Kampung Laut’s Kampung Batik

Shortly after entering room number 523 at The Azana Hotel Airport, I rushed into bathroom, then came out with wearing casual clothes. From his face, I knew that Mr. Muchlis was starving. Because of this, he has been snacking on packaged peanuts which he brought from the rehearsal place.

Come on sir, let’s go, looking for dinner!“, I said while preparing Canon EOS M10.

Where are we going to have dinner, Donny?“, He also seemed to didn’t have choice.

Do you want to go to Kampung Laut or not? Let’s eat seafood!”, I asked him. Secretly, I’ve found this restaurant through browsing since leaving the airport this afternoon.

Is it far, Donny?“, He asked. Maybe he was reluctant because as far as I know his passion is not far from climbing mountains, doing city exploration made him was grabbed by laziness.

No sir, it’s only six kilometers, at most a quarter of an hour, sir, let’s go! Before too late.“, I said.

I agree, Donny. I will order a online taxi”, Let’s go.

Soon, a black Honda Jazz picked up us at the lobby, we drove to Tawangsari area. I understand that this was same route when I left Ahmad Yani International Airport to The Azana Hotel Airport. We passed Yos Sudarso Street then turned left and following Puri Anjasmoro Street towards the airport. It was just that we will stop about two kilometers before actually arriving at the airport.

We arrived at Kampung Laut Restaurant.

Together with Mr. Muchlis in Kampung Laut.

Once arrived at our destination, I forgot to be hungry. Sight of whole restaurant made my exploration desire relapse. I asked Mr. Muchlis to find a seat, I briefly looked at the menu at a table, then I asked him to order white rice, sweet and sour squid and young coconut ice for my dishes.

I’ll walk around for a while, Sir, let me know where we will sit!“, I hurriedly asked.

I’ll sit in the middle, there Donny, I’ll wait!“, He pointed to a small table in open space on west side of main hut.

Yes Sir“, I closed our quick conversation.

I left him to explore some spots in restaurant which is designed to float on artificial lake. I started to enter the first part which was eight main huts, four on left and the rest on right. Elongated tables with dozens of chairs were arranged under huts, as a sign that that huts are used to serve large numbers of visitors. It seemed that Mr. Muchlis was right to chose a small table in outer court.

A row of huts with a pond in front of it.
Long dining table in the hut….Perfect for eating together with all office-mate.

Meanwhile, at western end, there is a long platform leading to a “Kampung Laut” nameboard which is designed to be a spot to take pictures for visitors after eating. The concept which attracts young people to visit here.

The best photo spot in Kampung Laut.

Not long after, I immediately joined with Mr. Muchlis for dinner after he sent a short message “Foods are ready, Donny. Come here!“.

Come on, dinner….

Outdoor dining table.
Our menu: water spinach, squids, fishes, coconut ice and avocado juice….It was simple menu… .Hahahaha.

After eating, I talked about rehearsal this afternoon which Mr. Muchlis did without my help. Were there anything missing?, what can be prepared again before tomorrow’s training?. “All were done, Donny, you don’t need to worry. The important thing is tomorrow we come half an hour before the event start, Okay! “, He concisely and convincingly said .

Before closing our dinner at Kampung Laut Restaurant, we stood in front of a small stage and enjoyed several songs which sung by a beautiful singer. Wow, if there were a lot of time, I would definitely sing with her. But seemed, She was singing a few requested songs from restaurant guests.

What was the best song if I had a duet with her?… .”Yellow” or “Tiwas Tresno”.

At exactly 21:30 hours, we withdrew and immediately headed to hotel to rest. Mr. Muchlis swiftly brought in an online taxi with Wuling Confero brand. This was first time for me to feel sensation of riding a China car.
Hmmhhh….It was quite relieved. “This uses a Chevrolet engine, for your information, Sir“, said the driver, proud to his car. Woow….When I hear a “Chevrolet” word, the first image which comes to my mind is the yellow “Bumblebee”.

Eittt I forgot, before actually leaving the restaurant, for you who wanted to shop for “Batik (Javanese clothes)“, there was a “Kampung Batik” outlet that sells Semarang typical batik.

For Batik fans…. Please stop by.

Time for sleeping and got a sweet dream, my friend …….

Beautiful Spots at The Azana Hotel Airport

Almost Isha’ time….

I entered The Azana Hotel Airport gate which is located on edge of Jenderal Sudirman Street just under Kalibanteng flyover. Hotel room which have booked by my office for three days for USD 33/night.

The Azana Hotel Airport.

Thing that I know is, my colleague, Mr. Muchlis, who comes from Gresik City, had been opening the room since noon. He preceded me, because he departed earlier using Argo Bromo Anggrek train from Surabaya this morning. In fact, he had completed all kinds of rehearsals for next two days of training. Make all were easy for me, because I just accepted final concept when I arrived in Semarang….Thank you, Mr. Muchlis.

Reception desk.
Mini bar in lobby.

I got information that our room which was ordered with office name was number 523, so I decided to directly go to upstairs for quickly pausing and cleaning myself, I felt very disheveled after half a day of was exposured by capital city street dust.

I had a plan to hunt seafood with Mr. Muchlis after taking a bath, it was normal, when I had an office assignment like this, I always used it to improve nutrition….Hahahaha. But I didn’t know where we would go, I would have a discussion with him later.

Room corridor.
Guest room.
Bathroom.

It was also nice to meet friend from same company but from different branches. I worked at head office and Mr. Muchlis at Surabaya branch. We usually met once a year during Year End Party, a moment where awards are given to several outstanding employees.

That night, we decided to go to Kampung Laut in Tawangsari area. For an hour and a half, we enjoyed seafood dishes on the lake. Enjoying the taste, sitting back, relax, enjoying fruit juice, eating sea food while was accompanied by a local band amidst splash of serene lights. Releasing tired after a long journey.

After being satisfied and full, on around 9:30 p.m., we left Kampung Laut Restaurant, took by online taxi which using Wuling Confero (a brand of China car), we headed back to hotel.

And it’s not a Donny if I stop exploring….Arriving at hotel, I didn’t directly go to the room for rest. According to information from reception staff, on seventh floor or the top floor, I could enjoy the beauty of Semarang city from a height. Immediately I headed to Sky Lounge. Here were the best pictures which I have:

Sky Lounge. You can order hot coffee here….Cool, right?.
Kalibanteng Flyover was rich in color.
Great views towards beach and airport.

Not only that, I also went out to street in front of hotel. The festive colors of lights on Bunderan Kalibanteng Street have actually attracted several young people to spend their night at the roundabout. Meanwhile, at intersection point of Yos Sudarso Street and Jenderal Sudirman Street, there is a statue of Ir. Soekarno who was reading proclamation text.

Is third statue of Ir. Soekarno in Atlas City.

So on second day in Semarang, I went back upstairs to get something, here it was:

Guess!….Dawn or dusk?

Oh yes, literally, Azana means “the most luxurious“. Maybe it reflects this hotel vision. Then in general, The Azana Hotel Airport provides guest rooms on the third, fifth and sixth floors. Meanwhile, restaurant and meeting room are placed on second floor. The karaoke area and lobby are on Ground floor. Then swimming pool is placed on basement floor.

Let’s had breakfast at hotel restaurant. After that let’s worked and continued to explore Semarang City in the afternoon!

Taxi from Ahmad Yani International Airport to Downtown

The debate of choice was quickly over by my own authority. “Don’t be obedient to backpacker art, Donny. This is an business trip, just take facility advantage, take a taxi! ”, I firmly thought to defeated some stupid options which sometimes sporadically appeared in my attitudes and choices.

Oh, thrifty man“, my colleagues joked, that’s brand which is embedded to me. How come?. Every time I leave the airport, I always automatically think that taking a bus was only a quarter of taxi cost. So I always linger waiting for catch bus to downtown.

Taxi Service Counter at Ahmad Yani International Airport.

Almost Maghrib time….

My phone kept ringing from my colleague who was doing a training rehearsel session in Bukit Semarang Baru (BSB) area. Without hesitation I picked up my smartphone, it turned out that he just wanted to tell me that I better directly go to hotel, because the rehearsel would be complete in fifteen minutes.

Five minutes in queueing to got a taxi service ticket for USD 3.7, I was immediately directed to a taxi. A simple middle-aged driver jogged to pick me up. “Assalamu’alaikum. Where are you going, sir? ”he asked with smile and then brought my cardboard box on his left shoulder and carried two roll up banners in his right hand.

This airport taxi service is managed by Primkopad (Primer Koperasi Taksi Angkatan Darat) S-16.

As usual, my beloved backpack still never leaves me, with me it was entering from front door. I read ID Card board which was pasted on the dashboard.

Do you a resident here , Sir Ari?“, I opened conversation while putting on safety belt and then skied together to hotel.

Oh no sir, I am from Pekalongan City. Where were you come from, sir? ”He replied as he slowly stepped on pedal out of airport area.

I’m from the capital, Sir. How long have you been working in Semarang? Is Semarang a busy city?“, dialogue smoothly flowed to warm the situation.

It was only been three years, Mr. Donny. Previously I worked in Jakarta, because of my son had graduated from school, so I moved to Semarang to be close to home”, he cheerfully said controlling his white taxi leaving Tambakharjo area.

Office assignment, Sir Donny?“, He asked like investigating….Hahaha.

Yes, if it’s not an office assignment, I usually take airport bus, Sir. Does this airport have airport bus service to downtown, Sir? “, I asked for looking for a reference.

Yes, there is Trans Semarang BRT (Bus Rapid Transit). It’s cheap, only USD 0.3 for one way, Sir”, He explained.

Me and Mr. Ari.
Puri Anjasmoro Street on 17:24 hours.

It had been a long time, I didn’t use an airport taxi service. So that I really enjoy 20 minutes to enjoy it….Thank you to my beloved office for this opportunity.

Slowly, taxi turned right, starting to passed at Yos Sudarso Street, heading south. I moved from new construsction road with concrete barrier to two-lane road on each section, is bordered as high as its sidewalk and many shady trees on each left side.

In twenty minutes, with a distance of six kilometers, I arrived at The Azana Hotel Airport. I handed over USD 7.5 to Mr. Ari. I purposely gave more this trip cost and shared kindness to him….Self-conscious, when I’m backpacking, I rarely gave more for trip cost….Hahahaha.

I would stay for two nights at this hotel.

Let’s see in the next four days, What did Semarang have?

Staying at De Kock Hotel, Hunting the Gadang Clock Tower

Driver: “Donny, just get off here, okay? This car will turn to right, then car will run further away from downtown“.

Me: “Oh Okay, Uda. No problem for me

I was lowered by Annanta Travel on Veteran Street, I sat for a moment and stretched muscle stiffness after sitting in the back seat for eight hours. The white statue of Tuanku Imam Bonjol on his horse became the first sight which entertained my arrival in Bukittinggi. The “Paderi War” Leader spreaded charisma, valiantly without sound.

T-junction of Veteran Street, Pemuda Street (left) and Ahmad Yani Street (right).

After two days felt scalding heat in Pekanbaru, now I enjoyed Bukittinggi’s cool air. Now I was free to direct my camera to every where without sun sting. I had to occasionally stop because city contours which are up and down, making me gasped for breath with backpack’s burden on my back.

Entering Teuku Umar Street, which began to decline.

From a distance, I continued to look each other with a young blond girl who was sitting to enjoying the afternoon on big motorcycle. I predicted that she was precisely sitting in front of De Kock Hotel where I would stay in it.

It was true, arrived right at the big motorcycle was parked, I was confronted to hotel lobby in the form of a cafe, then young girl followed me and hurried to reception desk. It seemed like she was a hotel staff on duty that afternoon.

I would sleep on second floor of that simple dormitory.

Me: “Hi. Were you in Samosir four days ago?, I think that we stayed at a similar hotel, Bagus Bay Homestay”.

Noah: “Oh really? Yes, I was in Samosir four days ago”.

Me: “I’m Donny. I am an Indonesian traveler. What is your name?”.

Noah: “I’m Noah form California”.

Me: “Are you on vacation, No? What do you do in America?”.

Noah: “Yes, I’m on vacation. I am an engineer at oil company. What is your job in Indonesia? “.

Me: “Marketing”.

Noah: “What marketing?”.

Me: “I work in field, meet customers, and sell products”.

Noah: “Oh, you aren’t marketing. You are a sales. How about your income? Good income? I work with good income but with high risk in America … hahahaha”.

Me:” Yes, of course, I’m a salesman. I got a lot of money from my work”.

That was Noah, my new friend in Bukittinggi. Incidentally we were the only two who staying in the dormitory room with five single beds.

—-****—-

I sat in the lobby, a medium-sized bottle of Coca Cola managed to freeze my sweat after walking in a kilometer. That afternoon I intend to visit Gadang Clock Tower which is only half a kilometer to northwest of hotel.

Around 17:30 hours, I started to moving and carrying camera towards Gadang Clock Tower. I chose to walk through Yos Sudarso Street which tends to be flat and then descending on Istana Street.

Novotel’s old building.

Directly across from Novotel is Bukittinggi Plaza. I just quietly stood in mall courtyard to enjoy the beauty of Gadang Clock Tower. Sabai Nun Aluih Park, which was under the clock tower, was covered with a tight project’ iron sheeting. Apparently, There was park renovation.

96-years-old clock dedicated to secretary of Fort de Kock (old name of Bukittinggi).

As its name “Gadang” which in Minang language means “Large”, this clock tower is twenty-six meters in high with four 128-years-old twin clocks which was directly brought from Rotterdam via Bayur Port.

Operated by a Brixlion engine whose its twin is in Big Ben, London.

Was designed by Radjo Mangkuto, Gadang Clock Tower was made with 4 levels. The lowest level is the officer’s room, second level contains a clock’s ballast pendulum. Clock is placed on third level and the uppest level is tower top where clock’s bell are placed.

I was happy, being able to see Gadang Clock Tower which since I was a little boy, I only knew it through my elementary school textbook.

16 Tourist Attractions in Bukittinggi

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. Gadang Clock 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

Cindua Mato Street towards Pasar Atas

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.

13. Zoological Museum

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.

14. Sianok Canyon

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.

16. Panorama Park

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.