Lion Air JT 257 from Padang (PDG) to Jakarta (CGK)

Flight route JT 257 (source:

This wasn’t the first time for me to ride Lion Air, I have ridden this airline on its route: Solo-Jakarta, Jakarta-Surabaya, Jakarta-Singapore, or vice versa. However, this was the first time that I have experienced to ride a Boeing 737 MAX 8, a phenomenal type of aircraft, which had been “grounded” since double accidents, the first one was in Indonesia and the second one was in Ethiopia, with the same cause.

I finally managed to explore Minangkabau International Airport in a drizzle, but I’ll tell you later. I still have a repetition adventure to Padang on a business trip in early 2020. So please be patient if you want to peek at the authenticity of Minangkabau International Airport from this travel blog.

Drop Zone in Departure Hall of Minangkabau International Airport.

I was dropped off right in front of departure lobby by DAMRI airport bus, but after that, I didn’t immediately enter to check-in area. I prefered to take some pictures when the rain was changing its phase to be soft drizzles. I did it until several pictures were catched into my Canon EOS M10 memory card.

Let’s entered to check-in area!

Local flights, which only require a flight booking confirmation display on a smartphone screen and a national ID Card with a same name, made it easier for passengers to entering check-in area.

I had to provide patience because after leaving a check-in counter, I would wait for the “Red Lion” to come longer….Delayed, guys !. I had indeed been prepared with that condition. It wasn’t a matter about time, but about affordability of airline tickets which be my priority.


After taking the escalator to Departure Gate, I sat for a while in commercial hall which is located next to screening gate. Tidying up every equipments, so that it were a little tidy and comfortable when entering aircraft cabin later. Meanwhile, my 45L backpack chose to stay in plane hull for keeping my rainbow-patterned umbrella which its price is USD 3,7 which I bought at Tiga Raja Harbor five days ago.

Air conditioner.

The surprise arrived, when I headed to the prayer room for Maghrib prayer, I met Boris, a postman from Slovakia.

Me         :     “Hi, Boris….What happen to your flight?

Boris      :     ”Hi, Donny, It’s crazy…..Very long delay with Citilink

I didn’t talk for long because Boris had started to enter a queue towards the gate, he flew to Surabaya, then he would continue his journey to Malang as soon as he landed. Gubeng Station was his choice to depart from “City of Heroes“. I got this information while talking in the back seat of Maestro Travel five hours ago. What I observed, mineral water bottles which I gave was still intact tucked into left of his backpack….Hahaha, how can, that water could be escaped from airport screening gate.

After waiting for a long time, finally JT 257 flight started to calling its passengers. I started to queuing up and getting ready for trip towards Soekarno Hatta International Airport with flight price for USD 41.7. I bought this ticket about 11 days before departure.

Through the aerobridge, I entered cabin, actually I just found out that this plane is a Boeing 737 MAX 8 type after one of its crew who holding the microphone informed it when demonstrated passenger safety standards.

Besides new, the first impression that I got after sitting in a window seats were its relief and futuristic appearance. Then, plane was in the best position to start its jet engine, the pilot was waiting for a confirmation to fly. A few minutes later I actually left Padang.

The slightly cloudy night made the plane slightly shaken and penetrated into low clouds in “Minang” sky. What I saw later were sequels to earth lamps show between thin black clouds. Beautiful and enchanting as a bedtime. And then….




I slept under the cover of extreme fatigue after six days traveling around Sumatra. It looked like I slept for 1 hour 45 minutes, which was equivalent to flight time. Sleeping for more than 700 km along with the smooth performance of aircraft which was owned by the largest private airline in my country.

I arrived at Cengkareng on past midnight.
An airline that has been in the air for 20 years.
Soekarno Hatta International Airport (CGK) is the mainhub of Lion Air.

I arrived in sleepy condition, then hurriedly stopped DAMRI airport bus which was heading to Kampung Rambutan Terminal. Then I arrived at home by a motorbike taxi and thanked to Allah for giving me an exploration opportunity which was be an umpteenth chapter in the story of my life’s journey.

It is time to close story of my journey to Sumatra Land. And move on to the next trip.

Where am I going to ????


DAMRI Bus from Padang to Minangkabau International Airport

I ate its authentic taste of tambusuprocessed cow intestines with egg, tofu and spices in it – as the last dinner in a week of my adventure in Sumatra land. a culinary incident bothered me in mid-chewing. I thought that a chewy thing was a part of tambusu menu….Oh….it was a rubber band.

Restaurant owner : “Looks like Uda come from far away.”

Me                               :     “From Jakarta, Uda.

Restaurant owner     :     “Do you work in Padang, Uda?”

Me                              :     “Oh, no Uda. I’m just traveling.”

Restaurant owner     :     “Ohh….Where have you been, Uda?

Me                              :     “A few days ago I toured to Medan, Toba, Siantar, Pekanbaru and Bukittinggi, Uda. The last one is Padang….Now, I want to fly back to Jakarta.”

Restaurant owner    :     “Wow, this is great, Uda. The totality in traveling.

Light conversation was interrupted by Black Calya (Calya is Toyota brand in Indonesia) arrival who would take me to DAMRI Bus shelter in Hasanuddin Street. In pouring rain, I finally wet online taxi front seat. Luckily the owner was very friendly and ignored it, even though it was a new car which still had a strong factory scent.

Hasanuddin Street.

Unlike what I imagined, it turned out that the splendor of DAMRI bus shelter in my mindset was only realized by a open tent space which wasn’t better than a city bus shelter in general.

DAMRI Airport Bus shelter.

I was waiting for DAMRI bus arrival which would transfer me from Padang downtown to Minangkabau International Airport which was about 25 kilometers away and took about 40 minutes. All can be redeemed for USD 1.8.

While waiting for DAMRI bus to arrived, I continued to observe a soccer game which playing by teenagers who scattered to fill Imam Bonjol Square field for rain party while playing “the round leather“.

Imam Bonjol Square.

DAMRI bus conductor suddenly called me, “Uda, come on, get on, we’re going!” I didn’t even realize that DAMRI bus had arrived earlier.

That’s DAMRI Airport Bus.

Wet condition of DAMRI bus corridor showed that Minangkabau International Airport wasn’t spared from rain. This was a signal that I wouldn’t be free to search for material to writing a content about Minangkabau International Airport. Ahhh….I could miss an important content.

Only a few passengers

Air conditioner on DAMRI bus was so cold that it made me shiver because my T-shirt itself was too damp. A few passengers that afternoon made me not embarrassed in deciding to change my t-shirt on bus. Sitting at backseat and no one noticed me while shirtless….Hahaha.

Maybe because of heavy rain, so many people were reluctant to be on streets and prefered to temporarily postpone their own needs. Because of that, Streets were empty and made me quickly arrived at Minangkabau International Airport.

Minangkabau International Airport.

It was time to going back to Jakarta with Boeing 737 MAX 8 which is owned by Lion Air.

Batang Arau, Siti Nurbaya Bridge and Boeing 737 MAX 8

Dengarkan Manusia  yang Terasah oleh Falsafah

Sesaat Katanya itu bukan Dogma

(Cukup Siti Nurbaya by Dewa 19, year 1995)

White iron horse” digital miniature continued to approaching in a popular application. As a result, I had to open my rainbow motif umbrella and in a moment my feet stepped on the sidewalk. I got ready for entering white Avanza (a brand name of Toyota in Indonesia).

T-shirts which were already getting damp, some parts of backpack which were already soaking wet, combined with AC cold bursts of online taxi made my condition was uncomfortable at all. All due to my desire that wanted to spend the remaining sixty minutes to add my destination collection. Though actually, if I thought deeper, it didn’t really matter at all….Hahaha.

Driver    :     “Heavy rain like this, why do you impose yourself to go to the bridge, Uda?

Me        :     “Yes Uda, just curious

Driver    :     “But indeed, there are a lot of people who visiting that place, Uda. The view of Batang Arau River is very beautiful

Me :     “So that’s why, Uda

Batang Arau River has Mount Padang background at its end.

I didn’t know why that afternoon, Padang earthquake in 2009 continued to fulfill my brain capacity. I continued to investigate the driver about the story behind tragedy. What happened after earthquake shocks? What did the panic look like afterward? He explained that sea water had receded at that time. “This is a sign that we are ready to be hit by a tsunami, Uda“, he said choked up. People had resigned in prayer, everyone were ready to face the end of destiny. Luckily the disaster didn’t really happen.

18 year old bridge.

Within twenty minutes, the online taxi had crossed the bridge which I was aiming for. Not stopping, but he chose to pass a small u-turn at the end and then lowered me right in the middle of bridge.

Borrowing legendary woman name in Minang land, this bridge form is very easily recorded in memory. Yellow black poles with milky white lamps at its top, straddling Batang Arau River which has a width of about 160 meters, with green hills background and traditional ornament boats moored along the river…. Really beautiful.

Roasted corn traders seemed to prepare their mini stalls. If I could stay until dark, maybe I would enjoy a street culinary party over Siti Nurbaya bridge. Unfortunately my time wasn’t long.

The next plan is, I would quicken dinner time before arriving at airport, for saving my budget, of course. I chose “Warung Nasi Kapau Bandar Damar” to execute the plan. After that I immediately went to Minangkabau International Airport, catching Lion Air JT 257 which was scheduled to fly at 21:20.

Later, I will tell you how about my first flight with Boeing 737 MAX 8, the most beautiful opportunity to feel flying sensation with it before this aircraft type was grounded after Lion Air JT 610 crash in Tanjung Pakis waters, Karawang, Indonesia which was followed by a similar accident on Ethiopian Airlines ET 302 on farm land, Bishoftu city.

That was my quick journey story in Siti Nurbaya Bridge.

If you go to Padang, don’t forget to visit it!

Padang Beach or Padang Taplau?

His name is Asep. It is certainly not a local name, nor is it a native…He is Bandung’s origin and married to a Padang woman, making Aa (designation for brother in Bandung) Asep settled in Padang and now he was taking me to Padang Beach using his online motorcycle taxi.

The road was deserted because thick black cloud which has acquired Padang sky. The wind signaled by sending low-temperature air…. Soon, rain would be fall from sky. I just hope to enjoy Padang Beach for a while without rain to just get rid of curiosity.

I began to want to come to this beach since its form adorned television screen for days when there was a big earthquake in 2009 whose center was off the coast. Therefore, I forced myself to insert time even though it was only for four hours to stopby in Padang

Excitement of my heart when Aa Asep dropped me right under IORA Monument. IORA is an abbreviation of Indian Ocean Rim Association, an association of countries which were located in Indian Ocean Region.

Once in a while drizzle began to fall, but never mind, I could still stand on rock embankment which was built jutting toward sea. I really enjoyed my short time to feel the beauty of Padang. While some visitors began to leave plastic benches which were provided by pensi (clam) and young coconut traders.

I still felt sad, how panic of Padang people when facing a tsunami threat when earthquake occurred in 2009 even though the tsunami itself never happened.

The beach which is located along Samudera Street, has long been main tourist destination in Padang City. In addition to offering low-cost tourism, this beach is also a place which is easily accessible by anyone because it has become part of downtown and only thirty minutes from Padang’s tourist gate, i.e Minangkabau International Airport.

IORA monument.

Local residents often call Padang Beach as Padang Taplau. Taplau itself is an abbreviation of Tapi Lauik or the edge of sea.

Byuuurrrr….I ran and then took shelter on Velocity Burger & Coffee terrace located on the edge of Samudera Street. The rain was so heavy, it made water splash slowly wet my clothes and backpack. While I was still busy exploring my gadget to determine next tourist destination which was still possible to visit. It seemed like I won’t waste my time in Padang even if only briefly.

In the afternoon, most museums and several official tourist attractions have been closed. But I’ve already decided where to go next. I thought quickly, I benefited because I still had an umbrella which I bought while visiting Toba Lake few days ago. The rain didn’t dampen my steps to continue exploring. I ordered a online taxi to get there.

Where did I go to?

Black Stone Story Behind the Architecture of Grand Mosque of West Sumatra

My trip was briefly thrown from time lane. I, the lone traveler, must succumb to interest of all Maestro Travel passengers who were in a hurry to catch their respective flights. I just enjoyed in spending one hour to stay in travel car which took them to Minangkabau International Airport and afterwards I headed to Padang downtown.

Driver: “Where do you want to drop, Uda (Uda is designation for brother in West Sumatra)?“.

Me: “Drop me off at Grand Mosque of West Sumatra, Uda!

I preferred to get off at a destination which I want to go rather than having to follow travel path which would take new passengers from their office. Economical and effective of course.

Got off on Khatib Sulaiman Street, right at bus stop of Great Mosque of West Sumatra, I was confronted directly towards the grandest mosque in West Sumatra. I quickly entered its area through West Sumatra Malay Park which is also part of this “Thousand Wind Doors Mosque” courtyard.

Under renovation, it wasn’t possible to enter….Sad.

In the park, I was alone with a middle age man from Makassar City who also deliberately stopped by to look at this “mosque without dome“. His standing distance which was too close made it difficult to put the entire form of mosque in his selfie box. Seeing me who was busy capturing some picture, he seemed brave to approach me. As I guessed, I would have been asked to take his picture with this mosque as its background….Haha.

I managed to command him at will to get the best picture….Finally we were selfie together in his wide tab. See you Mr. Upe, had a nice trip for going back to Makassar.

Is a brilliant architect who managed to double meaning of unique roof as dome replacement. Physically visible, it is an “Gonjong (Gonjong is a typical roof from West Sumatra)” roof consisting of four tops which were placed on each side. But in fact, Its form holds a historical meaning. That is a fabric shape which was used by leaders of Quraysh four tribes when moving the Black Stone (Hajar Al-Aswad) in the Kaaba.

The path to the top floor directly.

Honestly, I myself never thought this mosque shape which is very grand and unique. I’ve never seen its form throug internet surfing or tried to find out before visiting it. So you can imagine how I was amazed when standing right in front of this iconic religious building.

Able to accommodate twenty thousand worshipers.

Occupying four hectares area, Grand Mosque of West Sumatra in addition to being the largest place of worship in region, it has also become a city landmark, a religious tourism destination, and even has a reserve function as a disaster relief, that is as an evacuation shelter if tsunami happens…. Understandably, Padang was ever haunted by tsunami due to a large earthquake in 2009….Luckily, tsunami didn’t really come.

The first extraordinary impression which I got when I stopped by for a moment in Padang.

Beautiful Padang……

Maestro Travel from Bukittinggi to Padang

It’s so easy to order travel and bus services in Sumatra Island. Pick up the phone, mention the destination, convey the departure time then ask what time to get ready at travel or bus office!….No need to pay in advance….Then you will arrive at your destination if you aren’t late to come to their office.

INTRA Bus from Pematang Siantar to Pekanbaru….

Travel Annanta from Pekanbaru to Bukittinggi….

Now, an easy procedure was repeated for Maestro Travel from Bukittinggi to Padang….


The last day in Bukittinggi or if calculated from the beginning of my journey is my sixth day in Sumatra land, I recounted my journey with Maestro Travel when I began to phone call a woman front office staff at eight in the morning on departure day.

You will sit in the back seat and please come half an hour before departure time, Uda (Uda is designation for brother in West Sumatra). Prepare a fare for about USD 3! “, She simply said.


I rushed to De Kock Hotel after my last visitation in Panorama Park. No time to took a shower again, I thought only one, tonight I would arrive in Jakarta and would soak with warm water in my bucket at home ….As long as I want….Hahaha.

Black Vixion (Vixion is brand name of Yamaha motorbike in Indonesia) picked me up on hotel terrace then drove fast through density of Sudirman Street to Maestro Travel office, three kilometers away. In fifteen minutes I arrived. Entering the office, I was greeted by a veiled young woman, I handed over the fare and held a ticket to Padang.

There were still twenty minutes left before travel car arrived. According to the front office staff, travel car were still driving around to picking up passengers at their respective homes. I just decided to go to a small restaurant around the office and order a serving of “Pecel Ayam” (Pecel Ayam is rice with fried chicken and chili sauce) and a glass of water. This time I ate it very quickly, like a snake swallowing a hedgehog….Uppsss.

I arrived back at travel office in situation that travel car was ready and all passengers seemed to be looking towards me. Apparently I was awaited by all the passengers, I hope they weren’t upset.

Middle seat and next to the driver were occupied by a small family package. Husband and wife, their little daughter and husband’s mother-in-law. While I sat in back seat with a Slovak named Boris. A young postman, bald-headed, thin-bodied and a hobby looking for silence.

In back seat we talked all the way. The story began with impression of his journey in Kazakhstan where no one bothered him when he went up the mountain alone. Then it continues on to his habit that he will feel dizzy when working in an office, therefore he chose to be a postman in Slovakia.

Why is this car passing a small road like this? Can we arrive at the airport on time?”, he said to me.

I think that driver is trying to get through the faster road, Boris …. Hahaha”, I answered.

If he fails, It’s not funny….Not funny”, he was panicked. Indeed, his flight schedule was only one hour from estimated time of arrival which was said by Google Maps on my smartphone.

I tried to distract by continuing to talk. I didn’t know how the begining theme, so we could talk about Indonesian 0 km point in Sabang, Ijen Crater, Probolinggo, Lazada e-commerce, and secondhand iPhones which he thought it was cheap if purchased in Indonesia. One more thing, we discussed about direct flights from Manado to Manila. Until family head who sat next to the driver explained to Boris that that flight didn’t exist.

I passed a waterfall at the edge of road, I knew it was “Lembah Anai” Waterfall. That means I was forty kilometers from Padang City. Boris asked me to stopping the driver and allowed him to buy some mineral water, expensive if he had to buy it at airport. I thought it didn’t need to stop, I have some supply of bottled mineral water. It was result of collected it from Sri Indrayani Hotel in Pekanbaru, Annanta Travel and De Kock Hotel in Bukittinggi. I gave him two bottles. “I really appreciate you, Donny … very much appreciate,” he said while patting my arm.

That was my farewell to him, he must get off at Minangkabau International Airport and heading to Malang. That family package would go to Bandung. While I would head to Padang downtown to explore it for four hours, considering I would back to Jakarta at eight o’clock at night.