Do People in Padang Speak English?

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Do People in Padang Speak English?

by | Mar 29, 2023 | Padang

Do People in Padang Speak English?

Padang is the capital city of West Sumatra Province in Indonesia. It is a popular tourist destination because of its beautiful beaches and mouth-watering food. If you are planning to visit Padang, you might be wondering if you will be able to communicate with the locals without language barriers. In this blog post, we will explore the question of whether people in Padang speak English.

The Official Language of Indonesia

Indonesia has more than 700 local languages, but the official language is Indonesian or Bahasa Indonesia. This language is used for government, education, and media communication. Every Indonesian citizen is required to learn and speak Bahasa Indonesia, making it the country’s lingua franca.

English Proficiency in Indonesia

English is not an official language in Indonesia, but it is widely taught in schools and universities as a second language. However, the level of English proficiency in the country is varied. According to the EF English Proficiency Index 2020, Indonesia is ranked at 61 out of 100 countries surveyed, labeled as a moderate proficiency country. This index considers factors such as reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills.

It is worth noting that English proficiency levels may vary from city to city. Rural areas usually have lower English proficiency levels compared to urban areas where English is commonly used in business and tourism.

English Proficiency in Padang

While Bahasa Indonesia is the official language of Indonesia, it is not the local language in Padang. The people of Padang speak Minangkabau, a language spoken in parts of Sumatra. However, most people in Padang can also speak Bahasa Indonesia, which they use for daily communication.

As for English proficiency, it is safe to say that most people in Padang have a basic understanding of the English language, with some level of proficiency. This is because Padang is a popular tourist destination, and many locals work in the hospitality industry, where they need to communicate with foreign visitors. Thus, people in Padang may have a better command of English compared to residents of other cities in Sumatra.

Language Tips for Travelers in Padang

If you are visiting Padang and are worried about language barriers, here are some tips to help you navigate the city:

  • Learn Some Basic Bahasa Indonesia Phrases – Learning some basic Indonesian phrases can be a useful tool to communicate with the locals. Simple phrases like ‘hello,’ ‘thank you,’ and ‘goodbye’ can go a long way.
  • Use a Translator App – In this digital age, you have multiple translation apps at your disposal. Applications like Google Translate can help you translate Indonesian text or use a real-time conversation mode to speak to a local.
  • If Possible, Hire a Local Guide – Hiring a local guide can help you navigate the city and help you communicate with the locals. A local guide can provide you with valuable information about the culture and language of Padang.


To summarize, people in Padang speak Minangkabau, their local language, and Bahasa Indonesia, the official language of Indonesia. While English is not as widely spoken in Padang as in more developed countries, most locals have a basic understanding of the language, making communication with English-speaking tourists possible. Overall, it is helpful to learn some basic Indonesian phrases and use translation apps while traveling to Padang.

As for the level of English proficiency in Padang, it is safe to say that it is moderate, with some level of proficiency among the locals, especially in industries that are tourist-oriented. We hope this article clarifies the question of whether people in Padang speak English and provides you with useful information and tips for communicating in this beautiful city.

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Do People in Padang Speak English?

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