Padang is the capital city of West Sumatra Province and is one of the largest cities in Indonesia. The region is in the limelight for its legendary folktales such as the love story of Siti Nurbaya who was forced to marry an old wealthy merchant and the story of an ungodly man, Malin Kundang, who was cursed to stone by his mother. Apart from being famous with its folktales, Padang is also well-known for its scrumptious dishes.
Famous throughout Indonesia for its distinctive cuisine, Padang is the place to go to sample the famous spicy nasi padang food that has spread throughout the country and the world, including delicacies such as rendang, dendeng, and sate padang. The popularity is owing to its mouthwatering food and the unique serving style - the waiters will expertly carry more than ten plates with all kinds of delicacies on both arms. These dishes will then be spread out on the table for diners to pick and choose.
Padang is the gateway to the Minang highlands. With the largest port on Sumatra’s West Coast, this is a merchant town attracting ships trading in goods such as rubber, cinnamon, coffee, tea, cement and coal. If you take a stroll down to the old colonial waterfront you’ll see century old warehouses stocked with fragrant cinnamon and other spices waiting to be shipped to Jakarta and Singapore.
Padang is also home to ravishing natural beauties as it is directly adjacent to the Indian Ocean and has a diverse topography and landscape. No wonder, the region has more than a few tricks up its sleeve, from stunning beaches like Air Manis, Mentawai Island, Bungus Beach, Carolina Beach, Ketaping Beach, Padang Taplu Beach, to undulating landscape of opulent hills such as Nobita hill. There are resorts and hotels available near the tourism spots for you to stay when traveling.
Air Manis is Padang’s most popular beach, located about one hours walk along the coast, or a quick trip in a minibus. It is located behind Mount Padang and is approximately only 10 km to the south from the city center. The beach has a wide coastline, whitish brown sand, and low waves – a perfect spot for you to chill, sunbath, or splash around and is suitable for beginner surfers. On the south side of this beach, there is a rock that resembles a person prostrating. Legend says that the stone was Malin Kundang, who turned into a stone after being cursed by his mother.
You can also visit several historical places around, such as the Adityawarman Museum, Siti Nurbaya Bridge, Tugu Gempa Padang, Pagaruyung Palace, and one of the oldest mosques in Indonesia, Masjid Muhammadan. What’s more, you will also be able to watch interesting rituals and ceremonies in Padang, like Makan Bajamba, Pesta Tabuik, Turun Mandi, and many more!
Another enticement of Padang is none other than the delicacy of its scrumptious dishes. Even though Padang cuisines have been sold across Indonesia, nothing can beat the atmosphere and experience of eating the foods directly from its original city. Many delicious and spicy foods will tickle your palates and bring you to a real, authentic culinary adventure.
Padang is half-way up Sumatra’s west coast and is served by a good network of land, air and sea routes. Padang’s new airport is the Bandara Internasional Minangkabau, 20 km north of the centre of town. Domestic flights go daily between Padang and Jakarta, Medan and Palembang. Airlines operating flights to Padang include Garuda, AirAsia and Lion Air. Padang’s Bengkuang bus terminal is located 12 km from town.
Most attractions in Padang are within walking distance but if you need a break, there are metered taxis available. Although slower, a more romantic option is to take a bendi – a horse drawn cart. The city is also serviced by minibuses and buses.