Monday, May 2, 2016

Places of Interests in West Sumatera, Indonesia

West Sumatera is one of the provinces in Sumatera (an elongated island in the western most of Indonesia). It is estimated that its population (in 2014) had  reached 5 million spreads in towns and rural hinterland. Major towns are Padang (its capital), Bukit Tinggi, Paya Kumbuh, Sawahlunto and Pariaman. Two notable cities are Padang and Bukit Tinggi.

Padang has an international airport and the province can be accessible by road and air. You may also go through Pekan Baru International Airport and take a car to Padang via a winding road especially around Kelok Sembilan.

Kelok Sembilan is now one of the touristic spots  due to its long and winding road. It has  many turns and curves  that it fits nicely in this wildlife habitat of West Sumatera's valley. The construction of this road took several years to complete. Once completed, it helps to facilitate movement of road traffic from Pekan Baru in Riau province to Bukit Tinggi and Padang in West Sumatera. Prior to this road improvement, the journey time from Riau to West Sumatera takes many hours.

Keluk Sembilan
Jam Gadang is located in a square right in the middle of Bukit Tinggi town. The square forms part of the recreational space for the locals. You may see many activities during the weekends around this place. Kids playing kites, food vendors on cart or ladies selling cakes and traditional delicacies.
Clock Tower in Bukit Tinggi
Nyarai Sianok is a place where you can appreciates the cliff and its formation.
Nyarai Sianok in Bukit Tinggi
Meanwhile, many building owners  here are proud of their traditional roof architecture. Banks, offices, hotel, schools, houses etc have this kind of roof. It is an identity of West Sumatera, as it belongs to the people of Minangkabau, one of the Malay ethnics in Indonesia.
Special Minangkabau roof
Puncak Lawang, 30 minute-drive from Bukit Tinggi is a good retreat place. Located on the top of the hill, overlooking the great lake, Danau Maninjau.
Puncak Lawang 
On the border side with Riau, there is a conservation forest called Harau Conservation Forest which has many waterfalls. You can have picnic here.
Harau Waterfall
Not to forget the history, Bukit Tinggi was once under the Japanese occupation during the Second World War. The Lubang Jepang is one of the tunnels left by the Japanese. It consists of underground tunnels used for prison and related activities.
Lubang Jepang

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Bukit Tinggi, West Sumatera

Bukit Tinggi is located in the west of Sumatera island in Indonesia, to be exact, it is in the province of West Sumatera.  I had the opportunity to visit this small city in January 2016. I spent two days here and visited places of interest to many people.

Bukit Tinggi enjoys cool weather. Most hotels here do not provide air conditioner (perhaps ceiling fans  are enough). One of the landmarks in Bukit Tinggi is Jam Gadang (the clock tower at the square that exist over hundred years).

Within the vicinity of Bukit Tinggi, there is a large lake called Danau Maninjau. It took 45 minutes by road to reach there from Bukit Tinggi. I took a rented car to the peak of Puncak Lawang and from there you can see the lake.

Within the city, you can visit Lubang Jepang, an underground tunnels used during the Japanese occupation, Nyarai Sianok (canyon), the clock square, Bung Hatta library, Jenjang 1000 and many more.

Buildings in Bukit Tinggi are unique in their own way. I mean the roof. It has an arch like a horn. It is called Minangkabau roof. West Sumatera is the land of the Minangs people and they spoke their Minang dialects.

The nearest airport to Bukit Tinggi is Padang International Airport. However, you can go via Pekanbaru in Riau. From Pekanbaru, it takes more than 5 hours to reach Bukit Tinggi, passing the highland and valley through narrow and winding road.

Masjid Jamek Pattani, South Thailand

I had the opportunity to visit Masjid Jamek, Pattani in South Thailand on my way home to Malaysia from Hat Yai. With its dome green roofs and a big water body in front,  it does not only display serenity but also portrays a  majestic look. It is considered one of the beautiful mosques in Thailand and its neighbouring regions. Its green roofs gives extra shine when the sun beams its light.

Being located in the majority Muslim Malay population of Pattani province, this mosque becomes the main focus of the religious activities in South Thailand such as daily prayers, friday prayers, sermons, religious classes etc. This mosque activity  is able to unite the populace to perform social and societal duties accordingly.