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Most people will choose to travel to Padang by air. All of the relevant airlines now seem to have user-friendly websites through which you can make your reservations no matter where you are.
From Outside Indonesia
If you are coming from outside of Indonesia, you have a choice of three possible transit points: Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Jakarta. While Kuala Lumpur and Singapore tend to be more easily and cheaply accessible through international flights than Jakarta, the connections to Padang are less frequent than via Jakarta.
Via Kuala Lumpur
AirAsia has one flight daily from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to Padang. Note that AirAsia fly out of the Low Cost Carrier Terminal, so if you're arriving in Kuala Lumpur on another airline, you'll have to transfer terminals, which takes a bit of time.
Travelling via Singapore, you also have the option of taking a ferry across to Batam in Indonesia and flying on to Padang from there (see below for information). Total travel time from airport to airport is roughly two hours, though you should leave a larger margin just in case.
There is an embarras de richesse of daily flights from Jakarta to Padang. Both Garuda and Lion Air have several flights daily; in addition, Batavia and Sriwijaya each have two flights daily, and Mandala has one flight daily.
Note that while Garuda domestic flights depart from the international terminal, other domestic flights leave from one of the other two domestic terminals. Free transfers between terminals are available, though touts and taxi drivers may try and rip you off for a fee.
From Australia there are often cheap flights available to Denpasar in Bali. However, from Denpasar to Padang there are no direct flights, you almost certainly have to change planes in Jakarta. (The only possible alternatives would be to fly from Denpasar to either Batam or Medan and change there, but these involve much less frequent flights.)
From Inside Indonesia
Air travel in Indonesia is extremely centralized, with almost all flights leading in and out of Jakarta; however, a few other options are available. From Batam, Lion Air, Sriwijaya and Batavia each have one flight daily, while from Medan, there are also daily flights by Lion Air and Sriwijaya. For the adventurous, there is also a smattering of small airlines, most of which survive just a year or two before disappearing, which offer flights to Padang from various offbeat locations in Sumatra such as Bengkulu, Muko-Muko, Sungai Penuh, Rokot and Padangsidempuan, though it is very difficult to obtain updated information on these.
The newly built airport at Padang, known as Bandara Internasional Minangkabau (BIM), is situated to the north of Padang, about a 30-60 minute drive, depending on where exactly your destination happens to be within the city. The easiest and most convenient way of getting from the airport to your hotel is by airport taxi. As you emerge with your bags from the terminal, you'll be hustled towards an official airport taxi desk, where they will show you a price list for various destinations. The prices are mostly in the Rps 100,000 range, a little bit more for locations nearer the center of town, a little bit less for those near Bung Hatta University. They give you a ticket with the price, but you pay the driver upon arrival at your destination. Shoestringers have the further option of a DAMRI bus into town, or just walking out of the airport and fending for yourself, but be aware that it's a couple of kilometers until you reach the main Padang-Bukitinggi road with lots of traffic.
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Page last modified: 20 Dec 2012, Leipzig