Air Manis Beach is closely related to the legend of Malin Kundang in West Sumatra. Malin Kundang is a character fabled to have been turned to stone, together with his ship, after periods of disobedience to his mother. By the beach, there is a Malin Kundang stone and several pieces of equipment from his ship, which are also stones.
Based to the story, Malin Kundang was cursed by his mother for his refusal to acknowledging her as his mother after traveling to another region and becoming rich. Air Manis beach is a favorite tourist site for local and foreign tourists because it has low waves and beautiful views of Mount Padang. There is also a small island called Pisang Kecil (literally means ‘small banana’) on its right side. From morning to afternoon, you can walk to this one hectare island through shallow water. In late afternoon, however, there is a tide and you must take a boat to return. On its right, there is another island called Pisang Besar (literally means ‘big banana’). Local inhabitants on this island are mostly farmers and fishermen.
Air Manis beach is located 15 km from Padang city center. From Minangkabau international airport, visitors can go to Air Manis by passing through Padang. If you want to use public transportation, you must first go to Plaza Sentral Pasar Raya from the airport exit gate in Simpang Ketaping. From the city center, you can take public transportation plying the Padang-Bungus route. Getting Around You can walk around the beach and wade to Pisang Kecil Island. Visitors can also rent a motor boat to visit Sikuai Island which is located across Pisang Island.
Beside playing in the water and swimming, visitors can rent a motor boat to visit Pisang Kecil and Pisang Besar Islands which are located some 500 meters from the beach.
On Pisang Kecil Island, visitors can sit under gazebos and enjoy sea and beach sceneries. If you want to stay overnight on Pisang Besar island, you can stay in a local inhabitant’s home or your own tent. If you visit Sikuai Island, you can try water sports such as surfing and diving. This island is famous for its white sand.
Pisang Kecil Island is really close to Air Manis beach. It is about 500 meters – 1 km from Air Manis beach. The dominant vegetations are coconut trees, the surface inclination is 0 – 15 meter of the sea level. Waves are of medium size to the south. In low tides, the tourists may stroll to the island from air manis beach. Suitable activities for this island are natural landscape, adventures, legends, swimming, sailing, surfing for beginners and camping. On Pisang Kecil Island, visitors can sit under gazebos and enjoy sea and beach sceneries.
Pisang Besar Islands is situated close to Pisang Ketek island. It is about 2.5 kms from Air Manis beach. This island used to be a transit for Dutch ships when storms hit. It was also the graveyard for Dutch soldiers. Pisang Gadang Island has a unique attraction in the form of such forest crops as coconut trees and cloves. It takes 20 minutes to reach this island from Muaro Harbor by speedboat of 2 x 40 PK engine. This island has a varied beach geomorphology with fine and soft sands. To the east of the island, you will encounter a row of coral reefs of various types. As this island is relatively close to estuary of Batang Arau river, its water is rather unclear. However, you can still find table-shaped corals of Acropora hyacinthus and acropora cytherea genus, corals of non-Acropora genus as well as soft corals living at 0.5 meter to 5 meter depth. You can enjoy the beauty of this island’s seabed by snorkeling as your visibility will be limited in rainy days. The coral reefs coverage is only 5 meters in depth which makes this island only suit for snorkeling. Scuba diving does not suit this place due to unclear waters. Other attractions to enjoy in this island are natural landscape, adventures, legends, sailing, swimming and camping.
There are hotels near Air Manis beach. You could also make a one day trip to Padang, stay on Pisang Besar or Sikuai Island.
Near the beach, there are restaurants selling grilled fish, Kapau rice and other snacks.
By Air Manis beach, there are many kiosks selling various souvenirs such as shirts, clothes, bags and other handicrafts. The interesting thing is that some kiosks only sell small to large handicrafts made of coral for Rp5,000 to Rp50,000.
If you visit Air Manis beach, you should prepare extra clothes. You will be tempted to swim or walk to Pisang Kecil Island.
(Article adapted from: www.indonesia.travel)