Medan is the fourth largest city in Indonesia after Jakarta and Surabaya and Bandung. With a population of about 2 million people it is the largest city outside of Java. There is no single ethnic group forming a majority; the largest ethnic groups are the Chinese, Javanese, Toba-Batak, Minangkabau, Mandailing Batak, Karo Batak, Southern Indians , Northern Indians, and many more ethnic minorities.
Each ethnic group contributes to thousands of tasty, mouth-watering dishes found in every corner of Medan. They offer to locals and tourists alike dozens of food streets and hawker centres to suit their appetite at any time of the day. From the sweet Javanese cuisine, to delicious Batak grilled pork, to hot Padang dishes, from savoury Chinese noodles, to spicy Indian curry, this varied cuisine is available 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. It is obvious why the locals are so into food. The city itself is quite well known for "food-tourism", especially amongst other Indonesians.
It's interesting to contrast the old, Dutch style green areas, with parks, lawns, and huge old Dutch houses (now turned into government offices or commercial business) and the hundreds and hundreds of newer, shoddy shophouses sprawled together by the hundreds in the commercial areas along with a few modern style malls.
Look out for the motor becaks! A sort of motorized rickshaw, they are a common site throughout Medan, spewing black smoke everywhere.
Overall, Medan isn't really a tourist destination, but it's a convenient stepping stone to other places like the 'weekend getaway' Brastagi, the island of Penang, Malaysia and, of course the ever popular, beautiful crater lake Lake Toba.
Medan's Polonia International Airport and Belawan sea port are both visa-free and visa-on-arrival points.
For more visa information, see the Indonesia page.
Medan's international airport is known as Polonia International Airport (MES) and is located about 15 minutes from the city. Domestic departure taxes from Medan is Rp25,000, while international departure tax is Rp150,000.
Medan currently is in progress to finalise the new Bandara Udara Kuala Namu Internasional Airport due to open sometime in 2009, although as of July this year there was still no official word as to when this might happen, most locals suggest later in 2010 if they are lucky. Be prepared though as this new airport is a long way from the middle of the city and taxi transfers will be much more expensive.
Getting there: A Taxi into town sets you back around Rp40,000, unless you walk past the taxis in front of the terminal and proceed towards the exit. There are more taxis towards the exit, and if you bargain well, you can get a taxi for only Rp.20,000. (although this is not easy to do as the road is quite bumpy and you are likely to get run down walking along the exit road, strongly suggest you negotiate with the taxi drivers at the terminal). If you know the public bus number for your destination, it is Rp.3500 per person, but those unfamiliar with the Indonesian language are encouraged to get taxis for their first transportation.
There are direct international flights to/from Penang (for only around $70 return), Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and Ipoh in Malaysia, Singapore and Phuket. Several discount airlines service Medan, Air Asia, JetStar Asia, Firefly to name but three. All of them are LCC so you get what you pay for.
Silk Air flies twice daily from Medan to Singapore, as does JetStar (trading in Indonesia as ValuAir). ValuAir is usually cheaper, though you have to pay for checked baggage, and if you have a connecting flight in Singapore, they won't forward your luggage.
For those flying from outside Asia, both Malaysia and Singapore Airlines sell through tickets to Medan, transiting in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore respectively. These tickets are typically little more expensive than a ticket to KL/Singapore alone; it's worth considering also 'open-jaw tickets', for instance Singapore Airlines flying in to Medan and out of Bali (or vice versa).
- Firefly Airlines  to/from Penang ( Call centre:603-7845 4543)
- Kartika Airlines  (Tel: +62-61-4522433) to/from Penang and Ipoh
- Malaysia Airlines  to/from Penang and Kuala Lumpur
- Garuda - the most popular in domestic flights
- SilkAir (Singapore Airlines)
- Valuair - budget airlines flying to Singapore
- Lion Air  (Garuda Plaza Hotel, Jalan Sisingamangaraja No.18. Tel: +62-61-7351168 or 7351169) to/from Penang
- AirAsia  to/from Jakarta, Bandung
- Kartika Airlines  to/from Batam and Jakarta
- Lion Air  to Jakarta and Banda Aceh
- Linus Airways
- Susi Air  to local destinations across Northern Sumatra. +62 811 211 3080
Larger, non air-conditioned buses and large luxury buses (often Mercedes) that are air-conditioned (some have toilets on board, though they are squatting toilets that are difficult to use when the buses are moving, given driving habits and road conditions throughout Sumatra). The central station for all larger buses in Medan is Amplas Station Central (not located in the center of the city though). This is where a lot of the smaller minivans go as well, and where travellers need to go to make connecting buses to further cities. Many of the large air-conditioned buses perform overnight routes, with prices varying by location served. As an example of prices from August 2005, expect to pay around Rp.50,000-80,000 for an 8-10 hour overnight luxury bus (without toilet saves about Rp.10,000+) trip, as in to Duri, Bukit Lawang, or Lake Toba (Danau Toba). Such buses provide a small snack and sometimes have televisions on board. While seats are very comfortable by Sumatran standards, all rides are swervy/bumpy and drivers often play stereos quite loud during the entire trip (unless a movie is available). Also, many buses have smoking sections in the back, and sometimes, smoking occurs in the front of the non-smoking section by the driver if the driver is so inclined. Earplugs are good accessories. Furthermore, while the large luxury buses have ample stowage above seats, keep valuables safe while you sleep.
Medan is not located by the sea but nearby Belawan is a major port with domestic and international boat and ferry services. Belawan is listed as a visa-free and visa-on-arrival entry point (see the Get in section of the Indonesia page).
To/from other parts of Indonesia: Pelni  boats link Belawan with various ports in Sumatra and other Indonesian islands. The comfortable MV Kelud departs from Belawan every Tuesday. The full sailing schedule is on www.pelni.com .
To/from Malaysia: Ferries run to/from Penang, Malaysia. Operated by Langkawi Ferry Services , Tel: +62-61-4521666/4527555 in Medan; +60-4-2642088 in Penang. Check the schedule ahead of time as they are NOT daily.
Since March 2007 there is a ferry from Medan to Lumut (Perak/Malaysia). It's RM100 one way and RM180 for a return ticket. The ferry leaves on Friday and Monday at 10:00AM from Medans port Belawan and on Wednesday and Saturday at 10:30AM from Lumut. As schedules changes check the schedule before (Indonesia office: firstname.lastname@example.org +62-6261-7320421 in Medan, Malaysia office: email@example.com, +60-5-6056804000 in Lumut).
Medan city are swamped by Becak and Taxi (the preferable choice to get around)
Medan is connected by rail to other conurbations on the eastern coast of Sumatra, such as Tanjungbalai, Rantauprapat, Siantar and Binjai. Executive, business and economy class trains are available, but if your budget allows, take the better class trains, which are faster and more comfortable. Tickets cost between Rp.9,000 (economy) to Rp.70,000 (executive).
Also known as trishaws or pedicabs. You have to be good negotiator if you want to ride on becaks, with price ranging between Rp.5,000 to Rp.10,000 depending on the destination (near or far).
Very few becak drivers speak more than a few words of English, but a map and lots of pointing will get you to the right place, even if it takes twice as long as you thought.
As you can get a hotel taxi for Rp35,000 to almost anywhere in Medan, paying more than Rp15,000 for a longer ride is probably not a good idea. Local taxis are now Rp30,000 to almost anywhere. They will not bargain much with tourists or visitors (people from Java!). The only difference I could detect between the becak and the taxi was that the taxi kept you dry when it rained, not much difference apart from that.
Taxi cost anywhere in central Medan should be 20,000 rupiah (lower than this, the drivers don't want the fare). However drivers may ask for 25,000rp, and it's fine to settle for this. Higher fares are only justifiable for longer distances, such as to Pinang Baris bus station, about 10km, which should cost no more than 50,000rp.
Try to pick taxi from a reliable place such in front of malls, shopping centres or airport. Most taxi drivers won't use a meter and want to bargain. Taxis with meters may put them on, but then say there is a minimum charge, 20,000rp or 25,000rp - the metered fare will usually be far lower. One taxi company that always uses a meter is Express. They are white and can usually be found around Sun Plaza and Tasbi residential complex. Call 4552211 if you want to order. (Agreed that calling Express is a good idea, they will come on time and charge you per meter these days_). There are many Bluebird lookalikes in Medan now too, so be careful and ask the driver if he is using meter or not. Most drivers are pretty reliable these days but it always pays to ask first.
Public transport is not reliable and not suggested for travellers, though they have fixed price from one destination to other destinations.
Small minivans have painted numbers (1 to 267 in Medan) that signify their routes, which even locals don't have memorized. If you speak Indonesian, just ask where people are standing by the roadsides which "bus" number corresponds to your location and what the price is in advance. When a van with the appropriate number approaches, flag them down as they don't make scheduled stops (just drive along a given route and drop off passengers when told or pick up new passengers when flagged). If you are a westerner, be sure to confirm the price before getting in. This type of transportation should only be braved by those with a point-to-point knowledge of Medan and a working knowledge of Indonesian so they know where to tell the driver to stop, unless you have a local friend who can take you around.
One easy route is Minibus #3 from the great mosque (at the side of yuki mall) to the Medan Mall, which is Rp 2,000
All sudako or angkot (minibus) are now Rp 3,000 per ride.
Being a part of Indonesia, all locals will be able to speak Bahasa Indonesia. However, the ethnic Chinese can often be heard speaking a localised variant of Hokkien known as Medan Hokkien, which is almost identical to Penang Hokkien spoken across the Strait of Malacca.
Medan has a very high level of education and many younger people speak English very well. I have found quite a few older people, those over 50 or 60 also speak English and some even Dutch. If you find yourself stuck just tell the person you need someone who speaks English to help and there will be someone there in a matter of minutes. Speaking English well is a highly regarded skill by the locals so anyone who does so is well known and can be found quickly.
Bahasa Indonesia is also a simple language to learn so get yourself a phrase book and learn a few simple phrases, you will feel more clever as well and the more you try to speak it the quicker you will pick up the basics, its easy and fun and the locals will really appreciate your efforts although they will laugh loudly with you too.
Many tourists choose to use Medan as a quick thru-point to travel elsewhere in Sumatra, but the city offers a glimpse of a large Indonesian city still unfrequented by western tourists, and shouldn't be quickly dismissed. However, Medan is more chaotic and has a bit more litter than Jakarta or Denpasar and open sewers abound. Furthermore, not as many people speak English in Medan as in other large Indonesian cities, but even a short list of useful expressions goes a long way, and Sumaterans are still unjaded by westerners.
Medan hosts a great lot of very nice Art Déco buildings from the Dutch colonial era, like the Old City Hall, the Post office, the Great Mosque and many business buildings in and around Jl. Ahmad Yani. Some of them are in horrible shape, but most of them maintain their old splendour.
- Maimoon Palace
- Vihara Borobudur (Buddhist Temple)
- Vihara Gunung Timur (Chinese Temple)
- Mesjid Raya Mosque
- Merdeka Walk (5 mins from Kesawan Square)
- Tondi Gallery (Contemporary Arts Exhibitions by local artists)
- Annai Velangkanni (Catholic Shrine with Tamil Hindu-style architecture )
- Shri Mariamman (Tamil Hindu Temple)
There are several Club, pubs and Karaoke to visit at night in Medan. There is an entertainment complex located in the heart of the city in Medan, call Capital building located close to the Post office at Jalan Putri Hijau. Capital Building's activity
- Taipan- Silver service chinese restaurant, with excellent interior decor
- Snook Pool Bar
- Classical - exclusive KTV Karaoke room
These are the well known clubs in Medan, such as :
- Entrance Pub, Karaoke and Bistro. These all in one entertainment venue host a great deal of party inviting celebrity and International DJ. A popular place for expatriate and elite locals, located at the first floor of Grand Aston City Hall Hotel
- Millennium Three ( M3 ) Discotheque, located at Thamrin Plaza 8th floor
- K2 - Karaoke Keluarga (Family Karaoke), located at Multatuli
- Kristal Discotheque , located in Perisai Plaza
- Iguana Discotheque , Medan Baru Plaza
- Jet Plane KTV , Plaza Medan Fair
- Equator KTV & Pub , Hongkong Plaza
- F1 Discotheque , located at Jalan Wazir / Jalan Kolonel Sugiono
- Tropicana KTV
- Stroom Bistro , located at Jalan Listrik
- M City , located at Jalan Gatot Subroto
- Retro pub, Capital Building
Although Sumatra does not have the same international reputation as Bali or Thailand for massage, it still forms a significant part of local culture. In rural areas, there will usually be a massuese available for low cost, if you ask around, while Medan itself offers true 'spa' facilities, which are highly recommended for anyone seeking a spa experience away from the hustle and bustle of the city at a fraction of the cost elsewhere in the world.
Quan Spa, located on the 17th floor of the JW Marriott has full 5* hotel spa facilities, with a one hour massage from 250,000rp++ for 1 hour massage, more for more elaborate rituals. Prices are half what you would pay in a 5* hotel in Thailand.
There are two branches of Eucalyptus Spa in the city, one at the Travellers Suite hotel, prices here are lower, at 120,000rp++ for 1 hour.
Another spa is de'spa. 
The Aryaduta and Grand Angkasa hotels also have spa facilities.
or you may try the unique Fish SPA in Medan []
- Sun Plaza, located in central city. Big plaza and lots of happening in Saturday and Sunday. Plenty of food choices from western to eastern. Has a big supermarket, named Hypermart which offer the equal style of shopping like Carrefour. Has more luxury goods than other malls in town.
- Medan Fair Plaza, city center. Has a big Carrefour supermarket, so if you need something you will be able to find them in Carrefour. Slightly cheaper than Sun Plaza. Has a branch of Matahari, the mid-market Indonesian department store.
- Grand Palladium Mall, good restaurants outside, underneath Aryaduta hotel, similar to Medan Fair Plaza, however Medan Fair Plaza is a better 'destination' if you are not in the location already.
- Medan Mall A must go place for tourists where you can find almost everything from fine jewelery, clothing, food, and groceries. The adjacent Olympia mall is a wholesale market. There is also wet market extended located just behind the Central Pasar that operating in the morning time only, and a dry market that operates only in the evening.
- Thamrin Plaza. Large Matahari store, Timezone arcade and top-floor food court.
- Carrefour stores stock food as well as electronics and clothing. The clothing section includes many namebrands at very low prices (ex: Diesel t-shirts for Rp.15,000, or about $1.50 USD). Many western food items can be found as well, at fairly competitive prices. These supermarkets cater to the middle/upper classes and are one of the few stores in Medan that accept credit cards. Recent addition to the Medan supermarket scene, more sophisticated than some more established outlets.
- Medan Home Dairy . They have European style best natural yogurt in Indonesia. Located at TASBI Complex. They are producing many kinds of Goat's and Cow's milk Cheeses, as well. For the Goat's milk products they are using fresh, pasteurized (twice) Organic Goat's milk Tel. 081-397-033-540
- Macan Yaohan Supermarkets, there are 13 branches located around Medan for your grocery shopping. Find more information and locations at 
- Pasar Petisah, central market, sells vast array of meat, fish, fruit and vegetables
- Toko Mr. Ben, sells imported western food all sorts at reasonable prices, e.g frozen New Zealand beef and lamb. It is a small, Chinese-owned shop, all expatriates know it.
- Bolu Meranti located Jl. Kruing, near Jl. Meranti, on Petisah area. The home-made roll cakes with variety of tastes, such as cheese, blueberry, mocca etc.
- Bika Ambon & Marquisa located at Jl. Majapahit, on Petisah area. With numbers of shops along the street there, you can do the selection.
- Makro located on the road towards Pinang Baris bus station, this is a branch of the international cash & carry. Membership may be required (20,000rp), but does not require any special status.
- Dried fruits with sugar on Pasar Rame, a famous morning till afternoon market, beside Thamrin Plaza.
- Karaoke Keluarga( K2) Kompleks Multatuli 4575-055 11:00-02:00
Dewi Plaza Bakery located at Jl.Lampung No.8B. One of the best cakeshop in Medan.
- Masindo Jewellery which was established since 1927, located in the central of the city at Gwangju street No.30. This jewelry shop sells various jewelry forms (necklace, bangle, bracelet, earrings, men and women rings, pendant) in 24K gold which are structured by pearl and diversity of gemstones. These jewelries are designed by an expert jewelries designer.Masindo Jewellery is the well-known jewelry shop in the town and it has launched a branch known as D'On Jewellery which specialize in diamonds. For more information please don't be hesitated to call the hot-line: (+6261)4519101.
- hels, complete design services in graphics and fashion, complete with a clothing store with prices from Rp.10,000 - Rp.120,000 (USD1 - USD12), hels shop location: Jl. sei batang serangan 39/54 medan20154, +62614573166, firstname.lastname@example.org
- TauKo Medan, Cutting-edge Medan merchandise , +62614573166: t-shirts (Rp.65,000), at Jl. sei batang serangan 39/54 medan 20154. www.taukomedan.com email@example.com
- Tondi Gallery Contemporary arts by local, national and international artists. Open Monday - Saturday 10a.m - 5p.m., Sundays 12p.m. - 5p.m. Jalan Keladi Buntu No. 6. Close to Jalan Sriwijaya and Dharma Agung University.
- Koki Sunda (061) 4533282 http://www.kokisunda.net ,as the name implies, serves tasty Sundanese food and beverages such as ''Nasi Liwet'' and ''Es Delima''. Located at the heart of the city at the corner of S.Parman and Hasanuddin makes it a place hard to miss if you travel around the city. Its reasonably priced and wide array selection of delicious food is well known to both the locals and visitors alike. Koki Sunda now opens in Tanjung Morawa and Pekan Baru.
- Blu Apple Frozen Yoghurt. The best frozen yoghurt in Medan. If you want to eat a tasty but healthy icecream without the fat and calories, visit one of their two branches in Medan, at Sun-Plaza or Cambridge Square.
- Merdeka Walk. The hottest hangout in Medan. A complex of cafeteria, restaurant and food stall, it is truly a food center that offers high varieties of asian and western food with a unique Medan touch. Located right at the zero point of Medan, it is a landmark of Medan city.
- Roland's German Restaurant . The only German restaurant in Medan Located at the main entrance to TASBI Complex. Tel. 061-821-4379
- Gelato Bar , Italian Gelato Dessert and many popular pasta dishes are available here. With their stylish dessertd. Its good place to hang out and relax. Tel 061-4533166
- Obonk Steak Restaurant located on Pattimura Street and HM Joni Street. The cheapest and most affordable salad and steak available in town. For more information call 456-9989
- Apek's Coffee House Jalan Hindu, Kesawan, Medan. Historic coffee house with excellent Lintong Coffee served up by 79-year old Apek. This place was set up by Apek's father in 1922. Serves Roti Srikaya (Kaya Toast). Contains stalls with Indian Roti Cane bread with goat curry and martabaq and Malay Soto soup. Outside are Malay fried rice and Chinese kwetiau noodles. Piece of Medan history
- Merdeka Walk the hottest hangout place in town, cafe, resto, exhibition, entertainment at Lapangan Merdeka.
- Kesawan Square is located along Ahmad Yani street, before Merdeka Walk. It offers unique atmosphere for pleasure. Open only @ 6PM til' 1AM everyday. Numerous vendors provide various kinds of cuisine, the majority of which are Chinese. Each vendor has "halal" or "non halal" label on their stand. However, the toilet facilities provided in the area are abysmal.
- Mansyur Avenue, used to be a hang-out place for USU students, the avenue has developed in recent years into one of the hottest hangout place in town, lining with new cafe and restaurants which serves great food with student price.
- Tip Top Restaurant, used to be THE restaurant in Medan, this unique restaurant can trace its history back to the Dutch colonization. Located in Ahmad Yani street, the food has a nostalgic taste clinging on every bites, such as the ox-tongue sandwich and the bitter-ballen, but the best experience you could have here is watching the buzz of Kesawan Square from your rattan chairs in its verandah.
- Selat Panjang , Sumatera Streets and Semarang Streets is where some of the oldest Chinese eateries in Medan serves their reknown cuisines, such as mie pangsit tiong-sim (noodle served with stuffed dumplings), kwetiau goreng (wok-fried Chinese rice-fetucinne), pokpiah (Singapore-style vegetable-stuffed dumpling) and many more. If you want to eat halal, of course you should beware of the pork content in the dishes, but you could always ask for a no-pork version of the dish and a different wok to cook your food in.
- Mie Aceh Titi Bobrok, which has been dubbed by one of the Indonesian lifestyle magazines as the most popular local dish in Medan. A simple dish of noodle served with chili sauce and crab, rumour has it that the secret ingredient which make the Aceh-style noodle irresitistible is a dash of Acehnese marijuana, which is the commonest drug that could be imported illegally from the region. But that, of course, only heightened the mystery and the notoriety of the delicious Mie Aceh.
- Ondo Batak Grill, is a unique Batak restaurant where you can find the gems of Batak dishes, without all the germs! Set in cafe-like ambience and accompanied by non-stop jazz music, the new Batak restaurant in town serves a reasonably-tasting saksang (a pork dish cooked in pork blood), panggang (Batak/Karo-style chopped roast-pork) and arsik (Batak-style fish dish). Don't forget to taste the hot pora-pora (a dish of sauteed papaya and cassava leaves cooked in coconut gravy and rawit chili)!
- Garuda, never forget to visit the famous local Padang restaurant. Well known for its rendang (Padang-style beef dish cooked slowly in coconut gravy and chili) and ayam pop (Padang-style chicken dish cooked in coconut gravy), Garuda also mantain its status as one of the first local restaurant who expands itself by franchising.
- Lontong Sayur Kak Lin, serving tasty and cheap lontong sayur (rice cakes in hot vegetables curry), this humble eatery in Cik Di Tiro Street is not much to look at for the uniniatiated. But judging from the crowd that line in queue to buy their breakfast and lunch here, you can be sure that you have met the darling of Medan local dish.
- Cahaya Baru Indian Restaurant, the North-Indian restaurant is one of Medan's best kept secrets, which recently has been featured in Kompas as the only restaurant in Medan which serves a wide range of authentic North-Indian cuisine. Visit the restaurant in Cik Di Tiro Street for its endless choices of delicious vegetarian and curry dish!
- Pagaruyung Alley , located at Medan's "little india" or refered as "kampung keling" by locals. They offer ,of course, Indian and Indonesian cuisine. Begin their business when the sun sets till 2 a.m. They are well known for satay (chicken, lamb, liver, intestine, etc.) , fried rice and Martbak Telur (egg pancake topped with diced potatoes, and onions, often served with curry).
Durian is one of the most famous fruit in Medan and North Sumatra. Get the best price and taste when the season comes, which on July and December. North Sumatra has a lot of durian fields like; Sibolangit, Brastagi, Langkat, Sidikalang ,Siborong-borong, Tarutung, Sibolga, Nias, Padang Sidempuan, Lima Puluh, Perbaungan, etc. Get Medan Durian at Jalan Sumatera, Jalan Semarang and Jalan Adam Malik.Price start Rp.5000,- to Rp.15.000,- per each
- Spoutnik Cafe Jalan Tengah No. 33 Medan Behind of Pelangi Internet Gado-gado Special (veg traditional salad)
- Bollywood Food centre Medan, near Sun Plaza Jl. Muara Takus No 7 061-453694 This is nice place for real, homely Indian food.
- Cava Lounge Latest Hang out place to drink and relax at Medan. Vote the best ambience and design in Bar design for Medan. you will be able to enjoy large choice of wine and cocktails. The bar area is usually dead. book at 061-4533166.
- Vintage Wine shop  Want to enjoy wine in medan? Located at Grand Angkasa Hotel Lobby at Shopping Arcade. Enjoy the jazzy environment with a glass of wine or accompanied by a bottle of wine chossing from the wine rack with ranging more than 200 different brands. (061)4577750.
- Shoot Pool Lounge & Sports Bar Jl. Kapten Pattimura 423 +62-61-4531884 A pool bar with big screen playing sports channel (football games on the weekends) accompanied by regular live bands and DJ performance. It has just gone through expansion renovation (Jun 2008) and introduces a more spacious and more relaxing venue. It also has a large collection of wine from all over the world.
- The Tavern. Located on the Hotel Dana Toba complex, this tavern was once one of the most popular going out pubs for expats in the city, but now is a little run down and attracts a sleazier crowd . It features live music from local bands. It's fairly small, fairly popular and is crowded on the weekends with groups of friends, couples, and some rather friendly girls hanging out
- Corner Cafe Raya is on Jl. Sipisopiso, next to Mesjid Raya (The Grand Mosque), one of the few tourist attractions in Medan. Its proximity means that you will get deafened by the call to prayer several times a day should you be sat on the terrace. This is right in the heart of Medan's backpacker area and you are likely to meet other travelers and a few die hard expats here. Be careful, drugs may be offered here and the undercover police often frequent the place.
- MC & P Otherwise known as The Medan Club, this is now the go to place for the expats of Medan. Beer is relatively cheap and food is passable, but the company and the source of local info is the reason to come here. Located on Jl Kartini, behind the Governors office, just down from Sun Plaza.
- Sky Club, Jl.Kumango 1A (near Kesawan Sq and Merdeka Walk), this friendly Karaoke Bar has good cold beer, Chinese style food and friendly service. You can participate in the singing, request to watch satellite news or sports, talk to the locals or just sit and relax in this friendly atmosphere.
- Gumagaba Youth Hostel Jalan SM Raja 21 Simpang Amplas +62(0)8139-6115221 http://www.Gumagaba.com Rp.40,000/nightGood place to spend the nights if you have to catch an early departure from the nearby AMPLAS Bus Terminal.
- Hotel Zakia is a budget option right next to the grand mosque. Rooms range from Rp. 35,000 - 50,000 including a breakfast. It is reasonably clean and central. Tel.: +61/7322413
- Hotel Residence  is a budget option right next to the grand mosque. Rooms range from Rp. 50,000 - 120,000 . It is reasonably clean and central. Tel.: +61/77600980
- Wisma Ronna's Jalan SM Raja No. 34 C Medan 4 doors to the grand mosque +62(0)8137-5989056 40,000+ plywood walls surround a large double bed and private bathroom for 40,000 (and up).
- Wisma Wahana Daya Pertiwi. Owned by the railway company, clean, decent, cheap, located a short walk from the railway station on M. Yamin Street. Superior rooms Rp. 135,000 per night, suites Rp. 250,000. Restaurant (Permata DSM) is acceptable.
- Trav-fella Homestay A new travelers accommodation, probably the cheapest, clean, friendly people, good information. Located in the heart of travelers' area (50 meters from the great mosque Al-Mashun). Single room from Rp.35.000 up to Rp.60.000- Address: JL.Sisingamangaraja no.66, email : firstname.lastname@example.org, phone : +62 (0)812 6565 6111.
- Antares Hotel Jln. S.M Raja 84 on same street and near Hotel Garuda Plaza and Hotel Sumatera Rooms from Rp. 229.000 (about USD25) +62-61-7324000Air-conditioned, clean, but room doors not properly noise-proofed, so you will hear anything and anyone walking the coridor on their way from the elevator. Bring ear plugs if you are a light sleeper. There is a children pool on the 3rd floor.
- Citi International Hotel Sun Yat Sen +62-61-7363479 http://www.citi-hotel.com/ Current promotional rate is at Rp 270,000 (around 29 USD) for Superior Room, Credit Cards accepted is a clean, no-frill & modern hotel. Has an excellent Internet connection and Wi-Fi hotspot in rooms and cafe. Currently the highest building so try the Sky Cafe at Floor 17.
- Citi Hotel Palang Merah Jl. Palang Merah No.112A, +62-61-4554787. Standard Room is Rp 220,000 (around 23 USD) per night.Business hotel fairly close to the airport.
- Danau Toba , Cheaper 3* hotel, in need of room refurbishment, with large swimming pool (and many mosquitos). Prices $40/night. Popular music venue Tavern.
- Grand Angkasa Hotel , has rates around $89USD for from online or Medan travel agents. Close to the airport but not convenient for city-centre shopping. The night club Soccer is in the basement.
- Mikie Holiday Resot & Hotel Jalan Raya Medan Brastagi +62 628 91650-51 located at Brastagi area. The facilities include swimming pool, Wi-fi hotspot restaurant, the "state-of-the-art" Star Theater, function rooms and funland, a theme park for the whole family to enjoy. You can increase your stamina in the hot water pool, jump on the trampoline, or test your balance on the Gladiator. The rooms aim for minimalist design and a zen-like atmosphere.
- Novotel Soechi , 4-star hotel in the city centre, attached to a mall, available for around $70USD/night via travel agents. Has a pub (3rd floor) and Karaoke club. Wi-Fi Internet on 8th floor (75000Rp per day).
- Garuda Plaza Hotel Jl Sisingamangaraja 18 Medan +62 61 7361234 http://www.garudaplaza.com/ 10.00 12.00 rp 350.000,- 3.34.42N 98.41.10Ewinning location, (250 rooms) at the city center, 10 min from polonia airport. free broadband internet(WIFI) public area, rooms, meeting facilities. Free Internet PC ready @ lobby.
- Grand Aston City Hall Hotel and Serviced Residence Jl. Balai Kota No. 1 in the heart of Medan, across Merdeka Walk http://www.grandastonmedan.comThis classic monumental city hall is in the National Archive of Historic Places and was recently restored.
- The Aryaduta Hotel Medan Jl. Maulana Lubis No 8 http://www.aryadutamedan.com 5-star hotel opened in 2007 located in near business and government district, adjacent to Grand Palladium Mall. The hotel is only 15 minutes drive away from the airport. Facilities of the hotel include: resort style swimming pool, The Pool Cafe, The Lounge and The Kitchen restaurant.
- J W Marriott Jalan Putri Hijau No. 10 62 61 455 3333 http://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotel-information/travel/mesmc-jw-marriott-hotel-medan/ a genuine 5 Star hotel with American standard that no need introduction of
- Grand Swiss-Belhotel Medan Jalan S.Parman No.1 (62-61) 4576 999 http://www.swiss-belhotel.com Luxurious hotel in Medan. Grand Swiss-belhotel medan, a five star hotel with 246 guest rooms, is situated in the heart of central business district and close to Polonia international Airport. The hotel is adjacent to the Cambridge condominium and city square. Rooftop dining at the " Edge Restaurant" or chill out while listening to live music at the " View Music Lounge & Bar" on the 26th floor.
Some countries maintain consulates in Medan, and the addresses of some of the consulates are listed below:
- Australia Honorary Consulate in Medan, North Sumatera Jl. R. A. Kartini No. 32, Medan 20152, North Sumatera (62-61) 415-7810, 455-4520, 455-4504
- Royal Danish Honorary Consulate in Medan, North Sumatera Jl. Hang Jebat No. 2, Medan, North Sumatera (62-61) 415-3020, 453-8028
- Finland Honorary Consulate in Medan, North Sumatera Jl. Hang Jebat No. 2, Medan, North Sumatera (62-61) 415-3020
- Germany Consulate General in Medan, North Sumatera At the moment is no German Consulate in Medan
- India Honorary Consulate in Medan, North Sumatera Jl. Uskup Agung A. Sugiopranoto No. 19, Sumatera Utara, Medan 20152 (62-61) 455-6452, 453-1308
- Japan Consulate General in Medan, North Sumatera Wisma BII, 5th Floor, Jl. Diponegoro No. 18, Medan (62-61) 457-5193
- Malaysia Consulate General in Medan, North Sumatera Jl. Diponegoro No. 43, Medan 20152 (62-61) 453-1342, 453-5271, 452-3992
- Royal Netherlands Honorary Consulate in Medan, North Sumatera Jl. Monginsidi No. 45-T/39, Medan 20152, North Sumatera (62-61) 453-6130, 456-9853
- Royal Norway Consulate General in Medan, North Sumatera Jl. Ir. Juanda I No. 24-O/38, Medan 20157, North Sumatera (62-61) 457-0012
- Royal Thai Honorary Consulate in Medan, North Sumatera Jl. Cut Meutia No. 6, Medan (62-61) 415-2425
- Sri Lanka Honorary Consulate in Medan, North Sumatera Jl Putri Hijau Dalam 4 FG Medan 20111 62-61 4144777
- Sweden Honorary Consulate in Medan, North Sumatera Jl. Hang Jebat No. 2, Medan, North Sumatera (62-61) 415-3020
- United States of America Consulate in Medan, North Sumatera Jl. Walikota No. 13, Medan, North Sumatera (62-031) 2956.400
Airport Alert: If you are a foreign tourist, you are required to fill in a form at the Fiscal Check counter stating that you are not an Indonesian citizen or KITAS holder. This necessity because unlike Jakarta, Surabaya or Denpasar; where locals are required to pay Government Fiscal Fare when they're travelling abroad, Medan did not charge this fare. Thus this is not required at Jakarta or Denpasar. Starting 2009 though, all Indonesian citizen with tax payer number (NPWP) are released from paying this Government Fiscal Fare. So be prepared to fill in a very small form with your name and passport details stating that you are not a citizen or holder of KITAS.
Also be prepared to have your passport and boarding pass checked by any number of people, many standing right next to each other, and not letting you pass until they have all had a long look at your passport. Do not expect any friendliness from the airport officials here either, listen carefully to all announcements, and then ask a local what is going on, it is the only way to find out how many hours your flight is being delayed.
Also be very careful with your check in luggage, there seems to be a gang of thieves working at the airport and they will break into your suitcases regularly (6 times for us in 6 months so far this year) even if there is nothing of value in them. Another good reason to check in as late as possible. The police will refuse to do anything about it, as have the airlines involved so far, although one has promised to look into it, the other refused to take our complaint saying its not their problem, so good luck with your luggage especially if you are flying to Singapore.
The departure area has now been vastly improved. Originally there was absolutely nothing to do, yet now there are plenty of shops, cafes and entertainment. If you have a morning flight on the weekend there will be no traffic so allow 10 minutes from your hotel to the airport. Check in and passport control is 10 minutes. Feel free to leave as early or as late as you please. ( I am not sure who put the information about there being plenty of shops, its kind of true but they all sell the same old souvenirs that you can buy anywhere that are mass produced and as for cafes restaurants and entertainment, I have no idea what this person is talking about because as of last week there was a Dunkin Donuts and a local warung there, nothing inside the terminal worth looking at).
It seems that flights into and out of Medan are delayed more than any other airport I have been to in Indonesia, and those with international connections seem to be the most delayed. If you are taking the Silk Air flight any evening back to Singapore it is strongly suggested that you call the airport and check how many hours the delay. My record to date is 6 hours, although my friends tell me they have had delays of up to 24 hours just to get back to Jakarta on a domestic flight.
- Berastagi - popular mountain resort for weekend getaways, for Medan locals. About 1.5 hours drive from Medan. Check out other references to Berestagi, which is pronounced Brestagi by the locals. Its a really beautiful place. You can hike the two nearby volcanoes, Sinabung and Sibayak.
- Kabanjahe - the capital of the Karo Regency. You can observe and experience the life of Karo people by visiting the villages around Kabanjahe. Kabanjahe is also a convinient post to climb Mount Sinabung. If you wish to spend the nights in the villages of Karo people, go to Gumagaba Youth Hostel located on Jalan SM Raja Simpang Amplas, Medan to find more information. They will be glad to help you. Your contact is David Gintings.
- Bukit Lawang - A 3 hour journey from Medan, the latter half of the journey being a rather bumpy and pot-holed ride. A little village on the edge of the Leuser National Park that was once home to an Orang-utan rehabilitation center. The rehabilitation program is no longer running, however regular feeding sessions take places at the feeding platforms. Jungle treks can be arranged or you can just relax by the river. Tourism and Orangutan conservation don't necessarily mix very well and a lot of the guides will flout local laws and feed the orangutans in the hope of a tip from you. Don't go with guides that feed orangutans.
The village was devastated by a flood in 2003, making it a little less pretty than it once was. I suggest you take a look at the SOS (Sumatra Orangutan Society) webpage if you wish to head out to Bukit Lawang, they will be very happy to discuss what is the best way to get there and arrange a tour for you or give you some pointers about responsible tourism.
- Lake Toba - one of biggest fresh water lake in the world. Formed by volcanic eruption. Has a large island, Samosir, in the middle. Danau Toba is an absolute must see, its a really magnificent place full of Batak culture on the shores of a mesmerizing lake. The food is wonderful, accommodation is cheap and the climate is totally perfect, it seems to be 25'c 24 x 7. Rent a scooter and explore Samosir, you won't want to go home.
- Pantai Cermin Themepark - the first and only water theme park in North Sumatra, which located in Cermin Beach, Serdang Bedagai. The theme park is organized by Malaysia Investor and Local Government. Open on Mon, Wed, Thur and Fri (11.00 - 18.00) Sat, Sun and public holiday (09.00 - 18.00). Close on Tuesday, except public holiday. With admission fee: Mon, Wed, Thur and Fri ->Adult Rp. 40000,-Child Rp. 20000,- (below 1,1 meter)and Sat, Sun and public holiday Adult Rp. 60000,- Child Rp. 40000,- (below 1,1 meter). We can do Swimming, Sun Bathing, Kayaking, etc at there also. To go there, we can choose by: Rental Car, Private Car. Or take Mini Bus (sudako) at Jl. MT. Haryono (in front of Medan Mall) and stop at Perbaungan city. Then take Machine Trishaw to the beach. (this looks like an advertorial but by all reports its a good place to take the family).
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