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Redesigning Indonesia

Rifky Setya - Indonesia Travel Photography



In Bahasa, Bukittinggi means as high hill, for it is resided on highland terrain. 

This panoramic city is an escape place for Minang people during the weekend due to the fresh atmosphere which it provides and its strategic location to other tourism spots. 

Jam Gadang

A symbol of Bukittinggi, consists of 4 structures which are established on central part of the city.

Welcome at Bukittinggi

Bukittinggi's Merchant

Love for shopping? Then you may buy some 'songket' as merchandise. Songket is a traditional fabric originally made by Minang people. A good quality hand-made songket will be a bit pricey but that is totally worth considering how much effort that the artist gave to make one set of limited-edition, or even one-of-a-kind fabric. You may find some retailers in center of the city or by using a car, try to get to Pandai Sikek. This is another one good reason why you should visit Bukittinggi especially if you are a fashion enthusiast.

If you are following my suggestion, then you will be in Bukittinggi for 2 days. Hence, save some spots for tomorrow's visit while we continue to explore further to the north.

Pagaruyung Palace

Located around Batu Sangkar town in Tanah Datar regency, Pagaruyung Palace is the biggest display of Minang traditional house. Need to be noted that the current palace is not the original one which was utilized back in kingdom era. Its history is interesting. The original palace was burned down during the revolt on 1804 when the kingdom was

disbanded 29 years later. Reconstruction was taking place before it was destroyed again by fire in 1966. Then the replica was made in different location - before, again it was stroke by lightning then crushed in fire by 2007. Well, the palace was reconstructed again and after 6 years of restoration, Pagaruyung was finally opened for visitors. 

There are several structures inside the complex which its biggest one is located at the center. By getting closer, you'll be amazed that every wall surface, interior and exterior, ceillings, all are covered by wooden hand-carved with a precision detail. When entering the building, we can see various displays of Minang artifacts such as clothes, fabrics, arms, home appliances, etc.

We can see that a tons of effort and budget were spent to keep this historical heritage alive, even though that most of the original artifacts were lost during the disasters, However, there is a commitment here, both from citizens & government, that we shall nurture the tradition which was left from our previous generation. We shall learn that a big nation is they who always appreciate its history and culture. 

By getting introduced to its tradition & culture, I'd like to say that Minang people has a definitely high taste of art & beauty. Fabrics are woven hand-made with a beautiful yet complex theme. The structures & furnitures are built with a high quality woods, covered by stunning fretworks on all over the surfaces. Then the food is cooked by using a rich & various type of spices. What an amazing Minang!

Be fashionable on Minang land. Rent the traditional dress for small bucks then pose like a princess. Choose various type of backgrounds for your photograph - from magnificent luxurious fabrics, aesthetic wooden carvings, or the palace itself. Get it printed & put on display.


For photographers, the palace is a great representation of Minang Land. Explore the angle then produce your own postcard.


Portrait in Pagaruyung


Lands of Bukittingi are covered by hills and the air is relatively cold and fresh. Located on the central part of West Sumatra, makes Bukittinggi can be considered as tourism hub city due to its strategic place among other attractive destinations. Bukittinggi once became an Indonesia Capital after Java was fully occupied & President Soekarno was arrested by Dutch. Therefore, this city is also viewed as a historical place with the remnants are scattered and still sighted until today. 


To simply cut the travel duration between each destinations, I prefer to be stationed here - in this article, for 2 days. Other than that, Bukittinggi provides you with various hotels and restaurants.  Car/bike rental services are also easy to grab, makes this city is more than sufficient to support our exploration.  Any local attractions can be easily retrieved from your hotel

or by the time you meet your car driver / guide. Traditional markets, unique local snack merchants, historical attraction spots or leisure parks are all available only by minutes of walking. Well, I think there is no more justification needed to describe how interesting Bukittinggi is.


4 locations of Jam Gadang are always crowded with visitors who would like to enjoy the most popular landmark of West Sumatra. These monuments play an important role for Bukittinggi, as a town hall market, heart and the joy of the city, where either citizens or tourists are gathered for enjoying their leisure. You will note that big puppets are everywhere there. Give some coins and take your picture with them. That portrait will be worth to brought back home once you leave West Sumatra. Just obtain as many reminescenes as possible for your delightful future.

Local Merchant

As the evening comes near, merchants start to approach Jam Gadang area to vend their goods. I saw this woman walks from a far and found her expression is quite distinctive, maybe she is just tired...


Horse-drawn carriage is still commonly used as transportation mode or either just for tourism attraction to go around the city.

Once you arrived in West Sumatra, do you notice there is something which is just uniquely found here? It's the architectural shape of its building - a wide structure covered by large roof with a curvature at the top part - representing a horn of buffalo. It is called 'Rumah Gadang' and it can be seen generally across the cities.


If you are interested to see the most luxurious and the biggest possible one - opened for public - then you should step into Pagaruyung Palace in Batusangkar. For me, it is not a choice, it is a must, because Rumah Gadang is the trademark of Minang people and it is only available in West Sumatra. By looking at its exterior, interior and the displays within as well, you will be astonished about how Minang people defines the art.


Welcome to the Palace

This view will welcome you as soon as you arrived on the gate of Istana Pagaruyung, minang traditional house (well known as Rumah Gadang).

Embracing Harau

Panoramic Harau

Besides getting famous for its picturesque scenery, Harau also becomes one of interesting destination for rock climbers. 

Harau Falls

Its easy access provided with a very natural environment makes Harau's falls are always enjoyable to visit.

Why Here

Why Here

Paddy Field
Rest Area
Panoramic Harau

Heading to Harau, a reason why I made my plan to visit West Sumatra. Imagine the harmony between green paddy field which lies alogside with  long line of majestic cliffs, decorated by several exotic falls & pounds. Once I visited Bukittinggi, I can't barely wait to be there.


The view is simply unforgettable. Welcomed by a vast scenic rice field, we pass the local peaceful village while the cliffs start coming into our sight. We keep heading forward and we saw some accommodation choices are available there for staying overnight. Then finally, we arrived at the front end of the cliff's line. It is surely a paradise for climbers since there are various routes & alternatives about how you gonna get to the top. Several falls are also available at some spots across the line. Even there is a falls which is located right alongside the main street - then it does breaking the stereotype that getting into the falls will require a quite duration of trekking.

Photographers are surely love this place. Stay overnight then grab a rental bike/bicycle to explore the area. A new perspective is surely possible since the line is long and diverse. After spending hours of exploration, then you may indulge yourself by taking a bath in a pond of fresh mountain spring by the falls.

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