SUNGAI PENUH

 

Sungai Penuh, also known as Sungaipenuh or Sei Penuh, is a pleasant little town. It's safe, and the people are friendly. From the ubiquitous "Hello Mister, how you" one can safely conclude that the overwhelming majority of the population has only rather limited knowledge of English. It is recommended that you learn a few useful phrases of Indonesian prior to visiting Kerinci.

Public Transport

BendoPublic transport within town is dominated by ojek - public motorbikes that will take you to any place in town for Rp. 2000 (prices will go up soon so check first!). This is a very convenient way of getting around although most ojek drivers don't speak English nor do they know street names. Another popular means of public transport is by bendi (horse carts) for Rp. 2000 and 5000 depending on the distance and the number of passengers.

Hotels

The hotels of Sungai Penuh are listed in the Accommodation section.

Shops and Restaurants

Sungaipenuh has a good choice of restaurants serving mainly West Sumatran Padang Food. One of the best places to eat is the friendly Sari Manggis restaurant that also serves a good choice of fruit drinks. The other upmarket but quite afordable restaurant is Lamanda. Other good places are Minang Soto, and Sate Amir (serving mainly satay dishes). Local specialties include Ikan Semah, a fish of Lake Kerinci, and Dendeng Batokok, thin beef steaks that are first cooked, and then charcoal-grilled. All restaurants are equally inexpensive.
Ikan Semah Jl. Re. Martadinata 72, Ph. 22126
Dendeng Batokok, Desa Pelayang Raya, Koto Pandan,
Minang Soto, Jl. Muradi 3
Sari Manggis, Jl. Re. Martadinata, Ph. 23150
Rajo Ameh, Jl. Yos Sudarso 1, Ph 323963
There's also a good no-name Chinese noodle restaurant at the left hand side of Jl. A. Thalib.

Sungai Penuh has an interesting market and a two-storey block of small shops called rather pretentiously "Kinchai Plaza". Next to this "plaza" there is a little square offering inexpensive food (satay, soto, martabak, mi ayam etc.) at night time.

Money

As far as I know, there is not a single shop or hotel in town where you can pay by credit card, but you can get a cash advance by using your cirrus-linked ATM or credit card at the ATM of both BNI and BRI. The BNI branch is just opposite of Hotel Matahari. BNI may also change traveler cheques.

Things to see

The main attraction in Sungai Penuh is probably the beautiful mosque Mesjid Agung in Pondok Tinggi, which was erected in 1874.In Pondok Tinng, a suburb od Sunai Penuh, there are a few traditional houses that are worth seeing. The market is also quite interesting, and people will readily pose for a photo. Otherwise there's little to see or to do. After all, Sungaipenuh is not more than a pleasant base to explore beautiful Kerinci.

Communication

Sungai Penuh's telephone lines are notoriously unreliable, but you can make overseas calls at every wartel (telecommunication kiosk). There are at least half a dozen wartel plus the larger Telkom office at the central square Lapangan Merdeka. Here you can also send and receive faxes (Fax 0748-21966). In 2000 there was only one Internet connection available for Rp. 4,000 per minute as they had to connect to the server in Jambi, 400 kms away. Eight years later there are several Internet cafes for as little as Rp. 4,000 per hour, and they are also much faster.