Sumatra's

BUKITTINGGI

Global Rate : 14.67 /20

 

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
3 4 4 5 4 4 3 2 4 14.66

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
16 100% 62% (10) 94% (15) ? 14.69


Description :
A pleasant city of 85.000 habitants, located at a cool altitude of  930 m,  between two volcanoes : Mount Merapi and Mount Singgalang.  Near the equator, it belongs to West Sumatra with Minangkabau ("victorious buffalo") language and culture. 

Comments : This one of the most popular spot in Sumatra and there are plenty of things around to keep busy.

Orientation : The dynamic area of this spread out town start on the Clock Tower ("Jam Gadang") place and continues along Jalan A Yani, where most GH, restaurants, travel agents and others services are located.  

What to do ? Collect info about the area in the GH or trave agencies /  If little time, book a tour around the area, after negotiating the price down (around Rp65.000) / Watch and bet on  a buffalo fight / Trek 8 to 10 days on wild Siberut Island and meet the Mentawai Tribe / Learn about  the Minangkabau culture at a danse and traditional music show / Admire a 150 m deep canyon panorama, surrounded by two volcano / Walk the canyon toward a "silver village" / Relax at a park nesting a small zoo and a museum in a superb traditional house / Step down to WWII Japanese caves / Walk big local markets 

What you may not like ? The offer of tours everywhere / The need to rent a motorbike to visit around and the cost at Rp 65.000 (the tour is therefore a good option) /  The cost of the trek (US$120 to 150) and the difficulty to visit on your own / Being at the top of a volcano when it wakes up / Getting lost in the jungle / 

How long ? One or two days for the town plus one or two days for the surroundinds (more if trekking) 


Where to stay ? Most places offers tickets & tour services. All are within 10mn walk from the Clock Tower or the Novotel. It is highly recommended to negotiate : as there are plenty of places, do not hesitate to check other places before committing 

- On Jl A Yami, the street North from the Clock Tower :

  • Dahlya Hotel (0752) 22185, No 104-106 Jl A. Yani  / Dbl 30000, w. HW shower 55-65000, Trpl 125000 / Ticket booking / TV, cafe & tea available but not free / Correct rooms but not cheap
  • Le Flamboyan, No 99  Jl A.Yani / Basic Dbl 10000 (1) or 15000 (2), w. shower 20000 (1) or 30000(2) / Rather basic 
  • Yani Hotel (0752) 22419, No 101 Jl A.Yani / Sgl w. lavatory 10000, Dbl w. shower w. HW 25000, Trpl 40000, Family room (6 people) 40000 / Go there for free coffee or tea once a day, the good price for HW, the friendly family atmosphere, the acceptable rooms 
  • Singgalang Hotel (0752) 21576, abdullah_prm@yahoo.com, No 130 Jl A.Yani / Trpl 15000, w. shower 30000 / Go there for the friendly family atmosphere, the free tea and coffee all day long, the laundry and tickets services, the games... Of course, it is basic. 
  • Bamboo Homestay (0752) 23288, No32 Jl A.Yani  / Dorm (4) 7000, small Sgl 10000, Dbl w. shower 12500-15000 / Go there for the cheapest bed in town, the cheapest shower,  the friendly atmosphere, to get info from the owner (himself a guide) about all Indonesia , the tickets, restaurant (local dishes) and laundry services,... Of course, it is basic as well. 
  • Nirwana Hotel (0752) 32032, No 32 Jl A.Yani / Dbl 20000, Trpl w. shower 40000 / Expensive for what you get
  • Tigo Balai Hotel (0752) 21728, No100 Jl A.Yani / Dbl 10000 (1), 15000 (2), Trpl 22500, Quad 30000 / Common shower w. bucket / Info and motorbike (650000) / Cheap but basic rooms
  • Murni Hotel  (0752)35569 No 115 Jl A.Yani / Sgl 8000, Dbl 10000 / Common toilets and shower / Go there for the cheap Sgl and the cheapest Dbl but it is basic. 
  • Srihardi Hotel (0752) 22984, No 117 Jl A.Yani / Sgl w. shower 20000, Dbl w. bucket shower 22500, w. shower 30000, w. HW and TV 50000, Trpl 70000 / No English spoken but spotless rooms

- Superiors Hotels on Jl Kesehatan, the street prolongating Jl A. Yani toward the North-West :

  • Hotel Asia (0752) 625277, fax 625278, No 38 Jl Kesehatan, at the end of  Jl A. Yani, on the left / Dbl w. HW shower and satellite TV Rp50000, w. terrace Rp75000, Trpl Rp100000 / Add. 10% tax but breakfast included / CB accepted 
  • Hotel Lima's (0752) 82641, No34 Jl Keselhatan / Rooms from Rp50000 to Rp110000 / Same services as the above but also a restaurant
  • Hotel Denai (0752) 32920, fax 33490, No26 Jl Keselhatan / AC rooms from Rp95000 to Rp676000 (!) 

- Near  Fort de Kock :  

  • Hotel Benteng (0752) 21115-22128, fax 22596, No1 Jl Benteng, the street south of Fort de Kock / Superior Hotel / Dbl w. HW shower, TV & tel from 48000 (1) or 54000 (2) / CB accepted
  • Merdeka Homestay (0752) 21253, No20 Jl Dr.Rivai, west of the above street, south of Jl Keselhatan, east of the canyon, opp. RS Sayang Baya (Medical Service) / Sgl w. shower 15-20000, Dbl 20-30000, Trpl 24-36000, w. HW 25000 (1), 35000 (2) or 45000 (3) / Cafe and restaurant / Go there for the relaxing and green location, the charming Dutch House and  the correct rooms / What you may not like : it is next to the road
  • Gema Homestay (0752) 22338, No15 Jl Yos Sudarso, street prolongating Jl Benteng toward the south and the Novotel  / Dbl 10000, Dbl w. bucket shower 15000, Trpl 20000 / Go there for the friendly family atmosphere, the relative isolation and the cheapest Dbl / What you may not like : the rooms are basic and little English is spoken. 
  • Chikita Homestay, No11 Jl Yos Sudarso / Sgl 7-8000, Dbl 10000 / Common toilets and shower / Same as above plus video, info on the area, free tea or coffee (when prepared). It also boost the cheapest Sgl and Dbl in town
  • D'enam Hotel (0752) 21333, No4 Jl Yos Sudarso / Sgl 12500, Dbl 16000, w. shower 17500 / Go there for the friendly family atmosphere, the free tea, the good info about the area, the games, the intimate size (7 rooms only)
  • Permandangan Hotel, "mountain view" (0752) 21621, No31 Jl Yos Sudarso, opp. the above / Big Dbl w. shower 20000 / Go there for the nice view over the mountains, the massage & acupuncture services, the correct rooms and the info on the area
  • Wisma Bukittinggi or Hotel Melati 1 (0752) 34008, No25 Jl Yos Sudarso / Dorm (3) 10000, Dbl w. shower 15000 (1) or 25-30000 (2) / Motorbike (65000), info, laundry, tours, etc. 
  • Sari Bundo Hotel (0752) 22953, 22637, No7 Jl Yos Sudarso / Superior Hotel / Rooms from 55000 (cold water) to 120000

- At other locations :

  • Orchid hotel (0752) 32634, orchidbkt@hotmail.com, No11 Jl Teuku Umar, the street that link Jl Yos Sudarso to Jl A.Yani / Superior Hotel / Dbl w. shower 20000, w. HW & TV 27500/people, Quad without shower 30000 / Incl. tax and breakfast / Info on the area, tours & treks, etc. / Go there for the good quality price ratio 
  • Hotel Kartini (0752) 22885, No6  Jl T.Umar / Small Superior Hotel / Dbl w. HW shower 35-40000, add. bed 10000 / Incl. breakfast / Go there for the charming setting with a living-room and the good quality price ratio 
  • Hotel Surya (0752) 22587, No7 Jalan A. Karim, the small street going north from the Novotel / Dbl 16000, w. shower 22-28000, Trpl 24000, w. shower Rp42000,  Quad 32000, w. shower 44000 / Go there to meet local people / What you may not like : no breakfast, next to the noisy mosque and no english spoken
  • Hotel gallery (0752) 23515, fax 31496, No25 Jl H.Agus Salim, street south Novotel / Superior Hotel / Econ Dbl w. shower 30000, w. HW & TV 55000, w. bathtube 65000, family deluxe 100000 / Shows three times a week, video, laundry, etc.  
  • Hotel Ambun Suri (0752) 34406, 23343, fax 31427, No2 Jl Panorama / Superior Hotel / Rooms w. HW shower & satellite TV from 60500 / incl. tax & breakfast 
  • Hotel Antokan (0752) 22506, No8 Jl Perintis Kemerdekaan, the street with BNI Bank / Hotel for local people / Room 17500-25000 (1 or 2), 25-30000 (3), 35000 (6), w. shower 21500 (1), 26500-32500 (2), 30-35000 (3) or 41500 (4) / Basic but clean


Backpacker's Tips : Bonnie Fournier, Canada (Nov 01)
 The hotel manager of the Orchid, Paul, is very helpful with lots of knowledge and information and will give you all the options. He will even give you free nights if you take the jungle trek or the one day trip around the area as he does not take the commission.

Where to eat ?  Plenty of travellers places along Jl Ahmad Yani.  Padang Food are also plentiful (and more authentic) : head toward the market !

Bike or Motorbike ? Motorbike expensive at Rp 65.000. Available for example at Wisma Bukittinggi or Tigo Balai Hotel

Internet ?  All along A. Yani plus at other places for Rp12000 per hour

Change Money ? The best place is at BNI Bank, south Clock Tower on JL Perintis Kemerdekaan. ATM available. Other banks as well. Travel agencies are also an option after the banks working hours. 

Tourist Office ?  Just North-East of the Clock Tower, beside the market parking, the main office offers good brochures and info. Open Mond to Thurs 8am to 2pm, Frid to 11am and Sat to 12:30pm. Another office next to Minangkabau dance centre. 


Keep busy in & around Bukittinggi ?

- Panorama park (Rp1100 adult, Rp900 child) : accessible via Jl Panorama, beind the Novotel. The view to the Ngarai Canyon is great, with the two volcano Marapi (still active) & Singgalang and the little river at the bottom. It is possible to go down from the park, with or without a guide. From the canyon, you can head to a "silver village" (Koto Gadang famous for its silver craftmanship), about one hour south-east of town,  via the road or the jungle (beware not to get lost !) Japanese tombs can also be spotted in the park. 

-  Fort de Cock" (Rp1600 adult, Rp1100 child) : more a parc than a fort, it contains a little zoo and a charming traditional Minangkabau house turned into an interesting museum (Rp500/300), both accessible via a footbridge above Jl A. Yani. It is very plesant to walk around and the view is nice. 

- The market : It takes place daily at the foot of the Clock Tower but the best time for a visit is Wednesday or Saturday, the two official markets days. Everything can be found, from food, local craftmanship and clothes. You can easily spend half a day wandering around. 

- Buffalo Fights : It taking a tour on Tuesday or Saturday, a stop for a fight is usually included. If on your own, head to the bus terminal (Rs500) and from there, take a bus to Kota Baru (Rs1000). Depending of the location of the fight (ask for precise info before), you may have to walk a bit. The fight usually start at 4pm and cost Rp1500. This unusual local and colorful show is not bloody as some other fights may be. Betting seems to be a local obligation there. 

- Dance & Music Show : every night at 8:30pm (or when enough people) at the Medan Nan Balituduang,  opp. BNI Bank. It cost Rp20000 and you can sometimes negotiate the price down at the entrance. A different Minangkabau show every night as different troups. 

- Rafflesia in bloom ? There is a flower sanctuary near the village of Palupuh, 16km north of town. The season is between August and November so ask at the tourist office before heading there. 


A wild great trek ?  
Bukittinggi can be the starting point for a 8 to 10 days trek to Siberut Island (Mentawai Islands) : still wild and populated by the Mentawai Tribe, it offers a great opportunity to share authenticity and traditions. Most people consider this experience as one of their best in Indonesia. Only drawback : it is very expensive for the country  at US$120-150. Going on your own is not recommended as difficult (transport and communication are primitive) and not cheaper (an expensive permit is required). So, start saving !  It is also possible to start the trek from Padang, where the boat leave for Siberut. / Other treks are possible up to Gunung Merapi or Danau Maninjau.  

Backpacker's Tips : Bonnie Fournier, Canada (Nov 01)
Siberut Island- it costs $150.00 USD for 10 days from Bukittinggi. Be aware : there are many people who say they are guides but do not have a license. The best guide in Bukittinggi is "Eddie" he is the most senior and the chief of all the guides. We returned disappointed as we went with someone else. Warning: it is 10 days of trekking through the mud, thick, slippery and sometimes knee deep. Many long days of trekking. The Mentawi people are paid to have guests stay at their house and take pictures. More of a tourist trap than anything. The ferry is an overnight one infested with cockroaches !

Backpacker's Tips : Stephanie Thullen, Mexico (August 01)
If you are going to Nias Island from here, do not let anyone book you on a tourist bus that leaves after 9 am. You will not make it in time for the ferry. / If you have plenty of time, go to Kerenci Seblat National Park. We have heard good things about it, and would have liked to go, but unfortunately were on a tight schedule. Saw a tour being offered at Maninjau. 

Bus Schedules :

To Price Type Duration Time Nb Freq.
Lake Maninjau 2500 ordi  1.5      
Padang 3000 ordi 3      
Lake Toba 50-65K / 70K / 100-115K AC / mini (1) / luxe 12-14      
Medan 45K ordi        
Jakarta [boat ?] 80K / 115-245 ordi / AC-luxe 35      
Batam (2) 100K / 125K ?? / mini        

(1) with Tobali Tour & Travel
(2) Bus + Boat. It is possible to spend the night at Pekanbaru but the Hotel is very bad for Rp25000 

Backpacker's Tips : Matthew Woelfle, USA (Jan 03)
 When attempting to go from Bukit Tinggi to Melaka via Dumai, you will have two options. One is to take a night bus to Dumai, arriving in the morning and then taking the ferry. The other is to take a day bus and break the trip up in Peckanbaru. I chose the later, as I didn't want to take another white knuckle bus ride at night. After getting to Peckanbaru, I bought a bus ticket for 7AM the next morning, the earliest departure, figuring I'd get to Dumai in time for my 1PM ferry. It didn't happen. The bus didn't leave until 8:30 and, despite not encountering any problems, outside of city traffic in Peckanbaru, we didn't get to Dumai until just after 1. Unlike most things in Indonesia, the ferry had left on time and I was stuck in Dumai for the night. It's not as filthy as Peckanbaru, but budget options are non existant, and you're wasting a whole day as there is absolutely nothing to do in town. I'm sure it's possible to get to Dumai in time for the ferry, but no matter what, you'll be cutting it close. Suck it up and take the night bus from Bukit Tinggi or it may turn into a three day trip!