Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bukit Tinggi, A Pleasant city On The Hill

Clean, humble, fresh, quiet, and friendly, those are the impressions you'll get when you visit this pretty small city for the first time. Just like its name Bukit Tinggi which means high hill is located in the Minangkabau highland not too far away from the West Sumatran capital - Padang (about 90 km away). It takes about 2 hours journey from the airport in Padang to Bukit Tinggi, but it is guaranteed that it won't be a boring trip since you you will see some magnificent views on the way. That's because going from Padang to Bukit Tinggi you would have to pass a pretty valley called Anai Valley an then up to the Agam Plateau which have amazing sceneries before you reach Bukit Tinggi.

This city formed by many hills and valleys on 25,239 km2 area . Since Bukit Tinggi is located in a high place (930 m above sea level), it has cool climate between 16-24 degrees celcius.

Bukit Tinggi is also called "Tourism City" since it has so many tourism objects both natural and historical. Tourism is also the main income of this city, so the local government really has an attention to keep all the tourism objects reserved.

The local occupants are from Minangkabau ethnic which are very friendly and known as an ethnic that strongly hold Islamic traditions. That's why it is adviced for the foreign tourists in this city to respect the local custom by wearing descent clothing which covered the body well and not doing things that can be considered as an insult of the tradition like drinking alcoholic drinks such as beer in public places.

With its mark as a tourism city, you don't have to wory about the accomodations, Bukit Tinggi has many choices of accomodation from a nice 4 stars hotel to cozy small resorts. And at last, to give you the vision of this exciting tourism city, here are some of the best tourist attractions in Bukit Tinggi you can visit during your stay in this city.

Jam Gadang (The Big Clock)
This clock maybe not as famous as Big Ben in London, but the Minangkabau people in Bukit Tinggi are very proud of it, just like the people in Paris adore their eiffel tower. This old clock tower has also become the symbol of the city. Jam Gadang was built in 1926 by Controleur Rook Maker a dutch during dutch occupation in Bukit Tinggi with the help of local architects named Jazid and Sutan Gigih Ameh. From the top of the clock tower, you can see the fantastic scenery of the city which is surrounded by mountains, hills and valleys. One thing that's quiet unique about this clock is on the numbering method, Jam Gadang uses roman numerals, but the different is the number 4 on the clock signed with IIII instead of IV, and nobody knows the reason why it was written like that.

Sianok Valley
A beautiful green and vertile valley with winding river floats through the canyons. This valley is located in the center of the city with the length of 15 km, 100 m depth and 200 m wide. On the back of the valley we can see the view of two great mountains of Mount Singgalang, an inactive volcanoe, and Mount Merapi which is still active.

Fort De Kock
This fort was built by Captain Bouer during the Dutch occupation in 1825. Fort de Kock was named after Baron Hendrik Markus De Kock, he was the vice general governor of East indies during that time. Located on top of Jirek Hill, this fort was used as a fortification against the attack of the Minangkabau people until 1837. Around this fort we can see many old canons from the 19th century, and we can also enjoy the view of the city from this place, because a fort is always located in an ideal place for observation.

Panorama Park
A charming park with plenty of plants and a good spot to observe the beauty of Sianok Valley. In this place there are a lot of shops selling original souvenirs of Minangkabau.

Kinantan Zoo
This zoo was also built by a dutch named Controleur Strom Van Govent in 1900, at first this is just an ordinary city park until it was turned into a zoo in 1929 by Dr. J. Hock. Kinantan is the only zoo in West Sumatra and it is the oldest zoo in Indonesia. Inside this zoo you can also find a Minangkabau cultural Museum and Zoology Museum.

Limpapeh Bridge
Functioned as a liaison between Kinantan Zoo and Fort De Kock. This bridge was built by concrete construction with the roof shaped like a traditional house of Minangkabau.

Janjang Seribu (A Thousand Steps)
It's actually a long and winding stairway on built between the cracks of cliffs usually used by the local occupants to take water from Sianok Valley. Here you can find a resting area with the view of Mount Singgalang and Mount Merapi, s fishing pond, and a camping ground. we can also find lots of wild animals like monkey and some species of bird.

Japanese Cave
This "cave" is actually a bunker built by the Japanese during world war II in 1942 as a defence facility for their army. It was built by thousands of forced Minangkabau workers, many of them died during the process. this bunker is more like a tunnel with 2 m wide and about 1400 m long. Inside this tunnel you will find many rooms which was used as dining rooms, bars, interogation rooms, kitchens, and prisons. There are many entrance to enter this bunker, we can find them in Sianok Valley, Panorama Park, and Bung Hatta Palace. Inside this tunnel, the local government is planning to build a scientific History Museum by cooperating with several countries like Germany, Netherland, Australia, USA, and also with two universities from Indonesia, Bandung Technology University and Padjajaran University in West Java.

Bung Hatta Monument
Bung Hatta or Muhammad Hatta is the first vice president of Indonesia who was born in Bukit Tinggi in August 12, 1902. This monument was built to honor him as a National hero and one of the founding fathers of Indonesia.

Bung Hatta Palace
Also known as Tri Arga Building, located in the city center in front of Jam Gadang clock tower. During Japanese occupation this building used as a residence of Japanese defense commander Seiko Seikikan Kakka, but during the physical revolution erain the year of 1946 after Indonesian Independence in 1945, it becomes the residence of Indonesian first vice president Drs. Muhammad Hatta.

Those are just a few from a lot more attractions you can find in Bukit Tinggi. The best way to get to know more about this interesting city is by visiting it, and anytime you have a chance to visit this place the Minangkabau people is ready to welcome you with their typical friendly hospitality.

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