STORY ABOUT WEST SUMATERA
Much of its highland formed by the Bukit Barisan Mountain range; virgin jungle inhabited by elephants, tigers, leopard and rhinos. Minang people has firey-hot dishes and ancient matriarchal customs. The women own property and the men leave home to seek their fame and fortune. Travelling is considered a mark of success, Padang restaurants are found in all major towns across the nation. The people are hospitable and eloquent; primarily speak Bahasa Minang, with poetic style of speech. West Sumatran days are filled with colourful ceremonies and festivals. Legend has it the Minangkabau are descendants of the youngest son of Alexander the Great, King Maharjo Dirajo. During the early 19th century, the area was disrupted by wars between followers of the traditional Islam or Padris, and those adhering to the traditional law (Adat) of the Minangkabau.
- Dances performed on the Bukittinggi museum’s open stage every Sunday and on public holidays, the famous bullfights at Padang Lawas (6km south if Bukittinggi) are every Tuesday at 5.00pm where the antics of local owners and bettors are as much fun as the fights themselves.
- Pacu jawi every July performs bullrace in Payakumbuh. The uniqueness of its race, the jokey bite its tail to make the bull run faster.
- Selaju sampan and Dragon boat race every September is a traditional watersports in Muko-Muko, lake Maninjau.
- Wild Hog Hunting every May on Sunday in Solok by farmers with well trained dog.
PLACES OF INTEREST
1) AIR MANIS
Air Manis 4km South of Padang, down the hill and across Batang Arau River is a fisherman village on Padang’s scenic west coast. A rock standing in the water a short distance from the shore is said to be the hull of Malin Kundang’s Boat, which shipwrecked in a storm after it was cursed by the defiant young man’s mother.
Bungus 20km South of Padang sheltered by a bay, there are two good beaches: Carolina and Karang Tirta.
3) ANAI RESORT AND GOLF COURSE
The Anai resort is located in gorgeous natural setting roughly 550 meters above sea level. This resort is incorporating first-class hotel facilities.
4) BATANG PALUPUAH
Batang Palupuah, 12km from Bukittinggi is a refuge for the giant flower of Rafflesia Arnoldi, blooming only once a year in November. A guide can be obtained from the office at the reserve.
5) RIMBO PANTI NATURE RESERVE
Rimbo Panti Nature Reserve. Just aside the road to Medan, at the distance of 108km from Bukittinggi, this nature and wild life reserve where various monkey species and black panther found in here.
6) BUNG HATTA FOREST RESERVE
Situated 15km from Padang in the direction of Solok, known in the past as the Setya Mulya Botanic Garden. The reserve has giant flower Rafflesia Arnoldi.
7) BATU BASUREK
Batu Basurek. A stone with inscriptions in the old Palava script of India, bearing the legend of Adityawarman in the year 1347.
8) THE TWIN LAKES
The Twin Lakes (Lake Diatas and Lake Dibawah) 65km from Padang the two lakes, one a little higher than the other are located at +1,000 meters above sea level and covered by thick mist. There are several cottages and coffee shops in Lake Diatas resort
9) PAGARUYUNG KINGDOM
Pagaruyung Kingdom. Situated at the outskirt of Batusangkar the capital city of Tanah Datar Regency. In the past, it was the seat of the ancient Minangkabau Kingdom, Pagaruyung: which at the beginning of its history was ruled by a queen named Bundo Kanduang. Relics of that ancient past are still scattered over the area among them are Batusangkar stone inscriptions found in some areas.
10) LAKE SINGKARAK
Lake SIngakarak is surrounded with green hills and mountains, the biggest lake in west 129,70 km square and lies on the Trans Sumatra between Bukittinggi and Solok regency. It is 36km from Bukittinggi or 86km from Padang.
11) TANJUNG ALAI
Located at 7kms Lake Singakarak, enjoy gliding in the fresh and coolness of its air.
12) MOUNT TALANG TEA PLANTATION
35km from Padang, one of the highest mountains 2,572 meters above sea level has a green and fresh views. From here tourist can overlook the beautiful Twin Lakes and Lake Singkarak.
13) THE MYSTICAL ROA-ROA
The Mystical Roa-roa. Some 15 km from Batusangkar. A village in which the Minangkabau building style is well preserved.
14) BELIMBING VILLAGE
Belimbing Village. Some 20 km from Batusangkar, this traditional village has some beautiful old Minangkabau longhouses. Around the village, one can enjoy the beautiful view and traditional social life of Minangkabau’s matriarchal society.
15) TABEK PATAH
Tabek Patah 30km from Batusangkar, is a lookout point in the foothills offering a wide-open view of the magnificent central Minangkabau countryside.
16) BATU SANGKAR
Batu Sangkar is 41km southeast of Bukit Tinggi, a center of the Minangkabau culture. Megalithic remains found in the area support the theory of a large community living in the area some 2000 years ago. Many fascinating historical sites were found at Batu Basurek, a stone with inscriptions in the Palava script of India, bearing the legend Adityawarman, the Emperor of Kanaka Mahindra (the island of gold).
Pariaman has 300 years old traditional houses. Make sure to visit the open council grounds with ancient stone seats, the mosque, and the hot springs.
17) NGARAI SIANOK
Ngarai Sianok is a canyon in a city, a step colorful valley surrounded by 100-meter cliffs. 4km from Bukittinggi, there are many tunnels and caves made by the Japanese during WW II. The pathway leads to Koto Gadang that is renowned for its fine silver filigree and hand embroidery.
18) PANDAI SIKEK VILLAGE
Pandai Sikek village is 13km south of Bukit Tinggi and famous for its hand woving and carving industry. The village has a thousand looms and turning out a richly colored cloth. Carved wooden ornaments and furniture also made here.
19) HARAU VALLEY
Harau Valley is 15km northeast of Payakumbuh, 100 to 200-meter step granite walls shelter this 315 ha fertile valley. It is a nature and wildlife reserve, where wild goats and tigers still roam.
20) NGALAU INDAH CAVE
Ngalau Indah Cave can be reached on the way from Bukittinggi to Payakumbuh, it has extended deep into the mountainside. The domain of thousands of bats, the main entrance is the outline of an elephant visible on its face. The pats through these caves lead out to the top of the mountain and panoramic views.
21) SIBERUT NATIONAL PARK
Siberut National Park: Using a regular ferry, which regularly sails three times a week at night from Padang (Muara Padang) to Muara Siberut/Muara Sikabaluan/Muara Saibi. The trip takes approximately 10 hours of sailing. Or use an express ferry that travels every Thursday morning from Padang to the town of Tuapejat in Sipora Island and then further to the southern part of Siberut Island for only four hours of sailing.
Padang is the capital of West Sumatra; and gateway to the homeland of Minangkabau. Its bustling harbors a crossroad for rubber, cinnamon, coffee, tea, and nutmeg. There are minang houses, prehistoric artifacts, ceramics, manuscripts, and modern art. In Kampung Cina (Chinatown) tourists can wander streets lined with turn-of-the-century houses, Chinese herbalists, and coffee shops. Good hiking and wonderful views of the city can be had a Bukit Monyet and Gunung Padang.
23) LAKE MENINJAU
Lake Maninjau Perhaps he most beautiful lake in Sumatera, Maninjau is far smaller and less developed than its neighbor lake Toba to the north the road to the lake is famous for its forty-four bends offering superb panoramas as it meaders down to the water’s edge. The lake is punctuated by pretty Moorish styled mosques, perhaps designed by some long-ago Arab traders who came to her shores. Datted about the lake is small and friendly villages. Mountain bikes for rent ofter a perfect way to explore along the flat roads.
Bukittinggi is the west Sumatra’s center of culture and tourism, nestled in the highlands north of the provincial capital of Padang. It is a pleasant two-hour drive (90 km) from Padang through the gorgeous Anai Valley up to Agam Plateu. Located 930 meters above sea level, it has a cool climate and is surrounded by three volcanoes: Tindikat, Singgalang, and Merapi. The central landmark is the town’s clocktower, referred to by the local people as Jam Gadang. It overlooks the market square, a beehive of activity, and a fantastic place to do some souvenir shopping. Also worth visiting is the Rumah Gadang Museum, a traditional extended family house built in the 19th century.
25) MENTAWI ISLANDS
Mentawi Islands is made up of four islands: Siberut, Sipora, Pagai Utara, and Pagai Selatan. The people of these Islands still live in comparative isolation, maintaining their age-old ways. Siberut is an area for trekking and visiting these ancient cultures, and its virgin rain forest, inhabited by a number of some rare monkeys species. Beautiful coral reefs are found offshore, and its wave is famous for surfing. The best season to visit is from January to September.