Bukittinggi is a city in West Sumatera, Indonesia, located about 80 km away from Padang (the main city in West Sumatera). At 930 m above sea level, the city has a cool climate with temperatures between 16° to 25°C. Perfect for me! :-)
I had a low expectation but this trip to Bukittinggi turned out to be surprisingly good. The trip highlight for me was the 4 hours jungle trekking - and the leeches.
It's very unusual for me not planning anything but that's what I did for this trip. I had no itinerary and just followed where my travelling partner (who is now my husband :-)) took me.
We supposed to fly from Singapore to Padang, then took a taxi from Minangkabau International Airport in Padang, West Sumatera, to Bukittinggi. But my travelling partner missed to show up at Changi Airport on time (!!!) so we missed our flight. We took an alternative route - took a ferry to Batam, boarded a domestic plane from Batam to Padang, then travelled by taxi to Bukittinggi. It was about 2 hours car ride.
We stayed in Novotel Bukittinggi, with a room looking at Mount Marapi, the most active volcano in Sumatra (don't get mistaken with Mount Merapi in Yogyakarta - they both have very similar name). We walked around and visited the major landmark in the city, the Clock Tower, built in 1926, during the Dutch colonial time, as a gift from Queen Wilhelmina. We went to Sianok Canyon (the locals call it Ngarai Sianok) to enjoy the breathtaking view.
The day after, we made a trip to Batusangkar, about 30 km east of Bukittinggi. Batusangkar is known as the city of culture. We visited a home industry named Kiniko, which produces coffee, grilled banana, coffee leaves tea, etc. As we both are not coffee drinkers, we didn't try the coffee, instead we drank the coffee leaves tea.
We continued our journey to visit Silindung Bulan Palace, located just a short distance from the main (and very well known) palace, Pagaruyung Palace (the royal palace of the former Pagaruyung Kingdom, which we didn't visit because it was under renovation). I really like the floral carving on the wall of the Silindung Bulan Palace. Very pretty!
Rumah Gadang is a traditional house of Minangkabau (an ethnic group of West Sumatera, the largest matrilineal society in the world, with property, family name and land passing down from mother to daughter). It is typically have a unique curvy and pointy roofs.
About 15 km further to the south at Balimbing Village, there is a historical house named Rumah Gadang Kampai Nan Panjang. It is said to be built more than 300 years ago and most of it is still in its original condition.
Our next stop was Rumah Tenun Pusako Pandai Sikek (Traditional Weaving House Pandai Sikek), about 45 km north-west of Balimbing Village. Here we observed the making of Songket (the traditional hand-woven fabric in silk or cotton and patterned with gold or silver threads) and the wood carving. From here, we drove back to our hotel (we hired a driver and a car, we did not drive ourselves).
We have planned to go for a jungle trekking (and have made booking on the first day when we just arrived). We went to the tour agency place (which unfortunately we can't remember the name anymore) who took us to Puncak Lawang. Here, we could see the beautiful view of Lake Maninjau. The jungle trekking began here (Puncak Lawang) and took about 4 hours heading toward Lake Maninjau. I was not prepared and wore wrong type of shoes and leeches (yes - LEECHES!) kept on sticking on my socks and shoes. I was so scared they sticked on my skin. Our tour guide was kind enough to keep on checking on me and removed all the leeches regularly. It was a good trekking. The view from the top was amazing and the rice field view at the end was just nice.
We then had a well-deserved lunch at a restaurant by the Lake Maninjau. We had one of the most delicious fish we've ever tasted in Indonesia. Or maybe it tasted so good because we were so hungry after 4-hours trekking :-)
Padang (West Sumatera) cuisine is one of my favourite, I had to mention that on the first day from Padang Airport to Novotel Bukittinggi, we stopped for lunch at a restaurant in Padang Panjang. Delicious food! We had many different dishes served on the table and one of the specialty I don't normally find somewhere else is Duck Rendang (instead of Beef Rendang).
We took a public transport (bus) from Lake Maninjau back to our hotel - and that was one of the most scariest ride I've ever taken. The bus driver was (I thought) an ex-Formula One driver and despite driving on the winding small road with valley just next to the road, he maintained a very high speed. I never prayed so hard! Glad we're safe.
Overall, it was a good trip. The highlight for me was the 4 hours jungle trekking :-)
With the kind of cool weather, I certainly put Bukittinggi in consideration to visit again in the future.