The combination of yellow, blue and orange was slightly tarnished by peeling of Banto Trade Center wall paint. But that wasn’t the focus, Ramlan Nurmatias and Joko Widodo’s handshake had stunned me. It seems that the Mayor and the number one person of my country have agreed on laying the first stone of Ateh Market revitalization project….Apparently, Bukittinggi is actively building.
Meanwhile, Banto Trade Center courtyard was be a trader area for selling vegetables on their cart and motorbike. Then far ahead, still in Soekarno Hatta Street, a golden plaque “Adipura Kencana” is upheld by a single white pole. Shows that this city is recognized for cleanliness throughout the country.
Sekitar dua kilometer sajalah, avku tiba di sebuah mulut gang. “Gg Komp Sabar” begitulah aksara dalam plat nama berwarna hijau yang ditegakkAbout two kilometers away, I arrived at an alleyway. “Gang Kompleks Sabar” were words in a green name plate which was placed on a black pole with a bigger size with thick white script “Museum Rumah Kelahiran Bung Hatta Proklamator RI, Jl. Soekarno Hatta No. 37 Bukittinggi“
It is a duplication of original house architecture which if it still stands, it will be 160 years old. Unfortunately it had collapsed in the 60’s, but upon the chairman idea of Bung Hatta Education Foundation, it was rebuilt.
Built according to its original curves, according to its picture in memoirs and various family-owned documentation. In general, this house can also describe situation and past life of Bukittinggi society and especially Bung Hatta’s family.
This Bukittingi’s typical house consists of main building, pavilion, rice barn, kitchen, horse stable and fish pond.
The main building itself consists of two floors and is at forefront of house area. The main building serves to receive guests, family dining room and bedroom of Bung Hatta’s mother, uncle and grandfather.
Here’s a glimpse of booths on main building’s second floor:
Behind the main building, a pavilion was built. This white wall building was used for kitchen, Bung Hatta’s bedroom, bathroom, horse stable and hansom cab room. From his bedroom, Bung Hatta began his education at Europese Lageree School (ELS) Bukittinggi. In his room is also stored bicycle which was often used Bung Hatta everyday. It was given by his parents since he was 8 years old.
He lived with his grandfather, Syech Adurrachman, also known as Syech Batuhampar. His grandfather himself worked as a private post contractor.
At the end of my visitation, I was curious about Ma’ Etek Ayub profile as someone who helped Bung Hatta in continuing school, his profession was “Time Trade Practice”. Confused by this profession type, I asked to an elderly woman who worked to took care of this whole house.
Like as past era houses, when this nation was still experiencing economic difficulties. Rice granaries are an effort to ensure family food security.
After completing his primary education, Bung Hatta continued his secondary education at Meer Uitgebred Lager Onderwijs (MULO) or secondary school in Padang City.
Walking through Veteran Street, I slowly approached De Kock Hotel to check-in. Cool and peaceful is an image in my head about Bukittinggi when I arrived.
1. Limpapeh Bridge
Halfway to hotel, I was fascinated by a suspension bridge. It is the Limpapeh Bridge which stretches over Ahmad Yani Street. It was built in 1992 and have function as a link between Wildlife Cultural Park Kinantan and Fort De Kock Fortress area. Stretching along ninety meters with approximately three meters in width, making this bridge so dashing visible from Ahmad Yani Street.
2. GadangClock Tower
A bottle of coca cola closed my check-in session as well as a starting marker for my exploration around Pasar Atas that afternoon. Walking through Yos Sudarso Street with up-down contour, my steps arrived at a phenomenal landmark which is famous throughout Indonesia.
Gadang Clock Tower, a landmark which was given by Queen Wilhelmina, looked dashing. Needed long time in waiting for different color lights to appear and illuminated entire this giant clock tower as a marker of switching from evening to night. Because of its fame, Gadang Clock Tower has been designated as Kilometer Zero Point of Bukittinggi City. “Gonjong” shaped roof or roof style which was commonly used in “Gadang House” (typical house of West Sumatra) makes this European architectural art possess a local customs wealth.
3. Bukittinggi Plaza
Major renovations at Sabai Nan Aluih Park, made me only able to enjoy the beauty of Gadang Clock Tower from mall courtyard which is located opposite this big clock tower.
Bukittinggi Plaza in the last few years had became the best mall in Bukittinggi. Ramayana (Indonesia’s prominent department stores) becomes main player which occupies seventy percent of overall mall capacity.
4. Bukittinggi Grand Mosque
Fun in enjoying the beauty of Gadang Clock Tower almost made me lose Maghrib Prayers. I tried to trace azan origin several minutes before. Heading north, I finally arrived at Bukittinggi Grand Mosque.
The mosque which in earthquake 2007 became a refuge for residents who evacuated because of damage which was caused by the massive earthquake.
5. Pasar Atas Bukittinggi
Grand mosque which is precisely located in the center of Pasar Atas (a famous market in Bukittinggi) made me interested to explore road towards Pasar Atas. Dark which continued to devour the day, made shop owners began to close them one by one.
Pasar Atas is a market which places several sellers of Kapau Rice, Ampiang Dadiah Ice and Sanjai Crackers which are favorite crackers for souvenirs which were bought by Bukittinggi visitors.
Hungry stomach has forced myself to immediately look for dinner. Dinner under Limpapeh Bridge finally closed my two hours exploration on my first night in Bukittinggi
6. Unknown Hero Monument
My second day exploration began with leaving the hotel on a quiet morning. Even residents’ activities hadn’t been seen. Quiet and cold didn’t dampen my steps to visit Unknown Heroes Monument.
This monument was built to commemorate heroes who couldn’t be identified in opposing Dutch Colonialism on 1905. The monument with a circular shaped ornament of large dragon and on its top stands a statue of a young man who holding a flag.
7. Bung Hatta Proclamator Park Monument
While across the front of monument, there is a park with a black statue of Bung Hatta. Known as Bung Hatta Proclamator Park, this park was dedicated to Mohammad Hatta, the native son of Bukittinggi who proclaimed Indonesian independence with Ir. Sukarno.
8.Janjang Ampek Puluah
Returning to Cindua Mato Street which I passed last night, I headed for a connecting stairway between Pasar Atas and Pasar Bawah also Pasar Banto (three markets in Bukittinggi). A steep concrete staircase with forty stairs which is 112-year-old. This is embodiment of public facilities integration in past time. At that time, Dutch East Indies Government and several local powers agreed to connect every market in Bukittinggi, one of which was by making janjang or stairs.
9. Bung Hatta Birthplace Museum
Coming out of lower gate and passing through Banto Trade Centre which looked unkempt, I headed to Bung Hatta residence when he was a child. Even though this house is actually only a reconstruction building, but its interior arrangement and exterior appearance are made as closely as possible to condition of the original house which has collapsed. If you want to know about life history behind Muhammad Hatta glory in his political career, then come to this place.
10. Fort De Kock
After visiting Bung Hatta Birthplace Museum, I intended to walk to Fort de Kock through Pemuda Street with quite a long climb walking and meanders from south to north. But apparently I wasn’t strong in middle of journey, I called for online transportation to drive me at Fort de Kock front gate.
Fort de Kock was built by Captain Bauer in 1825 on Jirek Hill as the defense dome of Dutch East Indies Government in facing popular resistance i.e Paderi War which led by Tuanku Imam Bonjol (Indonesia’s national hero).
11. Wildlife Cultural Park Kinantan
From Fort de Kock, I just needed to cross Limpapeh Suspension Bridge to a famous zoo in Bukittinggi.
Wildlife Cultural Park Kinantan is one of the oldest zoos in Indonesia and the only one in West Sumatra with the most complete collection of animals on Sumatra island.
12. Baanjuang Traditional House Museum
As the zoo grew, in 1935 the Baanjuang Traditional House was built in it.
Functioned as a museum, this traditional house is dedicated to elevating the traditional culture of Minangkabau people. Its inside were exhibited various clothes, jewelries and typical Minang art tools.
Not far away….In northeast of the zoo, there is a Zoological Museum with Sumatran tiger and goldfish as its icons. The museum was established in conjunction with a similar museum at Bogor in 1894. Two thousand species of animal are preserved and exhibited in this museum.
I left Fort de Kock from its entrance. My next destination was Sianok Canyon. A valley formed by natural fracture, has a wall which is perpendicular to Sianok River which flowing in the middle. But it was unfortunate that the rain fell so heavily. After getting off from an online motorcycle taxi, I felt like I was hopeless and just waited for rain to stop. Under a tree, I continued to observe valley in a side of Sianok Canyon.
15. Japanese Tunnel
The rain began to thin but still never let up. It caused my hope to enjoying the canyon for a longer time had to ending. I get a online motorcycle taxi with middle-aged women as the rider. Under light drizzle, I headed for Panorama Park.
Before exploring Panorama Park, I made time to explore the longest defensive hole in Asia. A Japanese tunnel made by order of Lieutenant General Moritake Tanabe, 25th Division of Japanese Army Commander. Very deep, long and amazing.
Finally the closing visit fell at Panorama Park, a large park with two entrances on edge of Panorama Steet. With a ticket for USD 1.1, I tried to enjoy this shady garden in my last seconds in Bukittinggi.
Leaving the park and returning to hotel, I prepared to go to a travel agent office to reach Padang city. On 13:00, I finally left Bukittinggi. Goodbye Bukittinggi.
So for you who intend to go to West Sumatra….Visit Bukittinggi and enjoy the cool air there.