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Beutiful West Sumatra

Thursday, 11 September 2014 14:10 Admin
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West Sumatra is one of the most beautiful areas of Indonesia. It is mountainous and divided by three valleys. There are lovely lakes and spectacular volcanoes. But Minangkabau land is very special and has the most friendly population group of Indonesia. They love to talk with visitors and will tell us about their unique society. If a visitor tries to understand the culture and Minang traditions he will soon feel himself a member of the clan. He will be invited as a guest to their homes - a unique way to become acquainted with real Indonesian life. Most of our hosts and hostesses are English teachers so language will not be much of a problem. They will show us the community and explain their customs.

The land of the Minangkabau, West Sumatra has a distinct culture, which distinguishes it from the rest of the island. A land of scenic beauty with blue green lakes and mountains, West Sumatra's Centre of culture and tourism is Bukittinggi in the highlands, north of the provincial capital of Padang. Most prominent in the landscape is the horn-shaped roofs of the houses nestled in the coconut groves. The name Minangkabau means triumphant buffalo. It leads a community and family life based on a matrilineal system, which clusters around mosques and the traditional houses. As it is the women who have the properties, the men are known for their wanderlust and entrepreneurship. Traveling is considered a mark of success and therefore many of them are found "merantau" (emigrated) to other parts of the country. This is proof that many Minang or Padang restaurants, serve very spicy food, found in all major towns in the nation. The people are hospitable and eloquent in a poetic style of speech and ceremonies. Festivals are colorful occasions.

West Sumatra is one of the exotic province of Indonesia. Seems like you have a whole package that you will find in West Sumatra, you have culture within the the exotic marvelous view, new friends or even relatives among the local inhabitant. The land itself mountainous and divided by valleys, there are also lakes and spectacular volcanoes.

The capital of this province is Padang, one of the biggest well-known city. The most inhabitant is come from Minangkabau people. The ethnic group of Minangkabau is famous for its matriarchal social system and they have strong system on the way of living based on strict adat [adat means custome]. All Minangkabau children are have the name of their mother and all relatives stay at the same traditional house of Rumah Gadang, which is consist for almost 30 people in.

As mentioned above, West Sumatra has whole package of their land: it has mountainous volcanic highlands formed by Bukit Barisan or Barisan mountain range until an offshore island archipelago of Mentawai Islands.

We shall be proud of this, knowing that mentawai Island is one of the surfer paradise among the surfers’ world. The blue water, the consistent waves and the tropical itself are the reason for Mentawai Island become the surf destination in the world.

Moreover, West Sumatra become populer for its tropical forest. Here lies a well-known Rafflesia Arnoldi which is world’s biggest flower, Sumtran tiger, siamang, Malayan sun bear, Sumatran serow and many exotic flora and fauna. Hence, there are two famous National Park build for those fancy animals and plants which is Siberut National Park and Kerinci Sebrat National Park and some others of nature reserves.Putting West Sumatra on travel plan is a great decision on the next travel journey. Enjoy the paradise within the diversities

Bukittinggi City

The heart of the highlands, Bukittinggi is a two-hours drives through beautiful of Anai valley countryside and up to the Agam Plateau. A center of attraction is the town's clock tower, topped with a horn- shaped roof and referred to by the people as Jam Gadang. It overlooks the market square and the city's magnificent surroundings. Located 930 meters above sea level, Bukittinggi, formerly named Fort De Cock by the Dutch, has a cool climate and is surrounded by three volcanoes: Tandikat, Singgalang and Merapi. In the outskirts of Ngarai Sianok town, a canyon that separate Bukittinggi from Gadang City, 12 km away overland. Gadang City is renowned for its fine silver filigree and hand embroidery.

Also worth visit the Museum, which is a Rumah Gadang, a traditional extended family house built in the 19th century. There are dance performances at the museum's open stage every Sunday and on public holidays. Night dance performances are at Sliguri. It is also worth seeing the bullfights at Padang Lawas (6 km south of Bukittinggi) every Tuesday at 5.00 p.m. The delightful hill town, Bukittinggi nestling amid mountain greenery at 920 m above sea level is the Minangkabau capital (victorious buffalo) people. Bukit Tinggi means 'high hill' is stunningly located with views over fertile valleys to two volcanoes, Mt Merapi and Mt Singgalang. It is laid out in tiers down the steep hillside, each level connected to the next by precipitous stone steps and passageways.

The central landmark in Bukittinggi is the clock tower, with its stylized roof, standing in the town square. Geographically, the town's highest point is the Rumah Adat Baandjuang Museum. It is 140 years old classic rumah adat (clan house). It exhibit include wedding and dance costumes, head dressers, musical instruments, village crafts and historic weaponry. Panorama Park has spectacular views over the Sianok and Ngarai canyons.

Diatas and Dibawah Lakes (Solok)

Solok lies on the Trans-Sumatra Highway, 64 km from Padang and 76 km from Bukittinggi. The town has some fine examples of Minangkabau architecture with horn-shaped roofs and outer walls of wood, completely carved and painted in brilliant colors. 60 km from Solok are the Twin Lakes (Diatas Lake and Dibawah Lake), which are becoming popular as a holiday resort. Cool mountain air and beautiful landscapes seen from the hill between the two lakes have made this spot extraordinary. Set only about 1 km apart, one of the lakes is on a slightly higher elevation than the other. The spot offers an impressive panorama of the surrounding countryside and offers itself excellently to hiking or camping.

Harau Valley

Want to get off the beaten track and away from it all, relax, take a break from lugging that backpack around for a while?  we’ll let you into a little secret – make your way to the Harau Valley.  Lodgings consist of small huts in the middle of lush tropical foilage overlooked by sheer towering faces of multi-coloured rock.     Acres of flourescent green paddyfields add to the visual effect and the river that runs through the valley is complete with sun dappled bathing pools and refreshing cascades that throw gushing, gurgling and tinkling sound effects into the still air.  Along the road to Harau Valley is a lovely countryside. Steep granite walls shelter the fertile valley. A waterfall, 150 meters high falls into a basin. The Harau Valley is a nature and wildlife reserve, where tapir, siamangs, boars, wild goats and tigers still roam. The Harau Valley is 15 km from Payakumbuh. It was a slice of paradise.

Maninjau Lake

A winding road with 44 sharp turns descends to Maninjau Lake, 36 km from Bukittinggi. A crater lake abounds with fish. There are also facilities for swimming and water skying. Matur village, overlooking lakes, arranges dance performances on request. To the west of Bukittinggi, Meninjau Lake is a Crater Lake renowned for its scenery and remote beauty. Visitors can rent canoes and motorboat at the lakeshore. To the east of Padangpanjang, Batusankar we can see the Splendidly restores palace, with its wonderful carved and painted facades. Balimbing village have many traditional Minang houses.

Pandai Sikat

Pandai Sikat village is 10 km from Bukittinggi with its hand weaving and carving industry. The village has 1000 looms and turns out richly interwoven cloth. Carved wooden ornaments and furniture are also made here. According to the literature, in the vicinity of Padang Panjang formerly the women weave and wear traditional clothes are woven and decorated with gold thread. Woven fabric has a subtle motifs and have specific names, the names of the motive was unknown until now in Pandai Sikek in part though a slight modification or simplification of the name, for example: Cukie barantai, Cukie bakaluak, Bungo Cukie Cape, Cukie kaluak nails, Cukie barayam ridge tops, Cukie barayam ropes birds, Cukie kaluak, Lintadu bapatah and Cukie bugis barantai

If observed from the results, for a single thread songket is more subtle and supple while two somewhat decent yarn but have lost elasticity, more rigid, which have a certain type of thread let alone four, looks very stiff and thick. This is caused more and more threads are used more and more rigid songket produced. Songket weaving motif with four threads so big because once put four strands of yarn threads concurrently.

Seeing the beauty of this fabric weaving culture rightly preserved. It's nothing, when a complaint arises, the kids today rarely anyone want to be a weaver of cloth. If anything, just wants an easy and quick finish. In fact, songket weaving Pandai Sikek be patient, thorough, and diligent. If not, then the thread will break that could eventually lower the quality of the fabric. Patience is what young people do not possess now. Pandai Sikek songket weaving is done entirely by hand. The tools used are generally made of traditional natural materials such as wood and bamboo. Barely used metallic materials such as iron.

The main tool is called Panta. This tool is a construction of wood measuring 2 x 1.5-meter stretch the yarn to be woven. Basic yarn called the warp or warp, also called the Smart Sikek tagak if this is the backup threads are rolled on reels and mounted on a charcoal pig in a distant part of the Panta.

Working groups possess a sort of weaving was sitting on a bench at the base of this Panta. In front, there are two wooden poles that support the paso places that have been woven cloth will be rolled up. Thus the warp stretched between the rolls with paso and among which there are one pair and one faint Karok depending on tandayan. On the left and right hung a place to store skoci weavers weft yarns and skoci mas. Skoci is called Turak and made of bamboo.

To songket one type of yarn, worth 350 thousand dollars for a shawl cloth has not added his subordinates, could total one million dollars (minimum). As for the threads of two released at a price 250 for a single strand of scarves, to full (with cloth subordinate) can be up to 850 thousand's. Another case with four threads, 175 per piece shawl, for details can be up to 500 thousand's. Macau yarn using yarn, original types of yarn from India.
Not only that, the wall hangings of songket cloth is also available, with a length of 50 cm and width 30 cm, sold at a price of USD 110 thousand. Stay equipped with its frame, be a beautiful wall hangings. Here also are available that have been put into his frame. Do not want to put into the frame? Options may fall to the hanger is made of carved, live outboard on the wall and enter the songket fabric you like. Not to mention if you wear it and mematutkan yourself in the mirror, beautiful is not it

Ngalau Indah Caves

On the road from Bukittinggi to Payakumbuh these caves extend deep into the mountainside. The domains of thousands of bats, which we won't see but only, hear and sense as they fly close over our head. At the main entrance is a stone with an outline of an elephant visible on its face. The coolness and damp air is refreshing after the tropical heat outside. The path through these caves leads out to the top of the mountain from where it is quite panoramic. The drive up to the hillside itself is worth making because of the variety of the exquisite views along way.

Coolness and damp air is refreshing can we feel when we get into the Grotto Cave Beautiful after the heat outside. Path through these caves leads out to the top of the mountain. The journey up to the hillside itself is quite difficult, but worth the effort we spend, because it will be greeted with beautiful scenery along the way.

Beautiful Grotto is a tourist area more challenging and interesting enough to be seen. A cave is located in hilly areas in Payakumbuh, West Sumatra. Inside are stalagmites and stalactites rock formed from limestone deposition process that lasted hundreds of years. Both types of stone carving has a variety of shapes, with stunning ornaments, such as: bedroom space, a chair, bed nets and so forth.

The specialty of this place is the presence perbukitaan around the cave, tourists can see the panorama of the city Payakumbuh which lay in front of the eye. The combination of urban buildings, trees and vast expanses of green fields is unity Payakumbuh luster.

While the scenery around the cave is also no less interesting. Before entering into the Grotto Beautiful or rather in front of the entrance of tourists greeted with a carving of the stone that resembles an elephant. Entering the cave, tourists will get a treat a variety of carved stone carving. Various forms of rock and stone carving named according to shape, such as: chair, bed nets, and bedrooms. The visitors who feel tired or longer want to enjoy the beauty of the Grotto Beautiful can stop and sit back on the rock. In other parts there is a white stone, when exposed to light will reflect light like a beautiful sheen.


Anai Valley

The surroundings of the Anai Valley are magnificent. The dense tropical forest all around is most impressive and is a nature reserve. Below runs the river Anai with its crystal clear water. Just on the side of the road is a 40 m high waterfall. Anai Valley is located in Nagari Singgalang,X Koto district exactly in Padang Bukittinggi highway with a distance about 40 kilometers from Batusangkar (via Padang Panjang). Anai Valley famous for its waterfall.

Anai valley itself is a protected nature reserve area. In the shade of the forest there are some rare plants that once the main attraction of Anai Valley Nature Reserve, one of which is the carrion flower (amorphyphalus titanum). This flower thrives in the woods. In addition there are also some dead flowers wood plants is the main attraction of this natural reserve areas, including Cangar, sapek, Madang Siapi-api (Litsea adinantera), cubadak / Cempedak water (Artocarpus sp), Madang babulu (gironniera nervosa), etc


There are also rare endangered animals, including Sumatran tigers (phantera tigris sumatrensis), deer (cervius timorensis), gibbon (Hylobates syndactylus), long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicu-selling), monkey (Macaca nemestrena), pangolin (sweet java - Monica), deer (Tragulus sp), tapir, and lizards.


Animals are often encountered by tourists as it passes through this area, is a long-tailed monkeys, gibbons, and monkeys. All three animals are constantly on the move to look for fruits that are in the forest area to the highway. In the meantime, to see the other animals that needed professional assistants who take visitors directly to where the animal is used to play and looking for food.


In addition to these animals, Anai Valley Nature Reserve is also home to various birds, like eagles (accipitriade sp), birds Balam (bolumbidae), bird pigeon, and quail. Hawks usually live on top of tall trees. If lucky, visitors can see it when the bird is flying around the forest to search for prey.

Carocok Beach, Painan

Carocok Beach is one of West Sumatra’s many tourist destinations located on the southern coast around 75 kilometers from Padang City. The clear soothing blue ocean water enriched with corals and fish awaits new visitors each day. Visitors have another option for entertainment aside from lying calmly on the sprinkles of whitish brown sand on the shore of the beach. There are many small islands around Carocok Beach, such as Kereta Island and Cingkuak Island. For those who cross the ocean to Kereta Island, many gazebos are available for a relaxing afternoon in the sun.

The clear blue Cingkuak Island can also be seen from afar. The clusters of coconut trees lure visitors to cross over to the fun and exciting island using a small boat rented out by the locals.  There are many games available such as Banana Boat and jet skiing. Beside the games, there is a Portuguese fort, remnants of Portuguese colonization. Not far from the Carocok Beach, there is Langkisau hill with different beautiful scenery. Enjoy the view from on top of the 200 meters hill above the sea level. Along the hill, in left side, I saw tropical forest landscape. In the right side, I saw beauty of Indian Ocean. This place used to paragliding. The landscape of the beach and Painan can be clearly seen making this the perfect spot for photographers who wish to get a view of the entire area.

Carocok Beach is located in Painan, Pesisir Selatan (South Coast) Regency, West Sumatra. If you are from Mingkabau International Airport, you can rent a car about 400,000 rupiahs for 12 hours. If you’re backpacker and need cheap cost, you should try to use public transportation.But, you should take Damri to Padang first, and then, you continue travel to Painan or Pasisia. In Imam Bonjol street, many buses await to go to Painan. It takes 2,5 hours from Padang.Travel to Painan will pass western side of Sumatra Island and beautiful scenery will accompany your journey. You will see Teluk Bayur Port, some waterfalls, field rice and river that these are still natural. It’s Amazing!

Bukit Langkisau,

Bukit Langkisau Painan, Object Tourism Andalan Coastal South, West Sumatra
Pair Nature Tourism, Bahari, and Sports Dirgantara.If there are objects that combine three tour events at the same time, be it in Painan Langkisau Hill, South Coastal District (Pessel) one of them. Hill, located in the western coastal area of West Sumatra is presenting nautical tourism, nature tourism, sports and sky.

Although at the beach, the hills are quite high, reaching 214 meters above sea level. The challenge is interesting enough for the tour penyuka nature. The location right in the heart of Painan City, the capital of Kabupaten Pessel. From the top of the hill can be enjoyed Paonan of the city, paving the white sand beach Carocok, Beach Salido, and small islands in the Indian Ocean. A good time to visit is the top of the hill towards the evening sunset. The reflection of rays on the golden surface of the sea provides spectacular scenery.The sky like sport can freely enjoy the Forum. There are dozens of the Forum is ready to assist the tourists who want to enjoy the scenery from the air while flying with the parachute. Parjock, 30, one of the Forum in Painan, said activity is increased during the holidays. "Many who like the challenge," he explained.

After the withdrawal birds fly from top of the hill, visitors can select the desired landing location. How Painan landed in the city or on the carpet of white sand beach Salido. Reach the location of tourism that is not too difficult. From the capital of West Sumatra, Padang, just ride the bus cost Rp 15.000 one way, it has been in Painan. Who want to berlama and long-stay, lodging facilities available with affordable prices. Ranging between Rp 50000-150000. "Depending amenities," said a tour guide there. Pessel government look Langkisau Hill tourism object is enough potential to be developed. Redundant if the development does not fit in the priority scale regency governments.

Sawahlunto, Heritage Town of West Sumatera

Ransoem Warehouse Museum in Sawahlunto, West Sumatra, which was inaugurated on December 17, 2005 is housed in a former kitchen of coal mine workers and patient of the public hospital Sawahlunto that when it numbered in the thousands. Ransoem Warehouse Museum was built in 1918 with an area of ​​2300 m2. Collection of the mine cart on display in front of the Ransoem Warehouse Museum, beside the entrance. In the background read "Memahami Masa Silam Untuk Menata Masa Depan (Understanding the past to organize the future)". there is audio visual room, with air conditioner and comfortable seating, where visitors can see the documentation video of coal mining history in the area of ​​Sawahlunto.

Pek Sin Kek House .Pek Sin Kek is an Chinese ethnic. He came and settled in Sawahlunto since the early 20th century.As a newcomer Pek Sin Kek House classified as a successful entrepreneur. In 1906 he built a place of business and family residence in Center City. Pek Sin Kek House once used as the Theater Building, the Association of Malay society, ice plant. After years of 2005-2006 in the revitalization of the typical architecture of the Chinatown building was used as a souvenir shop, here the tourists can shop while enjoying the typical architecture of the building.


Mbah Soero Hole | Mbah Soero Hole is a tunnel under the ground or under the township residents who have long hallways. The hallway begins from Tanah Lapang village, Lembah Segar sub-district to the office of parliament. This mean that the hallway of Mbah Soero Hole up to 1.5 km with a slope close to 20 degrees. Mbah Soero Hole is the starting point for open pit mining in the town of Sawahlunto. The opening of Mbah Soero Hole conducted since 1891 while the construction is carried out in 1898. Not much different from other mining areas, in Mbah Soero Hole also employed the prisoners, known as 'the chain'. In the course of its history, location of Mbah Soero Hole is very close to the Lunto Trunk that bring harm to the environment and the mine itself. This mean that the hole had been dug with difficulty and very deep in the former was closed due to seepage of water from catchment Lunto Trunk.


Consequently in 1932 the construction of Mbah Soero Hole is to be discontinued. At some point in the Mbah Soero Hole is forced to shut down again in order to avoid greater harm. Closure Mbah Soero Hole is done with concrete walls. While it was closed, but after independence Mbah Soero Hole reopened in part to conduct an investigation. However, the same condition in 1932 re-encountered. That is, mining remains can not be done because it is covered by water seepage of Lunto Trunk. Mbah Soero itself is known as the foreman and he was very close to 'the chain' and society, he is also known to have high mysticism. Because social skills and high knowledge of this reason eventually Mbah Soero become community role models. Mbah Suro is have 5 children with 13 grandchildren. While his wife a midwife. Mbah Suro died before 1930 and was buried in the graveyard The chain, Tanjung Sari, Sawahlunto


The road to Sawahlunto passes Silungkang village known for its creative artisans who turn colorful threads into folds of silky fabrics, named Silungkang Songket. Songket here is sold much cheaper than that in the city of Padang, especially at last-minute shopping at souvenir stores by the airport. There is a name you might want to say during a short conversation with the locals; kampong tenun (pronounced: ter-noon). You will likely observe directly the process of hand weaving a songket fabric, done not only by women, but also by men.

It is obvious that contacts with Chinese and Indian traders  have enriched the variety of their products, which was initially made of local resources such as tree bark tissues and fibers, which was believed to have been learnt from the locals in Pattani, Thailand. Golden threads and silks were later imported and to enhance the local  songket fabric to a new height in quality.  Songket also gives out a pleasant scent from the assorted fibers used.

In 1974, a cultural exhibition held in Jakarta presented a 234 year-old songket that was made of fine threads of maroon Mokou Bulek Soriang, with Pucuk Rebung motif, owned by the Den Haag Museum of Holand. Another wellknown motif from Silungkang and exhibited overseas is the itiak pulang patang.

Songket is believed to originate from Southeast Asia around 1,000 years ago, specifically from Siam or Thailand. Its fame made it easy to spread and found its way to Malaysia’s Selangor, Trengganu, and Kelantan, all the way to Brunei Darussalam. The skill of weaving Songket in Silungkang was brought by Baginda Ali of Dalimo Singkek Village from Selangor, Malaysia. From Silungkang, songket made  its way to the Pandai Sikek Village that is also famous for its beautiful songket.

In Silungkang, the local people are also into rattan handicrafts. Again, here you can enjoy watching the process of making baskets and other forms of artistic crafts, such as rattan chairs, desks, tables, cabinets, to simple brooms, and small souvenirs. Suiseki stones are among the souvenirs offered by Sawahlunto and Silungkang Village. The stones are naturally formed and become more beautiful after some honing process. If you are interested, the small ones can be nice souvenirs for your parents or loved ones. The mid size can be very expensive, reaching millions in Indonesian Rupiahs.

Singkarak Lake

Another ideal place for recreation and water sport is Singkarak Lake, 36 km from Bukittinggi. There are several motels and restaurants in the area. Singkarak Lake is located about 10 Km of Solok city and ± 35 Km from Kayu Aro. This lake is located in X Koto district and spread across Solok - Bukit Tinggi way. The lake is state between two regencies that is Solok regency and Tanah Datar regency with ± 129,70 km2 (± 1.129,29 Ha) width. Siangkarak Lake is the widest lake in West Sumatra and the second widest lake in Sumatra Island after Toba Lake.

The Lake that located in 362,5 m height from the sea level, has special species of fish that only live in this lake and the only in the world. Society around called as Bilih Fish (Mystacoleuseus Padangensis). Uniquely, this fish cannot live in other habitat, both in an aquarium and in a pool. The people around are often selling this fish and the visitors can enjoy the specific taste of this fish in the restaurants that located around the lake.

The Lake is equipped by some facilities, such as; hotels, motels, restaurants and also water sport facilities. Beside used as tourism objects and the economic source of society around, nowadays, this lake also used as the electric source of Sicincin.

Air Manis Beach Padang


Air Manis Beach is closely related to the legend of Malin Kundang in West Sumatra. Malin Kundang is a character fabled to have been turned to stone, together with his ship, after periods of disobedience to his mother. By the beach, there is a Malin Kundang stone and several pieces of equipment from his ship, which are also stones. Based on the story, Malin Kundang was cursed by his mother for his refusal to acknowledging her as his mother after traveling to another region and becoming rich.

Air Manis beach is a favorite tourist site for local and foreign tourists because it has low waves and beautiful views of Mount Padang. There is also a small island called Pisang Kecil (literally means “small banana” ) on its right side. From morning to afternoon, you can walk to this one hectare island through shallow water. In late afternoon, however, there is a tide and you must take a boat to return. On its right, there is another island called Pisang Besar (literally means  “big banana” ). Local inhabitants on this island are mostly farmers and fishermen. You can walk around the beach and wade to Pisang Kecil Island. Visitors can also rent a motor boat to visit Sikuai Island which is located across Pisang Island


Air Manis beach is located 15 km from Padang city center. From Minangkabau international airport, visitors can go to Air Manis by passing through Padang. If you want to use public transportation, you must first go to Plaza Sentral Pasar Raya from the airport exit gate in Simpang Ketaping. From the city center, you can take public transportation plying the Padang-Bungus route.Beside playing in the water and swimming, visitors can rent a motor boat to visit Pisang Kecil and Pisang Besar Islands which are located some 500 meters from the beach. On Pisang Kecil Island, visitors can sit under gazebos and enjoy sea and beach sceneries. If you want to stay overnight on Pisang Besar island, you can stay in a local inhabitant's home or your own tent.If you visit Sikuai Island, you can try water sports such as surfing and diving. This island is famous for its white want to stay overnight on Pisang Besar island, you can stay in a local inhabitant's home or your own tent. If you visit Sikuai Island, you can try water sports such as surfing and diving. This island is famous for its white sand.

Pagaruyung Palace

The grandest and most distinctive of the rumah gadang is  found at Batusangkar, on the road to Lake Singkarak. This is the Istana Basa Pagaruyung - or the Pagaruyung Palace – located at Tanjung Emas, Batusangkar in the Tanah Datar area.

The Istana Basa Pagaruyung has 5 stacked sweeping roofs, eleven sharp horns, and three storeys. It is a huge, colorful, and heavily carved palace. Completely razed in a fire on 27th February 2007, the palace has today been completely rebuilt exactly true to the original design. Lightning had hit one of the highest eaves and, further fanned by the winds, conflagration soon engulfed the entire structure, destroying the Palace including the rice barn that stood some 80 feet away.

Pagaruyung is the name of the Minangkabau kingdom that ruled the central region of Sumatra, which was the seat of a large kingdom where the Minangkabau culture flourished. Believed to be descended from the first West Sumatra raja, Adityavarman, the Javanese-Minangkabau original king, Pagaruyung was located in the heart of Tanah Datar, West Sumatra, a hundred kilometers inland from the city of Padang today, close to the picturesque Lake Singkarak.

In his book, Suma Oriental,-  the World of the East,-  Tome Pires,16th century  Portuguese writer, described that the vast territory of Pagaruyung then,  encompassed the Sumatran eastern coasts, Jambi, the western coast of Barus, Tiku, and Pariaman. It also included what are present day Indragiri, Siak, Arcat, and Kuantan. Similar accounts are derived from traditional legend , called  - Tambo Minangkabau,- which describes the large size of the kingdom of the Pagaruyung territory of the time.

The Pagaruyung Kingdom built its palace on a hill named Bukit Batu Patah where stood the original palace called Istana Si Linduang Bulan, where today its aristocratic descendents still reside, protect their traditions, values, as well as historic artifacts. Rebuilt in 1750, the Si Linduang Bulan Palace had actually been burnt down earlier in 1804 during a war, and was modestly reconstructed in 1869. Sadly, Si Linduang Bulan Palace was again burnt on August 3rd, 1961. It was not rebuilt until 1987 on the same original site.

The Istana Basa Pagaruyung was also not reconstructed before 1975 and 1976.On December 27th, 1974, governor of West Sumatra at that time, Harun Zain, initiated the reconstruction of the once grand palace as symbol of the great Minangkabau land. He also built a replica of the Si Linduang Bulan Palace on a piece of land inherited from the kings’s family. While, the palace is named Istana Basa Pagaruyung, as a tangible heritage of the great Pagaruyung kingdom that once ruled central Sumatra and surroundings.The palace is easily accessible from Bukittinggi, Solok, or Padang Panjang. It is located in Tanah Datar, in a district named Batusangkar. Its location on the roadside can hardly be missed since the palace is grand and a real stunner for passersby.

Mentawai Island, Wild Live and  Primitive exist in West Sumatera

Take a trip into the wild with an adventure to the Mentawai islands. Be surrounded by tropical rainforests and immerse yourself in the traditions of the local people. While the physical distance between the mainland and Mentawai is not great, this remains one of the most isolated places in Indonesia, and was only subject to outside influences at the start of the 20th century. A long way from the world of shopping malls and theme parks, this is where travellers come to get a truly off the beaten track adventure.

Located off the West coast of Sumatra, the Mentawai archipelago includes four municipalities, Siberut, Sipora, North Pagai and South Pagai. is the biggest of the Siberut islands and remains largely covered with tropical rainforest. From the moment you arrive on and see the white coral beaches, ancient rainforests and hear the cheeky black gibbons playing in the trees you’ll find it hard to resist falling in love with the place. This Siberut island is home to a rich array of bio-diversity which has earned it designation as a UNESCO biosphere reserve.

The remote location of these islands means that the Mentawai people have had very little contact with the outside world. The archipelogo is thought to have broken off from the rest of Sumara about 500,000 years ago and it is only since the 20th century that outside influences began to have an impact on the local people. Today, the Mentawai still abide by traditional practices and live largely off the land. Local people have a strong spiritual relationship with the forest with a belief system that emphasizes harmony with creation. It is believed people first came to inhabit these islands at least several thousand years ago. Most anthropologists classify the Mentawai people as Protomalay which means they have a mostly Neotlithic culture but have not been effected by Buddhism, Islam or Hinduism.

Tatoos are an important symbol in Mentawai culture and reflect maturity, manhood and status. The art of this body painting has been inherited from ancient ancestors and the ink is made from natural fibres.

The biggest town on Siberut is Muara Siberut on the southeast coast. This is the major point of entry for tour groups from the mainland. From here, you can travel with a with a local guide and trek inland to some of the Mentawai villages. If your bahasa is good enough, chat to the locals and enjoy their hospitality. The other big attraction for visitors to these islands is the world class surfing. With some of the best surfing conditions in the world, monster waves and swells that remain all year round, this is ranked by serious surfers as a must visit destination

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 March 2016 13:40