Padang, Sumatra, Indonesia

Padang, on the west coast of the island of Sumatra, was an important port of the Dutch East Indies during the colonial period. Many distinctive Dutch colonial buildings survive in the Old Town. The town was centered around the port, which is located at the entry of the Arau River. The most memorable sight in Padang is the Adityawarman Museum, a striking traditional Rumah Gadang building with curved spires swooping along its multiple roof arches. Inside it reveals the intricate details of the traditional Sumatran culture, including the artistic legacy of batik fabric decoration. There is also a picturesque old Chinatown in Padang. Mosques attract attention from visitors, the newer West Sumatra Grand Mosque has stylized, swooping spires on its roof, and the Ganting Grand Mosque is one of Indonesia’s oldest. The colorful Muhammadan Mosque was built by an Indian merchant. The beach of Pantal Air Manis fronts a monolithic stone resembling a reclining man, which spawned a local legend. West Sumatra is a seismically active zone. It is not unusual to experience a tremor, and the city has on occasion been inundated by tsunamis over its history.