Monday, February 22, 2016


This is a recollection of my first solo backpacking trip to Padang, Sumatra in January 2014.

You can read about my first and second day here (

I had followed my friend, Dewi to visit her mother in her hometown of Sijunjung. We had arrived the night before to find a hot meal and comfy beds waiting for us (I got my own room).

The next morning (my 3rd day in Padang), I woke up to a breakfast of Sumatra coffee and biscuits prepared by Dewi's mum.

Dewi then took me on the scooter to do some sightseeing around the village.

Local villager sifting some grains to dry.

Discovered this beautiful scene.

Dewi holding my hand through the muddy rocky path.

I tied up my skirt (which I'd got for 50,000IDR / Rm18 at the local market the day before) as I didn't want it to get wet and muddy. 

Leaving the river, we rode round some more and found an abandoned hotel.

Grounds of an abandoned hotel.

We then headed back to Dewi's house. She would be going back to Padang as she had to work the next day, while I would catch a bus to Bukit Tinggi, somewhere in the highlands.

Dewi's living room.

Dewi and her mum.

We then walked out to the street to catch the bus (hers to get to Padang, mine to get to Bukit Tinggi).

Rows of shops along the way.

Stopped to buy a drink and snapped this photo.

Dewi got on to her bus and I got onto mine, which would take me to Bukit Tinggi. I settled back for the journey as we left town and moved onto long quiet roads. It must have been less than an hour when suddenly, the conductor came to me and told me to get off. 

Huh? I was confused. He told me that the bus did not go directly to my destination, and I would get off and catch a connecting bus.

But this was in the middle of nowhere, not even a proper bus stop.

Anyway, I got off and waited by the side of the road.

In my head, I was wondering
" When would the bus arrive? "
" Would the bus even arrive at all? "

Thankfully it did rumble up in about 15 minutes and I was off on my way again.

Lake up in the higlands.

Had a washroom stop and some local ladies came round selling stuff. I bought a packet of clams because I found them interesting.

Paddy terraces along the way. 

When I got into the town of Bukit Tinggi, it was pouring with rain. I got into a cab at the bus terminal and asked him to take me to whichever hostel he knew of. The first hostel he brought me to was further away from the main town, dimly lit, and bare. I didn't like it at all.

I asked him to bring me somewhere else and he took me to Rajawali Hostel, a building parked right up front of the busiest intersection in town. 

I liked the feel and deco of it a lot better, plus it had a good central location, so I went ahead and got a room. It cost 60,000IDR (RM 20) for a night. I got a room with two single beds (that's the cheapest they had as they didn't have any dorms, only rooms).

They had a cute kid and library as well.

The lobby and library was nice, but the room was quite bare, damp, and had a musty smell. The shared communal bathroom was bad too. Each shower cubicle had a big tub of water with algae-green stuff sticking to the sides, ewww! 

I was forced to bathe there, but I washed my face and brushed my teeth at the cafe next door every day I was there. It was a nice cafe with tiled, western style flush toilets - much better than the hostel.

After I'd freshened up a little, I walked out into town to get some food and explore.

Carts parked by the roads selling local bites.

I didn't get a chance to see much as it was dark, late, and drizzling. Most shops were also closed, so I headed back to my hostel to sleep.

That marks the end of my 3rd day in Padang.

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