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Friday, May 8, 2015

Padang - Bukit Tinggi Babymoon : Fort De Kock, Jembatan Limpapeh, Taman Marga Satwa Budaya Kinantan, Masjid Raya, Pasar Atas, Pasar Bawah

Luckily, all these places of interest in Bukittinggi are so closed to each other. We reached our next destination, Fort De Kock, in just 6 minutes. This place is connected to another recreational area that is Taman Margasatwa Budaya Kinantan. The entrance fee for both places was Rp10,000 each. While walking towards the Fort De Kock, our eyes were treated with beautiful birds…and birds. Yeah, birds. Pfft.
We walked further up Bukit Jirek and saw few canons on it. Four canons at every angle, to be exact. This fort was built by Captain Bauer in 1825 as a defense in Paderi War which was led by Tuanku Imam Bonjol. The commandor was Baron Hendrik Merkus de Kock, hence the fort was named after him. During this era, most of the hills were taken by Dutch to develop their own complexes. In Minangkabau, it was called “tajua nagari ka Bulando” that means unintentionally sold to Dutch.
There was a building with watchtower in white and green color that pretty much look empty to me. The guys in the group took their chance to explore this place while the ladies and kids stayed on the ground. Hubby did make his way up the roof top, but nothing much he can see as the trees were covering almost all his view over the city.
On the other side of the hill, there were Taman Margasatwa Budaya Kinantan and Museum Rumah Adat Baanjuang. They are connected via Jembatan Limpapeh, a bridge over Ahmad Yani street. This bridge is considered as one of the tourist attractions in Bukittinggi, pretty much because it links the two hills. The material was quite simple as it is built using steel, plate, and wire suspension.
TIPS : If  you want to access either sites, you must cross this bridge. Else, it will delay your visitation if you go via the road.

The moment we crossed the bridge, the first animal that we saw were two elephants. Unlike other animals in the area, I was devastated to see them cuffed with short shackles that limit them to move around. I tried to ignore the feeling and walked towards other animals like tapir, tiger, deer, camel, and etc. It was pretty much like a mini zoo, enough for the children to learn to know some animals.
At the same area, there was Museum Rumah Adat Baanjuang, beautifully carved in colorful carvings. The three sets of pointed roof really notified the trademark of Minangkabau. It is built in 1935 during Dutch time, and the wall is using half wood and half bamboo, with 100% wood floor. They categorized the internal area into ethnography, numismatic, and biology, where they keep artifacts like mummified animals.
TIPS : If  you want to appreciate the culture, do not visit this place during school holiday as it will be too noisy and hectic. You may also try the traditional costume here, similar to what you can get in Istano Basa Pagaruyung. While we enjoying the surrounding, hubby and my nephew got inspired with one of the cannon, and being innovative enough to make smoke out of it. Hahaha!
We then went out from the area and walked towards the town, where we passed by the Masjid Raya Bukittinggi. We continued walking and went to Pasar Atas and Pasar Bawah where Kak Ngah, my stepmom, and I, had gone crazy buying “telekung”. Do excuse us.
TIPS : If  you want to spend, spend here. Their products are variety but you need to know how to negotiate as vendors might have different starting price. Certain expensive-but-good materials can go down up to 50% of what you get in KL.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Padang - Bukit Tinggi Babymoon : Taman Panorama, Lobang Jepang, Ngarai Sianok, Muzium Perjuangan

We stopped one “angkut” nearby the hotel and asked the driver to bring us to Taman Panaroma, where Ngarai Sianok and Lobang Jepang are located. We cramped ourselves with another 4-5 locals in the “angkut” and we had so much fun being swaying left and right in it. My nieces and nephews can’t even stop smiling and laughing quietly, looking at the doorless red vehicle that we were riding in. With Rp1500 each, we reached the Taman Panaroma in 5 minutes.  

This scenic garden is opened daily from 7.30am to 6.30pm with Rp5000 as entrance fee. There were also tour guides (locals) who were roaming around for you to hire with certain charges. Anyhow, we didn’t hire any.
TIPS : If  you want to know more on the local history, you may hire them. Ask for their fee, beforehand. You don’t want to get any surprised charges as they might charge you by hour, instead.

We walked along the roadway where we can see the famous Ngarai Sianok down the valley. Two canyons standing before us, with a river flows in between. The river can be explored by canoe or kayak under an organization called Qurays where the route takes about 3.5 hours in total. Meanwhile, this canyon stretched from Kota Gadang to Anam Suku, and ended at Palupuh, in 15km long, 100m height and 200m width. It was previously known as “karbouwengat” or “kerbau senget” as there were lots of buffalos living freely during Dutch time. From afar, I saw one small village on top of the canyon, with thousand steps leading to it.

It was a breathtaking moment, before a group of monkeys approached us. We quickly took pictures and walked down the Lobang Jepang entrance. 

TIPS : If  you want to get a clearer and panoramic scene of Ngarai Sianok, you may want to visit this place for sunrise or sunset. You may also walk down the steps to enjoy the beauty of this canyon from below. But beware of those monkeys. They are likely to snatch your belongings.

Being pregnant, having an infant and a small kid, and elderly with us, half of us decided to not join the party of hubby and my two niece and nephew. The cave looked so deep and the stairs looked so steep, whomever went down must have lights and hold the railings. Since there were not many visitors at that time, we took the opportunity to pose and capture pictures.

This cave was a bunker built by Japanese army in 1942 for their defense. They kept almost everything down here, which include war-related equipment and storage. It is believed that the cave can go up to 1400m with 2m winding width, with various zone such as maintenance room, immunization, scientific museum, conference room, café, mini theater, detention cell, and etc.

TIPS : If  you want to get a guide, the fee is around Rp20,000. Please seal the deal before you start the journey as some of them might con and charge you RM20 instead (that would be more than Rp20,000 for sure!). You’ll be taken to an exit where you can go out from Taman Panorama, or return back to the earlier entrance.

Even the guide persuaded hubby to hire him to avoid confusion and getting lost, hubby denied the offer. Hubby walked my niece and nephew slowly down the steps and used phone lights as a guide. There were wall lights but it seemed like they were under maintenance, for some of them were still on the cave floor. As they reached one of the exit, it was pretty much to explore this cave without a guide as it was quite straight forward. Overlooking the Ngarai Sianok, one of the exits was installed with steel grille and the only way down was to use the jungle trail.

Meanwhile, we (who remained outside), having our precious time with a statue. Two Japanese army whom holding rifles were standing on top of the official mark, dated 12 November 2004, where this place was officiated and opened to public. I must say that this area is clean and well-kept, clearly both general workers and visitors equally played their part in keeping up this place.

An hour later, we walked out from this place and looked for another “angkut” ride to our next destination. Opposite this place, I saw Muzium Perjuangan, but we had to pass this war museum as we were short of time.

TIPS : If  you want to know more on war history, it is recommended to visit this museum. I myself, love anything to do with past-time story, but travelling with family made me had to choose and chop certain places to visit.

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