When one mentions Indonesia, Jakarta and Bali often come to find. Tourists love the bustling cosmopolitan city of Jakarta for its shopping opportunities and entertainment sites. Those who want to soak up the sun tend to flock to Bali. But if you are looking for less touristy spots and love exploring nature, then Padang in West Sumatra has some hidden gems that will leave a lasting impression on you.
Despite being Indonesia’s largest island, West Sumatra has somehow remained off traveller’s radar around Asia. If you’re looking for an adventure, you’ll find plenty here. During our first visit to Padang, we were able to witness beautiful landscapes, taste delicious food, and learn about their local culture. Braving the road chaos can be a tad daunting, but we promise you, the pay off is incredibly rewarding!
1. Island Hoping Around Mandeh Island
Here’s the tricky part, getting to Mandeh Island requires you to book a boat for your island hopping activities. From there, the boat man will bring you around the nearby islands where you can snorkel, feed fishes, cliff jumping, and swimming – while enjoying the fresh air and beautiful surrounding scenery.
It’s also common to drop by Pulau Setan (pronounce Sutan) to unwind for a bit and enjoy a local meal. However, you can also opt to stay on a secluded beach. Forget about Wi-Fi or trying to get a signal, this is a place to disappear from you norm; your social media updates can wait.
2. Adrenaline-pumping Rafting
If you’re looking for more water adventures, then do consider adding rafting in your itinerary. Located in Lubuk Alung, Pd Pariaman, L.A Rafting specialises in rafting activities. Fret not if this isn’t something you’re used to, as L.A Rafting’s packages are suitable for beginners as well. For approximately 1.5 hours, you and your friends can experience the thrill of crashing through the rapids and spray of river splashing in your face. The feeling of being able to accomplish this with your mates will only enhance this epic adventure.
3. Learning Rich History At Istano Basa Pagaruyung
Istano Basa Pagaruyung, or Pagaruyung Palace, is one of the famous attractions sites in MinangKabau due to its richly decorated architecture and historic royal family from the Pagaruyung Kingdom. The palace was rebuilt after it was burned down during the riot war in 1804 and then struck by lightning in 2007. Today, this 3-storey invites tourist to learn about the rich history of the Sumatera Royal Family life. Besides that, visitors can also rent their traditional costume and snap photos at the palace and its vicinity.
P/s: The famous spot for pictures is by the windows
4. Witness Indigenous Martial Arts At Desa Wisata Kubu Gadang
For those wanting to explore more of the local culture, the friendly people of Desa Wisata Kubu Gadang are more than happy to include you in their traditional activities. This place is best known for showcasing the Silek Lanyah – a traditional Minangkabau martial arts that is performed in a muddy paddy field.
5. The Scenic View Of Sikabu Glamping
Nestled on Nagari Tanjung Haro Sikabu-kabu (and at the feet of Sago Mountain), Sikabu Glamping is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Getting there is arduous but these photos speak for itself; the view is breathtaking, unlike anything we’ve ever experience before. In the morning, you’d wake up to misty mountains ahead of the lush paddy field with birds chirping in the background. By night, you can gather over a camp fire and admire the bright shinning moon. While many would describe Sikabu Glamping as a place for “healing”, we felt a deep sense of peace and calmness during our stay there.
Even after returning to Malaysia, we haven’t stop thinking of Sikabu Glamping. Yep, this nature spot left a huge impression on us. Needless to say, we’ll seriously consider returning here if/when we travel to West Sumatra again.
The good news is, AirAsia has increased flight frequency from KLIA to Padang, up to 10 times in a week. To make your booking or to find out more, check out www.airasia.com.