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Bukittinggi is a city in West Sumatra.


Bukittinggi (Indonesian for "high hill") is one of the larger cities in West Sumatra, Indonesia, with a population of over 91,000 people and an area of 25.24 km². It is situated in the Minangkabau highlands, 90 km by road from the West Sumatran capital city of Padang. It is located at 0°18′20″S 100°22′9″E / 0.30556°S 100.36917°E / -0.30556; 100.36917, near the volcanoes Mount Singgalang (inactive) and Mount Marapi (still active). At 930 m above sea level, the city has a cool climate with temperatures between 16.1°-24.9°C.

It rains every day in Bukittinggi. However, these tend to be short and light showers that will not affect your activities. Wear proper shoes especially if you intend to hike the Jangjang Seribu.


There are some interesting legends surrounding the foundation and naming of “High Hill” Bukittinggi. The city has its origins in five villages which served as the basis for a marketplace. The city was known as Fort de Kock during colonial times in reference to the Dutch outpost established here in 1825 during the Padri War. The fort was founded by Captain Bauer at the top of Jirek hill and later named after the then Lieutenant Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies, Hendrik Merkus de Kock. The first road connecting the region with the west coast was built between 1833 and 1841 via the Anai Gorge, easing troop movements, cutting the costs of transportation and providing an economic stimulus for the agricultural economy. In 1856 a teacher-training college (Kweekschool) was founded in the city, the first in Sumatra, as part of a policy to provide educational opportunities to the indigenous population. A rail line connecting the city with Payakumbuh and Padang was constructed between 1891 and 1894. During the Japanese occupation of Indonesia in World War II, the city was the headquarters for the Japanese 25th Army, the force which occupied Sumatra. The headquarters was moved to the city in April 1943 from Singapore, and remained until the Japanese surrender in August 1945.

During the Indonesian National Revolution, the city was the headquarters for the Emergency Government of the Republic of Indonesia (PDRI) from December 19, 1948 to July 13, 1949. During the second 'Police Action' Dutch forces invaded and occupied the city on December 22, 1948, having earlier bombed it in preparation. The city was surrendered to Republican officials in December 1949 after the Dutch government recognized Indonesian sovereignty. The city was officially renamed Bukittinggi in 1949, replacing its colonial name. From 1950 until 1957, Bukittinggi was the capital city of a province called Central Sumatra, which encompassed West Sumatra, Riau and Jambi. In February 1958, during a revolt in Sumatra against the Indonesian government, rebels proclaimed the Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Indonesia (PRRI) in Bukittinggi. The Indonesian government had recaptured the town by May the same year.

Get in[edit]

Bukittinggi is located about 2 hours north-east by road from the international airport in Padang. The only way to get there is by car, but all roads are good and smooth. As Bukittinggi is a tourist destination, try to avoid traveling on weekends as the traffic can be quite bad especially when climbing uphill.

By bus[edit]

DAMRI is the bus operator that goes to Padang (price Rp. 17.500), from there you can continue to Bukittinggi by minivan ("travel") for the price of Rp. 15.000. Not recommended for those who don't want to stop at Padang. Several bus companies (such as ALS) run buses from Parapat near Danau Toba. The trip is very winding and rough, and takes approximately 15 hours. Be prepared for bus sickness, and to pay around Rp. 240.000 (as of August 2015). As the trip is uphill from Danau Toba, the one-way fare is more expensive this way than coming from the south.

Numerous buses go from Medan to Jakarta and stop on the way at Bukittinggi.

By taxi[edit]

At BIM(Bandara International Minangkabau)-International Airport of Padang, there's an official desk where you can order a taxi. The trip price is fixed and you can't bargain. This is the better and faster way of getting a taxi. A taxi trip to Bukittinggi is Rp. 340.000. You pay 50% of the cost to the driver when getting in and the other 50% at arrival (Nov 2019). Recommended for small groups up to 4 people.

  • Update August 2015

The Airport Taxi use meter now, and they estimate the cost to Bukittinggi to be around 350.000 rupiah.

By chartered minivan[edit]

Known by the locals as "Travel" is cheapest way to get there. The approximate price is about Rp. 30.000/person for one way. The vehicle is a Honda Odyssey 2.4 minivan with a capacity of 7 seats. Keep in mind that the bus driver usually waits until the chair occupation is about 75%. Once the car is "full", the minivan will depart and take the passengers to their destination.

  • Updated in February 2013

Ask a local for the location to take a red angkot to Jambu Air (about Rp.2000 - Rp.3000), where you will be able to wait for a minivan to take you to your destination. One way to Padang from Jambu Air, Bukittinggi will cost about Rp.25000/person. The journey will take between 2hrs - 3hrs. Be prepared for a squeeze! Last pick up time from Jambu Air, about 7.00 pm.

  • Updated August 2015

The fee for a travel from Minangkabau International Airport had increased to 70.000 rupiah per person.

Get around[edit]

Besides city transportation (Angkutan kota), Bus charter and car rental is a good solution for your trip in this city. If you want to rent a car, it's best to do so at Minangkabau International Airport. This will make it easy to get the city and it can minimize your time and cost. Renting a motor bike is also convenient and a lot cheaper. Renting a motorbike for one day should cost around Rp 70000 to 100000 a day. Riding motorbike is a great way to explore Bukittinggi and it's surroundings. Road conditions are good and traffic is a bit chaotic but still manageable. Most guesthouses can arrange a motorbike.

See[edit][add listing]

In town[edit]

Bukittinggi is a small town, so these places are within walking distance with each other (15-30 minute walk).

  • Sianok Canyon. A green, long and steep canyon. One of the most beautiful natural scenery in West Sumatra. You can enjoy the beautiness from Panorama Park. There is a two-storey observation tower that overlooks the Sianok Canyon at the park. The monkeys there are friendly but they can be quite aggressive, especially if they know you have food. During dusk you can observe megabats flying from the gorges to the forest in order to feed from the fruits on the trees. Another way to enjoy the canyon is by walk down the canyon through the The Great Wall of Koto Gadang. Along the walk, you'll see rice fields, forest, and a little river, and of course, the beautiful canyons as the backgound. There's a little clear river on the valley floor. One of the most iconic canyon is Tabiang Takuruang (means, isolated gorge). It's a single isolated slim gorge surrounded by the canyons. You can't see the gorge from neither Panorama Park nor The Great Wall of Koto Gadang. To get to Tabiang Takuruang, you should go down the canyon and trace the street through the village.
  • Japanese Caves. A network of underground bunkers and tunnels built by local people under the Japanese's army order during World War II. The entrance of the tunnel is located in Panorama Park
  • Fort de Kock. A fort built by the Dutch (actually, it's just a little outpost tower). It's located in a nice park with several species of bird in cages. It is arguable whether some of these birds should be kept in such conditions. For instance, a Sea Eagle is kept in a cage with inadequate space for its size and habits. The park is located on the top of a hill, so you can see the panoramic view of the town from the park.
  • Limpapeh Bridge. A pedestrian overpass connects the Fort de Kock on one hill to Bukittinggi Zoo on another hill. It's a beautiful bridge with Minangkabau architecture.
  • Bukittinggi Zoo. The town's zoo, located on the top of a hill, opposite to the hill of Fort de Kock. It's so not a world class-zoo. Some people may not be comfortable visiting this zoo due to the very bad maintenance and the very stressful conditions under which the animals are kept. Two elephants have their tusks shortened and one front leg and one hind leg locked in taut chains so that their movement is limited to but one pace back and forth all the time. A Sumatran tiger seems to have had one paw freshly amputated as of Feb 2013. Two pelicans are kept in an enclosure with a very low-hanging wire ceiling, which prevents them from flying at all. A herd of deer sniff around for food on grounds composed largely of their own filth. A family of porcupines share extremely cramped quarters and an alpha male orang utan sits alone in its cage with deadened eyes.
  • Rumah Gadang Baanjuang. A rumah gadang (Minangkabau traditional house) used as a museum of Minangkabau culture and history. There's also a collection of strange animals. It's located inside the Bukittingi Zoo.
  • The Birth House of Bung Hatta. Muhammad Hatta (Bung Hatta) is the first vice president of Republic of Indonesia. The house is a reminiscent of traditional Minangkabau rural house and custom. The house also has the collection of Hatta and Hatta's family stuffs.
  • Jam Gadang. Means, The Great Clock. This is the main landmark of Bukittinggi. It's an old high clock tower built by Dutch with Bagonjong roof (Minangkabau traditional roof) on the top of the tower. Jam Gadang is stand proudly at the center of the town square. Jam Gadang bustles with little stalls selling food and souvenirs throughout the day. Lots of tourists gather there. Food stalls unfold with variety and aroma towards nightfall. The atmosphere is festive with colourful lights at night and it can get quite crowded. While Bukittinggi is considered safer than most other parts of Indonesia, it would still be a good idea to keep your bags close in this crowded area. There are horse carriages waiting around the Jam Gadang square. Please be cautioned that the rides are very costly, therefore please ask for their rates first. Across the square is a traditional tourist markets, called Pasar Atas and Pasar Bawah. Many goods sold there, from souvenirs, handicrafts, textiles, traditional food, traditional snacks, to fresh fruits, vegetables, chicken, meat and fish. Behind the market is the town's old Chinatown with many old shophouses. On the other side of the Jam Gadang Square is The Palace of Bung Hatta. It's a historical building, originally as the palace of Indonesia's first vice president, Muhammad Hatta. Beside the palace is The Hills Hotel, a five star hotel in a historical building with rich European and Middle Eastern architecture. On the other side of Jam Gadang Square is a mall called, Bukittinggi Plaza.

Around the town[edit]

  • Koto Gadang. It's a quiet and pleasant farmer village near the Sianok Canyon. Most of houses there are built with Dutch architecture. Dutchs built those houses as their resting villas. After most of dutchs back to the Netherlands after the independent of Indonesia, people occupied those beautiful villas as their homes. The village is very quiet and pleasant because most of the residents have migrated to many cities in Indonesia and Malaysia. The village is famous for its silverworks hadicrafts. One of the most famous handicraft centre there is Handicraft Institution of Amai Setia, built by Rohana Kudus, one of the most important female emancipation historical figure in Indonesia.
  • Mount Marapi and Mount Singgalang. Bukitting is located between two majestic volcanoes, Mount Marapi and Mount Singgalang. You can do mountain climbing and trekking there.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Traditional dances and performances are performed for 90 minutes every day from 9PM to 10:30PM. Each group has its own schedule. Ticket price is RM 16 for adult; RM 8 for child. If you want to buy a souvenirs or CDs about their performance, wait until the show finish because every dancer will offer you a souvenirs. The prices are, for CD about Rp. 100.000, for the traditional flute about Rp. 50.000. It's more expensive because you can get with half price in the town. (No Rupiah!)

Buy[edit][add listing]

Bukittinggi's council has been developing a shopping mall next to the Jam Gadang since January 2006. It's Bukittinggi Plaza with Ramayana Department Store and Supermarket. There are also two traditional markets accros Jam Gadang known as Pasar Atas (Upper Market) and Pasar Bawah (Below Market). Pasar Atas is the largest market in Bukittinggi. On Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays vendors sell their goods beside the road. Pasar Bawah is for fruits and vegetables whereas Pasar Atas is for souvenirs and clothes. Most of the prices in each kiosk are similar and you should bargain. One wholesale shop located in the middle of Pasar Atas sells souvenirs at the lowest price. A pair of women's slippers is about Rp 7,000 and a key holder is about Rp 2.000 - 5.000. One men's shirt is about Rp. 35.000 and a pair of leather women's slippers is about Rp 35.000.

Pasar Aur Kuning (Aur Kuning Market) is a large group of wholesale sales market. It is famous in the local people and seasonal tourist. If you are buying items in bulk, this is the place to visit. Some of the shops will allow you to buy in small quantities. Ask the trader if they allow you to buy in small quantities. The price per item may go down further after negotiations. To get to Pasar Aur Kuning, take the red angkot (public minibus) from Pasar Bawah (in front of Pasar Banto). Angkot no. 19 or 13 (Tigo Baleh) charge for Rp 2.000 one way. Pasar Aur Kuning also houses a bus terminal to various cities of Indonesia. Travel to Padang by van car is located adjacent to Simpang Rayo restaurant.

Eat[edit][add listing]

People in Bukittinggi like dry, spicy, and sweet snack foods. They make snacks with different tastes and shapes from ingredients that make the foods here special. Try Karupuak Sanjai, Karupuak Balado, Karang Kariang, Dakak-dakak, Rakiak Maco, Rendang Telur, Kalamai, etc. They can be found in Pasar Atas at low prices, but low quality. On the way back to Padang there are many snack shops that sell these traditional Minangkabau snacks of better quality. Some famous traditional snack shops are Sanjai Nitta and Sanjai Mintuo on the road to Padang.

Most of the restaurants in Bukittinggi serve Minangkabau cuisine which is fatty, spicy, and hot. An average price is about Rp 15.000 per person for one meal. Some famous Minangkabau restaurants are Simpang Raya and Selamat on Pasar Atas, Family Benteng near Fort de Kock and Saiyo in Garegeh.

The most famous food in Bukittinggi is Nasi Kapau. It's a more fatty and spicy version of Nasi Padang, with Gulai Kapau a gulai of jackfruit, cabbage, snaps, and bamboo sprout. Try it with Minangkabu fatty, hot and spicy side dish like Rendang, Dendeng Balado, Dendeng Batokok, Gulai Tunjang, Gulai Tambusu, Gulai Banak, Ikan Batalua, Goreng Baluik, Talua Dadar, etc. You can find many Nasi Kapau stalls at Pasar Atas or roadside restaurants. One of the most famous Nasi Kapau restaurant is Nasi Kapau Uni Cah on the road to Padang.

Gulai Itiak Lado Mudo is also famous in Bukittinggi. It's a green chili gulai of duck. You can find this food at Gulai Itiak Lado Mudo Ngarai restaurant at the floor of Sianok Canyon.

Ayam Pop is also famous in Bukittinggi. Contrast to most of Minangkabau food, Ayam Pop is less spicy and hot. It's chicken braised, boiled, and then fried with more simple spices. It's usually eaten with sambal and boiled cassave leaves. Family Benteng restaurant near Fort de Kock, is the place where this food is begin.

You also should try Minangkabau version of Pecel (vegetables salad with peanut gravy) in Pical Sikai restaurant.

After dark, there are many hawkers near Jam Gadang selling fresh foods such as Nasi Goreng (fried rice), Mie Goreng (fried noodles), Mie Rebus (boiled noodles), Roti Bakar (scrambled egg toast sandwich), and Martabak Mesir (Minangkabau version of beef martabak/murtabak). One portion is about Rp 7.500 - Rp 10.000.

One of the most famous martabak restaurant in Bukittinggi is Martabak Kaka. Located in Jl. Ahmad Yani in Chinatown.

Anti-diarrhea medicine is highly recommended in case you get diarrhea during your food adventure.

There are also KFC, CFC, Pizza Hut, and Bakso Lapangan Tembak in Bukittinggi. There are also some western food restaurants and cafes like:

  • D and J's (formerly Apache Cafe), near Fort de Cock. Great, reasonably priced food and friendly staff that speak very good english. They can also arrange tours and give information on transport.  edit
  • Turret Cafe and Restaurant, Ayani St. 140., (+62)752 625956 (). Open: 7-23. Traditional Minangkabau and European Food. Main dishes: 10000-60000.  edit
  • Bedudal Cafe, Jln. A. Yani No 95/105 (just before the pedestrian bridge, on the left), +6285278812345. Stock up on western food like pancakes, sandwiches, steaks and pizza in this friendly cafe. They also offer Indonesian dishes as well as fruit juices, beer, soft drinks - all reasonably priced and excellent quality. Also the home base of the friendly tour guides of Bedudal Advenculture who will provide you with all sorts of tourist info and organize tours, treks or just transportation..for information contact [email protected] English spoken. Wifi available. Dishes from Rp. 12.000.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sikotang or Sarobat[edit]

Sikotang or Sarobat is one of the most famous drinks in Minangkabau. The beverage is made from red ginger and spices such as cinnamon bark, nutmeg, etc. Sikotang is usually mixed with egg, bread, green beans and white or brown sugar. Such a hot drink is useful for keeping your body warm during a cold highland night like in Padang Panjang, Batusangkar and Bukittinggi. Price Rp. 5.000 - 15.000.

Daun Kawa[edit]

Daun kawa is made from roasted dry leaves of the coffee tree. The dried leaves are boiled in hot water and put into sections of bamboo and drunk from a "cawan tampuruang" (coconut shell). It can be found in Bukittinggi, Payakumbuh and Batusangkar. Please ask anyone, especially people over age 40. They will show you where a good place is to taste Daun Kawa! Price Rp. 5.000 - 15.000 in 2009.

Jus Pinang[edit]

Juice of Pinang (betel nut) is a bitter tasting drink available in Padang, Bukittingi, and other areas that is believed to have an effect on sexual stamina. Pinang has a biological effect as a stimulant like tobacco, coffee, and tea. Its chemical contents are arecolin, arecain, tannin, and flavonoids. Just try it and feel the difference! For beginners, don't drink more than one pinang seed. Price Rp. 5.000 - 15.000 in 2009.

Teh Talua[edit]

This is a special Minangkabau drink made from hot tea mixed with egg and lemon. Please taste it. You will never forget the experience! Price Rp. 5.000 - 15.000 in 2009

Kopi Luwak[edit]

Enjoy one of world's most prestigious coffees, Kopi Luwak, in Batang Palupuah Kampong, Bukittinggi. The coffee is made from coffee beans that have passed through a civet cat before roasting. Try to source ethically harvested beans.

Alcoholic Drinks[edit]

The Minangkabau also have traditional alcoholic beverages such as tuak. Tuak is made from fermented nira, a liquid collected by cutting the fruit branch of sugar palm. However, it is quite difficult to find in Bukittinggi now because alcoholic beverages are forbidden for Muslims.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

The four stars hotels in the city are the The Hills Bukittinggi, Grand Rocky Hotel and Pusako Hotel. Although The Hills Bukittinggi is comfortable place to stay especially for international tourists, the cost is at least Rp. 800.000 for a night; in comparison there are many small hotels around Fort de Kock that are around Rp. 120.000 that are quite nice.

Small budget hotels are easy to find. Many locals offer accommodation which are like family-owned hotels that provide a "feel at home" atmosphere. The prices span from Rp. 200.000 - Rp. 400.000 per room without air-conditioning. Breakfast is sometimes included. There are no lifts in these small hotels, so be prepared if your room is on the upper floors. Room cleaning is not provided everyday in some cases, so don't hesitate to ask the hotel manager if you want a daily cleaning service.

  • Hotel Cindua Mato, Jl. Cindur Mato 96 (across the street from the Zoo), +62 752 21346 (fax: +62 752 22808). Around 10 rooms. No hot water. Rp. 200.000.  edit
  • Hello Guesthouse, Jl. Teuku Umar 6c - Kampung Cina (across the street from Mosque), +62-752-21542 (). checkin: 2pm; checkout: 11am. Clean rooms and breakfast, friendly and efficient management, WIFI, can arrange motorcycle rental.  edit
  • Hotel Grand Malino, Jl. Panorama. From US$25.  edit
  • Hotel Pusako, Jl. Sukarno Hatta 7, +62 751 22111. (note: quite a distance away from the town centre and is on top of a hill). From US$54.  edit
  • Hotel Royal Denai, Jl. Dr Rivai 26. From US$36.  edit
  • The Hills Bukittinggi Hotel & Convention, Jl. Laras Dt Bandaro, (62-752) 35 000 (fax: (62-752) 23 800), [1]. From Rp. 685.464.  edit
  • Indira Hotel, Jln. Agus Salim No. 1 (behind Ambun Suri hotel. price range from 200 000 upward), +62-752-22505, 21569.  edit
  • Hotel Asean, Jl Teuku Umar, singles from Rp. 200.000.
  • D'enam Hotel, Jl Yos Sudarso No. 4, double with toilet Rp. 350.000, (prices 2015); located on top of a hill close to the mosque, the clocktower and the park area, friendly and helpful staff, tel. (0752) 32240. No wifi.
  • Aisyah Chalik Hotel, Jln. Cinduamato No. 101 (Opposite of grand kartini hotel), +62 752 32560. Nice hotel ranging from 250 000rp -300 000 (16 aug 2015), . Wifi at lobby, electric hot water s, comfy beds, free breakfast .  edit
  • Bagindo Hotel, Jln. Jend. Sudirman No. 41-45 (Opposite of grand kartini hotel), +62 752 23100. Nice hotel . Wifi at lobby,hot water , comfy beds, free breakfast .  edit
  • Hotel Ambunsuri, Jl. Panorama No. 2, Sumatera Barat, Indonesia, +62 752 34251. Very clean toilet. Nice free breakfast, wifi available on the lobby.  edit
  • Hotel Murni, Jl A. Yani (north end). Old building. Rooms with two beds: Rp. 200.000  edit
  • Hotel Tigo Balai, Jl A. Yani. Smallish rooms but reasonably clean and nice staff. Check the bathrooms, some may find them terrible. R200.000.  edit
  • Echo Homestay, +62 752 77 50306 (unreliable). Room rates are vary from Rp. 200.000 up to Rp. 540.000 per-night. It's unlikely to have many guests except on weekends.  edit
  • Batang Sianok Hotel, Jln. Sukarno - Hatta No.73, +62 752 21106. Nice hotel. Wifi available, hot water, comfy beds,  edit
  • Minang International Hotel, Jln. Panorama No. 20A, +62-752-22638 / +62-752-21120. Nice hotel. Wifi available, hot water, comfy beds,  edit


There is a row of internet cafes along Jl. Ahmad Yani an Jl Pemuda. Four internet cafes are in the vicinity of (underneath) the pedestrian bridge which links Fort de Kock and the zoo. Check out the prices as the internet cafes on the main street are so much more expensive than the ones around the corner. Suggest you ask a local for the cheapest one. The local price is from Rp. 2.500 per hour.

Even in times of the internet, the assistance of a travel agency like Raun Sumatra (next to Bedudal Cafe on Jln. A. Yani) can be extremely helpful. They book flights for you at the same rates as online, but it's much faster and you don't need a credit card. They can also arrange bus tours for you, including pickup in front of the office.

Get out[edit]

  • Payakumbuh. There are some interesting places like Balai Kaliki Village, Rumah Gadang Sungai Baringin and Koto Tua Nan Ampek Mosque. If you to go to Harau Valley, you'll pass this city.
  • Padang Panjang. A mountain market town. There are some interesting places like Pandai Sikek Village, Minangkabau Information and Documentation Centre, Asasi Nagari Gunung Mosque and Anai Valley. There's also a family theme park and water park, Minang Fantasy.
  • Batusangkar. The center of Minangkabau royalty. Visit Great Palace of Pagaruyung and Silinduang Bulan Palace from Pagaruyung Kingdom. Also visit some Minangkabau historical and traditional villages like Balimbing Village and Pariangan Village.
  • Sawahlunto. A little Dutch town with many historical buildings with Duch architecture. It was originally a Dutch coal mining town. Visit Railway Museum, a museum of railway history of West Sumatra located at old railway station; Mbah Soero Tunnel, a historical coal mining tunnel; and Gudang Ransum Museum, a museum about the history of mining in Sawahlunto. Another historical buildings are Sawahlunto Cultural Centre, St. Lucia Church, Pek Sin Kek Mansion, etc. Sawahlunto is a unique town because it's located in a large mining hollow.
  • Harau Valley. A valley of majestic canyons and rock formations with some beautiful waterfalls. One of the best natural scenery in West Sumatra.
  • Lake Maninjau. The most beautiful lake in West Sumatra. A large crater lake.
  • Lake Singkarak. The largest lake in West Sumatra.
  • Solok and South Solok. The land of thousands Rumah Gadang. Visit the Village of Thousand Rumah Gadang and Palace of Rajo Balun. Also visit the twin lakes, Danau Diatas and Danau Dibawah. There's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kerinci Seblat National Park.
  • Padang. The capital city of West Sumatra province. It's a historical city and was one of the most important Dutch harbour in Dutch East Indies. There's many historical buildings there. Visit its colourful Old Town, Old Harbour and Chinatown.

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