Things to do in Bukittinggi, West Sumatera, Indonesia

Continue my latest article about visiting Bukittinggi, West Sumatera, there are some cool places and things to do that we can do in this special town in West Sumatera.

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View I saw, on my way to Janjang Koto Gadang.


Bukittinggi means High Hill in Indonesian. It is the second biggest city in West Sumatera. Located in the Minangkabau highlands and around 90 km by road from capital city of West Sumatera, Padang. It takes around 3-4 hours until you arrived Bukittinggi from Padang. You can go with Travel Car which is cost around 20k – 25k per-person.

Bukittinggi-West-Sumatera-Indonesia (21)We got this kind of breakfast from the hostel. It called Lontong Sayur, a cake rice with spicy coconut milk.


Bukittinggi might be not so famous as Jogjakarta or Jakarta for tourist in Indonesia. But this is a really lovely city to go. The weather is chilly and windy, so different with the strong sun in both city I mentioned before. Also you can see the Mount Singgalang and Mount Marapi as the background of city view, both are the volcanoes, which make your stay in this town will be more special. Now the question is, what you can do in Bukittinggi, West Sumatera? Even this places to go can not be an absolute list, but at least I hope I will give you some inspirations from my recent trip to Bukittinggi.


Jam Gadang

Bukittinggi-West-Sumatera-Indonesia (2)The radiant view of Jam Gadang. I love that clear blue sky!

As it is so famous in the area and in history, I think, it’s a good choice to spend a time here. Walking around the area which already so crowded with lots of stuff sellers and the traditional market next to the Clock Tower. Jam Gadang means Giant Clock. Was finished in 1926 and made with chalks, white egg and white sands only and located in zero point of Bukittinggi.

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When you walk around here, you will be approaching by some people who offer you for pictures. If you are foreigners, be prepared for some local might want to take a pose for you (yeah, Indonesian habit), then you might want to buy some thing in traditional market around, called Pasar Atas and Pasar Bawah or just trying the local street food. For one fine day, it is worth to do.

Bukittinggi-West-Sumatera-Indonesia (3)Some seller try to sell some of cheap stuff.


Janjang Koto Gadang

Bukittinggi-West-Sumatera-Indonesia (4)Actually, you can walk around the city if you like to walk because everything is nearby. We walked from our hostel to Janjang Koto Gadang. Actually, when you are here, you will remind of a China Great Wall. I don’t know why, but the wall design was really made as similar as Great Wall. That’s why people sometimes called the place as small Great Wall.

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This wall has length 1,7 km and you need to hike lots of the stairs to go up and before that, pass a long hanging bridge that quite scary to do but was fun! The view is breathtaking so it worth the effort. You might meet some students or domestic tourist if you are here in late afternoon. Early morning time is better. There is no fee to go to Janjang Koto Gadang, but there is some box for donation asked by local people around that maintain the cleanliness of the area.

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View of the area from the top of the wall.


Lobang Jepang (Japanese Tunnel)

Bukittinggi-West-Sumatera-Indonesia (10)From Ngarai Sianok, actually you can go down to the Japanese Tunnel or local people will call it Lobang Jepang. But the entry gate I heard already close. So the best one to go to Lobang Jepang is from the entry gate near to Janjang Koto Gadang. We need to pay 5k rupiah/person to enter the tunnel.

It is made by Japanese soldiers as their refugee in 1942. The length of the tunnel around 1400 meter and it has lots of alley. The wide of the tunnel is 2 meter, good enough so make the air exchange in the tunnel feels so well, not too strait and narrow.

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This tunnel reminds me of Japanese tunnel in Bandung – but the wall is different, since one in Bandung has lots of pebble as their wall – mixed with Chu Chi Tunnel in Vietnam. There is a lot of light in the tunnel, so it supposed to be ok to wandering alone here. Only yeah, the spooky feeling still there when you see some parts that really dark and narrow.

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There are some rooms that make me wondering. Such as Mini Theater room – yes, I don’t know that time, a refugee place can be that luxurious. Then again Geological Museum, maybe this one is new. And there is kitchen and mortuary. The last one made me freak out and want me to pass it fast when I walk in front of the room.


Ngarai Sianok

Ngarai Sianok is a beautiful breathtaking canyon (Ngarai) with the depth around 100 m and height 200 m, wide 15 km. It is really a great natural canyon caused by natural earth shifting.

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The beauty of Ngarai Sianok.


There is a park and view point made for visitors enjoying the view of Ngarai Sianok. In the midst morning, you can see the beautiful of Ngarai Sianok with the majestic Mount Singgalang as the background. I bet, you won’t go to anywhere and just sitting nicely enjoying the view. I think, this great cliff just like God created a hand made sculpture to make West Sumatera more incredible. From here, you can reaching Jam Gadang again. Be careful, there are some monkeys here, but they are not naughty. At least, not to me when I was there 🙂

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Mr. Hatta Childhood House

You might don’t know who is Mr. Hatta. Mr. Hatta with a real name Muhammad Athar, is one of the important person ever in Indonesia. He is our first Vice President. With Soekarno (our first President) he done lots of things to fight for the freedom of Indonesia.

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His house located in Jalan (street) Soekarno-Hatta No. 37 Bukittinggi, West Sumatera Barat now becomes a museum. There is no fee as well to go inside of the house. The easiest way to go to the house is through Pasar Bawah (traditional market near Jam Gadang). Then you will find a grey painted house with a small information about the name of the house, “Rumah Kelahiran Bung Hatta”.

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The house is an example how beautiful traditional house of Minang people. Made by wood and has some of rooms and two floors make the house looks big for one family. His house is humble and warm. There are some stuff that still standing still in the house to let visitors know about his daily life long time ago. By walking around the house, you will get inspiration how strong his character is. Not because he is an eccentric person but the silent wall as the witness how many times of his silence moments thinking about Indonesia, such telling me directly how great this person and how incredible what he did for Indonesia.

Bukittinggi-West-Sumatera-Indonesia (17)Indonesia’s proclamation of independence. Touche!


I know there are some exciting places to go as well in Bukittinggi that I might not yet explore that time. If you have any, you can tell me, because I would love to visit Bukittinggi again one day. This is a city that you will never get bored.


PS : Do you know that this trip is a reward I got after winning a writing competition held by Telkomselflash? You can see the clip here and if you wanna read it in Bahasa (Indonesian language) you can download the E-magazine here – Someone seems to uploaded the file as public archive there. Enjoy!

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Dea Sihotang




  1. Thank you for the posting. Great information and photos too. Your blog will definitely help me with ideas on where to go for my next trips to Indonesia.

    Best regards,


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