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Nestled in the highlands north of Padang in the Agam valley, the town of Bukittinggi or ‘high hill’ is West Sumatra’s cultural center. While Padang may be the modern commercial and administrative hub, Bukittinggi is a bustling market town.
Although it is less than a degree south of the equator, Bukittinggi has a refreshingly cool climate due to its elevation – over 900 meters above sea level. While it rains here often, this is not enough to deter travelers who come to enjoy what many claim is the most hospitable city in Sumatra.
The town also has an alternative name, Tri Arga, which refers to the three majestic mountains that shape the regions fortunes.
Many visitors come to Bukittinggi to visit the remarkable Ngarai Sianok Canyon where giant rock cliff faces, rugged trees which grow on top and the dramatic surrounding mountains make this canyon a spellbinding view.
This is an ideal place to go if you want to get beyond the average tourist trail. Compared to other spots in Sumatra, Bukkitinggi only receives a handful of visitors that use the town as a base for nearby hikes or to take cultural tours to the Minangkabau highland.
Though the horse carriage is far more expensive than the 'ojek', it is very popular with the locals, especially as it can carry the whole members of one’s family.
The town centre is compact so practically everywhere in Bukkittinggi is within walking distance. Bring your walking shoes and take the opportunity to wander around and meet the friendly locals.
Taxis and buses are also available. The bus terminal is in the south of the town.
A rented car with chauffeur is the best choice if you prefer privacy.
Horse carriages or sado are a colorful, charming transportation to move around town.
A flight from Jakarta to Minangkabau International Airport in Ketaping will take about 2 hours. From there you can use a taxi or bus to get to Bukittinggi.
Bukkittinggi is a pleasant two-hour drive (90 km) from Padang through the gorgeous Anai Valley up to Agam Plateu.
There are frequent local buses from Padang to Bukkitinggi or cheaper shared minivans which depart from Minang Plaza.