Saturday, November 26, 2011

West Sumatera

  • Air Manis - a charming fishing village close to Padang and on the southerly side of the Sungai Batang Arau river. The nearby dark sandy beach is the top attraction that Air Manis has to offer.
  •  Bukittinggi - a market town surrounded by a very verdant volcanic landscape, with a scenic background comprising the mountains of Merapi, Sago and Singgalang. The tourist strip in Bukittinggi is based around the Jalan Ahmad Yani. Attractions in Bukittinggi include the Pasar Atas market, the Benteng Fort (Benteng de Kock), the Taman Bundo Kandung Zoo, the Japanese Caves (Gua Jepang), the Big Clock Tower (Jam Gadang) and the Taman Panorama, which has breathtaking vistas across the Sianok Canyon (Ngarai Sianok). Further sightseeing options around Bukittinggi are available and include the handicraft villages of Koto Gadang and Pandai Sikat, the Batang Palupuh Nature Reserve, the Lembah Anai Nature Reserve, the Gunung Merapi volcano, and the village of Silinduang, where the Rumah Gadang Pagaruyung (King's Palace)is to be found. 
  •  Danau Maninjau - an awesome and very photogenic lake, with jaw-dropping mountain scenery and endless vantage points.
  • Harau Valley - a tiny village encircled by green rice paddies and areas of jungle to the north-east of Payakumbuh. The Harau Valley is where the much-visited Lamba Harau waterfalls are to be found. Gibbons can often be heard howling in the neighbouring jungle.
  • Kerinci Valley - an area of extreme natural beauty, lying within the Bukit Barisan and alongside the westerly border of Jambi. Attractions in the Kerinci Valley include the tea plantations at the Kayo Aro Estate, the village of Kersik Tua, the town of Sungaipenuh, and also the vast Kirinci Seblat National Park, which is Sumatra's biggest and home to the Gunung Kerinci volcano, the lakes of Danau Gunung Tujuh and Danau Kerinci, and the Sengering Caves - including the Gua Tiangko.
  • Mentawai Islands - an island chain which had virtually no contact with the outside world until the 20th century and believed to have been separated from mainland Sumatra some 500,000 years ago. Siberut is the biggest of the Mentawai Islands and the most densely populated, and is now classed as a UNESCO biosphere reserve, with the westerly side of the island being dominated by the Siberut National Park. The Mentawai Islands is famed for both its exceptional surf breaks and also its sizeable primate population, including groups of rare black-and-yellow Siamang Kerdil monkeys. 
  • Padang - a large and modern city with a population of around 900,000 people, with good ongoing transportation connections to destinations such as Jakarta,Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and Singapore. Central Padang is relatively compact and easy to get around, with some interesting attractions based within its historical Old Quarter, along the Jalan Batang Arau. Close by and on the Jalan Diponegoro, look out for the Adityawarman Museum, and the Taman Budaya Cultural Centre, or take a stroll along the beachfront promenade and enjoy the views. Padang is also a good starting point for excursions to the Mentawai Islands and the Pantai Bungus beach.

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