Google Maps shows a distance of 1,274 Km from Bukittinggi to Banda Aceh. Ride across the heart of Sumatra Island, to Toba Lake and finally to the great Tsunami stricken area of Banda Aceh, Nangroe Aceh Darussalam. We will split the route in to 4 main stages, ride around Bukittinggi, from Bukittinggi to Parapat. Parapat to Medan and finally Medan to Banda Aceh.
We planned that 4 days should be sufficient to cover such distance and more; with the bike already being shipped to Bukittinggi we start our trip with a short flight from Jakarta to Minangkabau Airport about 80 km south of Bukittinggi.
It was a gloomy morning when we landed at Minangkabau International Airport, the weather had been pretty much not in our side. Just thinking of riding in this kind of weather was tiring already let alone to ride for 1000km or more. But we were here already and let just enjoy what mother nature may throw at us. Our first destination was to have the famous “Gulai Itiak Lado Mudo” or “Duck With Young Green Chilli”, pardon the translation, but the dish is very famous and supposedly one of the dish that you must try when you are visiting Bukittinggi. On our last trip to the city we were unable to try the famous duck, thus we were determine to try it for our lunch this time around 🙂
The place to eat the duck is a small restaurant in the bottom of Sianok Canyon. The canyon was called “NGARAI” locally, thus the restaurant name. Sianok Canyon is popular for tourist and one of the attraction at Bukittinggi city. The place is bit nostalgic for me as I grew up in the city and played here quite often when I was kid. The bellow river was where me and my school friends used to play and swim back in the late 70, just too bad the condition now is dirty with litter. I hope the local government can clean this place up as it is beautiful.
Back to the famous Duck dish, the duck is serve with green chili as its name implied. We eat the duck with rice and with a big size crackers, hmm I have not seen this cracker for ages already! Other dish are chicken, curry beef and fish. The duck being served with green chilly is obviously very-very hot and spicy. Bring jolt to your tounge! To neutralize the chili and spice you will add some rice, and then some more Duck to have it a kick, and then some more rice. With out you knowing it you have eaten a big bowl of rice already! What a vicious cycle!
After lunch, and with the weather improving already, the group was ready to ride around Bukittinggi and we decided to go to Lembah Harau or Harau Valey, about 50Km west of Bukittinggi. The ride was a good warm up also for tomorrow 600 km ride to Parapat. When we returned to the hotel from Sianok Canyon, the Ducati with one Suzuki, already line up in front of the hotel. After quick brake, off we go to Lembah Harau.
A ride to Harau was nice, we passed Payakumbuh city just before we turn left to Harau. What I like riding outside Jakarta or Java Island is the lack of traffic. The road condition is good, and it only took us about 20 minutes to reach Payakumbuh. Lembah Harau is a beautiful valey, with its rice padi field guarded by 50m cliff on the left and right.
Riding through the cliff was surreal, with the sound of the Ducati being echoed left and right simply add more drama to it. Check out the lavish green of the rice padi field with the 50m drop on the back ground, what a view.
We take a stop near the Lambah Harau fountain, and just stay there for a while to admire the surrounding, check the pic bellow at the gallery.
We return to Bukittinggi that afternoon, and with a long ride on the next day we call the night early to get enough rest.
TO BE CONTINUED