PAGE STARTED: SEPTEMBER 22, 2015
PAGE UPDATED: OCTOBER 24, 2015
Travel time by car from Tuk Tuk, Parapat to Bukittinggi
The moment you are in your car and on the road from Parapat the clock starts ticking at Time is Zero. (T=0)
The following time schedule is based on normal traffic conditions
1 T = 0 On the road in Parapat
2 T = 25 min Passing the road to Sibisa Airport. Reportedly there is
one flight a week on Friday from Medan to Parapat, operated by Susi Air.
3 T = 30 min Passing Taman Eden: Wild Orchid Garden.
If you are interested well worth a visit. In such case schedule minimum 1 hr.
4 T = 1 hr Porsea. Bridge over Asahan River.
5 T = 1.5 hr Balige. TB Silalahi Centre and Museum.
One of, if not the best museum I have seen in Indonesia. A must for anybody interested in Batak Culture. In such case schedule minimum 2 hrs. The food in the Restaurant was also very good.
6 T = 2.5 hr Tarutung Hotsprings. I was not impressed.
7 T = 2 hr + 35 min Tarutung. Passing the road to Air Soda.
Air Soda. Again I was not impressed.
8 T = 2 hr + 50 min Tarutung. Salib Kasih.
If you have a Christion religious interest and are interested in how part of the Batak People became Christians it is well worth a visit. In such case schedule minimum 2 hrs.
9 T = 4 hr + 40 min Sipirok.
We checked the Torsibohi Hotel. We decided not to stay in this hotel on our way back.
10 T = 6 hr Padang Sidempuang.
Passing the Mega Permata Hotel
11 T = 7 hr + 30 min Passing Pasar Penyabungan
12 T = 8 hr + 30 min Passing Kota Nopan
13 T = 9 hr + 10 min Passing the border with West Sumatra
14 T = 11 hr Passing the Equator and Imam Bonjol Museum
Note: The Equator is ok for a photo stop. Don’t plan for a bathroom stop in the museum. Also no need to plan for visiting the museum unless really interested. In such case schedule 5 minutes.
15 T = 12 hr + 30 min Arrival at Hotel in Bukittingi
Add to this time for regular stops, such as bathroom inspection, lunch, dinner, sightseeing and unscheduled stops for traffic jams, road construction and land slides. For this 3.5 hr is possibly just enough, which means that your travelling time will be some 16 hrs. The total distance being 472 km.
Recommended places to stop
The numbers 3, 5, 8 and 11.
Not really recommended for your overnight stay: The Torsibohi Hotel in Sipirok
Our Experience and Conclusions
On September 9 we travelled with a private car, Kijang Innova, in one day from Parapat to Bukittinggi. Our driver was an experienced safe driving driver, who had done the same trip already more than 50 times, of which minimum 15 times this year, which means he was very familiar with the route and road conditions on the way.
We came back to Tuk Tuk in two days on Sept 12 and 13 with a stopover in Padang Sidempuan.
My overall conclusions and observations are:
The road conditions are much better than what I had expected, especially the part from Padang Sidempuan to Bukittinggi
There are a few boring stretches but overall I found the route very scenic and enjoyed the ride very much. On Sept 9 we were driving in the dark for the last couple of hours and therefore missed quite some of the good views. We compensated for this on the way back.
Between Parapat and Padang Sidempuan there were 11 substantial road widening, road reconstruction, road improvement projects on the way. Assuming that these projects will be completed within 4 to 6 months it means that at that moment there will be 11 bottle necks less between Parapat and Padang Sidempuan. Notwithstanding, there will be many more similar projects needed.
Though closing in to Bukittinggi the roads are very good, they are still very winding not to say dangerous, especially when driving in the dark. I have to admit that on our way to Bukittinggi, especially during this stretch, we had 2 close calls which I my opinion were partly due to the driver getting tired.
We have decided for the safety of our guests and our drivers that from now on we will only arrange for transportation to Bukittinggi in one day with two drivers.
As you will not have the opportunity to enjoy the ride and scenery in full, nor having time for stops at really some interesting places let’s say in between Parapat and Tarutung I would advise to fly from Medan to Padang, especially if you are a solo traveler or a couple. This will most likely be much cheaper.
We are ready to arrange this for you with one driver. The first day start as early as possible pick you places to stop between Parapat and Tarutung. Stay overnight in Sipirok or if you prefer a more decent hotel in Padang Sidempuan.
The next day again start a bit early and arrive in Bukittinggi around mid afternoon, still having some time to explore Bukittinggi.
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