Padang is one of the most ancient cities on the west shore of the Indian Ocean & nowadays, the capital of the West Sumatra province, streched from the foot of “Bukit Barisan”Mountain range to the Indian Ocean, its population is approximately 800.000 people. As a beach city located on the Equator, humidity is high, daily tempertaures are usually between 28°C & 32°C, down to 26°C to 24°C at night.
Although widely diversified, the main ethnic group in West Sumatra is the Minangkabau (buffalo in local dialect) people, well known over Indonesia for its matrilineal system & its uniquely buffalo –like roofs Architecture; they speak their own dialect, the “Minang” language ,which does not significantly differ from the Indonesian language.
Minang People are definitely friendly people, very rarely in bad moods nor with bad intentions, youngsters frequently approach foreigners in a charming & funny way, sometimes even forcing themselves to overcome their modesty. Padang is one of the safest city in Indonesia.
Islamic Religion rules the whole Province although remains moderate, Catholic & Buddhist minorities are well integrated, Churches & Temples stand next to the numerous Mosques in an open minded atmosphere. The historical centre of the city, still dirty to Western eyes & noisy, extends from the old harbour and merges old buildings from the Dutch colonial era with Chinese influences; it suffered sever damages during the 2009 earthquake.
Famous all over Indonesia, is the local spicy cuisine, in no time the waiter will fill the whole table with plates, containing Kari, chicken and fish prepared in coconut curry, Rendang, meat in coconut gravy and Dendeng Balado, thin slices of dried and fried beef served with red & green (!) chilies.