Situated at the west coast of the island of Sumatra, is home of the Minangkabau, one of a few the world last ethnic groups to retain a matriachal social system. Every Minangkabau belongs to his/her mother clan. They are versatile & intelligent people & lead their community & family life based on matriachal system which gathers around mosques & traditional adat houses. The women own property & the men choose to wander. Travelling is considered a mark of success & therefore many West Sumatrans are found in other parts of the Indonesia.
Originally was a port for traders of gold, spices, timber & products from the hinterland valley of the Minangkabau region. It has several houses built in traditional architecture, including the Padang Museum which houses objects of cultural & historical interest. The Bungus bay bas white sandy beach & it is good for swimming, boating or just watching the fishing boats going out to sea in the afternoon.
Bukittinggi is a two-hours drive through beautiful countryside of the Anai valley to the Agam Plateau. It is one of the lovely, friendly, most relaxed town in all Sumatra. Located 930 metres above sea level, Bukittinggi formerly named Fort De Cock by the Dutch has a cool climate & is surrounded by three volcanoes: Tandikat, Singgalang & Merapi. The landmark is the town clock tower topped with a hornshaped roof & called Jam Gadang, build by the Dutch in 1827, overlooks the market square & magnificent view of the city. In the outskirts of the town is the Ngarai Sianok, a canyon separating Bukittinggi from Kota Gadang, 12 km away overland. Kota Gadang is renowned for its fine silver filigree & hand embroidery. Also worth visiting is the colorful market & the Museum which is a Rumah Gadang in the 19th century.
Lies at the outskirt of Bukittinggi, it is a steep-canyon of about 100-150 metres high, very colorful & is surrounded by a green valley with a winding river at its bottom. The beauty of this panoramic landscape is hard to describe as if no words can precisely express this geological wonder.
Batusangkar & Pagaruyung Palace
Batusangkar has been know as Minangkabau Kingdom at old period that named as Pagaruyung palace. The palace reflects the lavish royal style of architecture of the Minangkabau which is much visited by tourist. The kingdom at the beginning of its history was ruled by a queen, named Bundo Kanduang. Near Batusangkar is where some archaeological vestiges, such as the Written Stone, the Stabbed Stone & some other relics can be found.
It is said that this little village is the oldest village in West Sumatra. It is situated on the slopes of Mt.Merapi & it is still reflects the pure social structure of the Minangkabau conception of a village. A mosque, a council house & adat house with rice barns form the nucleus of the village
The surroundings of the Anai Valley are magnificent. The dense tropical forest all around is most impressive & is a nature reserve. Below runs the river Anai with its crystal clear water. Just on the side of the road is a 40 meter high waterfall.
A winding road with 44 sharp turn descends to Lake Maninjau, around 36 km from Bukittinggi. This mysterious & calm lake offers breathtaking views of its surrounding, ring of mountains & terraced rice fields. The lake retains its natural wonder as giants bats float across it every twilight & the echoing calls of birds & monkey can be heard from the jungle.
The Harau Canyon is a granite walls surrounds a lovely countryside, arround 15 km from Payakumbuh, It is a nature & wildlife reserve where tapirs, siamangs, boars, wild goats, butterflies, etc.
The village of Pandai Siket is around 10 km from Bukittinggi & famous for its hand weaving "Songket" & carving industry. Songket is a traditional Minangkabau textile for the colorful customary customes wear for all traditional ceremonies. Up today, the "Songket" is still traditional woven, using gold manual looms & generally done by women or girls.