Tourists can choose to proceed to the surfing Mecca of Mentawai Islands, or to the hiking trails of Bukittinggi and the Kerinci Seblat National Park, without using Padang as an access point. Nevertheless, because Padang has a nice beach, distinctive culture and architecture, delicious delicacies, and friendly people, many tourists do not mind arriving a little late in their major destinations just to experience Padang.
The capital city of West Sumatra, Padang has cheap beachfront hotels and numerous restaurants and street vendors offering tasty treats such as rendang sapi (spicy curried beef) and ayam pop (popcorn-like chicken bits). Museum of Adityawarman and Taman Budaya (Cultural Park) are where to see regular Sumatran cultural performances and exhibited art while Ramayana is where one can shop for export-quality local products. The city also hosts an annual international dragon boat competition.
South of the city is Sikuai Island, where the natural Jacuzzi of Lubuk Minturan river and the crystal-clear river of Bangus Bay can be found. Pantai Air Manis (Sweet Water Beach) is popular for its Batu Malin Kundang (Stone of Malin Kundang), a stone shaped like a prostrating man. Local legend has it that Malin Kundang, an ungrateful son who disowned his own mother, was cursed to become the stone after he came back home wealthy from his travels.
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