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[FOOD] Hunting Scrumptious Padang Food in West Sumatra

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Getaway Category: Food & DrinkGetaway Tags: Asia, Bukittinggi, indonesia, Padang, Sumatera, Sumatra, West Sumatera, and West Sumatra

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  • This article contains affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase I will make a commission at no extra cost to you. This article was first published on March 06, 2017 and updated in March 2018.

    Padang food is world-famous. If you’ve lived in Southeast Asia for a while, you may have heard of rendang (stewed meat). This dish is so popular it was voted by CNN as the #1 most delicious food in the world. We also love the Indonesian tempeh and peanut vegetables, but that’s not what this article is about, here we will talk about Padang food.

    Yet not many people know where it comes from. Many Singaporeans and expats living here may refer to such cuisine only as “Malay food” and not give any further thought about it, but when you look at all those mouth-watering rendang, dendeng (jerky) and gulai (gravy) at stores across Singapore, Malaysia or Indonesia, just remember that all this goodness actually has its origin in the Minangkabau people of West Sumatra Indonesia Padang being the capital.

    To make this itinerary work, we suggest visiting Padang Indonesia with a group of friends to share the plate of happiness. Don’t stuff your stomach too early when you’re in this gastronomic heaven—eat less of each, but try more things!

    Warning: Don’t get Padang City, the capital of West Sumatra, confused with the port in Bali called Padang Bay or Padangbai (where you can get a ferry to the Gili Islands and Lombok) and Padang Padang, one of the most famous surfing waves in Bali.




    Day 0 in Batam, Indonesia

    You will likely arrive in Batam a little late at night, so take a good rest to prepare yourself for tomorrow’s flight to Padang.

    Day 1 in Bukittinggi, Indonesia

    11.30am: Arrival at Minangkabau International Airport

    Upon your arrival in Padang at Minangkabau, transfer around 15 minutes for your first taste of Padang cuisine.

    Jalan Mr. Sutan M. Rasyid, Padang Pariaman, Katapiang, Batang Anai, Kota Padang, Sumatera Barat 25586, Indonesia

    12nn: Lunch at Lamun Ombak

    Time to begin your culinary journey of Padang today at Lamun Ombak, one of West Sumatra’s most famous food outlets, and when you try it you’ll know why! It serves quintessential Minangkabau fare rich in coconut milk and blended with varieties of spices, with key dishes such as gulai kapalo ikan balacuang (fish in yellow curry), rendang (stewed meat), palai bada (steamed anchovy fish cake with grated coconut), etc.

    From here you can already observe distinctive presentations of Padang food. There’s no such thing as a “menu book”. The waiters will stack the plates in one hand and deliver all dishes to your table. Pick whatever looks the most appetizing and you’ll pay only for what you’ve eaten. But remember not to overeat—your food hunting afternoon has only begun!

    And don’t be surprised if you see all the locals here use their hands to eat! The finger-licking goodness of Padang food is so embedded in the culture that some restaurants don’t even bother to deliver you the spoons unless you ask for them!

    Teh talua

    Teh talua. Photo cred: Muhruz

    For the drinks, don’t forget to try the unique teh talua, made from a mixture of tea, milk and egg yolk! Squeeze in a little bit of lime if you prefer your egg yolk not too strong. Expect to pay around IDR 40,000 per pax, or more if you eat a lot!

    Jl. Padang – Bukit Tinggi Km. 24, Pasar Usang, Sungai Buluh, Batang Anai, Kabupaten Padang Pariaman, Sumatera Barat 74384, Indonesia
    Open 4am-10pm daily

    2pm: Sicincin’s Salted Egg & Pinyaram Traditional Cake

    As you drive through the Sicincin area in the Padang Pariaman regency, pay attention to the street sides.

    Telur asin

    Telur asin. Photo cred: Midori

    One of the first things to catch your eye and the next stop on your culinary tour in Padang are the many vendors who hawk the region’s signature salted egg, or known locally as telur asin here. Its unique taste can be attributed to the fact that these are not mass-produced eggs, but produced from authentic ducks foraging in their natural environment by the paddy fields. An egg costs around IDR 2,000.

    Another must-try is the pinyaram, a type of bowsprit cake or known among the Malay communities as kue cucur. Pinyaram is made from a mix of rice flour, palm sugar and coconut milk. This traditional cake is popularly served during festive periods, especially for Eid al-Fitr and wedding ceremonies.

    Sicincin, 2 X 11 Enam Lingkung, Padang Pariaman Regency, West Sumatra, Indonesia

    2.30pm: Lembah Anai Waterfall

    Lembah Anai

    Lembah Anai. Photo cred: MGA73bot2

    Make a stop at Lembah Anai Waterfall, one of West Sumatra’s top tourism icons. Conveniently located by the roadside, you can easily explore it in 15-30 minutes. The waterfall source comes from the nearby Mount Singgalang, before dropping from the height of 35 metres here in Lembah Anai. Entrance to the waterfall is IDR 3,000 per person.

    Singgalang, Sepuluh Koto, Tanah Datar Regency, West Sumatra 27282, Indonesia

    3.30pm: Minang Village

    Rumah Gadang

    Rumah Gadang. Photo cred: Fendry mappariza

    You cannot claim to have visited West Sumatra if you don’t drop by at least one of its traditional houses, known as Rumah Gadang. Rumah Gadang’s architecture mimics layers of buffalo horns to commemorate the victory of the Minangkabau people over their invaders through a buffalo fight.

    There are plenty of Rumah Gadang and some of the most famous ones are located in Batusangkar area (see our more culturally-focused West Sumatra itinerary for details), but if you do not feel like driving all the way there, you can make a visit to Minang Village and still get the same experience. Admire the beautiful multi-layered exteriors with intricate details, and don’t forget to step inside. Entrance is free!

    Jalan HR Rasuna Said, Silaing Bawah, Kp. Manggis, Padang Panjang Bar., Kota Padang Panjang, Sumatera Barat 27118, Indonesia

    4.30pm: Sate Mak Syukur

    The popularity of satay may have spread worldwide, but a bite of Sate Mak Syukur will prove that there is more to skewered meat than what you already know!

    Satays found outside Indonesia are usually grilled or barbecued to resemble its original Javanese variant, finished off with the well-loved peanut sauce. In West Sumatra, satay takes on different forms—not one, not two, but THREE different forms.

    There is Sate Padang Panjang with its turmeric-based sauce, which gives it its distinctive yellow colour. There is Sate Pariaman with its red chilli-based sauce, and thus strong red colour. And then there is Sate Padang, which incorporates the characteristics of both Sate Padang Panjang and Sate Pariaman.

    Sate Mak Syukur

    Sate Mak Syukur

    Naturally, as we are in the Padang Panjang region, Sate Mak Syukur represents the turmeric-based variant. This stall has become so legendary that many Sumatrans have been known to travel hours or even days just to buy Sate Mak Syukur! Price starts from around IDR 20,000 for eight skewers.

    Pro tip: Skip the lontong (rice cake). Keep your stomach happy but never too full!

    Jalan Mohammad Syafei, Pasar Baru, Padang Panjang Barat, Ps. Baru, Padang Panjang Bar., Kota Padang Panjang, Sumatera Barat 26219, Indonesia

    5.30pm: Pondok Bika Si Mariana

    As the scenery slowly changes to the rolling hills of the Koto Baru area, so does the type of food. Most unique to this region is a type of dessert cake known as bika. There are many vendors selling bika here, but the one we recommend is Bika Si Mariana. The dough is made from a combination of coconut milk, rice flour and red palm sugar, before it’s wrapped with teak leaves and baked on top of traditional furnaces.

    Bika Talago

    Bika Talago

    There’s no doubt this is the best bika in Koto Baru, but it doesn’t hurt that the hut where Bika Si Mariana is sold is right in front of a picturesque paddy field with a backdrop of Mount Marapi. Enjoy the view as you happily munch down your bika—it’s a feast for all the senses! It costs around IDR 3,000 per bika.

    Jl. Padang – Bukittinggi, Koto Baru, Sepuluh Koto, Kabupaten Tanah Datar, Sumatera Barat 27151, Indonesia

    7pm: Dinner at Rumah Makan Nasi Kapau Uni Cah

    Nasi Kapau

    Nasi Kapau. Photo Cred: Gunkarta

    Absolutely one of the best foods in Bukittinggi city. Nasi kapau is similar to nasi padang which can be found in stores across Singapore, presented with pyramids of plates offering various dishes. But there are subtle-yet-significant differences between nasi kapau and nasi padang.

    Nasi Kapau Uni Cah

    Nasi Kapau Uni Cah

    Some of the gravies are quite unique, especially gulai tambunsu, with its chewy cow intestine mixed with egg and tofu filling. And of course, the rendang ayam (stewed chicken) is a classic which can never go wrong. Here, the tender chicken is stewed in a dense coconut milk and seasoned to perfection. Also try their dendeng (jerky). Expect the bill to cost somewhere around IDR 40,000-70,000 per pax.

    After the dinner, head to your hotel in Bukittinggi area to rest.

    Jalan Padang Luar Km 4, Bukittinggi, Taluak Ampek Suku, Banuhampu, Taluak Ampek Suku, Banuhampu, Kabupaten Agam, Sumatera Barat 26181, Indonesia
    Open 9am-9pm daily


    Day 2 in Bukittinggi, Indonesia

    8am: Breakfast at Pical Sikai

    Pical Sikai

    Pical Sikai. Photo Cred: Muhraz

    Pecel is a type of mixed vegetable salad in peanut sauce dressing. Here in West Sumatra, what’s different from the Javanese variant is that bananas and bamboo shoots are boiled together, topped off with crunchy cassava chips! A plate costs IDR 8,000.

    Another dish to try is its lamang tapai. Lamang is made from glutinous rice, coconut milk and salt. But it’s the added touch of tapai (fermented alcoholic paste) to one-up the taste factory of this delicacy. Lamang tapai costs IDR 12,000 per serving.

    Jl. Panorama No.19C, Kota Bukittinggi, Sumatera Barat, Indonesia
    Open 7.30am-5.30pm daily

    9am: Panorama Park for a viewpoint of Sianok Canyon

    Panorama Park

    Panorama Park. Photo Cred: Drriss & Marrionn

    Head to Panorama Park for the best viewpoint of Sianok Canyon. If the great Grand Canyon of the USA decided it wanted to fill its dramatic layers of soils with lush greeneries instead of barren land, it would look exactly like Sianok Canyon! Entrance fee is IDR 3,000 for Panorama Park.

    Jl. Panorama No.31, Kayu Kubu, Guguk Panjang, Kota Bukittinggi, Sumatera Barat 26136, Indonesia
    Open 7.30am-6.30pm daily

    10am: Sip a coffee at Cafe Taruko with a view of Tabiang Takuruang

    Next, head to Cafe Taruko. The food is not especially stunning, but it’s the comfy ambience and priceless view which no visitor to West Sumatra should leave without. Order a simple coffee then sit down to admire the charming Tabiang Takuruang (also known as Taruko Valley locally) with its scenic triangle-like giant rock with a lone tree growing on top of it. It has a beautiful painting-like quality which resembles China’s Huangshan or Zhangjiajie.

    Sianok Anam Suku, Iv Koto, Agam Regency, West Sumatra 26161, Indonesia
    Open 8am-11pm daily

    11am: Itiak Lado Mudo Ngarai

    A fresh perspective to Minangkabau cuisine: instead of the ubiquitous coconut milk, the sauce here is based on their own recipe. Their top menu is bebek muda cabai hijau, basically a duck with green chilli sauce. Very tender and sinfully spicy! The duck costs IDR 22,000 per piece.

    Jalan Binuang No. 41, Darma, Kayu Kubu, Guguk Panjang, Kota Bukittinggi, Sumatera Barat 45562, Indonesia
    Open 6am-6pm daily

    1pm: Caving at Ngalau Indah

    Feeling like you’ve eaten too much? Here’s a quick, but rewarding exercise.

    Drive 1 hour out from Bukittinggi. Right at the outskirt of Payakumbuh city is Ngalau Indah, a natural cave filled with beautifully-shaped stalactites and stalagmites. If you look hard enough, you can spot Batu Gajah (Elephant Stone), Batu Tetesan Air Mata (Teary-Eyed Stone), Batu Tangkai Payung (Umbrella Stone), Batu Kelambu (Mosquito Net Stone), Batu Tirai Pengantin (Bride’s Wedding Curtain Stone) and Batu Ibu Menangis (Crying Mother Stone).

    There are plenty of photographers-cum-guides who will offer to accompany you (tip them about IDR 25,000 for the entire group, they charge about IDR 25,000 per photo which you can agree to print out). You will also need to pay an entrance fee of IDR 10,000 per person.

    Pakan Sinayan, Payakumbuh Barat, Pakan Sinayan, Payakumbuh Bar., Kota Payakumbuh, Sumatera Barat 26225, Indonesia
    Open 6am-6pm daily

    2.30pm: Rumah Makan Gulai Kambiang Uwan Situjuah

    Gulai Kambiang

    Gulai Kambiang

    What better way to pamper yourself after that caving exercise than more sinful food?!

    Even by West Sumatra’s ridiculously high standards, we personally find that RM Gulai Kambiang Uwan Situjuah’s food is on a whole different level! You probably wouldn’t expect best-in-class food given that the exterior of this eatery has a very kampong-like feel to it, but when the first bite starts going down your throat, you’ll be impressed by the rich savoury blend of tastes. It’s very authentic and different from other Minangkabau cuisine in West Sumatra.

    Their signature dishes which are the gulai kambiang (mutton curry), dendeng batokok (jerky meat), ikan bilis (anchovies), balado hijau (green chilli sauce). Expect to pay around IDR 60,000-80,000 per person.

    Try to take a seat near the lookout area, where you can admire a beautiful stretch of green paddy fields as you enjoy your heavenly meal.

    Padang Bacang, Nagari Banda Dalam, Situjuah Padang Ambacang, Payakumbuh, Sumatera Barat 26252, Indonesia
    Open 9.30am-9.30pm daily

    4pm: Jagung Super Manis F1 Aina

    Don’t leave Payakumbuh without trying their signature Jagung Super Manis F1. The super-sweet corn here is so famous it is said that thousands of it are sold daily!

    Batuhampar, Akabiluru, Lima Puluh Kota Regency, West Sumatra 26525, Indonesia

    6pm: Shopping at Pasar Atas & Dessert at Cinduak Langkok

    Drive back to Bukittinggi city and head to Pasar Atas, a vibrant market selling Bukittinggi-based merchandise. Especially of note is kain songket, a type of embroidered fabric locally produced here and due to the complex weaving involved, the price tag starts from around IDR 700,000 and some even up to IDR 2 million!

    Once you’re done with a little shopping and ready for your dinner, finish off the day with a serving of Cinduak Langkok. This cendol-like dessert has a different texture due to its ingredient which is based from a traditional sweet cake known as lupis.

    Jl. Pemuda, Benteng Ps. Atas, Guguk Panjang, Kota Bukittinggi, Sumatera Barat 26136, Indonesia

    Day 3 in Padang, Indonesia

    9am: Breakfast at Pical Ayang

    Pical Ayang

    Pical Ayang

    Though they also serve pecel, the true winner here is a dish called Bubua Kampiun, a sweet porridge made from a combination of lupis, cendol and green bean porridge cooked with coconut milk and red palm sugar. All at just IDR 6,000 per serving.

    Jalan Binuang, Kayu Kubu, Guguk Panjang, Kota Bukittinggi, Sumatera Barat 26136, Indonesia
    Open 6am-4pm daily

    After the breakfast, drive back towards Padang. But of course, not without a couple of stops which your stomach will surely thank you for!

    10.30am: Pondok Lamang Kawa Daun

    If the rest of the world has a “tea time”, in West Sumatra you have kawa daun. Think of it as somewhere between coffee and tea. Coffee leaves (instead of beans) are used by drying it for more than 12 hours before mixing them with cold water for boiling on traditional furnaces.

    Back in the Dutch colonial era, coffee beans were monopolized for trade and the locals were banned from consuming them, hence their creativity led them to using coffee leaves. The coffee smell is surprisingly quite strong! What’s even more interesting is that kawa daun is not served in your typical cups or glasses, but in coconut shells!

    Pondok Lamang Kawa Daun

    Pondok Lamang Kawa Daun

    Of course, no “tea time” is complete without some snacks. Here, you can order lamang durian and tape ketan hitam. Lemang is a type of glutinous rice cooked in a bamboo joint with aromatic pandan leaf for at least 2 hours. The lemang can be eaten together with durian or tape ketan hitam (sticky black fermented rice), both of which make for perfect combination with the lemang. Yummilicious!

    Pro-tip: Lemang fills up your belly very fast, which is not what you want! If you want to travel Padang on an emptier stomach, ordering just one serving will do, then share among your group.

    Jalan Lintas Padang-Bukittinggi, Aie Angek, Sepuluh Koto, Kabupaten Tanah Datar, Sumatera Barat 27151, Indonesia

    11.30am: Soto Padang Pak Sep

    This soto (broth) is a favourite comfort food from generation to generation. The meat slices are really tasty, and if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try some of their innards?

    Jalan Soekarno – Hatta, Bukit Surungan, Padang Panjang Barat, Kota Padang Panjang, Sumatera Barat 27118, Indonesia
    Open 9am-9pm daily

    2.30pm: Rumah Makan Keluarga

    Gulai kepala ikan

    Gulai kepala ikan

    Two hours later and you’ve reached the outskirt of Padang city. Dine at Rumah Makan Keluarga, famous especially for the gulai kepala ikan (fish head curry). A huge portion and lots of meat, even though it’s just the fish head portion!

    Jalan Parman No.231, Ulak Karang Utara, Padang Utara, Ulak Karang Utara, Padang Utara, Kota Padang, Sumatera Barat, Indonesia
    Open 8am-9pm daily

    4pm: Museum Adityawarman

    Take a break from all the eating and get cultured at Museum Adityawarman. Their ethnographic collection ranges from weaponry, ceremonial tools (both religious and for weddings), houseware, traditional clothes and accessories unique to the Minangkabau people. Also, don’t forget to take selfies in front of the museum, which is modelled after a traditional Gadang house.

    Jl. Diponegoro, Belakang Tangsi, Padang Bar., Kota Padang, Sumatera Barat, Indonesia
    Open Tue-Sun 8am-6pm, closed on Mondays

    6pm: Padang Beach

    Spend some time walking along the beach side with the wind blowing through your hair, reflect on the incredible past few days as you watch the beautiful sun sets across the horizon. Sunset time is usually around 6.15-6.45 depending on the times of the year.

    Jl. Samudera, Purus, Padang Bar., Kota Padang, Sumatera Barat, Indonesia

    7.30pm: Restoran Kubang Hayuda

    Martabak mesir

    Martabak mesir

    This is the most renowned martabak in Padang. Try their signature martabak mesir with a rich mix of meat, veggies and thick pan-fried bread. Expect around IDR 30,000/pax.

    Jalan M. Yamin No. 138, Belakang Tangsi, Padang Barat, Belakang Tangsi, Padang Bar., Kota Padang, Sumatera Barat, Indonesia
    Open 2pm-12am daily

    Day 4 in Padang, Indonesia

    9am: Breakfast at Rumah Makan Pagi Sore

    Established in 1947, this restaurant is one of the most recognizable brands in Padang and has even opened outlets in other parts of Indonesia, but this is where it all started! Their specialty is the fried chicken, which is soft yet ultra-crispy! Expect to pay around IDR 100,000 per person.

    Jalan Pondok No.143, Kp. Pd., Padang Bar., Kota Padang, Sumatera Barat 25134, Indonesia
    Open 7.30am-9pm daily

    10.30am: Dessert at Es Durian Ganti Nan Lamo

    Es Durian Ganti Nan Lamo

    Es Durian Ganti Nan Lamo

    Indulge in some sinful durian dessert! The most famous is es durian tok (purely just durian and ice), although you can choose to mix with ice cream (es krim durian), ice cream float (durian float) or avocado (alpukat durian). A portion typically costs around IDR 18,000-23,000.

    Jl. Pulau Karam No.103B, Kp. Pd., Padang Bar., Kota Padang, Sumatera Barat, Indonesia
    Open 8am-10.30pm daily

    12.30am: Roti Randang at Minangkabau International Airport

    At around 11.30am, depart to the airport. In the airport, take a look at Roti Randang Ninur outlet, which sells the iconic rendang bread. Why not buy some to share a piece of your delectable memories with your family and friends back home?

    Once your flight reaches Batam, make your way to Batam Centre to catch your ferry back to Singapore. Home sweet home!

    Jalan Mr. Sutan M. Rasyid, Padang Pariaman, Katapiang, Batang Anai, Kota Padang, Sumatera Barat 25586, Indonesia


    Places to stay in Bukittinggi and Padang, Indonesia

    If you’re looking for a hotel Padang and Bukittinggi offer quite a few options. Here are our top picks of places to stay in both Bukittingi and Padang.

    AreaHotelType of accomRating on TripadvisorPrice per nightMore Photos & Availability
    BukittinggiHotel JogjaBudget3,5S$20

    BukittinggiStarli HotelBudget4S$24

    BukittinggiHotel Grand KartiniMid4S$36

    BukittinggiTreeli Boutique HotelMid4S$50

    BukittinggiGrand Rocky Hotel BukittinggiHigh3,5S$84

    BukittinggiNovotel BukittinggiHigh4S$87
    PadangYani HomestayBudget4,5S$15

    PadangBrigitte's HouseBudget4,5S$22

    PadangIbis PadangMid4S$50

    PadangInna Muara HotelMid4S$55

    PadangMercure Padang HotelHigh4S$93

    PadangKyriad Bumiminang HotelHigh4S$191

    Places to stay in Bukittinggi and Padang, Indonesia

    Prices listed are based on average daily rates for a Standard Room.

    Affordable

    Hotel Jogja

    Hotel Jogja

    Hotel Jogja is conveniently located just 100m from the Jam Gadang landmark. Free WiFi and private parking is provided, and they also offer a car rental.

    Price range: SGD 16-21

    Address: Jl. Perintis Kemerdekaan no. 17, Bukittinggi, Indonesia

    Mid-range

    Treeli Boutique Hotel

    Treeli Boutique Hotel

    Treeli Boutique Hotel offers simple, quiet accommodation reasonably within the city centre. Rooms are clean, well-conditioned and come equipped with a flat-screen cable TV. Overall design is simple but better than your average no-frill accommodation. For the price you pay, it comes with a surprisingly good breakfast too.

    Price range: SGD 52-65

    Address: Jln. Kesehatan no. 36A, Bukittinggi 26124, Indonesia

    High-end

    Grand Rocky Hotel

    Grand Rocky Hotel

    Grand Rocky Hotel Bukittinggi is as good as it can get in Bukittinggi, with elegant rooms which are nicely decorated with a modern interior, carpeted flooring and mood lighting. Free WiFi and parking, with 24-hour reception which can help you arrange anything from car rental to airport shuttle services.

    Price range: SGD 87-113

    Address: Jl. Komodor Laut Yos Sudarso no. 29 | Guguk Panjang, Bukittinggi 26115, Indonesia

    Places to stay in Padang, Indonesia

    Prices listed are based on average daily rates for a Standard Room.

    Affordable

    Yani Homestay

    Yani Homestay

    Yani Homestay is right smack at the heart of Padang city, within walking distance to the beach, museum and markets. Easily one of the top choice if you are a backpacker looking for a taste of local culture in an affordable accommodation.

    Price range: SGD 14-20

    Address: Jalan Nipah no 1 | Behind Vihara Buddhist Temple, Padang 25118, Indonesia

    Mid-range

    Grand Inna Muara Hotel Padang

    Grand Inna Muara Hotel Padang

    Grand Inna Muara Padang Hotel is great value-for-money, offering comfort with modern rooms which come equipped with a flat-screen cable TV, while charging realistic prices. They also serve good Asian and Western selections for a buffet breakfast, if you can fit it in!

    Price range: SGD 69-87

    Address: Jl. Gereja no.34, Padang 25118, Indonesia

    High-end

    Mercure Padang Hotel

    Mercure Padang Hotel

    aMercure Padang Hotel is one of the few international chain hotels with operation in Padang, making it a default choice if you’re looking for the best available accommodation in the city. Contemporary rooms have a view of either the ocean or an outdoor pool. Spa, sauna and fitness room facilities are also available. Daily international buffet is included to enhance your foodie journey.

    Price range: SGD 73-103

    Address: Jl. Purus IV no. 8, Padang 25115, Indonesia

    Getting to West Sumatra, Indonesia

    The gateway to West Sumatra is Minangkabau International Airport, located at West Sumatra’s capital city of Padang.

    Flights used to run regularly between Singapore and Padang, but these services have been discontinued due to minimum demand. Nowadays, if you would like to visit West Sumatra, you have to transit via Batam, Medan or Kuala Lumpur, where direct flights are available daily.

    Naturally, the fastest and cheapest way to get to Padang from Singapore is via Batam. Getting between Singapore and Batam is easy, with ferries running almost hourly by Sindo Ferry or Batam Fast between 6am-9pm.

    Batam and Padang travel times are plenty, with daily flights served by Citilink and Lion Air. Occasional flight delays are not uncommon, though Citilink is slightly more reputable with keeping on schedule and is thus the more recommended option.

    To maximize your time in Padang, take the earliest Citilink flight from Batam to Padang (10.10-11.20am). The last ferry from Batam to Singapore is at 8.40pm and you need to allow at least a 2 hour gap in case of flight delay, traffic jam between Batam airport and the harbour or long queues in the ferry terminal. Thus, the advised flight schedule for return from Padang to Batam is Citilink’s 2.55-4pm.

    Getting around West Sumatra, Indonesia

    Public transportation between cities and villages  in West Sumatra is not quite easy to navigate, so the best way to get around is to hire a car with driver or ride a motorbike.

    Road conditions in West Sumatra are surprisingly good, so if you are keen to self-explore, you can rent a car from Jacktour Padang Car Rental (+62 751 445 655), TotalCarRental (+62 811 21 8494), CV Budi Jaya (+62 751 841 939) or Padang Rent Car (+62 8 1166 8389). Expect to pay around IDR 275,000 daily inclusive of both car and driver.

    If you’re one of the more adventurous breeds, you can rent a motorbike from your guesthouse for approx. IDR 7,000-10,000 daily.

    Within the main cities of Padang, Bukittinggi and Payakumbuh, you can use Grab Taxi. When all else fails, you can always fall back on the ever-so-reliable Blue Bird Taxi (+62 751 442 123) like you would anywhere else in Indonesia.

    Other important notes

    Time difference

    Both Bukittinggi and Padang are GMT+7, which is 1 hour behind Singapore.

    Best months to visit

    If your main motivation is the food, you cannot go wrong visiting at any time of the year, although your stomach will thank you if you happen to visit around the peak durian season of January, February, June or July.

    If weather is an important factor for you, the dry season is between June to September. Rainfall in West Sumatra begins to reduce around February, so if you do not mind occasional wet days but would like to avoid the crowds, end of February to May could be considered as well.

    Because you will likely have to pass through Batam in order to get to West Sumatra, avoid visiting during public holidays as the queues in Batam will be horrendous. It is also advisable to avoid scheduling your ferry transfer date during a weekend. For a four-day itinerary crossing over weekends, try to depart from Singapore on Thursday night (Day 0) and return on Monday (Day 4).

    Things to pack

     • Diarrhoea medicine if your stomach is not familiar to new food

     • Modest and comfortable clothes, given that West Sumatra is a relatively conservative region

     • Light jacket or sweater may come in use as Bukittinggi can be a little cold sometimes

     • Insect repellent

     • First-aid kit

     • Umbrella in case of rainy weather

     • Non-slip footwear if you want to do some hiking

    Helplines

     • Police: 110 or 112 (or SMS 1717)

     • Ambulance and rescue: 118

     • Fire: 113

     • Medical emergencies: 119

    "tea, workshop, Singapore, activities"

    Image Credits:

    All images by Andrew Darwitan unless otherwise stated.

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