Traveling to Sumatra was something I had been really looking forward to. I think for those who never been to Sumatra, visiting Bukittinggi (in West Sumatra) should be on your list. I went with a group of five friends from Jakarta. It was just a four day visit but truly a nice journey. As I love spicy food I was so looking forward to tasting the real flavours of Padang food such as beef rendang (beef curry) and Satay Padang. I knew it would not be too different from the taste if bought in Jakarta, but I wanted to taste the real thing. We were so lucky that one of our friends in the group is from Bukittinggi. She guided us to some great places. Particularly when visiting new places I find it a true pleasure to explore the place and do unique things. Beside tasting the food, visiting a traditional market was a must for me, and my thanks to Rino who took me around the market. In fact there were so many kind of products sold there I even managed to get a photograph of a dried eel – Rino also told me how to cook them to make crunchy and spicy. Sounds delicious !
Our journey begin as soon as we arrived at Padang airport. Our tour guide drove us straight to Bukittinggi. It took three hours. We finally made it to our first stop the Lembah Anai (Anai waterfall). It was OK – nothing really special though. I don’t know why this place is so popular with tourists. We did not stay there too long.
We visited Pusat Dokumentasi and Informasi Kebudayaan Minangkabau (Centre for Documentation and Cultural information of Minangkabau). That was quite interesting too. It is a stunning building the shape of rumah gadang (sharp peaks at both ends of the roof). The inside is more like a library with open space and so many old black and white photographs displayed everywhere. After we listened to a short history of the Rumah Gadang the guide took us to a dressing room – this was the fun part. We had the opportunity to wear a beautiful Minang bridal costume, including the tall head ornaments. The guide told us the ornament we had on were only imitations and that the originals that were worn by the bride in a Minang wedding weighed an additional five kg. Wow! Anyway I can tell you we had so much fun in dressing room – six little girls playing dress up!
The Hills hotel (www.thehillsbukittinggi.com; Jl. Laras Dt Bandaro, Bukittingi, Sumatera Barat 26115, Indonesia
+62 752 35000) that we stayed at during in Bukittinggi is just walking distance to the famous Bukittinggi icon Jam Gadang and Pasar atas (a traditional market located upstair where they sell handcrafts and fabrics and a market below where they sell fresh veggies and fruits). Jam Gadang in the evening looked more charming than during the day. They have a night market every Saturday and that gave the place a more “happening” feeling with locals around as it is likely the products they sell are only for local consume not for tourist.
The last day of our trip we went to Lembah Harau (Harau Valley) and Danau Maninjau (Lake Maninjau) before heading back to Padang. However, for me the highlight of this trip was when we visited Istana Baso Pagaruyung (Pagaruyung Palace) that was beyond my expectation. It’s real beautiful. Pagaruyung Palace is the istana of the former Pagaruyung Kingdom, located in Tanjung Emas subdistrict near Batusangkar town, Tanah Datar Regency, West Sumatra, Indonesia. The exterior and interior palace are stunning and well kept. Never seen anything like it before. The inside palace is exeptionally well maintained. I loved those colours and the sparkly fabric in every piece of drapery. This palace used to lived in by a king and queen with their big family (the history of this palace please check Istana Baso Pagaruyung).
Lembah Anai (Anai Waterfall)
Pusat Dokumentasi dan Informasi Kebudayaan Minangkabau (Centre for Documentation and Cultural information of Minangkabau) in Padang Panjang.