Padang attractions to visit

As the heart of West Sumatra, Padang is a port city where you’ll find rich natural and cultural attractions – from Padang Old Town’s Dutch colonial architecture, to Air Manih Beach tied to a local legend, to a bridge named that connects the city with Mount Padang.

Here are 8 Padang attractions to add to your future itinerary in this underrated Indonesian city.

1. Padang Beach – no need to go too far to have some fun in the sun

padang beach in west sumatra
Image credit: @dunia_inna

Padang Beach is one of the most accessible tourist spots in the city, a short drive from many hotels and the Grand Mosque of West Sumatra. Known locally as Taplau, this beach gives you a clear view of Mount Padang, as well as the all-white Al-Hakim Mosque (Masjid Al-Hakim), designed to resemble the Taj Mahal in India.

Aside from enjoying the scenic view, you can also play on the beach or buy souvenirs and snacks at the many kiosks you’ll find here.

fishing boats on padang beach in west sumatra
Fishermen’s boats on Padang Beach
Image credit: @joenedtamar

A lot of local events take place at Padang Beach, including the famous Siti Nurbaya Festival every November that celebrates all things Minangkabau culture – from boat rides to music to cuisine to traditional clothing. One more thing to note is that the sand you’ll see at this beach has an atypical brownish color, setting it apart from the white sandy beaches of more well-known islands in Indonesia.

Address: Purus, West Padang, Padang, West Sumatra 25115
How to get there: 30-minute Grab or Gojek drive from Minangkabau International Airport

2. Air Manih Beach – home to the legend of Malin Kundang

air manih beach in padang west sumatra
Image credit: @silviarjuwita

Another Padang beach people visit for the view is Air Manih, or Air Manis, which literally means “sweet water.” Located in the southern part of Padang, this beach is also covered with brown sand. Riding ATVs, renting a motorboat to nearby islands, camping out in a tent, or staying the night at local family-run homestays are popular activities here.

malin kundang statue on air manih beach in padang
The statue resembles a man turned to stone, prostrating on the ground
Image credit: @jejeniola

Air Manih is known for a statue linked to the Legend of Malin Kundang. It tells the story of a man who, upon reuniting with his poor and frail mother after a long journey at sea, refused to acknowledge her. He was subsequently cursed and turned into stone for his arrogance.

After years and years of exposure to the elements, the statue has slowly deteriorated. It’s recently undergone restoration, giving travelers better holiday photos.

Address: Air Manih, South Padang, Padang, West Sumatra 25117
How to get there: 20-minute drive from the city center

3. Lubuk Paraku – a local bathing spot with clear water

lubuk paraku
Image credit: @farizadli

Those of you who love swimming, but don’t fall into the category of beachgoers, can hike to the river Lubuk Paraku in inland Indarung, east of the beaches.

For only Rp. 5,000 (~USD0.36) per person, you can have access to the natural baths and changing rooms for a whole day. The pools’ crystal-clear water makes for a pristine dipping spot, and you’ll also come across a variety of fish, butterflies, and dragonflies.

Even if you’re not interested in taking a dip, you can breathe in the clean air and be enthralled by the view.

Address: Indarung, Lubuk Kilangan, Padang City, West Sumatra 25168
How to get there: 30-minute drive from the city center

4. Sitinjau Lauik – view the city and surrounding mountains

sitjinjau lauik in padang west sumatra
Image credit: @g.yamestian

To get away from the city and see how it feels like to be 1,000 meters above sea level, go to Sitjinjau Lauik, which is often referred to as the “Padang Scenic Point.”

Despite being heralded as the city’s best vantage point, it’s not an overcrowded tourist spot so if you live in a populated urban area and are able to travel to Padang, you’ll enjoy the fresh air and greenery on this peak.

Sitinjau Lauik is only 30 minutes away from the city center, so it’ll definitely be worth visiting for the view, but come with an experienced driver familiar with the steep hill.

Address: Jalan Selayo–Padang, Indarung, Lubuk Kilangan, Padang, West Sumatra 25168
How to get there: 30-minute drive from the city center

5. Siti Nurbaya Bridge – a landmark with literary origins

siti nurbaya bridge in padang
Image credit: @ichzanam

Siti Nurbaya Bridge was named after the titular character of writer Marah Rusli’s 1922 classic literary work about a teenage couple whose love story ends in sacrifice and tragedy.

view from siti nurbaya bridge in padang west sumatra
Image credit: @mussabahtiar32

Built in 1995, this bridge connects the city with Mount Padang. Visitors go there to take photos of the docked boats, symbols of Padang’s past and present as a bustling port city.

siti nurbaya bridge view
Image credit: @rubama_1708

Apart from the view, there’re also lots of local delicacies offered by street vendors to try near the bridge, especially at night.

Address: Jalan Kampung Batu, Batang Arau, South Padang, Padang 25215
How to get there: 23-minute drive from the city center

6. Grand Mosque of West Sumatra – a modern Muslim house of prayer

grand mosque of west sumatra
Image credit: @yudha_achil15

The Grand Mosque of West Sumatra, or Masjid Raya Sumatera Barat, is the second-largest mosque in Sumatra. The compound is approximately 40,000 square meters, while the building itself is a whopping 18,000 square meters.

First opened to the public in 2014, it’s a photo-worthy contemporary example of Minangkabau architecture, particularly with its iconic roof that resembles the horns of a buffalo. It was also designed to withstand earthquakes in response to the horrific earthquake that shook West Sumatra in 2009.

Address: Jalan Khatib Sulaiman, Alai Parak Kopi, North Padang, West Sumatra 25173
How to get there: 22-minute drive from the city center

7. Adityawarman Museum – get to know Minangkabau culture

adityawarman museum in padang
Image credit: @yefashintaa29

Those of you who want to get properly acquainted with the history of the people of Minangkabau should drop by the Adityawarman Museum. The museum takes its name from King Adityawarman, the ruler of Malayapura – where present-day Padang is located – in the 14th century.

The roof of the museum, like that of the Grand Mosque, also resembles the horns of a buffalo, which is a prominent feature of traditional Minangkabau architecture.

The museum’s collection includes archeology, history, and fine art from the region, and is labelled both in English and Indonesian. Entry is affordable too, so do swing by if you want to enrich your cultural knowledge.

Address: Jalan Diponegoro #10, Belakang Tangsi, West Padang, Padang, West Sumatra 25114
Entrance fee: Rp. 3,000 (~USD0.21)
How to get there: 19-minute drive from the city center

8. Padang Old Town – a blast from the colonial past

old town padang
Image credit: @denusatravel

To get a grasp of the kaleidoscopic history of the city of Padang, a trip to the Old Town, or Kota Tua, is not one to miss. Dutch colonial-era buildings mark the area as it was once a busy commercial hub.

see hien kiong temple in padang west sumatra
Image credit: @agoestriputraofficial

The Old Town has always been a cultural melting pot. Kampung Pondok, a subsection of the quarter, is heavily influenced by Chinese culture and is home to the See Hien Kiong (also known as the Tri Dharma Temple or the Kelenteng See Hin Kiong).

kota tua padang in west sumatra
Image credit: @lissa_sriw

Unfortunately, earthquakes over the years have damaged several buildings in West Sumatra – and some Padang Old Town structures haven’t been spared. Still, those of you who are deeply interested in old buildings and their connection to daily cross-cultural life should take their time in the Old Town.

cerita kopi padang cafe
Cerita Kopi Padang, a cafe housed in a colonial-style building
Image credit: @ceritakopi.pdg

You can snap lots of photos and relax in cute coffee shops, and the mix of cultures also means that the culinary variety in this area will make your tummy rumble.

Address: Berok Nipah, West Padang, Padang, West Sumatra 25118
How to get there: 19-minute drive from the city center

Padang attractions and things to do

These are some of the places you can visit when you’re in Padang that will hopefully reveal what West Sumatra’s capital city has to offer, from nature to culture to historical gems.

Check out more places to visit in Indonesia here:

Cover image adapted from: @farizadli, @joenedtamar, @yudha_achil15, @yefashintaa29 

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