The dry season from May to September has abundant sunshine and better suited for travel. However remember to use moisturisers and sunblock to get adequate protection from the hot and humid climate during this season. It is better to avoid the Muslim Eid holidays as the crowds swell and the traffic gets heavy.
The wet season starts from September to January and may make it difficult to travel in the city. Sumatra has a warm and tropical climate throughout the year and travel during this season can further slow things down.
The month of February is the driest month in Sumatra. The months of June and July are also suitable for travel.
Padang is the capital of the province of West Sumatra, Indonesia. It is one of the oldest towns on the west coast of Sumatra in the Indian Ocean. The Batang Arau River flows majestically through the city and the riverside presents an impressive sight, lined with hand paddled ferries and small boats. Most tourists use this city to access the Mentawai Islands-a surfers’ paradise and the mountain town of Bukittinggi with tourist places such as the Japanese tunnel and Sianok Canyon. Padang was a Dutch harbour town and has now become a major tourist attraction with its historical Dutch buildings and the colourful harbour located near the Muaro River. The Sitti Nurbaya Bridge over the river presents a sight of colourful lights at nightfall. The old Chinatown has many old shops and houses and also the beautiful Chinese Hien Kiong Temple. A visit to the Adityawarman museum will acquaint you with the culture and rich heritage of West Sumatra. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll or ride the local horse-drawn carriage down the Padang beach or visit the Air Manis beach known for the Stone of Malin Kundang apart from its clean water and sand. While in the city, enjoy the delicious Padang food available at the numerous street stalls and restaurants. Famous local dishes include soto padang- spicy soup with crispy beef and rending sapi- beef cooked in spicy curry. Shoppers would love to buy the local handicrafts that include woven cloths, Chinese ceramics, ironwood carvings and silverwork. A range of these souvenirs are available at numerous stalls in Jalan Imam Bonjo.
City buses and mini buses are available for transportation within the city but public transportation may not meet international standards. It’s better to use metered taxis or car rentals for travelling around the city. Car rentals are convenient as they include the driver who also acts as a guide.
The Minangkabau International Airport (PDG) is Padang’s airport (off Jl Adinegoro), 12.4 miles (20km) north of the centre of town. Airport taxis are available for transfer to the town. It may be cheaper to take a Damri bus that does a loop through the city. But just ensure that you get into the correct bus.
(prices quotes are from London)