In Sumatra, you can’t get much further off the beaten track than Kerinci. How you get from point A to point B will vary greatly based upon your choice of adventure. When we create your personal itinerary, we’ll be happy to assist you in setting up your transportation as well. Below you’ll find some of the common modes of transport found throughout the valley and beyond. It’s never been easier to travel to Kerinci.
Kerinci’s Depati Parbo Airport (KRC) now has daily flights to/from Jambi City (DJB) with Wings Air. Easily booked online through the Traveloka or Tiket websites/apps, the AR 72-500 seventy-seat turboprop plane takes roughly 45 minutes to cross the distance between the two airports. You can read more about the flight here.
Susi Air also runs thrice-weekly flights between Jambi and Kerinci, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. However these are a little less reliable than the Wings Air flights, and are not possible to book online, making it a tricky option for travel to Kerinci. The plane is a 14-seater Cessna 208B Grand Caravan.
With either airline, it’s highly recommended to make sure you have good travel insurance, and to not have any critical connecting flights on the return. It’s not uncommon for long delays or even cancellations to occur due to cloudy weather in the valley.
Minangkabau International Airport in Padang, West Sumatra is the closest international port-of-entry, as it has twice daily flights with AirAsia to/from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as well as new direct flights connecting it with Singapore. It also can easily be reached from hubs like Medan, Batam, or Jakarta. From the Padang airport, it’s roughly a nine hour drive to Kerinci.
Jambi City’s Sultan Thaha Airport also has direct flights to/from Jakarta, Batam, Medan, and a few other cities in Sumatra. From Jambi, you can fly to Kerinci directly with Wings Air. If choosing to drive, the journey takes around nine-and-a-half-hours. However, the road is much straighter and better maintained than the road from Padang, which results in a more comfortable ride, especially if you’re prone to car-sickness.
A final option is to come from Fatmawati Soekarno Airport in Bengkulu. The drive from Bengkulu to Sungaipenuh is roughly twelve hours.
If coming overland from Padang or Jambi to Kerinci, you can choose to use either a public seven-seat shared taxi (MPV-type vehicle, often a Toyota Avanza) known as a travel, or you can rent out the same vehicle all for yourself.
With both options, the driver will pick you up wherever you like, including the airport. The main downside to the shared vehicles is that they have set departure times of around 9am and 7pm every day, but actual departure times can be up to two hours later, as they need to drive around town picking people up. This can make the already long drive of eight or nine hours that much longer. For a shared travel, the cost per seat is between 100,000-130,000 IDR, depending on your pickup point and the travel company.
To rent a whole car to yourself, the price is roughly 1,000,000 IDR, with the huge upsides being space to breathe, a faster road trip, and departure times that are flexible and fit your schedule.
Once you’re in Kerinci, if you want to rent a car and driver for getting around the valley, expect to pay around 500,000 IDR per day, excluding petrol.
Minibuses, also known as engkel, are another popular way locals travel to Kerinci. Generally having around twelve seats, they are larger and provide a bit more leg room than regular cars. However, due to their bigger size, one downside is that the rocking feeling brought on by the winding roads and large potholes frequently encountered on the road to Kerinci can be even more exaggerated. So if you’re prone to motion sickness, make sure to stock up on Dramamine (widely available locally as AntiMo). Also, expect travel times to increase by an hour or two versus a car, since they travel a bit slower, and drive around for longer picking up more people.
In Padang, Jambi, and Bukittinggi, you’ll find popular companies such as Safa Marwa and Ayu Transport that provide transport to Kerinci. Your accommodation can often arrange pickup, or you can go straight to one of the transport company’s offices (loket) via taxi or angkot. Set departure times are around 9am and 7pm every day, although, as mentioned, since they drive around town picking people up, you might not actually leave the city for an hour or two later.
Minibuses are forbidden from picking up people from the airport, so either take a taxi or DAMRI bus into town. With a minibus, expect the drive from Padang to take at least ten hours and cost around 100,000 IDR, and from Jambi also around ten hours and 125,000 IDR. From Bengkulu, it will be around 150,000 and take around thirteen hours.
An Angkot (known as a bemo or oplet in some other parts of Indonesia) is a public mini-van that helps shuttle people within the Kerinci valley at a low cost. Angkots travel frequently from the main town of Sungaipenuh to Kayu Aro (the starting point of treks to Mt. Kerinci and Mt. Tujuh), and typically cost around 10,000 IDR per person for the hour ride. The costs will increase if you have a lot of baggage taking up space.
Be prepared to be crammed in tight, and avoid the back seats where the head room is especially low. You can find angkots in the bus terminal in the main market area of Sungai Penuh, but often you’ll have to wait for other passengers to partially fill it up before they will depart. Generally, you can also hail them from the side of the roads leading out of town, although outside of the northwest route from Sungai Penuh to Kersik Tua/Pelompek where they run throughout the day until the evening, they can be hard to find. Be sure to confirm with the driver that he’s going to your destination!
Ojek motorcycle taxis are the main form of public transportation within villages, particularly Sungai Penuh. It’s usually easy to spot them, with their solid color or striped helmets indicating which company they are organized with. Hail them from the side of the road, or look for a group of them killing time at an ojek stand.
Within Sungai Penuh, the cost is generally 4,000 IDR for a ride, with costs increasing the further you go out. With some haggling, it’s possible to take them as far as Lempur or Kersik Tuo an hour or more away, but costs can skyrocket up to 70,000 IDR or more. Generally better to try to take an angkot in that case.
Traditional horse drawn carriages are alive and well in Kerinci –and not as a tourist trap!
Since most people don’t own cars and there are no taxis, a bendi is the easiest way for locals to get heavy or numerous objects home from the market. They’re also a fun way to get from point A to B within town. Keep in mind, the bendi was not designed for tall Westerners, so if you are head and shoulders above the average Indonesian, be prepared to hunch!
The typical cost is 10,000 IDR, but will increase with more people and the further you travel. You’ll find a line of waiting bendi in the market, behind Kincai Plaza.