A Breezy Little Town, Padang Panjang

Travelling north from Padang, capital of West Sumatra, towards Bukittinggi, one will pass a breezy little town that stands over 700 meters above sea level, called Padang Panjang. Protected by three towering mountains on the north namely: Mount Marapi, Mount Singgalang, and Mount Tandikek, this town offers picturesque scenery to complement its refreshing ambience.

Padang Panjang is divided into 4 administrative areas called resorts, they are: Gunung (Mountain) Resort, Lareh Nan Panjang Resort, Pasar (Market) Resort, and Surungan Hill Resort.

The town is also known for its Islamic ambience and, as it is one of the centers to study Islam in Sumatra since the 20th century. Padang Panjang is the home of Sumatra Thawalib, a reputable Islamic learning center which has been renowned for years. There are at least 5 other Islamic Schools (Pesantren) in Padang Panjang which are: Serambi Mekkah, Thawalib Putri, Diniyah Putri, and Kauman Muhammadiyah, and  here are no less than 54 Al-Qur’an Education Center.

Padang Panjang, Serambi Mekkah of West Sumatera
Padang Panjang, Serambi Mekkah of West Sumatera (Source : padangoutbound.com)

Padang Panjang was once part of the Tuan Gadang’s territory of Batipuh area. During the Padri War against Dutch colonization which occurred in most parts of West Sumatra, the little town came to be occupied by the Dutch and was used as a defense post as well as a staging point to conquer the Padri Guerillas who controlled the area of Luthak Agam.

The town also became the seat of the West Sumatra government during the Dutch Military Aggression in 1947.

Padang Panjang is also popular as the central market for neighboring towns of Batipuh, Panyalaian, Koto Baru, Kayu Tanam, Sicincin, and others.

The hilly little known is also known for its farming, especially rice farming. Approximately 57 percent of Padang Panjang area is used for farming, plantations, public forests, and fresh water fisheries. With a high level of rainfall and fertile volcanic soil, Padang Panjang is considered the perfect place to develop farming and horticulture.

ACTIVITIES

Just like all across West Sumatra, the Minangkabau cuisine highlights the culinary scene of Padang Panjang. Here are some restaurants you can try in Pdang Panjang:

Pak Datuk, Jl. St. Syahrir No. 287 Silaing Bawah

Lubuk Idai, Jl. St. Syahrir No. 349 Silaing Bawah

Pak Sidi, Jl. St. Syahrir No. 351 Silaing Bawah

Gumarang, Jl. St. Syahrir No. 154 Silaing Atas

Sate Mak Syukur, Jl. St. Syahrir No. 250 Silaing Bawah

Sate Saiyo, Jl. St. Syahrir No. 242 Silaing Bawah

Simpang Raya Bogor, Jl. St. Syahrir Silaing Bawah

Cahaya Baru, Jl. Abdul Muis No. 18 Kantin Pasar Baru

Delima, Jl. Abdul Muis No. 42 Kantin Pasar Baru

Buah Delima, Jl. Abdul Muis No. 22 Kantin Pasar Baru

Singgalang, Jl. Khatib Sulaiman No. 3D Pasar Baru

Ngalau Indah, Jl. Ahmad Yani No. 60

Simpang Gunung, Jl. Ahmad Yani Ekor Lubuk

Although it may not have star-rated hotels, the little town of Padang Panjang is provided with a number of modest inns for your accommodation needs:

Pangeran, Jl. Kh. Ahmad Dahlan No. 7

Bungalau, Jl. Ahmad Yani 12

Diniyah Puteri, Jl. Abdul Hamid Hakim No. 30

Makmur, Jl. Imam Bonjol No. 34

Aside from providing cool breezes and a relaxing atmosphere, Padang Panjang also offers many interesting places to visit and a whole lot of activities. Here are among some of the attractions you may want to visit when in Padang Panjang:

Lubuk Mata Kucing Swimming Pool

A beautiful public swimming pool set with a background of Surungan Hill and Batang Anai River. The natural landscapes of lush green hills and meandering river complemented with cool refreshing air truly makes this a perfect place to relax in the water.

Minang Fantasy (MiFan) Water Park

The tourism icon of Padang Panjang is the largest, most complete, and most modern family recreation park in all of Sumatra. The recreation park consist of two areas which are the Water park and Dry park. The Waterpark offers the thrill of Waves Pool, Colossal Bucket, slide tower, kiddy pool, and women only pool. In the Dry Park you can have fun with bumper boats, bumper cars, Ferris wheel, mini roller coaster, Jump Around Ride, UFO Ride, and Carrousel. The recreation park is also completed with cottages, entertainment stage, camping and outbound grounds, praying chamber (mushalla), restaurants, snack counters, and more.

Jembatan Tinggi

Literally translated meaning “High Bridge”, it is a 20 meters railroad bridge which forms part of  the Padang – Padang Panjang track. The bridge is located at the entrance of Padang Panjang at the Silaing Bawah area. The Bridge was a heritage of the Dutch colonial era, and connects the cities within the Bukit Barisan Mountain Range.

Minangkabau Documentation and Information Center (PDKIM)

Providing everything you need to learn about the Minangkabau ethnic culture and the people of West Sumatra, the Minangkabau Documentation and Information Center is located next to the Minangkabau Village Tourist Information Center in Padang Panjang. Here one can find literature, microfilms, photographs, and other media that illustrate the historical and cultural accounts of Minangkabau.

Asasi Sigando Mosque

Estimated to be 400 years old, it is known as the oldest mosque in Padang Panjang. The mosque was built by the first persons who spread Islam in Padang Panjang who came from Air Bangis Pasaman. Covering a total area of 300 square meters, the mosque uses Minangkabau’s distinct architecture and is decorated with the distinct Minangkabau carvings. The mosque is located in Sigando village, about 500 meters from the main road from Padang Panjang to Solok.

GET THERE

From Padang, the capital of West Sumatra, it’s about one or one and half hour’s drive to Padang Panjang. You can rent a car or take a public bus to this small town. Padang Panjang lies on the Trans-Sumatra Highway which makes it a strategic location in the regional cross lines between Padang, Bukittinggi, Tanah Datar Regency, Solok Regency, and Solok City.

Tips

Since this town has a strong Islamic ambience it is advised to wear appropriate clothing. Be adequately covered up.

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