Situated on the coast at the mouth of Batang Arau, Padang, the capital of West Sumatra region, is home of the Minangkabau people and the origin of nasi padang. Padang is the gateway to the Minangkabau homelands.
Through the streets, the spires of the high gabled Minang style roofs glint in the sun. almost all the buildings in Padang repeat this theme, giving the town its distinct look. Complementing the Minang architecture are the horse-drawn carts known as Bendi. Providing cheap and romantic transport they add Padang’s distinct flavour.
Places of interest include the old port area still clustered with its well preserved with its well preserved Chinese and Dutch architecture. Cross the Batang Arau in a sampan and walk along panoramic pahtway to Air Manis beach – an easy and delightful 3 km walk throught lush tropical rainforest.
To the south of the city, the natural jungle mountain drop to beautiful beaches, fringed with coconut palms. Further afield perpect coral islands such as Pulau Laut, Pulau Ular or the Mentawai group of islands provide splendid diving and snorkelling opportunities. The adventurous may want to take a trip to Bukittinggi, which nestles between three volcanic peaks in the centre of the Agam Valley, a protected nature reserve, the Sianok Canyon, Kota Gadang, Maninjau Lake and Payakumbuh. Of the Minang crafts, their embriodery and weaving skills are perpahps the most noteworthy. It is said that the best embrioded Selendangs come from Padang and Bukittinggi.