Padang - Sumatra
Highlights - Flights to Padang, Gateway to Mentawai Islands, beaches,
Cities and towns in Sumatra
Padang, meaning field, with a population of over 900,000 people is in Western Sumatra on the coast of the Indian Ocean. Padang is the Regional capital of West Sumatra, the 3rd largest city in Sumatra.
Originally a port for traders of gold, spices and timber. With a lot of trade with China many Chinese immigrated to Padang so the town has an amazing China Town with many restaurants and spice shops.
Off the coast from Padang are many beautiful islands which can be visited for snorkeling, fishing or just relaxing on the white sandy beaches. A ferry can be caught to the island of Cubadak or Pulau Cubadak or to the Mentawai Islands including Siberut Island.
Surfing tours start and finish from Padang with a number of different companies operating tours. See our surfing page for more information.
The most famous food dish from Padang is the beef randang (check out the recipe here).
Paces of Interest
Vihara Buddha Warman
Along the beachside road, just down from the Tourist Information office is a Buddhist Temple, Vihara Buddha Warman, opened in 2006 for the large Chinese Buddhist community.
Padang Old Town
Padang Old Town, or Padang Lama, is the old part of Padang lined with colonial Dutch buildings that are still intact along Batang Arau River. The harbour along the river was once a very important port until the 19th century. Across the river is Padang Hill, the first settlement before Padang developed into a town.
Just east is Pasar Batipuh and Pasa Gadung which was formally the market place. The buildings now are used for warehouses for spices. A little west is China town with the main street being Pondok, also with old buildings including an old Buddhist temple with Chinese architecture, over 200 years old.
Padang Hill and Siti Nurbaya Park
Across from the Arau River is the Siti Nurbaya Park which can reached by bridge or boat. There are still remains of Japanese canons and bunkers from World War II. There are great views back over Padang city, Arau River and the Indian ocean.
Bungus Bay is located 25kms south of Padang and can be reached by mini bus in 45 minutes. Bungus Beach is on a beautiful calm bay with white sandy beaches. From here visitors can hire a boat to the nearby islands.
The islands close by have some excellent coral reefs for snorkeling or diving. There are boat excursions out to these islands which cost around 250,000Rp including lunch.
There are a few small hotels in Bungus Bay with bungalows on the beach. The best place to stay is Carlo's which have cabins on the beach for around 200,000Rp per night
Air Manis Beach
Air Manis Beach, Sweet Water Beach is located 10kms south of Padang. It is has brown-white sand. When the tide is low, Pulau Pisang Ketek (Small Banana Island) which is 200m of the shore of the beach can be reached by foot. There are many rock formations which the legend Malin Kundan Stone formations are found which resemble ship wrecks. The legend of Malin Kundan states that he was cursed for the denial of his own mother.
Air Manis Beach is a perfect place to learn to surf. Air Manis Beach is within a secluded bay surrounded by forested hills. It only takes 30 minutes to get to from Padang. Here the waves break over soft sand rather than coral like in other locations so safer to learn. The wave height is around 0.5m to 1.5 meters. The water is clean though not always clear due to the fine sand that gets churned up by the waves. The surfing season at Air Manis Beach is from February to October when you can surf all day.
For surf instructors contact Rick Cameron on +62 751 767 888 or at www.mentawai.com.
Other places in Indonesia good for beginner surfers are:
Kuta and Legian, Bali
Pangandaran, West Java
Three Level Waterfall
Pasir Jambak Beach
Pasir Jambak Beach (Pantai) is situated 20kms north of Padang on the way to Bukittinggi. At 14kms turn left to get to the beach. With white sandy beaches and calm water it is ideal for swimming and relaxing in the water. Home stays are available close to the beach.
Bung Hatta Nature Reserve
Bung Hatta Nature Reserve is 18km east of Padang at an elevation of 400-1300m about sea level. Around 2400 hectares it's topography has high cliffs and valleys with temperatures of 13-26 degrees Celsius. With diverse flora and fauna including a few Sumatran Tigers, Black gibbons, wild goats, tapirs, bears, hornbill birds and Raflesia Gaduansi, Balangphora, Amorphopalus (corpse flower).
From the heights of the reserve there are some excellent views to Padand and the Indian Ocean.
Along the coast and the various islands close to Padang are some excellent reef and open water fishing spots. Recent times has also seen an increase in the sport of free-diving spear fishing. Fish vary from Trevally, Mangrove Jack, Spanish Mackerel and huge dogfish tuna.
It's fairly easy to arrange a boat to charter within the port at Padang or you can contact this Sumatra based charted company - www.nomadsurfers.com.
There are a few good internet cafes throughout Padang that offer internet access at 4000Rp per hour.
Some of the larger hotels offer free wireless internet access. See Hang Tuah Hotel below.
Earthquakes off coast of Padang
Monday 25th October 2010 A 7.7 earthquake occurred at 9.42pm local time, off the west coast of Sumatra raising a Tsunami warning. The quake epicenter was Kepualauan Mentawai region which is 280km south of Padang and 240km west of Bengkulu.
Waves as high as 3m struck the island of Pagai, a surfing hotspot amongst the Mentawai islands. Some surfers were forced off their boat and swept 200m inland onto the island and then had to climb trees on the island to escape the waves. Up to 10 villages have been washed away with over 300 people confirmed dead and hundreds more people missing. The remoteness of the islands is proving difficult to get rescue workers to the islands to search for the missing. 9 Australian's though were thought to be missing on the surf boat The Southern Cross have been contacted and are safe. There boat was further out to sea and were unaware of the Tsunami. (Last updated 28th October 2010 7.45am)
Padang was struck by earthquakes twice in 2007, on 6th March 2007 by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake and on 12th September 2007 by an 8.4 magnitude earthquake. Despite these quakes life and business goes on in Padang.
On Sept 30th and October 1st 2009, 2 massive earthquakes struck Padang within 16 hours of each other, the first of the quakes was 7.6 and the second 6.8 magnitude. It is believed up to 1100 people lost their lives in this earthquake either under collapsed buildings or landslide which occurred in surrounding villages to Padang. Construction has begun to rebuild Padang city.
Padang's airport is called Minangkabau and is one of the 4 international airports in Sumatra with flights directly from Singapore, Penang and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia as well as other airports in Sumatra including Medan and Banda Aceh. You can also fly there from Batam.
Taxi's from Padang airport to the centre of Padang city are standardised at 85,000Rp which is about a 30 minute taxi ride.
Padang also has one of the 4 seaport In Sumatra , it is the main gateway to the Mentawai islands including Seribut, Sipors and Pegei Seletan. Ferries can also be caught from Padang to Jakarta and to Sibolga.
Buses from Padang to Lake Maninjau take 2 hours or 2.5 hours.
Buses from Padang to Bukittinggi take 3 hours.
Hang Tuah Hotel (3 reviews) a budget hotel 500 meters from Padang beachside, in the centre of Padang with free WiFI wireless internet access. 2012 Room prices start from US$22 including breakfast. For more photos, online bookings and hotel reviews click here.
Bunda Hotel (1 review) is a new boutique hotel located in the heart of Padang on Jln Bundo Kandung. Room rates are US$31 night including breakfast +tax. For pictures, room prices and contact details click here.
Hotel Pangeran Beach (reviews) a 4 star hotel overlooking the beach and ocean, located in the northern section of Padang. With swimming pool, fitness centre, sauna, spa, massage, free WiFi internet access, coffee shop and restaurant. 2012 room prices start from US$55 per night including breakfast. For more photos, online bookings and hotel reviews for Hotel Pangeran Beach click here.
Rocky Plaza Hotel (reviews) a 4 star hotel located in the heart of Padang city, close to shopping malls and restaurants. With swimming pool, free WiFi internet access, bar/pub, coffee shop and restaurant. Room prices from US$107 per night including breakfast (internet specials from US$47 per night). For more photos, online bookings and hotel reviews for Rocky Plaza Hotel click here.
Inna Muara Hotel located in the heart of Padang on Jl Gereja. Room rates from 544,950Rp including tax and breakfast. For pictures, 2009 room prices and contact details click here.
The Ambacang Hotel, 3 star hotel located in the centre of Padang, 20 minutes from the airport. Rooms start at 400,000Rp plus taxes and services fee. For contact details, prices and photos click here.
Dipo International Hotel, 2 star hotel a few streets away from Padang beachside. Rooms from 266,200Rp per night. For contact details, prices and photos click here.
Mariani Hotel is located right across the road from the Ambacang Hotel in the centre of Padang. Room prices from 200,000Rp per night. For pictures, 2009 room rates and contact details click here.
edOTEL is located in the centre of Padang on Jl. Bundo Kandung. Room rates from 200,000Rp per night. For pictures, 2009 rooms rates and contact details click here.
Nuansa Hotel, located directly across from Padang beachside. Rooms from 170,000Rp per night. For contact details, prices and photos click here.
Putri Kemala Balqis Beach Hotel, is located directly across from the Padang beachside. Rooms from 152,000Rp. For contact details, prices and photos click here.
Hotel Immanuel, (2 reviews) has 2 budget hotels located in the centre of Padang, 10 minutes walk from the beachside. With rooms starting from 100,000Rp. For contact details, prices and photos click here.
Paradisio Village located on Pulau Cubadak
Last updated 23rd October 2013
English - Indonesian translator/dictionary
© 2009 Sumatra Travel
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