Bukittinggi is a town in the province of West Sumatra on Sumatra, Indonesia. It is the cultural centre of the Minang Highlands (Minangkabau) area. The town is located at an altitude of 900m which makes the temperature nice even though it is very close to the equator.

The town was originally called Fort de Kock, after the fort built here by the Dutch in 1825. The fort can still be visited, but all that remains are a few cannons. You don't want to see the zoo that also is included in the entrance fee though. The cages are small and in a horrible condition and the animals seem very distressed.

The Japanese, just like the Dutch, considered this a strategically important place and used local slave labour to build 1400m of tunnels as a potential fortress during WWII. It was never used. The tunnels can be entered through the Panorama Park west of the town centre, but there aren't much to see and the place gets very few visitors. It is creepy to be down there alone. The view from the Panorama Park is very nice however. Gunung Merapi and, especially, Gunung Singgalang are two very nice looking volcanos.

Pasar Atas (central market), near the clock tower in the centre of town is worth a visit, especially on Saturdays and Sundays when it is especially lively. Rember that bargaining is expected if you are buying something.

If you are a in Bukittinggi consider going to a bullfight. Definitely different from the bullfights you are used to. If you are used to bullfights, that is.

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