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Padang is an old port town located on the west coast of Sumatra and a destination visited primarily as a jumping off point to places further afield.

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From the 17th century onwards, Dutch colonialists traded via the port in coffee and spices extracted from the fertile hinterland. Today, Padang relies on its status as the capital of West Sumatra and being the largest metropolis within 500 kilometres to generate its wealth and has in the past 20 years or so become like many other big Indonesian cities.

Visitors to Padang usually don’t find much of anything to do in the city and therefore try and get out of there as quickly as possible. In fact, there really isn’t much in the city at all for tourists, aside from a few old Dutch warehouses down by the river which are completely missable. That said, many people are trapped here for at least one night while waiting for a boat to the Mentawais or a flight to somewhere else. If that’s the case, the best thing to do would be to find a decent guesthouse and set out on a quest to explore some of the nearby food offerings.

Although the city itself is rather large, most foreign visitors choose to stay in the Chinese area of town where there are tree-lined streets, little traffic noise and good food. The rest of the city is positively bustling to the point where we cannot recommend visiting it as a traveller aside from as a place to catch a bus out of there.

The main commercial area of Chinatown lies along Jalan Pondok and Jalan Tepi Pasang, with guesthouses usually a few streets behind. It’s this short walking distance along quiet streets that makes staying in this area much ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 400 words.)

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