Village Life Up Close – Cultural and Agrotourism2018-11-09T15:46:10+00:00

Project Description

Rice Farmer in the Kerinci Valley, Jambi, Sumatra, Indonesia
Looking to really delve deep into the local culture? This itinerary takes you through the Kerinci valley from north to south, and everywhere in between, to discover what daily life is really like in the charming villages of rural Sumatra. From rice fields to cinnamon forests, fishing boats to wild honey hunting, you’ll get a taste of the real Indonesia as you get up close and personal with the farmers, fishermen, and families of the region. A great itinerary especially for those with an interest in photography, agrotourism, and cultural immersion.
Each of the regions below represent a full day of activities, and can be combined with other regions. Decide how many days you have, and choose which parts of Kerinci you want to explore. Let us know which of the listed activities sound most interesting to you—realistically there is not enough time to accomplish everything in a day—and we’ll help craft an experience like no other. 

Some activities to do in and around Kayu Aro, a highland plateau in the northern part of Kerinci: 

  • Visit some of the overlook parks at Puncak Rindu, which provide great views and photo opportunities of Mt. Kerinci and the surrounding tea fields, and have fun bamboo structures for climbing on and snapping selfies, if that’s your thing 😉 .
  • Eat lunch in Aroma Pecco, a small pond and oasis in the middle of the largest tea plantation in the world.
  • Walk through the endless green tea fields and visit the old tea factory in the former Dutch colonial village of Bedeng Delapan (being allowed to actually go inside the tea factory itself depends on the whims of the managers there, unfortunately, so we can’t guarantee a peek inside).
  • Visit the sugar processing ‘factory’ – essentially a shed where they press and boil raw sugar cane juice in the traditional method.
  • Check out the other highland farms in the area that produce cabbage, potatoes, chilies, rice, etc.
  • Explore the coffee farms that are switching over to organic Arabica coffee with the help of a local NGO, and visit their coffee processing facility to learn about the process.
  • For an additional cost of 600,000 IDR, take a morning boat trip into the Rawa Bento wetlands, a great place for birdwatching and potentially other wildlife.
Farmers harvesting tea in Kerinci, Jambi, Sumatra, Indonesia
Green Arabica Coffee in a farmer's hand, Kerinci, Jambi, Sumatra, Indonesia

Some activities to do in and around the town of Sungai Penuh, centrally located in the Kerinci valley:

  • Walk through the old neighborhood of Pondok Tinggi filled with traditional Kerinci longhouses. Head to the nearby Mesjid Agung. Built in the traditional style in 1874. It’s the oldest mosque in the region, and still actively used.
  • Visit the lively Pasar, or wet/dry market, in the center of town. Get some Sarabi and other goodies for breakfast.
  • From the Pasar, grab a Bendi (horse drawn carriage) or drive to some of the nearby batik workshops where you can watch the creation process (and maybe even participate!).
  • Visit a local school or English course to help students practice their language skills.
  • Visit a coffee-processing center and nearby small-holder coffee farms in the Renah Kayu Embun plataeu and surrounding hills.
  • Drive up to Bukit Khayangan or hike up the hill behind Sungai Penuh to get a beautiful view of the Kerinci valley from Mt. Kerinci in the north, to Lake Kerinci in the south.
  • Optionally, drive to a village on the edge of Lake Kerinci to catch the colony of Flying Foxes taking flight at sunset.
  • In the evening, visit Pasar Malam, the carnival-like night market, to eat Martabak, Sate, and other tasty street foods.
  • For an additional cost of 1,000,000 IDR if not camping, drive up to Bukit Tapan at night for some wildlife spotlighting.
A mosque and market in Sungaipenuh, Kerinci, Jambi, Sumatra, Indonesia
Pasar Malam Night Market in Sungaipenuh

Some activities to do in and around the village of Lempur, located in the southern end of the Kerinci valley:

  • After breakfast, head to the rice fields to watch the farmers plant and harvest the Lempur heirloom rice Beras Payo. Participate if you want to get your hands and feet dirty!
  • Trap and collect fresh water eels in the rice paddies for a later meal.
  • Head to one of the nearby lakes to enjoy the scenery. Meet up with some fisherman there for canoe or bamboo raft rides, and to watch or participate with them as they fish. 
  • Visit a local school or English course to help students practice their language skills.
  • Watch a small performance of silat martial arts, or traditional song and dance.
  • Head to the hills around Lempur to see cinnamon farmers at work, and learn about the process of harvesting and preparing cinnamon. 
  • Shop at the traditional market in the village, picking up ingredients for a cooking lesson with a local family.
  • In the evening, if conditions are ideal, follow a local honey hunter as they harvest honey from wild Indonesian honeybees.
 
Fisherman on Lake Kerinci, Jambi, Sumatra, Indonesia
rice paddies fields kerinci
Click for costs.

Difficulty: Easy.

Activities: Walking, Canoeing, Fishing, Farming

Elevation: 785m-1600m

Terrain: Villages, Lakes, Highland farms

Nearest Village: All over the Kerinci regency, Jambi province, Indonesia

  • Long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Preferably made from quick-dry material.
  • A waterproof jacket in case it rains, and to keep you warm in the chilly evenings and mornings.
  • Your own water bottle, to cut down on single-use plastics.
  • Sunscreen. Being so close to the equator, it’s easy to burn quickly-especially when the air is so deceptively cool.

Remember, you’ll be staying in the homes of rural Sumatran farmers and fisherman, so expect conditions to be very, very basic – you’ll definitely be stretched outside of your comfort zone!

This itinerary is also jam-packed – we’re happy to tailor it to your travel style, or adjust it on the fly.

Like all of our trips, you travel at your own risk. Keep in mind that you are visiting a wild and extremely remote area of rural Sumatra, far from quality medical care. It’s your responsibility to make sure you are covered with valid travel and medical insurance.

There are now daily flights to Kerinci from the city of Jambi! You can read more about them here.

To reach Kerinci, many travelers come overland via the city of Padang in West Sumatra. Expect the drive to Sungai Penuh to take around nine hours, although it can vary by an hour or two depending on the road conditions and the driver, and if you are taking public or private transport. Padang has direct flights to/from the hubs of Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Medan, and Batam. If you are in Bukittinggi, it’s possible to drive directly to Sungaipenuh, roughly a ten hour drive.

The city of Jambi is also a possible launching point. The drive from Jambi to Sungai Penuh takes roughly nine hours as well. The road from Jambi is less winding than the road from Padang, so it’s a bit more comfortable. As mentioned, Wings Air has daily flights to Kerinci. Susi Air also has thrice-weekly flights directly to the town of Sungai Penuh in central Kerinci, although the flights aren’t as reliable as the Wings Air flights, and are difficult to book.

You can read more about transport to/from Kerinci, and what travel looks like within the valley here.

When booking with us, we’ll be happy to assist you with all accommodation and transport arrangements.

We are proud that 5% of the total cost of this trip goes directly to WildCats Conservation Alliance in support of forest rangers and wild tiger conservation projects in the Kerinci Seblat National Park and other areas of Sumatra.

As always, we use only local guides and porters from nearby communities, who are paid a fair, ethical wage above the standard local price.

Come discover Kerinci for yourself! Learn about the region, visit our itineraries page, or view additional points of interest around Kerinci to create your own custom trip. Be sure to check out our travel tips when you’re ready to start planning.

INTERESTED? WE’D LOVE TO SET UP SOMETHING THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU.

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