Many people say; Bukittinggi is the heart of west Sumatra. Well, I found that statement unarguably since I fall in love with this place at the first sight. Not only the clocktower, but also the scenic panorama and the climate. Since it’s about 900 m up of sea level, it’s feel quite cool when the nightfall.
Bukittinggi [also known as Kota Gadang or Kota Jam Gadang or the Big Clock Town] becomes my reason to ‘escape’ from Padang immediately. “Why?” Nicholas asking me, didn’t understand with my decision. “Is it because Padang is a beach city-harbour-hot and busy city, just like your hometown at the east of Java?”
No … this highland ‘just’ seduces me with scenic panorama. And the other reason, we can easily reach several destination from Bukittinggi ~ such as Harau Valley, Tabing Patah, Lake Maninjau, Lake Singkarak, Batusangkar, Padangpanjang and Pandai Sikat.
So? We just repacking soon after landed at Tabing Airport, Padang then heading to the north via Pariaman. Thanks to Dadet and Rossy for their hospitality plus … their “nice story” about haunted houses which built at the area of old Kerkhof [cemetery during Dutch occupation] nearby Pariaman. We reach Bukittinggi –the big clock town Big Ben look-alike– safe and sound around 3 o’clock early morning. And directly to the main attraction there: the clocktower!!!
Bukittinggi [means literally ‘top of the valley’] is known worldwide since Perang Padri [the Padri War, 1821 – 1837]. The Dutch soldiers were very difficult to take this strategic city from the local heroes. Then they make a fortress called “Fort de Kock”. With the hilltop position like this city, they’re more easier to controlling the movement of Minangkabau rebels [read as Indonesian patriots].
And now, facing to the recent Fort de Kock … to be honest, as an old buildings lover, I feel disappointed. Since it’s became a modern park and zoo. There nothing left for something called ‘fort’ ~ truely different compared with Martello Tower [Bidadari Island ~ Thousand Islands] or the ruins at Kelor Island [also group of Thousand Islands].
* strange experience in the most expensive hotel here:
– novotel coralia bukittinggi
this is a nice place to stay, actually. mughal style of resto and nice rooms. but imagine, we’re landed –night flight– at tabing airport and directly heading to bukitinggi via pariaman in the christmas eve by the middle of the night.
and never mentioned to have a morning call. but we got it!!! take some sleep early morning about 3 o’clock and have to wake up around 8 o’clock. for us, it means aduh sekali!!!! and ‘musik hari natal’ [a.k.a muziek hari natal] >> too loud in our ears. sakit!!!