Sumatra is one of my favorite parts of Indonesia particularly as many people tend not to go there, choosing instead the idyllic island paradise of Bali; Yogya and Magelang with the Borobudur and Prambanan temples and well known Mount Bromo. As with much of Indonesia, Sumatra has stunning scenery, ancient cultures, wonderful natural beauty and friendly people. One can see impressive mountains and volcanoes, vast swathes of jungle and woodland and beautiful islands and beaches.
I usually visit Sumatra with family or friends and may drive around Lake Toba to visit Batak villages or visit Padang City and head inland to see the amazing scenery. My wife’s family is from West Sumatra, and so we do our part in protecting the Sumatran Tiger as well as donating to charities to help poor children throughout Sumatra and other parts of Indonesia.
But the area that I most enjoy is West Sumatra, the city of Padang, and the surrounding towns, villages and countryside where the people are friendly and the pace of life slow.
This is an account of some of my adventures in West Sumatra with photos and comments that I hope you will enjoy.
As we flew in towards Padang Airport, we saw many small tropical islands dotted about in the sea.
Our driver was waiting for us. We had rented a Toyota Kijang at the rate of Rp350,000 per day and we would arrange his accommodation wherever we stayed.
Driving through Padang City, evidence of the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that struck just offshore in 2009 could be seen by the many damaged houses and buildings that we drove past. Although this damage is bad, it is nothing compared to the colossal damage and loss of life that occurred in other parts of the town during the earthquake.
However, life goes on and the people of Padang rebuild their lives. Our own relatives survived the earthquake and we are thankful for that.
A colourful Metro Mini public transportation bus in Padang