After successfully toured Peninsula Malaysia in February 2015, we embarked for another long trip to West Sumatera, Indonesia. The trip was actually organized by a friend from Malaysia, Raja Hassan, a fellow bike tourer; so we decided to tag along together with some Malaysian cyclists. As the Malaysian counterparts planned to take a ferry ride a crossed the Straits of Malacca to Dumai, Sumatera from Malacca, one of the States of Malaysia, we too decided to experience taking a long ferry ride from Singapore to Dumai via Batam, instead of taking a direct flight to Sumatera.
Singapore Santai Riders:
- Unker Buzz – Rasidi Ahmad
- ARK – Abdul Rahim Kassim
- Rezal – Fat-bike Packers
- Abg Long – Hanafi – Fat Bike Packers
Day 1 – 5 August 2015 – SG to Batam – Ferry Ride
Travelling to Batam was like a second home to us. Eventhough, it was just a stopover enroute to our main destination, Dumai, we were warmly welcomed by the cycling communities here. We stayed a night at the upper floor of Pak Rusli Tan’s Office, who owns a Travel Agency.
Day 2 – 6 August 2015 – Batam to Dumai – Ferry Ride
The presence and assistance of Bro Arief made our departure to Dumai, a smooth one too. As we wanted to experience taking the ferry ride from Batam to Dumai, we had to occupy ourselves with sleeps; watching movies; eating; posing for pictures; “malingering”; and getting to know some friends… hahaha.
We reached Dumai (Air Mancur Bukit Gelanggang) after 8 hours of ferry ride. As planned, the Malaysian bike tourers namely King Raja Hassan, Nor Azizan Zulkifli aka Wak Jan, Bro Syaaban, Bro Zaki Ahmad, Bro Duone Kilot, Bro Sarom Sam and Sister Huda were already at the port waiting for our arrival. We were greeted by bro Hamdi Anshori Harahap, a local who invited us for a sumptuous dinner at his humble home.
Dumai town is a busy city. We saw quite a number of cyclists from young to old. Even though we didnt have much time to interact but they were friendly and curious folks. They will start a conversation with you when we stopped at the traffic junction or any placed we stopped by to rest.
We took an express coach from Dumai – another 8-hour ride – to Lubuk Bangku, Payakumbuh, the starting point to ride our bicycles. All the bicycles were loaded up at the bus rooftop; except for 2 folding bicycles.
Day 3 – 7 August 2015 – Lembah Harau, Payakumbuh
We arrived at Lubuk Bangku at the early hours – 4 am. We started the journey at around 7 am. From Lubuk Bangku, we rode to Kelok Sembilan. Kelok 9 or Kelok Sembilan is a winding road segment located about 30 km east of Payakumbuh, West Sumatera to Riau province of Indonesia. Kelok Sembilan means 9 sharp turns. This road stretches through Jorong Aie Putiah, Nagari Sarilamak, Harau sub-district of Lima Puluh Kota Regency of West Sumatera and is part of the interconnecting road link between Central Sumatra and the East Coast of Sumatra. The road has a sharp bend, bordering on a ravine, and flanked by two hills between two nature reserves: the White Water Reservation and the Harau Nature Reserve. The new overpass/flyover/bridge was officially inaugurated by the then President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in October 2013. (Wikipedia)
From Kelok Sembilan, we continued our journey to Harau Nature Reserve, a heaven for photographer, with beautiful scenery and waterfalls. Harau Valley was a good place to get away from the modern technology. No mobile signal and TV reception.
Day 4 – 8 August 2015 – Payakumbuh & Harau Valley
We rode to Payakumbuk Town and explored the natural beauty of Harau Valley.
Day 5 – 9 August – Harau Valley to Bukit Tinggi
The real adventures begun as we left Harau Valley to Bukit Tinggi. The five of us with Wak Jan will embarked to Danau Manindjau, about 30km from Bukit Tinggi, guided y Afif Bae, a local who was a bike tourer himself. We hosted him when he came to Singapore during his solo bike tour of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. To date, we are still in contact with him for our future trip in Sumatera.
The other Malaysian Riders will leave for Dumai from Bukit Tinggi and back home to Malaysia. We stayed a night at Jogja Hotel, Bukit Tinggi.
Bukit Tinggi is the third largest city in West Sumatra, Indonesia, with a population of 111,312 in 2010 and 121,028 in 2020, and an area of 25.24 km2. It is situated in the Minangkabau Highlands near the inactive volcano of Mount Singgalang and the still active volcano of Mount Marapi. At 930 m above sea level, the city has a cool climate. Bukittinggi used to be known as Fort de Kock and was once dubbed “Paris van Sumatera”. The city was the capital of Indonesia during the Emergency Government of the Republic of Indonesia (PDRI). Before it became the capital of PDRI, the city was a centre of government at the time of the Dutch East Indies and during the Japanese colonial period. As a leading tourist city in West Sumatra, The Jam Gadang, a clock tower located in the heart of the city, is a symbol for the city and a well-visited tourist spot.
Day 6 – 10 August – Bukit Tinggi to Kelok 23
Riding a bicycle travelling in Indonesia need lots of patience. The undulating hills and mountains will never leave you “alone”. It was a tough ride but we enjoyed the sceneries along the way til we reached Kelok 23, our camp for tonight.
Day 7 – 11 August – Danau Manindjau
Sight-seeing around Danau Manindjau – Lake Manindjau
Lake Maninjau (Indonesian: Danau Maninjau, meaning “overlook” or “observation” in the Minangkabau language) is a caldera lake located 36 km to the west of Bukittinggi,. The Maninjau caldera was formed by a volcanic eruption estimated to have occurred around 52,000 years ago. Deposits from the eruption have been found in a radial distribution around Maninjau extending up to 50 km to the east, 75 km to the southeast, and west to the present coastline. Lake Maninjau has an area of 99.5 square km, being approximately 16 km long and 7 km (4.3 mi) wide. The average depth is 105 meters (344 ft), with a maximum depth of 165 metres (541 ft). The natural outlet for excess water is the Antokan river, located on the west side of the lake. It is the only lake in Sumatra which has a natural outlet to the west coast. Since 1983, this water has been used to generate hydroelectric power for West Sumatra. Most of the people who live around Lake Maninjau are ethnically Minangkabau. Villages on the shores of the lake include Maninjau and Bayur. Maninjau is a notable tourist destination in the region due to its scenic beauty and mild climate. It is also a site for paragliding. (Wikipedia)
Further information on Kelok 44 – The 44 sharp bends that led to Lake Maninjau. Usually, those who pass through Bukittinggi – Maninjau Street would drop by in Kelok 44 first before continuing their trip. The multiple curves look extreme and beautiful! As the name suggests, there are 44 curves there. During the high traffic, the trip becomes more challenging. It is because all vehicles should run slowly due to the narrow and steep street. It surrounds the hillside and resides on about 1500 meters above the sea level.
Day 8 – 12 August – Kelok 23 to Bukit Tinggi
Saying goodbye to Manindjau
Day 9 – 13 August – A night in Dumai
The bike routes we took during the trip to West Sumatera from 6 August to 13 August 2015
Start point – Lubuk Bangku
End Point – Manindjau
Day 10 – 14 August – Dumai – Sekupang, Batam – SG
Some of the photos courtesy of Afif Bae, Wak Jan and ARK.