West Sumatra Province borders four other provinces in central Sumatra and is bounded to the west by the Indian Ocean. West Sumatra has access to some of Indonesia’s best surf and also contains one of its largest national parks.

The beautiful Mentawai Islands, 150kms off the coast of West Sumatra Province, are one of the main attractions. They are a long string of islands with consistently large surf on the west side. The place is a bit of a pain to get to but the waves are awesome and uncrowded.

The capital city of West Sumatra Province is Padang, situated right in the middle of the coast. It’s a bit of a bore but has a fairly well-connected airport and a good range of hotels and markets. To the north of Padang is Bukittinggi, a small city at altitude with access to Mount Marapi and Lake Maninjau.

Another major draw of West Sumatra Province is the massive Kerinci Seblat National Park. It resides in the southeast of the province and straddles three other provinces to the south and southeast. The park is famed for its exquisite hiking up Mount Kerinci, Indonesia’s highest volcano, and a number of large lakes and animals.

The best time to visit this remote Sumatran province off the tourist trail is between May and September during the driest months. French explorer, Jean Parmentier, was the first Westerner to reach West Sumatra in 1529, but traces of this early history area scarce.

Located to the northwest of Padang is Minangkabau International Airport, the main airport in West Sumatra Province. It receives flights from Jakarta in 1 hour, 30 minutes. Flights also come in from Medan, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The Trans-Sumatran Highway runs through West Sumatra Province, linking Padang with Medan.

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