The capital of West Sumatra is an unassuming city with sedated pace but the province has been so blessed by Mother Nature that it’s hard to keep its beauty away from the rest of the world. Mentawai Islands is the surfer community's best-kept secret as a wave riders’ heaven with limitless swell. Travel to Bukittinggi and see the Jam Gadang in the highlands, and then make your way to Lake Singkarak, Sianok Canyon and Kerinci Seblat National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). This is the motherland of the Minangkabau, the largest matrilineal society in the world where daughters inherit properties as well as recipes like the spicy Padang cuisine (rendang, kalio, ayam pop, dendeng batokok, sambal balado) from their mothers. Their skillful hands produce fine crafts like Koto Gadang’s silverware, Pandai Sikek’s songket weavings and Payakumbuh’s embroideries. Modern shopping centres like Basko Grand Mall, Rocky Plaza and Plaza Andalas can be found within Padang itself.