Bukit Tinggi (Indonesian for "high hill") is one of the larger cities in West Sumatra, Indonesia, with a population of over 91,000 people and an area of 25.24 km². It is situated in the Minangkabau highlands, 90 km by road from the West Sumatran capital city of Padang. It is located at 0°18′20″S 100°22′9″E / 0.30556°S 100.36917°E / -0.30556; 100.36917, near the volcanoes Mount Singgalang (inactive) and Mount Marapi (still active). At 930 m above sea level, the city has a cool climate with temperatures between 16.1°-24.9°C
There are some interesting legends surrounding the foundation and naming of “High Hill” Bukittinggi. The city has its origins in five villages which served as the basis for a marketplace. The city was known as Fort de Kock during colonial times in reference to the Dutch outpost established here in 1825 during the Padri War. The fort was founded by Captain Bauer at the top of Jirek hill and later named after the then Lieutenant Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies, Hendrik Merkus de Kock. The first road connecting the region with the west coast was built between 1833 and 1841 via the Anai Gorge, easing troop movements, cutting the costs of transportation and providing an economic stimulus for the agricultural economy. In 1856 a teacher-training college (Kweekschool) was founded in the city, the first in Sumatra, as part of a policy to provide educational opportunities to the indigenous population. A rail line connecting the city with Payakumbuh and Padang was constructed between 1891 and 1894. During the Japanese occupation of Indonesia in World War II, the city was the headquarters for the Japanese 25th Army, the force which occupied Sumatra. The headquarters was moved to the city in April 1943 from Singapore, and remained until the Japanese surrender in August 1945.
During the Indonesian National Revolution, the city was the headquarters for the Emergency Government of the Republic of Indonesia (PDRI) from December 19, 1948 to July 13, 1949. During the second 'Police Action' Dutch forces invaded and occupied the city on December 22, 1948, having earlier bombed it in preparation. The city was surrendered to Republican officials in December 1949 after the Dutch government recognized Indonesian sovereignty. The city was officially renamed Bukittinggi in 1949, replacing its colonial name. From 1950 until 1957, Bukittinggi was the capital city of a province called Central Sumatra, which encompassed West Sumatra, Riau and Jambi. In February 1958, during a revolt in Sumatra against the Indonesian government, rebels proclaimed the Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Indonesia (PRRI) in Bukittinggi. The Indonesian government had recaptured the town by May the same year.
Bukittinggi is a small town, so these places are within walking distance with each other (15-30 minute walk).
Sianok Canyon (Ngarai Sianok)and the Japanese Caves (Lubang Japang), a network of underground bunkers and tunnels built by the Japanese during World War II. There is a two-story observation tower that overlooks the Sianok Canyon. During dusk you can observe megabats flying from the gorges to the forest in order to feed from the fruits on the trees. This is also a good place to get in contact with guides for tours such as to Lake Maninjau (see below) or jungle/hiking trips through the Canyon.
Fort de Kock. A fort built by the Dutch (nothing is left, only a water reservoir is on top of the hill) and Bundo Kanduang Park. The park includes a replica Rumah Gadang (traditional house), used as a museum of Minangkabau culture (many curiosities, such as stuffed animals with two heads and six legs, model houses and traditional dresses, , and a zoo with a few very sad Orang Utans, a few expired species which are still rotting in their cages, two obese bears - not exactly a example in modern animal keeping. The Dutch hilltop outpost Fort de Kock is connected to the zoo by the Limpapeh pedestrian overpass.
House of Bung Hatta (the first Vice President of Indonesia).
Clock Tower (Jam Gadang)
There are horse carriages waiting around the Jam Gadang area. Please be cautioned that the rides are very costly, therefore please ask for their rates first.