About Padang

Padang (Indonesian pronunciation: [ˈpadaŋ]Jawi: ڤادڠ‬) is the capital of the province of West Sumatra in Indonesia. With an area of 695 square kilometres (268 sq mi) and a population of 1,000,096 in 2014, it is the 16th-most populated city in Indonesia, the most populated city on Sumatra‘s western coast, and fifth-most populated city on Sumatra.[1]

The city had historically been a trading center since the precolonial era, trading in pepper and gold. The Dutch made contact with the city in the mid 17th century, eventually constructing a fortress and taking over control of the city from the Pagaruyung Kingdom. Save several interruptions of British rule, Padang remained part of the Dutch East Indies as one of its major cities until Indonesian independence.

Main article: Minangkabau cuisine

The cuisine of the Minangkabau people is commonly called Padang cuisine. Padang restaurants are common throughout the country and are famous for their spicy food. Padang food is usually cooked once per day, and all customers choose from those dishes, which are left out on display until no food is left. It is served in small portions of various dishes, but constituting, with rice, a complete meal. Customers take – and pay for – only what they want from this array of dishes. The best known Padang dish is rendang, a spicy meat stew. Soto Padang (crispy beef in spicy soup) is local residents’ breakfast favourite, meanwhile sate (beef satay in curry sauce served with ketupat) is a treat in the evening.


 Masjid Muhammadan, a historic mosque in Padang

 Facade of Ganting Grand Mosque, 2013

There are many old buildings in Padang that still retain their Dutch and Chinese architecture. The old city of Padang, located next to Muaro Harbor at Arau River, which formerly functioned as the city’s main commercial avenue. The old city was the former business district of Padang, there are many important buildings such as Padang City Hall, De Javaschebank (present-day Bank Indonesia), Nederlandsch Spaarbank, Geo Wehry & Co, Escompto Maatschappij Office, warehouses, and merchant houses.

There are several historic places such as Adityawarman Museum which specialises in the history and culture of the local Minangkabau ethnic group, and the main exhibits are housed within a Rumah Gadang style building. Grand Mosque of West Sumatra, a new modern large mosque that is built with Minangkabau architecture. The Mosque is located on Jalan Khatib Sulaiman, city centre of Padang. Ganting Grand Mosque, the oldest mosque in Padang and one of the oldest in Indonesia, is a popular tourist attraction. Muhammadan Mosque, founded by Indian merchant, is also located in the city centre. St. Leo Monastery features a mixture of traditional Minang architecture on its bell tower roofing and Dutch architecture on the church building, is one of the oldest churches in Padang. 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.

Beaches and parks

Air Manis Beach, sweet water beach is located 10 km south of Padang, location of the legendary Malin Kundang Stone. The rock formations are found which resemble ship wrecks. Across from the Arau River is the Siti Nurbaya Park which can reached by bridge or boat. There are still remains of Japanese cannons and bunkers from World War II. There are great views of Padang city, Arau River and the Indian Ocean. Bung Hatta Nature Reserve (Taman Hutan Raya Bung Hatta) is situated 18 km east of the city, with diverse flora and fauna including a few Sumatran tigers, tapirs, wild goats, bears, as well as Raflesia Gaduansi, Balangphora, and Amorphopalus.


Padang also has some modern malls, the most popular malls are Transmart, Basko Grand Mall, SPR Plaza, Plaza Andalas, and Rocky Plaza. The upcoming malls in the city are Padang Landmark Mall and Padang Green City.



Banner : courtesy of Benny Hidayat, Ph.D.