On Sumatra, there really isn’t a defined, predictable wet and dry season. This is a tropical rain forest after all, so always expect and be prepared for rain. Thankfully, things usually clear up quickly, and very rarely are there days where the rains never cease.
The fastest way to reach Kerinci if you’re coming by air is from the town of Padang, which has direct flights from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, and Medan. It is typically an 8 hour trip from the airport to Sungaipenuh, but it can vary by an hour or two depending on the road conditions and driver. You can also reach Kerinci in the same amount of time directly from the city of Bukittinggi, if you happen to be travelling through there. You don’t have to pass through Padang first, and you shouldn’t, as that would add a few hours to your trip.
If you’re exploring the northern part of Kerinci, the best place to base yourself is in the town of Kersik Tuo. It’s at the foot of Mt. Kerinci and is nestled amongst the tea fields.
For the central and southern regions of Kerinci, you’ll want to base yourself in Sungaipenuh where all of the formal lodging is, or arrange for a very basic homestay in Lempur, an hour south of Sungaipenuh.
Bengkulu city has an airport (airport code BKS) with multiple daily flights from Jakarta, 1 flight per day from Batam, and occasional flights from Lampung and Padang on small prop planes. Let us know if you need help booking airfare and we can help. Many of our adventures take place in the town of Curup, about 2 hours from Bengkulu city, with plenty of transportation between these two cities. There are also plenty of buses coming from every major city on Sumatra. After your adventure in Kerinci, we can help you get down to Bengkulu or vice versa to continue your journey with us!
Traveling in rural Sumatra can be a challenge, and will stretch you outside of your normal comfort zone. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re on the road.
Although local people are very understanding and forgiving of foreign visitors, here are a few things you should know so you don’t inadvertently offend them.
If you need cash there are ATM’s available in Sungai Penuh, Bengkulu, and Curup and a few scattered on the way to and from Kayu Aro. If you already have foreign currency, there are a few BNI and BRI bank branches plus a few other places in town where you can exchange for rupiah, along with one gold seller that does it. Remember, foreign currency should be in large denominations, and as new, crisp and clean as possible to get the best exchange rates. Further south, there is little to no availability. Also, for many North American card holders, BRI bank ATMs don’t work. If you have this problem, don’t panic and just try to find a BNI bank ATM instead, preferably at the Bank itself.
Bengkulu city has all the major Indonesian ATMs. Most accept foreign cards.