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Monday, February 9, 2015

Padang - Bukit Tinggi Babymoon : Royal Denai Hotel, Jam Gadang

We chose this hotel for its location and feedbacks. It is located at Jalan Dr. A. Rivai, centrally located at the Bukittinggi city, 500 meters from Lubang Jepang and 2 km away from Jam Gadang. The deluxe room price was IDR 574000 while superior room was IDR 452000. Both rooms are carpeted with modern minimalist design. The hotel served breakfast for two, which the café is located nearby the swimming pool. There were garden and other facilities too.
TIPS : If you have kids, this hotel is good enough to please them. The room is spacey and they can swim all day and night at the swimming pool. Anyhow, I find it not suitable for elderly. No lift, only walk-up stairs. So please ask for lower ground room. For breakfast, the food are quite tasty and variety. You can choose to eat inside, or outside (by the pool). Be prepared, as the café can be quite stuffy, for some locals do puff cigarettes while eating. And the lobby can be quite noisy, for some companies do held their event at this hotel.

Before we headed to Jam Gadang, we got ourselves refreshed for a while. The weather was quite chill at night, similar to our Cameron Highlands back home. Later that night, we walked to Jam Gadang via the main road. Kak Ngah was as always, without doubt, having a very good sense in direction. We followed her guide, for she saw that huge Jam Gadang before we reached the Royal Denai Hotel. Geographically, this hotel is located behind the hill, so we had to walk upwards along the shoplots heading to the open area.

TIPS : If you plan to have a night walk, do wear light jacket and do bring umbrella or raincoat, just in case. The road to Jam Gadang is quite straight forward, so you won’t get lost in direction. Ask locals if you need guidance. Though it is a walking distance, you may also use "angkut" to move around.

Along the way up, we’ve been eyeing few restaurants and food stalls for dinner. I explained to Kak Ngah what “lesehan” means and what kind of foods they served. Abah and his wife had no issue at all, for they had visited Indonesia before. But Kak Ngah would give a restaurant a try (not “lesehan”), at least, for that night. Just to test her kids’ acceptance.
We finally chose a restaurant called “Nasi Goreng Oke”. They do have both, proper shop and “lesehan” style. Having 2 months baby with us and a pregnant belly, we opted for eating inside. All of us ordered the same thing, fried rice, which clearly what the shop sell (besides soto and soup). The serving came in big portion and thank God, the taste was good! Seriously delicious! And it was cheap!
TIPS : If you have local stomach, you may try local food. Else, think about the rest whom have never been to certain countries. You don’t want them to spoil the whole trip with “cirit and muntah”. Hahaha!

After dinner, we walked towards Jam Gadang and roam around the area. Well, some people might say Jam Gadang is just a clock tower. For us (hubby and I), every places of interest has its own story. As for Jam Gadang, it is one of the two clock towers that mechanically moved, alongside Big Ben in London. And one of the ingredients to build this tower was egg white! No cement, no nails. See? Special kan? Haaaa…
Ok, a bit of local history. Gadang means huge/big, in Minangkabau. This 26 meter multi-tiered-tower has 4 symmetrical sides with four units of 80cm clock made by Benhard Vortmann, and all four were imported from Rotterdam, Netherland. The roof design had changed three times, from sphere-shape with cock facing east on it, to Pagoda-shape, to local design that is Minangkabau-shape.
TIPS : If you are lost, or lost someone, always, always agree to meet at this Jam Gadang. It is indeed, famous as meeting point. However, having symmetrical shape, you have to tell which shop you are facing to.

At the compound, there was a row of horse carts and tricycles, waiting for customers. There were street vendors selling local products too. While my niece and nephew grabbed bundles of key chains and caps, I got myself a fridge magnet, just for standby, in case I couldn’t find it elsewhere.
TIPS : If you plan to go to Pasar Atas and Pasar Bawah, you can skip shopping at Jam Gadang night market. They are plenty of souvenir shops there.

I quickly asked everyone to line up in front of the clock tower for a family photo. I bended on the floor to get a full view of everyone and the clock tower. I then looked into the viewfinder and focus on everyone. Then I saw something pinkish next to Abang Ngah! I put down the camera and saw two costume-characters posing and teasing him! HAHAHA! Where the hell these mascots came from! Hellooooo…
TIPS : If  you want to take picture, look around. These Mask Rider/Gaban/Ksatria Baja Hitam/I dunno lah, will quickly run and enter-frame into your picture (or we say “photobomb” nowadays). THEN, they will ask for money. If you don’t mind paying, go ahead. Else, don’t capture at all.
We smiled and nicely told them off. We continued taking pictures around the area. Few street vendors approached Kak Ngah and asked how old the baby was. Initially, Kak Ngah told them less than 2 months, but after getting few comments from the local that they won’t bring small baby out at night, Kak Ngah changed her statement to more than 2 months. Just to drop any serial questions. Hahaha!

It was almost midnight. We headed back to the hotel and took pictures around the area. While hubby and my dad relaxing at the lobby, listening to some local performance, my niece and nephews were in bed and one of them started to have stomach ache. Oh no...
We then had a short discussion for tomorrow’s plan. Abah’s wife and Kak Ngah had screamed out loud “shoppinggggggg!". *facepalm* We dozed off and woke up the next morning and got ready for breakfast. The foods were quite variety and tasty with local specialty and bit of usual western breakie.
"Ok. Let's catch "angkut" to Lubang Jepang." I told everyone.

"Angkut tu apa Acu?" My nephew asked me what "angkut" is. Hehehe.

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