I’d heard that Jakarta wasn’t a great place to visit – from other travellers and from various blogs – so we decided to avoid the city completely and fly from Bandung to Padang, which is on the west coast of central Sumatra.
We only had 3 weeks to explore Sumatra and because of its sheer size we decided to focus our travelling in central and northern Sumatra, but avoiding Ache, the Sharia law state (we didn’t feel comfortable contributing to an economy that aggressively condemns homosexuality).
Luckily, we could fly from Bandung to Padang with Lion Air for around £60, changing flights in Batam and avoiding Jakarta. The flights went smoothly, apart from a one hour delay in Batam, meaning we had three hours to kill in the not so delightful airport. Luckily we had found a lounge which offered wifi and unlimited food (even vegetarian food!) and drinks for 60,000 IDR (£4 ish) each, so the delay wasn’t that bad. It also meant that we were hidden away from non-stop picture taking – honestly it felt like we were celebrities!
We arrived in Padang around 8pm, and got a taxi for the hour long ride into the town.