Sawahlunto.. Yes, this town maybe still heard unfamiliar to travelers, especially if you’re not from West Sumatera. It’s a small town in Province of West Sumatera, approximately 2 hour away from the capital city, Padang. Well, as a Minangnese, I’ll reveal what this town has for you.
Maybe, some of you know that this town is famous for its coals mining. Yeap, one of the largest coals mining in Indonesia is here, at Sawahlunto. The good thing is, this town still has many coals buried down under.
Okay, what about the tourism? This town doesn’t has beautiful scenery like Bukittinggi. It’s only a small town in a round valley. The entire town is surrounded by hills. I’d like to call it “Hollywood of West Sumatera”. Why? The picture below will explain it well to you. Lol.
But this is a very historical place. The coal mining made Holland Army used to care a lot about it. No wonder, it’s easy to find old building with european style here. Thanks to local government for taking care of them until now.
Among the buildings are Office of Bukit Asam Company, Ombilin hotel, Agung Mosque, Silo, Cooperation Building, Cultural Center Building, Pek Sin Kek House, St. Barbara Church & St. Lucia School, Goedang Ransoem Museum, Train Museum, and Info Box Gallery & Mbah Suro Mining Tunnel.
Lately, the last one becomes the most popular among all the buidings. Have you been into Japanese’s Tunnel at Bukittinggi? Kinda similar with this one. Interestingly, this tunnel has just been discovered about five years ago, already buried for many years. Actually, people, especially the elders, already know about this buried mining tunnel from long ago. In 2007, the government decided to explore it. The first time this buried tunnel finally opened, contained full of water. Some say, that was the reason why the mining was closed many years ago. Our guide, Mr. Win, said that they had to dried the tunnel for days, using water pump.
Honestly, this tunnel is scarier than Japanese’s Tunnel at Bukittinggi. Many parts of this large tunnel, according to Mr. Win, has yet to be locked, for mystical reason, of course. Recently, some researcher like to visit this tunnel, not only from natonal TV networks, but also from world famous tv network, National Geographic. They study a lot about this tunnel, for it’s history and of course for its mystical things. We found out that it’s so easy to find coals here. Just a few meters under the ground, you’ll see them on the walls of the tunnel.
For those who want to try the unique train of Sawahlunto, please come on Sunday to Train Museum, because it’s not available of any other days. Your historical tour won’t be complete without this. 🙂
So, is that all? No. The local government build a small zoo with family playground at Kandi, about 5 miles away from the town. Many people visit this place everyday. Right before the zoo, we found a small lake, which is actually formed on a stone mining. Beware of crocs! This lake is close enough to a crocodile reservation. We saw a small one, but far away at the center of the lake.
Well, that’s all about Sawahlunto, the Hollywood of West Sumatera.. 😀