- Elevation: 1,742 m (5,715 ft)
- Prominence: 863 m
- Ribu category: Spesial
- Province: Jawa Barat (West Java)
- Google Earth: kml
- Other names: none.
Gunung Kerenceng is something of a hidden gem, lying so close to Bandung but little-known outside of local West Java hiking clubs. It can easily be climbed as a day hike, taking no more than 2-3 hours up and 2 hours down. The summit area is a tiny equilateral triangle with sides of just 3 metres and is where three narrow mountain ridges meet. Kerenceng is very accessible but the views from the top easily fool you into thinking you are in a much more remote area.
For those who are happy to have a quick weekend trip out of Bandung or Jakarta this is the perfect mountain. Indeed, you could even do it as a (long) day trip from Jakarta. The closest place to stay is the modern and well-signposted Pondok Wisata Aki & Enin (850m) , a popular place with Bandung’s middle classes at the weekends. Note that there aren’t many rooms so you need to book well in advance. Otherwise you’ll have to either camp or stay in a tree-house at the end of the road at the Gunung Masigit Kareumbi conservation area (1,200m) or simply stay in Bandung instead.
From the Cicalengka bypass it takes about 15 minutes to reach Aki & Enin and a further 20 minutes to reach the conservation area at the end of the road. The area is popular at weekends because of the impressive Curug Sindulang waterfall which is on the left side of the road about halfway between Aki & Enin and the conservation area buildings.
Guides are available at the conservation area and are happy to take you up to the peak of Kerenceng (the highest point in the conservation area) at whatever time suits you. The trail actually starts a little way back down the road at the last village (Tanjung Wangi?) and leads up through villagers’ vegetable fields including cabbage, bean and chilli. The little peak visible on the right is Gunung Buleud (1,423m). As with all trails of this sort there are many junctions between farm plots so a guide is almost essential.
After less than an hour from the last village you will be beyond the last of the farm fields and into the pine woodland. The ridge flattens for a while and views in all directions begin to open out. After dropping down into a little crevice and then back up again the ridge gets narrower and narrower and the pine trees become less and less in number. At this point you will see the tiny summit area ahead of you at the end of the ridge. As you get closer to the top you will need to exercise more and more care as a slip here really would have disastrous consequences. Those with a fear of heights may have difficulty on the final section climbing up to the tiny top.
Once on the little summit you will be rewarded considerably for what is a very easy hike with a brilliant panorama of genuinely wild areas of West Java. If you found the route up difficult, consider how much more difficult it would have been on either of the other two ridges that meet at the Kerenceng summit. To the left (west) is a knife edge ridge leading to a nameless peak with a height of 1,709m and on the right (northeast) is a jagged ridge leading to a nameless peak with a height of 1,610m and Gunung Pangukusan further round. The latter of these is an alternative route for those approaching the mountain from the Sumedang side. Straight in front of you is a massive, near-vertical drop down into a remote forest area which appears to be full of bird life. If you’re lucky you will be surrounded by swallows as they swoop around the airy summit. Gunung Kareumbi (1,685m) lies around 2 kilometres to the west.
After admiring the excellent view, head back the same way to the village and the main road up the mountainside. It shouldn’t take more than 90 minutes to descend to the road where there are plenty of villagers happy to give you a ride back down to the bypass at Cicalengka for just Rp20,000 or Rp30,000 where you flag down a Primajasa bus and be back in Jakarta in no time. However, you might want to call off at the Sindulang waterfall before heading home.
Bagging information by Daniel Quinn (October 2012)
- Getting there: Very easy from both Jakarta and Bandung. The best public transport option is to take a Primajasa bus bound for Tasikmalaya or Garut and simply get off at Cicalengka. From Cicalengka, take an ojek up the road to Curug Sindulang (the waterfall).
- Accommodation: The closest place to the mountain is Pondok Wisata Aki & Enin – a lovely, well-signposted place halfway up the road from Cicalengka to Kareumbi conservation area. It isn’t cheap, and advance booking is recommended, but it’s situated in the middle of rice fields and is a genuinely relaxing place (especially if you like Sundanese karaoke).
- Guides and GPS Tracks: Want a PDF version for your phone? Looking for a guide? Need GPS tracks and waypoints? Gunung Kerenceng information pack can be downloaded here.
- Permits: No pieces of paper needed, but it’s best to at least speak with the manager at Kareumbi conservation area first.
- Water sources: None on the hike itself but you shouldn’t need more than 2 litres given how short it is.
- 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.
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