- Elevation: 2,933 m (9,623 ft)
- Prominence: 1,789 m
- Ribu category: Tinggi Sedang
- Province: Jambi
- Google Earth: kml
- Other names: none
This Ribu is the highest peak in Jambi province (assuming you count Kerinci as in West Sumatra) and has two lovely highland lakes – Lake Kumbang and Lake Mabuk – which are of a smilar size to each other and were presumably once active volcanic craters. The normal starting point is Sungai Lalang (1,365m) – a 3 hour drive from Bangko on the Trans-Sumatran highway or just over 4 hours from Muara Bungo airport.
The trail leads through coffee plantations and it takes approximately 6 hours in total to reach Puncak 1, which is not the highest peak but is the recommended camping spot for small groups. There are many trails through the coffee plantations so you will need an experienced guide or else will have to ask local people working in the plantations for the correct route to Pintu Rimba (‘forest entrance’, 1,700m) which you should reach after about 2 hours from Sungai Lalang. Pintu Rimba is marked with a large wooden sign painted red and green and with common sense rules about responsible behaviour when trekking. This section is perhaps the most awkward as there are several large and slippery logs either side of Pintu Rimba that need careful negotiation to avoid slipping off.
Once you are past the logs, the trail gets steadily steeper through pleasant forest. After another 30 minutes or so you will have reached Shelter 1 (1,905m) which offers little in the way of shelter other than under a large fallen tree, but does have a water source just one minute from the trail (down to the left). Listen out for siamangs in this area.
Another three hours and you should have reached Puncak 1/Satu (2,715m), which has great views over Danau Kumbang and also to the rarely-hiked Gunung Nilo and Gunung Sumbing to the west. Just 2 minutes before Puncak 1 (Satu) is the junction for Danau Mabuk (‘the drunk lake’), but this lake takes approximately two hours to reach meaning a four-hour round-trip. It might make sense to visit Danau Mabuk if ascending or descending from the alternative starting point near Tanjung Berugo/Beruga but the trail is apparently overgrown and often confusing.
There are two apparent reasons for why the lake is called Danau Mabuk – firstly because the trail there is so difficult it makes you ‘drunk’ and secondly because of a certain wind which blows over the lake and makes the fish ‘drunk’ and easy to catch!
From Puncak 1, however, the views are of the other, much more easily accessed lake, Danau Kumbang (approx 2,530m, ‘beetle lake’). Puncak 1 has enough space for just 3 tents or so, and larger groups tend to go down to Danau Kumbang itself and camp at the side of the lake where there is more room. Do note that the trail down to Danau Kumbang is very steep in places and therefore difficult with large backpacks but only takes 30 minutes when descending from just beyond Puncak 1.
Despite only being 1.4km in a straight line, from Puncak 1 to the true peak (seemingly known as ‘Puncak Top’) is about 2 hours of tough trekking through moss forest, clambering over logs and squelching through mud! Look out for pitcher plants along the summit ridge and for occasional good views to the left of the trail. There are lots of birds on this mountain and you have a good chance of seeing eagles. There are no panoramic views at the true peak but it is well sign posted and there are numerous signs left on a tree there by local hiking groups. There is enough space for 2 or 3 tents at the true summit but because of the lack of views and difficult terrain between Puncak 1 and the true peak it is not recommended as a place to camp. Remember it is at least 4 hours from Puncak 1 to the true peak and back again.
The views from Puncak 1 are unsurprisingly great at both dawn and dusk, particularly in the direction of the mysterious Gunung Sumbing and Gunung Nilo, both of which remain wild and unfrequented. To descend from Puncak 1 to Sungai Lalang takes between 4 and 6 hours.
In summary, to and from Jakarta you need around 5 days. Day 1: Get to Bangko (easiest way is to fly to Muara Bungo). Day 2: Bangko to Sungai Lalang and up to Puncak 1 (camp). Day 3: To summit and lake/lakes (camp). Day 4: Back down to Sungai Lalang and return to Bangko. Day 5: Return to Jakarta (from Muara Bungo or perhaps Lubuk Linggau or Jambi). Technically, you could make it down off the mountain and back to Bangko on Day 3 if really needed such as if you only want to visit the summit and not bother with Danau Kumbang. This would mean only one night camping, but it would be quite a rushed trip given the distances covered.
Bagging information by Dan Quinn (August 2017)
- Getting there: Masurai is quite a distance from airports. In the past most hikers had to fly to Jambi but Sriwijaya now flies direct from Jakarta to Muara Bungo which is less than 2 hours from Bangko. From Bangko it takes a little under 3 hours to reach the trailhead by car.
- Accommodation: In Jambi there are a few basic hotels behind Novita Mall and Pizza Hut. Jambi Raya looks the best, followed by Hotel Anggrek. In Bangko the Hotel Suslinda is adequate and has rooms with hot water. Otherwise try the Permata.
- Permits: Register with the Kepala Desa in Sungai Lalang. Rp10,000 per hiker (in 2017)
- Water sources: Available at Shelter 1 and Danau Kumbang.
- Travel insurance: We recommend World Nomads insurance, which is designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities including mountain hiking.
Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm):