The Bukit Tapan road is one of only three roads into the Kerinci valley, running between the towns of Sungaipenuh in Kerinci, and Tapan in West Sumatra. The winding mountain road through the forests of the Kerinci Seblat National Park takes about 2 hours to cover the 25 kilometers. Walking and driving slowly along the road between twilight and dawn provides great opportunities to spot many of Sumatra’s interesting nocturnal and crepuscular creatures, including monkeys and gibbons, civets, slow lorises, flying squirrels, and even (very rarely!) tigers. The road is famous among birdwatchers for being prime habitat for a number of endemic birds.
From Sungai Penuh, drive up to Bukit Tapan in the afternoon, around 4 o’clock. Drive and walk along the road until dinner time, possibly going as far as the bridge over the river. Make sure to stop at the serene waterfall found in a picturesque little gully, and to check out the small Japanese cave and bunker, remnants from World War II.
Head back up to the peak of the mountain around sunset to eat at one of the canteens and enjoy the beautiful view of the valley. As night falls, drive back down the mountain into the forest, scanning the dark with torches for any eye shine that might reflect back.
Optionally, spend the night camping on Bukit Tapan instead of returning to town. In the early morning, pack up camp and again drive down the mountain into the forest, looking for birds and other wildlife, many of which are often more active in the morning. Be sure to listen for the call of Siamang gibbons, which usually begin their singing around 8:00 am.
Grab a final meal at the canteen at the top of the mountain, enjoying one final view of the valley before heading back to Sungaipenuh before noon.
Price includes a local guide and driver, a rental car and petrol, torches for spotting wildlife, and all food and equipment. We ask for a 1,000,000 IDR (or equivalent in your preferred currency) deposit to Paypal at time of booking.
We are proud that 5% of the total cost of this trip goes directly to 21st Century Tiger in support of wild tiger conservation projects in the Kerinci Seblat National Park and other areas of Sumatra.
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If you are prone to motion-sickness, the drive up to the top of the mountain might cause some discomfort. Be sure to notify the driver, so they know to take it easy.
Unfortunately, since the road is extremely prone to landslides, the trip won’t be able to run if there’s a threat of rain. Animals aren’t generally out and about during the rain, so it would be a disappointing time anyway.
Due to the high elevation (between 1000m-1400m) evenings and mornings can be quite chilly, so make sure you have a jacket, and long sleeves and pants.
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.
We are proud that 5% of the total cost of this trip goes directly to 21st Century Tiger 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.