Medan - Sumatra
Cities and towns in Sumatra
Medan is the capital of North Sumatra and the largest city in Sumatra (3rd largest in Indonesia) with a population of around 3 million people.
Medan's history stretches back to 1590 when founded by Rajah Guru Patimpus. During the 15th and 16th centuries there was a war between this region and Aceh. In 1823 a British government official reported it to be a small village of around 200 inhabitants. The arrival of the Dutch saw the plantation of tobacco and the village flourished growing into a city of 80,000 and made capital of Nth Sumatra in 1886.
Sight seeing in Medan
The Maimoon Palace, which was built in 1886 by the Sultan of Deli, and is open to the public. The current Sultan still lives in the back wing of the palace so only a few rooms are available to the public. There is a small entrance fee.
Not far from the Palace grounds, located on Jl Sisingamangaraja, you will find the Mesjid Raya or Grand Mosque which was completed in 1906. This Mosque has an impressive black domed Moorish style roof.
Located 10 minutes by becak from the Mesjid Raya is the Hindu Temple Sri Mariammam Temple which is devoted to the Goddess Kali. The temple was built in 1884. This is located just across from Sun Plaza a large modern shopping centre. Around this area called Kampung Keling is the Indian quarter of Medan where you will find some excellent Indian restaurants.
A Taoist Temple Vihara Gunung Timur is located 500m south of the Hindu temple. The Vihara Gunung Timur overlooks the Babura River and is the largest Chinese temple in Medan and possible the largest in all of Indonesia.
Vihara Gunung Timur Temple
Located next door to the Danua Toba Hotel, on Jalan Imam Bonjol is a the Buddhist Borobudur temple.
If you are looking for a break from the hot and humid conditions of Medan a visit to Medan's public swimming pool (Kolam renang) may be in order. Located on Jalan Sisingamangaraja a long block down from the Mesjid Raya. This pool was expanded in 1939 by the Dutch architect Han Groenewegen and renovated in the early 1970's. Entrance fee is 6000Rp. They also have lockers available to lock up your valuables. There are very few visitors during the day on weekdays
Museum of North Sumatera. 51 Jl. H. M. Joni - Open Tue to Sat, 8.30 to 12.00 and 1.30pm and 5.00pm. The museum has displays of natural history as well as all the different cultures and societies within Sumatra.
Medan Zoo is a fairly run down zoo located 10kms from the centre of Medan on Jl Bunga Rampe IV in the Simalingkar B District. The zoo has on display 86 different species of animals including the Sumatra Tiger, Sumatran Elephant and Orangutan. It is best to visit the zoo on weekdays as on weekends it does get crowded with the locals visiting.
The Crocodile farm at Asam Kumband village has over 2000 crocodiles. Located 10km from the centre of Medan. Covers 3 hectares.
Getting Around Medan
The cheapest way to get around Medan is by the various small public buses.
The other cheap option are the thousands of becaks (pronounced 'bechak'). You will see these motorbikes with the side cars everywhere in Medan and throughout Sumatra. Be prepared to bargain hard. The becak driver will always try to charge you 3 times what the trip is worth and more than what they would charge a local person. If you don't like the price just move along the road to the next becak driver.
The best place to exchange foreign money in Medan is along Jalan Sisingamangaraja, close to the Grand Mosque. On the same side as the Antares Hotel are a number of travel agents who exchange money. I've changed money there many times and have received excellent exchange rates.
Medan has some great, modern shopping plazas throughout the city.
Sun Plaza is probably the largest shopping centre in Medan with 8 levels of shopping including a food court and movie cinemas on the top level. The movie cinemas show modern Hollywood movies with Indonesian sub-titles. Price for a movie is 50,000Rp during weekdays and 75,000Rp for week nights and weekends.
Medan Plaza located on Jln Sultan Iskandar Muda, opened from 10am to 10pm everyday has a range of shops, food courts and movie cinemas.
Yuki Simpang Raya shopping centre is opposite the Grand Mosque. The ground floor has a McDonald's, DVD stores, hairdressers and a huge selection of stalls selling mobile phones and SIMM cards. Upstairs is clothing and a supermarket. The top level is a children's amusement centre with a mini-roller coaster. The basement of Yuki Sumpang has a 10 pin bowling centre, snooker hall, gymnasium and internet cafe. There are a number of ATM machines in the front of the Yuki Simpang Raya shopping centre.
Medan Tourist Office
Medan has a small tourist information office located on Jl Ahmad Yani 107. Ph: (061) 453 8101.
There are 6 golf courses in the Medan area, some designed by some the best golfers in the world including Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.
Bukit Barisan Country Club
18 holes, 72 Par course desgined by Jack Nicklaus opened in 1996
Desa Tuntungan Km 17
Ph: +62 61 836 4009
Fax: +62 61 456 2509
Graha Helvetia Golf Course
18 holes, 72 Par, 5421 course designed by Gary Player. 15 minutes from centre of Medan
Jl. Kapten Soemarsona No 88-90
Ph: +62 61 845 3557
Fax: +62 61 845 3561
Royal Sumatera Golf Course and Villa
18 holes, 72 Par, 6018m course opened in 1998
Jl. Jamin Gintang Km 8.5
Ph: +62 61 829 7076
Martabe Sejahtera Golf Course
18 hole, 72 Par, 6071m course located an hour from the centre of Medan
Jl. Let Jen Djarmir Gintang Km 22
Ph: +62 61 778 1163
Fax: +62 61 457 1335
Tamora Golf Club
18 hole, 7s Par, 4925m course
Jl. Medan-Tj Morowa Km 16.5
Ph: +62 61 794 0055
Fax: +62 61 794 0233
Deli Golf Club
18 hole course
Jl. Samanbudi No 9
Ph: +62 61 457 5564
MSA Driving Range
Jl. Perhubungan Udara
Ph: +62 61 453 1092
Getting to Medan
Visa on Arrival are issued at Medan Polonia airport and at Belawan seaport. Cost for the VOA is US$10 for a 7 day Visa and US$25 for a 30 day Visa. It is best to pay for the VOA in US Dollars.
Medan's airport is called Polonia. It is located 5 kilometers from Medan's city centre. Taxi prices are fixed at 35,000Rp to the centre of Medan.
Kartika Airlines have direct flights from Medan to Batam, Jambi, Palembang and Pangkal Pinang. www.kartika-airlines.com
Silk Air have direct flights from Medan to Singapore. www.silkair.com
Firefly is a new Malaysian budget airline flying between Malaysia and Sumatra. Firefly have direct flights from Medan to Penang and also to Subang airport in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. www.fireflyz.com.my
Jetstar is a low cost airline that has direct flights between Medan and Singapore. www.jetstar.com
Malaysian Airlines have direct flights between Kuala Lumpur and Medan. www.malaysiaairlines.com
The ferry from Medan to Penang, operated by Langkawi Ferry Service and Fast Ferry Ventures, takes around 6 hours depending on weather conditions.
www.langkawi-ferry.com Ferries leave Medan Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 11am. Check in time is one hour before at 10am.
Ferries leave Penang Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9.30am. Check in time one hour before at 8.30am
Cost for Langkawi Ferries is 110RM one way or 180RM return.
Medan has 2 main bus terminal for travel to other parts of Sumatra:
Pinang Baris Bus Terminal is in the northern part of Medan. Pinang Baris has buses going from Medan to Aceh, Binjai, Bukit Lawang and Tangkahan. To get to Pinang Baris from the centre of Medan a becak will cost between 20,000 - 40,000Rp depending on your bargaining skills. A taxi will cost between 50,000 -70,000Rp. There are also oplets, the small public buses which you can get on the corner of Jalan Halat and Jalan Sisimangaraja. Or further along Jalan Halat turns into Jalan Insinyur Haji Juanda. Price for the oplet is 8,000Rp.
Medan's Train Station (Setasiun Kereta Api Medan) has on display out the front one of the original steam trains that was first used in Sumatra.
There are daily train services from Medan to Siantar (Pematangsiantar), Tanjung Balai and to Rantauparapat. (Parapat). Ticket prices from Medan to Siantar are Economy - 15,000Rp for Adults and 12,000Rp for children. Business Class 40,000Rp for Adults and 35,000Rp for children and for Executive class 60,000Rp for both adults and children.
For a good choice of hotels with discount prices, visit
Medan Hotels for more information.
For a good choice of hotels with discount prices, visit Medan Hotels for more information.
Ronna's, previously named Sputnik's is probably the cheapest hostel you will find in Medan. Prices start at 25,000Rp. Located in the lane just behind Jalan Sisingamangaraja a few minutes from the Mesjid Raya.
Blue Angel (3 reviews) Pondok Wisata Angel Guest House is one of the best backpacker style hotels in Medan. Located on Jalan Sisingamangaraja 50m down from the Mesjid Raya. Rooms from 40,000Rp. For pictures, pricing and contact details click here.
Residence Hotel, on the same lane way as Ronna's is a cheap hotel with prices starting at 40,000Rp per night with more expensive rooms with TV at around 100,000Rp.
Hotel Sumatra rooms from 110,000Rp up to 250,000Rp per night. For pictures, pricing and contact details click here.
Guesthouse Jimmy Janssen Medan located close to Polonia Airport. Room prices from 140,000Rp. www.guesthousemedan.com
Hotel Antares (2 reviews) is a great 3 star hotel right in the centre of Medan. Great rooms and conference facilities. Rooms from 240,000Rp per night. For pictures, pricing and contact details click here.
Inna Dharma Deli Hotel (reviews) Jalan Balakota No 2 Medan Ph: +62 61 415 7744. A modern 3 star hotel with a swimming pool in the heart of Medan close to Medan train station (Setasiun Kereta Api Medan). Room prices from US$35 including breakfast (around 345,000Rp). For more photos, online bookings and hotel reviews for Inna Dharma Deli Hotel click here.
My Dream Hotel (1 review) Jl. Surabaya 88 Medan Ph: +62 61 410 77 777. The newest 3 star hotel located in the heart of Medan (5km from the airport) and close to Sun Plaza, Merdeka Walk and not far from the Istana Maimoon and Grand Mosque. Free Internet access. Online reservation available. Room prices from US$35 - 345,000Rp per night. For reviews and contact details for My Dream Hotel click here.
Madani Hotel Medan (4 reviews) a 3 star + hotel located on Jalan Sisingamangaraja in the centre of Medan, diagonally opposite to the Mesjid Raya and across the road from Yuki Simpang Raya shopping centre. New WiFi wireless internet access in public areas and broadband internet connections in room. Rooms from 375,000Rp per night + tax. For pictures, 2009 pricing and contact details click here.
Garuda Plaza Hotel. Rooms from 396,900Rp. For pictures, pricing and contact details click here.
Travellers Suites Hotel (reviews) Jalan Listrik No 15 Medan. A 4 star hotel located in the centre of Medan just 10 minutes from Medan Polonia International Airport. With outdoor swimming pool, spa, sauna, fitness centre, massage, business centre, Free WiFi internet in public areas, LAN wired internet access in rooms, coffee shop and restaurant. Room prices start from US$58 including breakfast (around 557,000Rp). For more photos, online booking and hotel reviews for Travellers Suites Hotel click here.
Grand Swiss-Belhotel Medan (reviews) Jalan S Parman No 217 Medan. A brand new 5 star hotel in the centre of Medan's business district, 10 minutes from Polonia airport. With swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, fitness centre, massage, spa, bar/pub, coffee shop, meeting facilities, free WiFi in public areas, LAN wired internet in rooms and a rooftop restaurant with excellent views over Medan. Room rates start from US$64 per night (around 615,000Rp) or US$66 including breakfast. For more photos, online bookings and hotel reviews for Grand Swiss-Belhotel click here.
Grand Angkasa Hotel Medan (reviews) Jalan Sutomo No1 Medan. A 5 star hotel in the heart of Medan with large swimming pool with poolside bar, jacuzzi, sauna, steamroom, tennis courts, fitness centre, massage, free LAN and WiFI internet access, 24 hour room service, business centre, bar/pub, restaurant and coffee shop. Room prices start from US$117 per night including breakfast (around 1,112,000Rp) - internet specials sometimes from US$47 per night. For more photos, online booking and hotel reviews for Grand Angkasa Hotel Medan click here.
J W Marriott Hotel (1 review) Jalan Putri Hijau No 10 Medan. A 5 star hotel centrally located in Medan with a swimming pool on the roof with an amazing view over Medan, jacuzzi, sauna, spa, massage, fitness centre, 24 hour room service, business centre, WiFi internet access in public areas, complimentary wired internet in rooms, shower and huge bath tub in bathroom, coffee shop, bar/pub and Prime Steak House restaurant. Room prices start from US$112 per night including breakfast (around 108,000Rp). For more photos, online booking and hotel reviews for JW Marriott Hotel click here.
Hotel Aryaduta Medan (reviews) Jalan Kapten Maulana Lubis No 8 Medan. The newest 5 star hotel in the heart of Medan with outdoor swimming pool and poolside bar, fitness centre, massage, business centre, free LAN internet and WiFi internet in public areas, 24 hour room service, coffee shop and restaurant. Room prices start from US$124 per night including breakfast (around 1,119,000Rp) internet specials from US$62 including breakfast. For more photos, online bookings and hotel reviews for Hotel Aryaduta Medan click here.
4 star hotels
Jl. Cirebon 76A Medan
Best Western www.bestwestern.com
Jlh Adam Malik No. 5,
Hotel Danau Toba International room prices from 400,000Rp per night.
Tiara Hotel www.tiarahotel.com
Jl. Cut Mutia Medan Located in the heart of Medan only eight minutes from Medan airport. Around US$100 per night.
Hotel Deli River
Best Western Asean International Hotel
Jalan Adam Malik Medan 20235 Tel (061) 561 965
There are some great night food markets between Jl Pandu and Jl Bandung serving great Chinese food.
Sushi Tei has opened it's second Japanese sushi restaurant in Medan. The new locations is within the Sun Plaza only a few streets away from the original restaurant.
For more information about Medan check out the Kota Medan website.
Last updated 16th October 2013
© 2013 Sumatra Travel
Other Travel sites: * Indonesia Travel Guide
* Bali * Kuta * Seminyak * Sanur * Nusa Dua * Nusa Lembongan * Lovina * Pulau Menjangan * Ubud
* Java * Jakarta * Jogjakarta * Semarang * Surabaya * Bandung * Malang * Bogor * Cirebon * Solo
* Kalimantan * Banjarmasin * Palangkaraya * Pangkalanbun * Pontianak * Balikpapan * Samarinda
* Sulawesi * Manado * Makassar * Palu * Kendari
* Gili Islands * Lombok * Flores * Komodo * Maluku
* West Papua * West Timor
* Singapore Travel Guide * Chinatown Singapore * Newton Circus * Orchard Rd Singapore * Clarke Quay * Boat Quay * Little India Singapore
* Malaysia Travel Guide * Kuala Lumpur * Ipoh * Penang * Melaka * Mersing * Johor Bahru * Kota Kinabalu * Langkawi Island
* Kuching * Tioman lsland * Redang Island * Perhentian Islands * Pangkor Island * Sibu Island * Sipadan Island
Australia Travel Guide * Sydney Travel Guide * Sydney Restaurant Guide * Sydney Luxury Hotels * Sydney Budget Hotels
* Sydney Tours * Parramatta Travel Guide * Parramatta Hotel Guide * Parramatta Restaurant Guide
* Brisbane Travel Guide * Brisbane Restaurant Guide * Brisbane Budget Hotels
* Melbourne Travel Guide * Melbourne Restaurant Guide