every year there are people who get lost or injured while hiking alone and this creates trouble for the locals who are staying there.

Although the signposts are obvious, the trail can easily be lost in the night or if the weather conditions change. Also, the path to the summit is not the nicest. It is easy to get lost, take the wrong path or tumble down. There are a few people who have died at the summit due to rock falls or taking the wrong path.

Therefore, I don’t advise you doing it yourself, unless you are experienced and you are 1 pax.

Honestly, a guide isn’t that expensive. Also, for Kerinci, the guides are usually the one doing the arrangements, rather than a 3rd party travel agency who is in another city. This means that you are as good as “going direct” and it is pretty reliable.

If you are a group, you might as well find the guides to arrange a trip for you.

It also saves you time trying to wait and find transportation from Kersik Tuo because a group transport is so much more convenient and easier.

Guides Contact

Kerinci Summit (Puncak Indrapura)
Kerinci Summit (Puncak Indrapura)

There are a few famous main guides for Kerinci, situated mostly in Kersik Tuo village. As Kerinci is not as commercial as the other hikes in Indonesia like Semeru or Rinjani, they only have a few guides and the treks are dominated by these players.

1) Een Endatno ([email protected], +6285266266992) -> Most Popular
2) Pak Subandi (+62 812-7411-4273)
3) Romes/Kerinci Bahung (+62852-68021801, [email protected])
4) Pak Ahmad
5) Abd Rapani

English-speaking guide in Kerinci is around 350,000 – 500,000 IDR per day
Porter: Around 250,000 IDR per

If it is a package price, which means the transport, guides, porters, necessary park permits and entrance fees, tents, sleeping bags, food and water included, is usually ~ 2,500,000 – 3,500,000 IDR per pax. It also depends on the number of pax.

I can arrange also at a reasonable rate. Of course I use one of the above 5 people, the only reason for you to use me is to support me, trust me in preparing you for the trip as well as to not have to deal with the coordination =)

If you wish for me to arrange your trip, do contact me at [email protected] / Website / Whatsapp +65 88531035 / +6597511216

Conclusion

These are the main information required for you to plan a trip to Mount Kerinci.

To increase the chance of success for your trip, you can read up on my experience and my detailed itinerary in order to get a sense of the hike.
The pictures in my other post will give you a better sense of the terrain and the trail.



Share your thoughts!