Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 21 February 2014 • Itinerary
A story of a great place never gets old. So even though my trip to Harau Valley happened a year ago in January 2013, I still remember a lot about it. The majestic walls of granite rock, the vast green paddies, the museum of a controversial man named Tan Malaka, even the sounds of nocturnal animals that crept me out at first. And here is the complete compilation of the stories.
Harau Valley is mainly known for the granite walls, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Walk or bike around the valley, you’ll find natural waterfalls, like the Sarasah Bunta and Aka Barayun, and there’s even more if you explore further. You’ll see endless spread of rice fields anywhere you go, and of course meet the locals. One of my favorite things to do there was screaming my lungs out to hear the valley echoes my words!
Here are the 4 awesome things to do in Harau Valley.
And when you’ve done exploring Harau Valley, though literally that couldn’t actually be done in just a day or two, you could go westward, just a little out of the valley. Visit the museum of Tan Malaka, check out the mystical school of fish in the river, go rock climbing with local guides, or maybe even tag along with the boar hunters!
More of these activities here.
You probably won’t be the only tourist there as words about Harau Valley have started to go around, but it is still serene and very little touched by commercialism. One of my best moments was to stay at Abdi Homestay, where I was lullabied by the gibbons and crickets, and woke up to the green paddies every morning. It’s so humble, that it’s something worth bragging about!
On our visit in January 2013, we paid IDR 100,000 / person.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone to + 62 852 6378 1842.
The complete story is here.
The nearest hub that connects Harau Valley to the rest of the world is Payakumbuh. Payakumbuh is smacked in the middle between Padang (the capital city of West Sumatra province) and Pekanbaru (the capital city of Riau province).
To get to Payakumbuh, you can fly to Minangkabau International Airport, which is in Ketaping, northwest to Padang. The fare if you’re flying from Jakarta is usually around USD 45/pax, but we got a sweet promo deal with Mandala Tiger Air for only IDR 60,000 return tix/pax. (Too bad Mandala doesn’t fly from Jakarta to Padang anymore). If you fly from Bali, the fare would be about USD 100/pax.
Then take a bus or shuttle car from the airport for about IDR 150,000/pax to Payakumbuh.
Or, fly to Pekanbaru, the capital city of a neighboring province, Riau. Then take a shuttle car to Payakumbuh for about IDR 120,000–150,000/pax. As Diyan had experienced both, he’d suggest the flight to Padang because the shuttle car service is better than the ones from Pekanbaru. Either way takes about 3 hours to Payakumbuh.
Shuttle cars are also available between Bukittinggi (the most famous highland city in West Sumatra) and Payakumbuh, that takes only about 1 hour drive. The fare was.. I actually forgot, but Diyan said it’s less than IDR 20,000/pax.
From Payakumbuh, the most convenient way is to have your homestay host get you by motorbike. With Abdi Homestay, it was included in the service, no extra charge. If you haven’t made a reservation, then an ojek ride can be your option, but I’m not sure how much it would cost.
It took us about half an hour to get from Payakumbuh to Harau Valley. Try to get there in daylight, so you’ll be welcomed by the sight of lovely paddies.
We hired a motorbike to get around and paid IDR 50,000 per day to Ikbal, the owner of Abdi Homestay.