Guide to Medan, Indonesia
Being the fourth largest city in Indonesia, Medan has a population size of 2 million people, the largest city outside of Java. There are several ethnic groups in this city, namely the Chinese, Javanese, Toba-Batak, Southern Indians, Northern Indians and so on. What is more to this piece of information is that, each of these ethnic groups contributes to mouth-watering dishes that can be found all over the city. This is a place where Batak and Chinese culture blend seamlessly in the architecture and the city’s soul.
=How to Get There=
You can get to Medan by plane to Kuala Namu International Airport. From the airport, the easiest and fastest way to the city center is via the train, which will take about 45 minutes and cost Rp 100 000. Alternatively you can also hire a taxi at around Rp 180 000 to 200 000. There are also buses that bring you to the city center, Airport-Medan Fair at Rp 20 000 and Airport-Amplas at Rp 15 000.
The most convenient way to get around Medan is via a taxi from renowned companies Blue Bird Taxi and Express Taxi. Be aware of those drivers that ask for a fixed price, as it is not a common practice in Medan. It is also courteous to round up your fare to the nearest thousand.
Alternatively, you can also get around by motorised becak or toyoko, both are different types of rickshaws. It costs between Rp 5 000 to 8 000 depending on the distance travelled.
=What to See=
- Maimoon Palace
Address: Jl. Brigjend. Katamso, Medan Maimun, Medan, Sumatera Utara, Indonesia
The palace is an istana of the Sultanate of Deli and a well known landmark in Medan. Its architecture blends different cultures from India, Spain, Italy and Middle East. From Rp 5 000, you can enter the palace and at Rp 10 000 you can dress up as an Indonesian royal.
- Masjid Raya Mosque
Address: Jalan Sisingamangaraja, Medan Kota, Medan, Sumatera Utara, Indonesia
Also know as the Octagonal Mosque or the Great Mosque of Medan, it is located in downtown and the architectural style mixes Middle East, India and Spain.
- Merdeka Square Medan
Address: Merdeka, Medan Denai, Kota Medan, Sumatera Utara, Indonesia
To taste Medan’s Culinary, you have to head to Merdeka Square. The place is filled with hawker fares and you will be able to experience Medan with your taste buds. The square is also place where people gather for sports activities. The Square is a good location for families to gather and also a place for tourists to immerse in the Medan culture.
- Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni
Address: Jl. Sakura III No. 7-10, Perumahan Taman Sukura Indah, Tanjung Selamat, Sumatera Utara, Indonesia
Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni (Our Lady of Good Health) is a Catholic church that looks like a Hindu Temple. The structure is an imposing building of two storeys and a small tower of seven storeys in Indonesian style.
- Vihara Maha Maitreya
Address: Jalan Gandhi No. 224, Sei Rengas II, Medan
The first and largest temple in Medan City which welcomes anyone of any race or religious views. There is a buffet style vegetarian restaurant for you to feast on if you are hungry. The temple also has many huge Buddha statues but only some you can take photos with.
=What to Do=
- Pantai Cermin Themepark
Address: Dusun 1 Desa Pantai Cermin Kanam, Pantai Cermin, Kabupaten Serdang Bedagai, Sumatera Utara, Indonesia
It is a world of fun and adventure when you visit Pantai Cermin Theme Park & Resort – the more exotic place for fun & thrills at Serdang Bedagai, North Sumatera. Make it a wet trip in the water theme park, or if you prefer to stay on terra firma, visit the mini-zoo or relax at their coffee house. There is something for everyone at the Pantai Cermin Water Theme Park. Ticket prices are Rp 60 000 for adults and Rp 40 000 for a child.
Address: Jalan S Parman No. 22/272
Prices: Rp 130 000 to 150 000 for 90/120 minutes treatments
- Eucalypt’s Spa
Address: Travellers Suite Hotel
Prices: Rp 120 000 for 1 hour of massage
- ESCAPE Spa
Address: Jl. Kapten Muslim Kompleks Megacom D7-11
Prices: Rp 100 000 to 200 000, depending on the kind of treatment you choose
=What to Buy=
- Sun Plaza
Address: Jl. Kh. Zainul Arifin No. 7, Kota Medan, Sumatera Utara, Indonesia
It is the largest high-end shopping mall in Medan but be warned that many of the products are knock-off imitation goods. It is advisable and also common to bargain even though it is in a shopping complex.
- Central Market
Address: Sutomo street near Centrep Point Mall and Hotel Karibia
Biggest wet market in Medan and the best thing to buy here is the fresh spices from Brastagi highland plantation.
- Pasar Rame
Address: Beside Thamrin Plaza
Wholesale market that is opened daily from 9am to 5pm.
=What to Eat=
One of the most popular dishes of Indonesia is undoubtedly the nasi campur or mixed rice. It consists of rice and a variety of accompanying dishes such as tofu, tempeh, chicken, beef, and fish depending on what you want in your plate. One of the most popular condiments to be served alongside every meal in Indonesia is sambal. Below are some Indonesian restaurants where you will be treated with the local flavours at very affordable prices.
- Nelayan Restaurant
Address: Jl. K. H. Zainul Arifin No 7
- Mie Tiong Sim Selat Panjang
Address: Jl. Selat Panjang. No 7, Medan 20212, Indonesia
- Mi Aceh Titi Bobork
Address: Jl. Setia Budi No. 17C, Medan, Indonesia
- Restaurant Garuda
Address: Jl. Gajah Mada No. 8, Medan, Indonesia
=Where to Stay=
- JW Marriott Hotel Medan
Address: Jalan Putri Hijau No. 10, 20111 Medan, Indonesia
- Hotel Aryaduta Medan
Address: Jl. Kapten Maulana Lubis no.8, 20112 Medan, Indonesia
- Grand Swiss-Belhotel Medan
Address: Jl. S. Parman No. 217, 20152 Medan, Indonesia
- Hotel Deli River and Restaurant Omlandia
Address: Jalan Raya Namorambe 129, 20356 Medan, Indonesia