Settled in the highlands north of Padang in the Agam valley, the town of Bukittinggi or ‘high hill’ becomes West Sumatra’s cultural forfront. While Padang is the capital city and may be the modern commercial and administrative center, Bukittinggi is a bustling market town.
Bukittinggi has a refreshingly cool climate due to its elevation, which is over 900 meters above sea level. While it rains here often, this is not enough to deter travelers who come to enjoy what many claim is the most hospitable city in Sumatra.
Bukittinggi is the second biggest city in West Sumatra, and it famous by the born place of some important figure like Moch. Hatta and Assaat. During the colonial time, this city was popular by Fort de Kock and it was concidered as Parijs van Sumatera besides of Medan. The city has been the capital of Indonesia during the Emergency Government of the Republic of Indonesia (PDRI). Before it became the capital of PDRI, the city has become the centre of government, both at the time of the Dutch East Indies and during the Japanese colonial period.
Bukittinggi is one of tourist cities in West Sumatra, and becomes the sister city to Seremban in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. Jam Gadang or the clock tower is the famous icon in Bukittinggi and also becomes the city symbol.
After Jam Gadang, there are numbers of tourism sites that worth to be visited during in Bukittinggi
Visiting Bukittinggi City in West Sumatra Province, Indonesia
What do tourists know about Bukittinggi City? Well, most of them recognize it as the capital of West Sumatra Province belongs to Indonesia. Some of them are even aware of its tourism potential, so they keep coming to the region over time, especially during long holidays. Not only it becomes the governmental center of West Sumatra, the city was once the capital of West Sumatra and Sumatra Province! Moreover, in the past, it was called Fort de Kock and known as the birthplace of a famous person named Mohammad Hatta (the first vice president of Indonesia).
In terms of nuance, Bukittinggi City is not quite different than others. One thing, it resides in the formation of Barisan Hill and surrounded by two volcanoes called Marapi and Singgalang. The city resides on about 900 meters above the sea level, actually. This explains why it features refreshing atmosphere and cool ambiance. When it comes to size, it is about 25.24 km per square and most parts of the city have been used as cultural lands and the rest of them (protected forests) remain untouched. It even has an iconic landmark called Jam Gadang (Gadang Grand Clock), which also becomes one of the best tourist attractions of the city.
Exploring Bukittinggi City
The region is located in a highland and it is surrounded by hills and volcanoes too. Due to such fact, tourists can take advantage of the landscape and conduct trekking! Well, it doesn’t have to be natural tourism though. It is because visitors can also explore several local markets like AurKuning, PasarBawah, and PasarAteh. Various types of products are sold there, so make sure to carry enough cash to buy souvenirs and delicious foods.
When it comes to the most famous tourist site, Bukitttinggi has Gadang Grand Clock which also becomes the icon or landmark of the city. Thus, tourists should never miss the chance to visit it and take some pictures of such grandiose clock. What is more? The city even has an interesting history for tourists to learn. During the reign of the Dutch and Japanese, the city acted as an important base back then. Not to mention a big war occurred here called Padri War!
Due to the increase in the number of tourists who come to Indonesia, exactly Bukittinggi City, the local government decides to improve its facilities and services. Thus, now, people can find numerous hotels and tourist facilities that scatter in different parts of the city. This fame also helps the locals to get more money from the tourism industry, in fact.
How to Get There
Those who come from Padang City should spend a trip for about 2 hours and 30 minutes to get to Bukittinggi City in Indonesia. It is because the distance is 95.7 km. The good thing is that the city is quite accessible regardless of where tourists come from. As for the faster route, it is Lintas Barat Sumatera Street.
Of all benefits that tourists can get from a vacation, knowledge or information regarding the history is indeed quite helpful for them. That means historical tours become more popular these days, especially among historians. In this case, there is a nice place to explore called the Japanese Tunnel or Lobang Jepang in West Sumatra Province. To be exact, the location is in Bukit Cangang Kayu Ramang Village and it belongs to Guguk Panjang Sub-District, Bukittinggi City. According to the locals, it is the reminiscence of the Japanese Army during their invasion back then.
After paying a small amount of entrance fee, tourists are allowed to explore the tunnel to their heart’s content. One thing, the nuance is dark and damp so it is better to carry a flashlight when entering the tunnel. Also, it is recommended to come with a guide due to the difficult route. The fact is that the tunnel has the length of about 1470 meters and it features numerous hallways, which is similar to a labyrinth. No wonder, everyone can easily get lost if they carelessly explore the tunnel (especially without the help of a guide).
Exploring Japanese Tunnel
It is, without a doubt, the tunnel looks spooky and dark. Knowing this fact, everyone should reconsider if they want to come there alone. Instead, tourists need to visit and explore it with a tour guide. Even though they come with friends or families, they should not overlook the help of the guide! This person may tell them both history and urban legend related to Lobang Jepang, after all. It is said the site has become the home of ghosts of those who died in Romusha or forced labor during the reign of Japan back then.
The adventure starts from the entrance of the Japanese Tunnel. From there, tourists may go down and pass through 130 stairs in order to get to the cave located underground (with the distance of about 40 meters). According to the guide, the entrance was once used as a surveillance hole by the Japanese Army. The unique fact is that the atmosphere feels cool instead of damp below. When it comes to the condition, the walls are uneven and look wavy. It is said the Japanese purposely built it that way in order to muffle earthquakes!
In the past, the tunnel has lots of bats and swallows living in it. These days, fortunately, tourists won’t find such animals so it looks cleaner and more comfortable. Here is the rumor regarding the tunnel. It is said there is a long hole functioned as the trap! The Japanese built it in order to repel any invaders during the war. Thus, coming with a tour guide is the best bet in order to explore the tunnel safely and comfortably, no?
In order to appreciate and commemorate a local hero, people in Indonesia tend to build a monument for him or her. Here is an example. There is Tuanku Imam Bonjol Monument in West Sumatra Province. The location is in Puhun Tembok Village and it belongs to Mandiangin Koto Selayan Sub-District. It is, without a doubt, this unique monument was built in order to note the struggle of Imam Bonjol (the leader of Padri Clan). These people are into Islam’s philosophy, so they try to get rid of any barbaric and disgraceful acts done by the locals back then. Today, tourists come to the monument either to learn the history of this person or take pictures of such majestic landmark.
The fact is that Tuanku Imam Bonjol Monument resides on the roadside so everyone can easily notice it. In terms of size, the monument is both tall and height. No one is allowed to climb on it, though. The base has the shape of a hill with a dark color and a statue of a man riding a horse resides on top of it. This man is none other than Imam Bonjol and he wears the turban (which represents Islamic culture). The color of the statue is completely white, actually. Also, the horse statue makes a pose of standing on two feet while Imam Bonjol carries a traditional weapon called Keris. This pose looks as if he is going to attack enemies with his clan behind.
Exploring Tuanku Imam Bonjol Monument
Well, people have different purposes in visiting Tuanku Imam Bonjol Monument. The most common one is to watch such stunning landmark directly. Not only they come for sightseeing, they also visit the monument in order to take some pictures of the structure using a camera. Some of them even conduct selfies and post the photos on their social media accounts. Somehow, this helps to increase the popularity of the monument among travelers!
What is next? Most of the time, people visit Tuanku Imam Bonjol Monument to hear the story of the local hero. The information can be acquired either from the locals or guides, actually. So, what is it about? When it is about Imam Bonjol, tourists would recognize the significant Padri War happened between 1831 and 1837. At the time, bad locals got reinforcements from the Dutch in order to fight Padri Clan. Despite the winning streaks, Imam Bonjol was captured by the Dutch due to tricky strategies and he was expelled to Minahasa and died there.
Regardless of the purposes of visiting Tuanku Imam Bonjol Monument, everyone should learn several tips before heading to the location. For instance, they should approach the site carefully due to the fact that the monument resides on the roadside. The traffic can be quite high at noon, as well. Another important tip is that they must not litter! It’s common rule, after all.
When people hear about Grand Canyon, they may think about a popular tourist spot located in Arizona, United States. Well, Bukittinggi City also has a similar natural attraction called Sianok Canyon though. It resides in Pulai Anak Air Village and belongs to Mandiangin Koto Selayan Sub-District. This steep valley is popular among both locals and outsiders due to its majestic scenery and amazing landscape, actually. People come to the site in order to enjoy sightseeing, photography, and exploration. Somehow, it is suitable for relaxation as well.
Sianok Canyon has a valley with the depth of approximately 100 meters. In terms of length, it is around 15 km! Also, it has the width of 200 meters. The fact is that it is the part of Semangko Fragment (which separates Sumatra Island). In terms of nuance, the canyon features unspoiled green valley formed due to the synclinal movement of the earth. Below, tourists can also find Batang Sianok (Sianok River) with crystal clear freshwater. During the colonial era, actually, this place was called Karbouwengat due to the fact that there were many wild buffalos living on the site back then.
Exploring Sianok Canyon
Sianok Canyon is considered a hidden paradise of Sumatra Island. No wonder, it has a flawless beauty and has been visited by lots of nature lovers over time. These people won’t forget to carry a camera when visiting the site, as they want to collect beautiful pictures there. Somehow, the canyon becomes a good background for selfies as well. The panorama is amazing and the weather is refreshing. What can beat this combination? Not only visitors can enjoy photography, the can also take advantage of the nuance for eradicating stresses.
Relaxation becomes tourists’ priority when visiting Sianok Canyon indeed. This explains why many people also call it “Lembah Pendiam” or the Quiet Valley. Aside from the serenity, it impresses visitors with the songs of the birds and the sound of gurgling water of the river. What is more? For those who love more challenging activities, they can enjoy numerous fun activities like mountain biking, canoeing, and trekking! One thing, tourists should come with a good stamina when heading to the site.
These days, people come to Sianok Canyon to enjoy canoeing the most. This activity becomes more popular over time, after all. Thanks to a local water sports organization called “Qurays”. Everyone can enjoy such fun activity comfortably and safely. As an alternative, an exploration is also recommended. Tourists can even meet various plants and animals including wild boar, deer, and many others!
Puncak Lawang is a peak plateau in Agam District, West Sumatra. From this place, we can see the blue Maninjau Lake. Puncak Lawang is located in Matur sub-district, Agam regency, West Sumatra. This peak is in the same area to Lake Maninjau. From this point, we can see the whole view of Lake Maninjau.
Puncak Lawang is settled at 1,210 meters above sea level. In colonial times, it was used as a resting place of the Dutch nobility. Puncak Lawang is often used for championships of paragliding international class because it is one of the best spots in Southeast Asia. To reach the Peak, we will pass the 44 turnings trip named Kelok 44.
To go to Puncak Lawang, you can use the overland trip. There are two alternative routes that you can use to get to the location, either western or the eastern route.
If you are going from the west, you will start the journey from the city of Padang Panjang and will pass Pariaman towards Lubuk Basung first. Then, we will passing through the Maninjau Lake and Kelok 44, with approximately 2.5 hours drive. Meanwhile, if you prefer to use the trip from the east, you will follow the route of Padang heading to the town of Bukittinggi first, once you arrive in Bukittinggi, you can use public transportation, private car or a rental car, and It takes about 3 hours drive
While China has Great Wall, Indonesia has Janjang Koto Gadang. Settled in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, Janjang Koto Gadang is one of the brand new destination that brings you similarly to China Grea Wall.
Janjang Koto Gadang connects Bukittinggi and Agam district. This Great Wall a la West Sumatra has a length of approximately 1 km. Because it connects two places, there are two entrances for the traveler who wants to reach this giant wall.
From Bukittinggi, tourists can go through the door which is not far from the Japanese hole, and going through a declining path. While having journey on this path, get ready to be stunned by the views that presented. The valor of Sianok Canyon, the green line fields and majestic cliffs will droping your jaw.
This site is officially opened since February 2013 and becomes one of the most visited destination in Bukittinggi. In addition, there is also a suspension bridge and stairs high. In some point there are outposts prepared to rest while enjoying the view of the river, fields and cliffs. Make sure you have good stamina while visiting this place, for the path is quite tiring to be trekked. Better preparefor drinking water, regarding the distance that make you feel exhausted.
During a visit to Bukittinggi City, it would be a waste if tourists do not drop by in a famous place like Bung Hatta Monument. The location is in Bukit Cangang Kayu Ramang Village and it belongs to Guguk Panjang Sub-District in Indonesia. To be exact, tourists can find it next to Bung Hatta Palace and it resides in a lowland hill. What makes it interesting, though? Well, visitors can simply take pictures of the monument and hang out at the available facility. Somehow, the site is suitable for relaxation too.
Once arriving at the site, tourists can see a beautiful park and soothing landscape. As mentioned before, the monument resides on the hillside and it is surrounded by big trees. Not to mention it features a grassland and stairs as well. In terms of size, the monument is located in a wide park and it has an easy access! What is the monument exactly? It is the statue of Bung Hatta, made of bronze and has the welcoming pose. As if, the statue greets everyone who passes by on the site. Below it, tourists can find a metal plate that describes the site. It was installed on a beautiful ceramics base, actually.
Exploring Bung Hatta Monument
The only disappointment is that tourists can’t find any inscription that describes the history of the site and information regarding Bung Hatta. Have no worries. Visitors can hire a local guide instead. In order to get near the statue, though, they must pass through stairs first even though it doesn’t take much time. There is also a park with grassland, but it is not accessible for the guests. It is because the management wants to prevent the grasses from being trampled or damaged by visitors.
If they come to the site with a local guide, this person may tell them about Bung Hatta and the history of the construction of the statue. It is said the monument was built to commemorate a century of birth of such famous person. The construction started on 12 August 2002, actually. For further information regarding the monument, tourists should find a reliable guide, therefore. The service indeed costs some money, but it is worth the expense.
Another popular activity to do in Bung Hatta Monument is photography. The presence of the statue and the park may inspire tourists to take pictures during the exploration, after all. As an alternative, they can simply hang out on the site with families in the afternoon (while enjoying the nuance).