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Padang in West Sumatra boosts tourism with its new Sikuai “honeymoon” island

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The scenery of Padang, capital of West Sumatra province, tens of years ago with its Gunung (mount) Padang relating to the legend “Malin Kundang”, but now the condition had drastically changed with more places of tourist interests.

In brief, the Legend of “Malin Kundang” was about an only son (Malin Kundang) coming from a small and poor family lived with his mother in a village not so far from Padang, was actually a very loyal son to his beloved mother as a single parent.

After growing up, however, Malin Kundang went to Padang, to continue his study and several years later he became a rich skipper of a ship, while his poor mother still lived in the village.

After learning that her successful son had returned by a ship which cast anchor at the local seaport, the poor mother in ragged cloths went to the town to meet her son she had not met for a long time.

To her astonishment, Malin Kundang refused to accept her mother and told her to stay away from his ship, saying that he didn’t know the poor old woman. She was obviously very sad and deeply disappointed with her son’s attitude.

The poor woman tried again and again to convince Malin Kundang that she was his mother. But in response Malin Kundang told the old woman to stay away from his ship.

And eventually the old poor woman left the ship while praying to God. According to the legend, God had turned Malin Kundang and his ship to stone.

The ship which is now a big rock, where water oozed out of it like teardrops, has now become part of Gunung Padang, and frequently visited by people as a tourist attraction.

Besides Gunung Padang, the Padang city administration had also built the Siti Nurbaya long bridge over the Muaro Padang river where many commercial ships cast anchor at the Muaro (estuary) small port.

Near the Muaro Padang, visitors can easily enjoy the spicy and delicious Padang food, especially from afternoon until night.

Many food stalls at Padang beach serve lots of well-known Padang food including “Talua Katuang” (boiled sea turtle eggs).

According to Padang mayor Fauzi Bahar, in an effort to provide better access from the city centre to the Minangkabau International Airport (BIM), the city administration has started constructing a 25-km main road.

Sikuai Island enchantment

Only recently, several Indonesian artists including noted movie actress Christine Hakim and foreign journalists visited the new Sikuai Island resort, some 30 to 40 minutes trip by boat from Muaro Padang.

With the wind blowing softly, the boat ride to Sikuai island became more interesting.

Sikuai (meaning come here), which is about 40 hectares wide and some 400 meters above sea level, is one of 19 islands in the Padang mayoralty, or in Bungus sub-district, West Sumatra.

In the island’s waters, tourists can enjoy snorkeling, diving, fishing or just swimming while enjoying the sight of marine animal species and coral reefs.

By only swimming some meters away, one could enjoy the sight of marine animal species including coral reefs in a huge aquarium, and the white beach on which they could easily walk.

In addition, the island’s natural forests with a lot of coconut trees are also very interested.

After looking at the marine animal species and walking on white and clean beach, visitors in the afternoon could also enjoy sports like cycling or simply walking around the island on a 4.5 km-long small road, while enjoying the sight of many animals like lizards, monkeys and birds.

On a small hill of the island, chairs had also been provided on which people can watch the sunset. To spend the night on the island, the new Island resort management had also built some 52 bungalows at reasonable rent and restaurants.

According to Rikwan, the new island resort manager, many visitors, including honeymooners, to the island stayed there for several days, while enjoying delicious foods and the island’s young coconuts, as well as spending their leisure time in the open air.

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