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