Hello, Hivers! It's almost the weekend again, a time for us to unwind and soak up the sun. So let me take you back in time to an unforgettable September 2016 weekend. Get your bags ready and hop on the van to visit enchanting Padang.
It is a 16-hour overnight road trip from our base in Kerinci to the shore of Padang, so then a pit stop is necessary. Below is a photo of me with co-teachers queueing at the toilet of a 24-hour mart. We had to stretch a bit too.
Padang is the capital city of West Sumatra (Sumatera Barat), and it faces the Indian Ocean. Suffice to say, it is my first time seeing the Ocean. And Indonesia being an archipelago, Padang has many small islands perfect for island hopping, and we are going to explore them on this balmy Saturday. But before heading out to sea, let's drop by a warung (a local convenience store) for necessities like bottled water and snacks. It is about 8 AM when we arrive here.
Looking at this warung, Indonesia does share so many things with the Philippines. Can you see my friend wearing my Cebu cap there? 😉
And we're finally on our way to the first island. A passing boat full of tourists waves hello to us! Selamat pagi (good morning)!
We also passed by an Indonesian fishing boat. Cool!
Mystical sights abound as we head to the first habitable place.
After 40 minutes or so, we arrive at the first island called Pasumpahan.
Isn't this the perfect spot for a souvenir shot?
Pasumpahan has some cottages for us to shade from the sun. There is also a hill on one side, and my co-teachers climb up to enjoy the view from the peak. However, I can't join them because I don't have the right footwear. I wasn't expecting to go hiking, hehe.
The Indonesian sun can be unforgiving, so here we are huddled under the shade of the cottage.
But one can't resist it for long. Just look at that view.
The neighboring islands may look near, but the water is deep. So it is best to stay close by while swimming. But honestly, it is just my closest friend and me who have taken a dip at this point. It is our first time swimming at the beach in Indonesia.
We leave Pasumpahan by noon to have lunch on another island, Suwarnadwipa, the second stop of the day.
Look at that clear water! So inviting!
The dock on this island is long, so we disembark from the boat farther from the shore so as not to disturb the island's natural beauty. And of course, it is the perfect spot to take a selfie, like I just did.
We don't rent a cottage here because we are only staying for lunch. Besides, the lunch is provided for by the touring agency. Up to this point, I have not mentioned prices. To be honest, I have forgotten how much I paid. But local travel in Indonesia is quite affordable in general. More affordable than Cebu in most cases, such as in terms of van rentals and gas price. Food is also at a reasonable price. One serving of rice is twice the size of what I'm used to in Cebu, and it's only for about the same price.
Seaside lunch the Indonesian way. Mats are an Indonesian essential whether at home or at the beach.
After lunch, we head to the third and last island of this trip, Pulau Pagang (Pagang Island). It's the biggest island of the three, but only one side of it has a beachfront while the rest are limestones and cliffs.
The boat is anchored for the night, and I just sit there on the sand thinking about life, letting the sea breeze waft away my thoughts as they come and go like the ebbing of the waves.
Pagang allows overnight stay, and it has a small coffee shop that also serves beer. They don't have full meals though, but you can buy cup noodles and other snacks. There are three rooms for rent, so I take one with other female co-teachers where we share only one bed. It is cramped, but it's just for the night though. Besides, we sleep quite late playing cards and chatting the entire night.
An early morning sight of where the beach ends on one side of Palau Pagang. Can you see my two co-teachers at the edge of the rock?
But soon it is time to go. After spending the night on this small island and meeting the Indian Ocean for the first time, I feel that my life will never be the same. It seems like I have cut myself from civilization, and now it is time to go back. Back to where there is a mobile phone signal.
But first, let's explore and run on Palau Pagang's pristine beach in the morning sun.
And now we're on our way back to the mainland. Terima kasih banyak (thank you very much), Padang. Till we meet again.
If you are interested to go island hopping in Padang, perhaps you can try calling the numbers in their banner.