The Batang Arau Hotel
is situated in the middle
of the China quarter of Padang, West Sumatra's capital city, on the edge
of the river Arau, with views over the Gunung Padang to the one side and the
See Hin Kiong temple to the other.
Here a former Dutch "Spaarbank"
has been transformed into a guest house with considerable colonial charm.
The large main hall has become an intimate club-restaurant, the bar is
housed in the former strong room and two terraces on the riverside beckons
invitingly to linger a while. Three large rooms and three suites have been
modernised and furnished in Chinese, Indonesian and European
styles. They are a fascinating reminder of the area's vivid and eventful
"Batang Arau" is surrounded
by Padang's historic old town. Small restaurants temptingly offer Chinese,
Indonesian and spicy Padang specialities. Former Dutch trading houses
and the dwelling of Chinese and Indian traders bear architectural witness
to the fact that this part of the old town was an important trading post
in the days of the great discoverers.
The architectural treasure hunter may final last centuries colonial ambienties and stained glass windows
of the art nouveau period.
In fact, historic Padang is
an adventure in itself and one of Sumatra's best-kept secrets. Re-discover it
on foot, by taxi or by horse and carriage. For instance, the huge market
"Pasar Raya" is the place for those who like to be caught up in Asia's
pulsating life. Choose from fabulous textiles, exotic sarongs, local spices,
music and perfumes - or treat yourself to a relaxing head-massage.
Visit Kelenteng Tionghoa, a classic
Chinese temple with oriental statues, ornaments and murals depicting ancient legends.
See Padang's gold,-silversmiths and stone-cutters selling hand-made jewellry
with set colourful semi-precious stones from stalls on the sidewalk.
Or simply enjoy the sunset on
the promenade with its countless little hot snack vendors. In fact, Padang
has a lot to attract night-owls too: "Music rooms" offer whatever is "in",
whether Minangkabau songs or Western hits. You can even go dancing like
they did back in the fifties!
From here you can also reach
and explore many of the nearby and outlying islands and go diving among
the coral reefs of the Indian Ocean. Or join us on a journey of discovery
through the land of the matrilineal Minangkabau or climb one of the
numerous local volcanos. You can cycle round Lake Maninjau, one of the largest
crater lakes in the world or simply board a boat at the Hotel's front door
which will take you overnight to see one of the remote tribes in Siberut.
But long sandy beaches and dense
green mountain ranges are also no more than 10 minutes away from the bustling
city. For golfers, the ANAI Golf Club offers one of Indonesia's most
beautiful courses. Located in a tropical setting, the club is approximately
one hours' drive from Padang.
Padang doesn't go out of its
way to attract much attention, you have to go and discover it for yourself.
But indeed it is worth taking the time... many stopover has already resulted in an
unforgettable holiday in the Batang Arau Hotel. Where you can feel at home
-- miles from home.