As far as cities go, Padang is a pretty nice city on the west coast of central Sumatra because it’s by the sea and a big river. We stayed in the Chinatown area, which was pretty damaged from a big earthquake in 2009. Some of the buildings were still obviously in ruin, including the hotel we stayed in, but that was intentional.

Bat and Arrow is a bar, restaurant and hotel in the style of a ruin bar, similar to the ones in Budapest. The walls were crumbing, they’d re-purposed wood, bicycles and all sorts to create cool looking displays and the walls of our bedroom were made from green glass bottles – pretty cool eh?! Rooms were about £6 each a night, and included a substantial breakfast of juice, coffee and pancakes/fried rice/eggs.

Our towels were in the shape of bats!


Unfortunately, whilst we were in Padang, my ear infection flared up and I developed a pretty savage cold, so I spent most of my time in the room and bar downstairs taking antibiotics that I’d sign-languaged for at a pharmacy (they only cost me £3!).

The others ventured out one day to the beach but came back pretty devastated by the huge quantities of rubbish along the coast. I’m glad I didn’t go.

Literally swinging from the rafters!
Ste on the very wobbly rope bridge over the river.
The river just outside our hotel.

We spent three nights in Bat & Arrow chilling out, recovering from colds and bad stomachs, drinking beer, playing cards and planning the rest of Sumatra.

Next stop – a home-stay 5 hours away in the middle of nowhere that we reserved via Whatsapp…..

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