We canceled our initial plan to spend a night in Mesilok due to the ferry’s change of schedule to Padang one day early. On 6 June, the Mentawai adventure was finally over, we boarded on Gambolo ferry boat at night leaving for Padang.
7 AM. The boat arrived at Bungus harbor, Padang. Without any hesitation, we ride on a rented car to find a proper breakfast, preparing for a long ride ahead. After the breakfast, our first stop was Aia Batumbuak, one of the highest places in West Sumatra. It was the best place to photograph Mount Talang.
We made several stops on our way to Bukittinggi. One of them was Pagaruyung Palace, held a status as the most famous tourist attraction in West Sumatra, located in Tanah Datar Regency, 105 KM from Padang. Apparently, this palace was built without proper safety aspects. It had suffered three major fires, the most current fire was in 2007, destroying almost all of its valuable assets.
Mount Talang (middle); Pagaruyung Palace (bottom)
There was an ambitious project in Bukittinggi called “The Great Wall”, mimicking the design of the real Great Wall in China. The purpose was to make pavement through Ngarai Sianok, making it the best way to explore this famous canyon. The project had just finished five months before my visit. Well, I must say it was quite a big work, but like many other tourist attractions in Indonesia, trash and graffiti polluted “The Great Wall”. The unorganized snack kiosks scattered all over the pathway also annoyed my walking experience through the canyon.
The second place to enjoy Ngarai Sianok is the well-maintained Panorama Park, it has the best panoramic view of Ngarai Sianok with many souvenir shops. Panorama Park was my last stop in Bukittinggi before headed back to Padang.
Ngarai Sianok (top-middle); Paintings sold at Panorama Park (bottom)
Dragon Boat Festival
Padang, Saturday afternoon. My adventure wasn’t over yet, Jambi was still waiting. I had a few hours spare time before took a night ride by car to Jambi. Coincidentally, there was a big event in Padang: International Dragon Boat Festival. Well, I wasn’t going to miss this event, there should be many interesting objects to photograph for sure. Padang had been hosting this international event for eleven years. Even when a major earthquake hit Padang four years ago, the event wasn’t cancelled, that was impressive. For that achievement, the International Dragon Boat Federation granted Padang a prestigious award.