Indonesia : Bukittinggi, Padang


So to Padang I went. Unknowing of what land or seas may greet me. I took this quest in search of something different and to challenge myself. This is the first trip that I set on my own to an unknown city without any links or ties. I traveled alone. Finding my way thru a flight cancellation one month ago, re-booking tickets that took me to transit in Jakarta before heading out to Padang, the adventure had already taken a twisted outlook.

Checking in at Mercure Padang, for 50USD a night, this was a steal. The rooms are clean an spacious.

Having arrived at 10pm (+7GMT), West Indonesia Time, I was dead tired, got into a cab (102,900 IDR), checked in at Mercure Padang and crashed on my bed after a shower and dinner of Oreos from the mini bar (20,000 IDR). It was 1230am by the time I fell asleep.

Good morning from Padang.

At 630am, I was already up and I woke up with a neck that had a vengeance. Having been abused on the LionAir flight, sitting in awkward positions, my stiff neck would be sore for another 5 days.

Hendri, my taxi driver from yesterday picked me up at 7am and we headed off to Bukittinggi. The drive would take about 2 hours and 30 minutes average. Along the way, there was a waterfall and some scenic sights to take photographs.

The road to Bukit Tinggi, takes you uphill thru roads that are still being used to send raw materials and food supplies between Padang and the northern towns. There is also a retired railway track.

View of the Lembah Anai and a railway bridge.

As you head thru Lembah Anai, there is a picturesque waterfall along the road which you can stop to take photos. The best location to view the waterfall would be on the road or on the railway tracks. You will have to pay a small fee to enter but there wasn’t any need for me to go in. Hendri and I walked up the tracks and stood across the road.

Air Terjun Lembah Anai

There are many people who enter to splash in the cool pool at the foot of the waterfall.

If you opt to take photos on the road, please be careful.

I stood on the tracks with the road underneath me to take photos. Having an ultra wide angle lens was helpful in these situations. Many tourists have complained about being unable to take a photo of the waterfalls, probably due to their narrow range lenses.

You will be parking next to these stalls and you can purchase some drinks and snacks here. The parking attendant will ask for some money as they help you enter and exit the car park. 2000 IDR would suffice.

As we drove further thru the town of Padang Panjang, you will see Gunung Singallalang on your left and Gunung Merapi on your right.


Bukittinggi is in the Minangkabau Highlands hugged by both Gunung Merapi and Gunung Singallalang, 90km from Padang. At 930m above sea level, the weather here is cooler and more comfortable. Formerly known as Fort de Kock, this city has seen many administrations of government  from the Dutch East Indies and the Japanese colonial period.

Hendri and I took lunch at one of the rooftop restaurants to give me a chance of taking photos of Bukittingi.

Gunung Merapi covered by clouds

The above video was taken over a span of 30 minutes while we ate. Using a Joby Gorrilapod and a Joby Griptight for the first time, this is my first time-lapse. Best viewed in HD mode.

Dining on the roof is recommended so that you get a nice view of Bukittinggi.

Ayam kampung, known as village chicken are healthier and less fatty.

For 20,000 IDR, you can get a fried rice with chicken.

Jam Gadang is large clocktower built by the Dutch in 1926. This clock is the center of tourism in this city and many people will flock here to take photos. Being a Saturday, there were more people here.

Surrounding the Jam Gadang, are stalls and restaurants.

Horse carriages is still used albeit by tourists mostly in Padang and Bukittinggi is not behind in terms of horse drawn carriages.

The following post will discuss Ngarai Sianok, the canyon at Bukittinggi.


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