In every sense of the word, Kerinci is a cool place. The high elevation of the region combined with its vast swaths of rainforest work together to make the area one of the coolest places in Indonesia, if not Southeast Asia as a whole. Expect to see a lot of misty mountains and fog hanging in the valley, especially in the morning. The lowest point of the valley, Lake Kerinci, sits at around 785 meters above sea level, while the surrounding mountain range and plateaus rise from 1500m, all the way up to Mt. Kerinci at 3805m. In the town of Sungaipenuh, mid-day temperatures generally hover around 25°C (77°F), with the low being around 17°C (62°F), with a nice, refreshing breeze almost constantly blowing. However, being in such close proximity to the equator, direct sunlight can feel more intense than what one might experience in higher latitudes, and the humidity can make it feel somewhat hotter.
Obviously, temperatures feel much cooler up in the rainforest-shrouded mountains – you’ll see your breath every morning when camping, and you’ll definitely want a jacket! Thanks to this more temperate climate, hiking is quite comfortable and there are usually few insects buzzing in your face- quite a different experience from the often steamy, sticky, oppressive environment of most other jungle areas of Southeast Asia.
In this part of Sumatra, there really isn’t a defined, predictable wet and dry season – every year seems to bring something different. Even within Kerinci, sometimes we will experience daily rains in, say Sungai Penuh, while guests will be mostly dry in the rainforest- and vice versa! Likewise, one week can be really wet, while the following week it’s like a switch has been flipped, and it’s almost completely dry, seemingly without rhyme or reason. In short, there’s really no clear “best” time to visit this region. Whenever you do come, always expect and be prepared for rain, no matter the month of the year. This is a tropical rainforest after all – the lush landscape and biodiversity that we all love so much is a direct result of the generous amounts of rain the land receives. Thankfully, things usually clear up quickly, often within an hour or two, and extraordinarily rare are periods where rains continue for days. The vast majority of mornings are bright and sunny, with most of the hard rains coming in the late afternoon and early evenings.