What To Expect In Padang

March 31, 2012 Indonesia 5 Comments 19,003 Views

What To Expect In Padang, West Sumatra.

For an ordinary traveller, Padang might not seem worthy staying at. Sure, it has no real (typical) tourist attractions and it’s not as fancy as other cities … but Padang really does have a lot to offer. Most importantly: it’s the stepping off point to some of the most pristine islands in all of southeast Asia.

A tropical paradise off the coast of Sumatra.
A tropical paradise off the coast of Sumatra.
The Aftermath Of The Earthquake In 2009.

Padang is not really comparable with other cities in Indonesia; it’s a lot more orderly, clean and organized. Wide roads cross the city and a lot of buildings are quite new. The reason for this is the complete rebuilding of Padang after a strong earthquake hit the capital of West Sumatra on September 30th, 2009. A lot of buildings are still badly damaged and it’s will take a while until all the traces are gone. Especially the market area was pretty badly hit and the damage still can be seen around this part of Padang. But the government is working on it and construction is under way.

The aftermath of an earthquake in the center of Padang.
The aftermath of an earthquake in the center of Padang. Around 135.000 houses were severely damaged, 65.000 houses were moderately damaged and 79.000 houses were slightly damaged.
Some parts of Padang are still destroyed.
Some parts of Padang are still destroyed. An estimated 1.250.000 people have been affected by the earthquake.
Arriving In Padang. Where To Stay?

We came from Kuala Lumpur with Air Asia. Though the airport is 30 km outside the city, an airport bus is always available when a flight arrives. If you are a foreigner and your hotel is not too far from their route, they will drop you off there, this was the first nice impression. We stayed at “Golden Homestay” on Jalan Ipah Nr.1. It’s a pleasant place with huge rooms and a very helpful crew! Opposite you find “Spice Homestay”, also very nice but there you better book in advance since it’s often full.

Also South of Padang (about 20 km) is Pantai Bungus with a few guest-houses like “Losmen Carlos” or “Losmen Tin Tin”. They can arrange trips to an uninhabited island as well. Bring food and water if you want the real “Robinson” feeling. On the island you rather can either take a bungalow or set up tent … or sleep in the hammock like we did :)

The Local Cuisine.

One thing that should not be missed is the local cuisine. “Padang kitchen” is one of the best! Chicken curry or Sayur Nagkar (a curry dish made from jack fruit) as well as other different meals are served in little plates. It’s so damn good, that I’m getting hungry just thinking about it…

Padang Kitchen is the best cuisine in the world. You're served several different dishes on small plates. Only what you eat has to be paid.
Padang Kitchen is the best cuisine in the world. You’re served several different dishes on small plates. Only what you eat has to be paid.
Transportation.

We immediately noticed the new hype about lowering and chipping the local taxis or bemos. The drivers seem to be very proud of their vehicles and it’s definitely nothing you get to see very often :)

Bemos are the local taxi's all over Indonesia with Padang as a major hub.
Bemos are the local taxi’s all over Indonesia with Padang as a major hub.
The Local Market.

The market is, as always a real meeting point and a lot of action going on. Around the corner is a huge western style supermarket as well – good enough to buy provision “western style”, like butter, yoghurt or cheese, if one plans to spend some time on an island.

Fresh fish is always available at the market in Padang.
Fresh fish is always available at the market in Padang.
Not only fresh fish is sold at the market in Padang. The meat section is definitely nothing for the faint-hearted.
Not only fresh fish is sold at the market in Padang. The meat section is definitely nothing for the faint-hearted.
Off To A Tropical Island.

Padang is the stepping off point to all the Mentawais. A bit South of Padang in Teluk Gayur, ferries are anchored which set off mostly in the evening for an overnight trip to the islands. You will not believe what kind of beach paradise awaits you there!

High Class Island Hotel Tip: Cubadak Paradiso Village Resort.

Robinson Crusoe feeling in West Sumatra.
Appreciate this Story?

Go tell your friends by sharing or tweeting it.

This Story is Tagged With:


5 Comments

Join the Discussion

“What To Expect In Padang, West Sumatra.”

  1. That looks like an idyllic place to go away..Sumatera looks like a great island to discover

  2. Nisa

    Hey Amer!
    Yeah, Sumatra is really great for travelling & discovering. There is so much to see and you’ll fins some of the most beautiful tropical islands on our planet ;)

  3. Van

    its the paradise indeed, i intend to visit Pdang this summer 2012.Thank you for the nice post!

  4. Hi Van! You’re very welcome. The islands around Padang are absolutely stunning and I’m sure you’ll enjoy your time there ;)

  5. I lived and worked in Padang in the early 1970s, just after it was re-opened to Westerners. The beaches were absolutely prisitine. Here’s an idea of how white the sand is (or was 45 years ago). After the massacres of the 1960s, people became very afraid of “the Communists”. A rumor swept through Padang that Communists were putting particles of glass in the rice supply. The Rektor of IKIP Padang was a real rocket scientist with a PhD in physics from the U. of Kentucky. He investigated the rumor and discovered that the “glass” was from the sand locals used as part of the winnowing process. It was very fine particles of quartz, which is what gives the beaches their sparkle and glow. The beaches were terrific in the sunlight, but incredible in the glow of full moon.

Leave a Comment