Bukittinggi Things to Do Tips by dabuwan Top 5 Page for this destination
Bukittinggi Things to Do: 56 reviews and 68 photos
Jungle forest during Merapi hike
Sumatra is on the Equator and the vegetation is very lush. The jungle forest can thus be very thick and humidity becomes difficult to bear when walking through. You'll see many flowers and you'll hear many animals.
No special dangers, besides the usual ones (leeches, snakes, insects, etc...).
A sulphurous opening
On the top of Mount Merapi, amidst the lunar lava landscapes, there are many small openings blowing out hot sulphurous vapors.
The rock around the opening is yellow beacuse of the sulphur deposits.
Our guide prepared hot tea and cooked some eggs for breakfast on one of these openings. Take care of where you walk and of where you sit!
Views from top of Mount Merapi
Peaking at almost 2900 mt above sea level, Mount Merapi overlooks the whole Bukittinggi area. Views from the top are stunning, provided there are no clouds.
Because of the elevation and the fact that you arrive here at sunrise completely sweat, you should wear something to protect you against the cool wind, at least until the sun goes up.
The contrast between the brown lava landscapes of the volcano top, the smoke from the craters and the green lush valleys is amazing.
An active crater
If you want to hike up to the Merapi top you need an experienced guide. You can find many in Bukittinggi, try to choose a good one.
The hike starts a little before midnight, by car to a village at elevation 1500mt. From there it is a long, steep, insidious walk on a small path through thick jungle as far as elevation 2500 mt. Then the last climb in a lunar landscape of lava up to the top at almost 2900 mt. The intention is to reach the top by sunrise.
Going back was even more difficult because of the heat, the slippery steep path and the tiredness.
It doesn't matter what the would be guide will tell you, it is not an easy hike. I suggest you leave Bukittinggi in the evening a couple of hours earlier and bring lots of water with you (I suggest 4 liter). Be sure that your guide will have some anti-leeches spray for everybody, to use while hiking through the jungle.
Once on the top, take care! It is an active volcano with lot of smoke. Some stones (hard lava) were from time to time thrown up from one of the craters and then fell down close to me.
Anyway, all the efforts and the dangers have been more than compensated by the unique experience, the amazing landscapes and the spectacular views. I would go back.
A not so active crater
Mount Merapi (Gunung Merapi, same name as the famous volcano in Java)) is one of the three volcanos around Bukittinggi and it is the highest and most active of them.
It peaks at 2891 m above sea level, and it is possible to hike until the top, but it is NOT an easy, short, safe walk.
King palace in Pagaruyung
Paguruyung is a typical Minangkabau village, where many traditional houses with the typical honred roof can still be found. There is also a well known palace, called "king palace" that is a fine large building open for tourists. Unfortunately the original building was destroyed by fire in 1976 and the actual one is a reconstruction.
There is a small fee to visit.
Pagaruyung is about 40 kms from Bukittinggi.
Other Minangkabau houses around Bukittinggi are far less luxurious than the King Palace in Pagaruyung, but they still have the typical style and shape.
View of Bukittinggi
Bukittinggi town is a friendly place at 930 meters of elevation, with a pleasant cool climate. It is a fairly recent town, dating back to the dutch colonial period in 19th century.
The big clocktower and the market square are the heart of this town, that is mainly a base for a visit to the surrounding attractions.
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