Posted: 28 Sep 2013 12:32 PM PDT
Who ever thought that I'm going to Sumatera Barat (West Sumatra)? I guess no one. Haha. But actually I did go there last year around April 2012.
I didn't remember what triggered me to choose Sumatera Barat as the destination, but I guess it's a mixture of a travel bug that just bit me that time + an 'itchy' feet + an input from my friend, Adhie Pamungkas who has blogged about his trip to Sumatera Barat.
At that time, usually I would travel mostly with my travel mate, Sinthya, but when I asked her to join my trip, she said that she's been to Sumatera Barat before, and didn't consider it at that moment. But I don't know why, but I had to go somewhere, even without Sinthya … So then I decided to go to Sumatera Barat by myself.
By myself? Well, not entirely true, as I went to look Couchsurfing website and started browsing and hoping that there's someone that could be my host during that time. I looked at a few profiles, but again, I didn't know why, there's a profile that kept popping in my mind. It's Andy Sose. I started communicating with him and he agreed that I could stay at his house, also he would accompany me if he's available. Phiew!
Everything has set, myself and Andy have discussed the possible destinations to visit, and how to go there, but I haven't decided yet, whether to rent a car or else?. For the place to stay, Andy offered me to stay at his place in Bukittinggi. That means, Bukittinggi will be my based for about 4 days.
According to the flight schedule, actually I should be in Padang around 1:30PM, but apparently there's a delay for about 3 hours. That means, I arrived in Padang around 4:20PM, and I still needed to go to Bukittinggi which took around 2 hours! Haha … (I just found the e-ticket, and the original schedule was actually at 3:50PM, but then they moved the schedule ahead to 12:00PM … what a LOL!).
I already booked a seat by phone to Bukittinggi in a travel agent from the info that I got from Andy. Booking by phone is necessary to get cheaper price rather than just go show on the airport and find the transport to Bukittinggi.
Andy already waited for me at a Aceh coffee shop, called Baroena, in Bukittinggi, and it's almost 8 o'clock when I finally reached there. Aaahhh … Finallyyyy … I arrived in Bukittinggi!! This Baroena coffee shop is Andy's favourite place! It not only sells coffee, but also the famous Acehnese foods, including nasi goreng and mie Aceh (Acehnese fried rice and noddles) . Funny was my first food in Bukittinggi was nasi goreng Aceh haha. It was sooo nice after a two hours ride, and I always the cracker (emping), but anyway I always love nasi goreng, and nasi goreng Aceh is even better
From there, Andy said that we had still time to visit Jam Gadang, a big clock which is the landmark of Bukittinggi.
This big clock was built in 1926 in Dutch colonial as a gift from the queen to the controller of the city.
Interesting fact of the clock:
During the evening, there were many street vendors around Jam Gadang area. They sold many things, from toys to souvenirs. And of course, there were also many people who didn't want to miss a chance to take photos with Jam Gadang as the background … Like I did
That night was a very short introduction to Bukittinggi, and I just couldn't wait for tomorrow
Travel from Padang to Bukittinggi:
Posted: 12 Sep 2013 05:54 AM PDT
Bukittinggi is a hill station town about 90km from Padang (two and a half hours drive). It lies just south of the equator at an altitude of less than 4,000 feet making the day time temperature comfortable and the nights cool. I hired a car and driver to take me there.
The town was established by the Dutch around a fortress, Fort de Kock, built in 1825 to withstand attacks from local rebels. A modern concrete observation tower occupies the hilltop where the fort once stood. The earthen ramparts and a few old cannons are still in evidence.
There are nice views of the surrounding area from the hill top and on a clear day two nearby volcanoes, Mt. Marapi and Mt. Singgalang can be seen (unfortunately obscured by clouds during my quick trip).
An unusually designed bridge (Jambatan Limpapen) takes pedestrians from Fort de Kock to the Bukittinggi Zoo, which I'll write about in a future post.
The town's most famous landmark is Jam Gadang, a rather attractive clock tower which was built by the Dutch in 1926 but remodelled after Independence by the addition of a Minangkabau style roof.
Just a few minutes walk from here is an impressive natural feature, the Sianok Canyon, which is part of a rift valley running the entire length of Sumatra, marking the fault line which is the cause of much of the seismic activity on the island.
The path on the right of the photo is bordered by a crenelated wall known as the Great Wall of Bukittinggi and visitors can trek down to the floor of the canyon.
During WWII Bukittinggi was the headquarters of the Japanese 25th Army. They built an extensive network of tunnels and underground stores which are now open to the public and known as Lobang Jepang.
Bukittinggi is an interesting town and it was a worthwhile trip with pleasant scenery along the way.
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