Bukittinggi & Krui

Cow racing to surfing reef breaks

Bukittinggi

Transport:

We took the boat from Tuk Tuk back to the mainland then onto Bukittinggi from Parapat. Despite being in a shared taxi, this overnight drive was quite possibly the toughest as we didn’t get any sleep being cramped in a car (I was stuck in the middle) getting thrown around on the bumpiest and windiest roads. Wasn’t worth the 350,000RP (£19) for sure, can’t believe I’m saying this but maybe we should have got a bus!

What we did:

Originally we were going to just change onto a bus to Bengkulu in Bukittinggi and not stay, but then decided that as we were going through, we might as well stop for 2 nights and explore the area a little. Buddie, the owner of the first guesthouse we stayed at, was awesome. His English was amazing and he organised a tour for us with his mate Elvis. It was quite pricey at 350,000RP (£19) each, but it was just the two of us, in a car, and we had a really great day, possibly as we had low expectations of the city/town. We saw lots of padi fields surrounded by volcanoes, did a tour of a coffee factory, saw lots of traditional pointy houses and went into the ‘King's House’ where lots of the locals wanted photos of us.

The best part was definitely the traditional cow racing. Local villages and tribes bring along their ‘best bulls’ and put a neck roll around them with a plow. The young men then stand on the plows holding 2 bulls’ tails and get pulled along a knee deep waterlogged paddy field! It’s absolute madness, bulls, men and mud everywhere and it’s all to impress ladies from the other villages to try and find a wife. We thought it was a tourist thing, but not at all, there were barely any tourists there and the villages still do it every Saturday to meet future spouses!

Accommodation:

‘Da Kock Cafe’ was where we stayed the first night. Hilarious name, and great staff who were so nice and helpful. 210,000RP (£12) a night for a double room with bathroom and big choices for breakfasts (I had pancakes of course) for the 2 of us a night. They were full the 2nd night, so we stayed down the road at ‘Hello House’. 200,000RP (£11) a night for a budget room with a bathroom and basic breakfast. Chinese owners were nice and helpful.


Krui

Transport:

28 hours on buses!!! Elvis and his mate gave us lifts on the back of their mopeds to the bus station. PO San Bus, for only 180,000RP (£10) each, we jumped on the oldest bus, with no reclining seats and no leg room, but the coldest air con ever (locals were in ski gear!) that we were going to be sat on for 18 hours! I asked the guys who worked on the bus if we could sit on the back seats and they could see we couldn’t move, so let us sit where they usually sleep. It was a very long journey on uncomfortable seats, followed by a 4 hour wait at a bus station in Bengkulu, before another 10 hour bus to Krui. Same company, this one cost 250,000RP (£14) each for ‘super executive VIP’ but despite more legroom and comfy chairs, it was still awful with terrible roads, bad driving and the drivers’ music! Made a few local friends on the way, like Rudie who loved chatting to Jack about football.

What we did:

Thankfully, that long journey was worth it. We had such a great 5 days in Krui. We hired boards from the ding repair man down the road, and spent most of the time surfing mandiri beach and the reef at Ujung Bocur, swimming, chilling and chatting to the other guys staying at Lovina Surf Krui.

Accommodation:

Lovina Surf Krui was absolutely awesome. The local family who own and run the place are so happy and friendly. The food was incredible, the facilities were great (pool and pool table!) and the atmosphere was so nice. It’s a really open place and all the people staying there all chill together at night, chatting over beers, watching old surf films and playing pool. Pricier than we’re used to, but so much more luxurious, it cost 3,762,000RP (£200) for the two of us which included 4 nights stay in a double ‘looseman’ (hut) with a bathroom, 3 meals a day each, moped hire everyday, beers and washing!