Medan Travel Guide – Useful Information
Medan, the capital of North Sumatra, is on the northern part of Sumatra.
Medan is the fourth largest city in Indonesia after Jakarta, 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, and Northern Indians, and there are 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, obat pembesar penis 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 sight 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’ Berastagi, the island of Penang, Malaysia and, of course the ever popular, beautiful crater lake Lake Toba.
All aircraft arrive at Kualanamu International Airport (KNO), which replaced the old Polonia International Airport in July 2013.
Both the Kualanamu airport and the Belawan sea port are visa-free and visa-on-arrival points.
The new Kuala Namu International Airport is served directly by a train service between the new airport and Medan (almost 40 kilometers) with ticket fare of Rp100,000. New toll road and new arterial road are still under construction, although there are two old roads connecting the airport. Taking the train to the Kualanamu International Airport is the easiest and fastest (30 minutes) way at the moment. For up-to-date train schedules, visit train operator Railink’s website. The train from Kualanamu International Airport to Medan city takes about 45 minutes. Train ticket can be paid in cash, debit/credit card of some national banks, and Visa, and can also be booked online through their website. The cheapest way to the city is “Damri” bus. They departs every 15 minutes to the airport from 05:00 to 23:00. There are two bus services serving the Airport-Medan route: Airport-Medan Fair (Rp20,000) and Airport-Amplas (Rp15,000). They can drop you near Vimax the cheap lodging near Masjid Besar. Taxi transfers will cost you about Rp150,000 per car and only special taxi with sticker can enter the airport. The official taxi companies serving the airport are Puskopau, Blue Bird, Kokapura, Express, Karsa, Matra and Nice; please be aware of taxis without sticker, although have the same brands with the sticker taxis. Taxi and bus will take 60 to 90 minutes from Medan to the airport, because there are several traffic jam locations.
If you happen to fly from Medan to international destination, take into account that in time of writing (March 2016), there are multiple restaurant in baggage drop area, but there’s not too many option after you cross first security check. Importantly, after you cross passport check to international flight, there’s no restaurant at all (zero) and only duty-free shop selling alcohol, chocolates, peanuts and snacks. There are no chairs to sit in this area (looks like 2nd floor may open later) Even more infuriating, there’s second security check near gates (after passport control), you cannot bring your water there and there’s no water or event automatic machine to sell anything to drink. Be warned and plan your eating/drinking/crossing gates accordingly.
There are direct international flights to/from Penang (sometimes for less than US$60 return), Kuala Lumpur, and Ipoh in Malaysia, Singapore, Jeddah, Hat Yai and Bangkok. There are a few international flights which serve Medan: Silkair, Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Firefly, Valuair (Jetstar). The first two are regular airlines, while the rest Hammer of Thor are budget airlines.
Silkair, Valuair, AirAsia fly the Singapore-Medan route. Kuala Lumpur-Medan route is served by Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Firefly. AirAsia and Firefly also connect Medan to many other cities in Malaysia, including the popular Medan-Penang route.
- Firefly Airlines from/to Penang and Subang near Kuala Lumpur
- Garuda Indonesia from/to Jeddah, Singapore
- Indonesia AirAsia LCC from/to Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok (Don Mueang) and Hong Kong
- Lion Air from/to Penang
- Malaysia Airlines from/to Penang (by Firefly) and Kuala Lumpur
- SilkAir from/to Singapore
- Sriwijaya Air from/to Penang
- Thai Lion Air from/to Hat Yai, Bangkok
- Jetstar LCC from/to Singapore
For destinations within Indonesia, there are some regional airlines and LCC that serve Medan to other cities.
- Citilink LCC from/to Jakarta
- Garuda Indonesia from/to Banda Aceh, Jakarta and Sabang on Pulau Weh.
- Indonesia AirAsia LCC from/to Bandung and Surabaya
- Lion Air from/to Pekanbaru, Jakarta and Banda Aceh
- Tiger Mandala Airlines from/to Jakarta
- Sriwijaya Air from/to Banda Aceh, Padang, Pekanbaru, Batam and Jakarta
- Susi Air from/to Simeulue, Kutacane, Toba(Silangit), Padang Sidempuan, Blang Pidie, Tapak Tuan, Takengon and Meulaboh
Medan city is swamped by becaks and taxis (the preferable choice to get around). There is also a form of public transport known as the angkot (small minivan).
By Rent Car
- Medan Driver ☎ +62 821 1430 4668. Whatsapp available, easy to contact them. They have Toyota Avanza 5 seaters and Toyota Innova 7 seaters on their fleet. Available also to lake toba,berastagi and bukit lawang. This info maybe helpfull for you who wants more trip outside medan.
Also known as trishaws or pedicabs. You have to be good negotiator if you want to ride on becaks, with price ranging between Rp 5,000-10,000 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.
Beware of scam artists who quote you one price to lure you in, even by showing a physical note to show you how much it’ll cost, and then demand 10 times that amount when you arrived at your destination. Somehow, it’s always 10 times. ie. 3,000 becomes 30,000, 5,000 becomes 50,000.
An audio and video recording of their licence card in the becak and the conversation about what was agreed would be a useful defence.
As you can get a hotel taxi for Rp 35,000 to almost anywhere in Medan, paying more than Rp 15,000 for a longer ride is probably not a good idea. Local taxis are now Rp 30,000 to almost anywhere. They will not bargain much with visitors.
Becak in Medan have 2 type, one: with man power drive , this is cheap and slow. Two: with engine drive , this one is fast and expensive
Try to pick taxi from a reliable place such in front of malls, shopping centres or airport. Many taxi drivers will resist the use of a meter and want to bargain. Taxis with meters may put them on, but then say there is a minimum charge, Rp 20,000-Rp 25,000 – the metered fare will usually be far lower.
Try to avoid the use of taxis other than Bluebird or Express and always use the meter as they are the two most reliable taxi companies in Medan, this is a general rule that applies throughout the regions of Indonesia where either of these two taxi companies are available.
- Express Taxi ☎ +62 61 455 2211. White color taxis (usually Toyota Vios), they can usually be found around Medan, especially around central city and mostly use meter. Call in advance and they will come in time too (minimum fee by call is Rp 25,000) (US$ 2.5).
- Blue Bird Taxi ☎ +62 61 846 1234. Blue color taxis, the newest taxi company to start operate in Medan. Friendly drivers and always use meter. Minimum fee by call is Rp 20,000 (US$ 2).
If you must engage in bargaining a non-metered journey then a taxi cost anywhere in central Medan should be Rp 20,000 or less. However drivers may ask for Rp 25,000. Higher fares are only justifiable for longer distances, such as to Pinang Baris bus station, about 10 km, which should cost no more than Rp 50,000 (US$ 5).
Public transport is not reliable, though they have fixed price from one destination to other destinations.
Small minivans (called sudako or angkot by locals) 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. Standard fee is now Rp 5,000/trip (US$ 0.3).
One easy route is Minibus #3 from the great mosque (at the side of yuki mall) to the Medan Mall, which is Rp 5,000 (US$ 0.2).
Another option is rent private bus or car , please contact local Travel company, hotel shuttle bus or see advertisement in local newspaper like Analisa daily.
Being 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 at Bridjen Katamso street near Mesjid Raya Mosque. Entry is Rp. 5,000. You can dress up like an Indonesian king and queen for Rp. 10,000.
- Vihara Borobudur (Buddhist Temple) near Citibank building at Imam Bonjol street
- Vihara Gunung Timur (Buddhist Temple) located at Hang Tuah street connected by Teuku Cik Ditiro street, beside UFC restaurant enter, The Temple is behind UFC restaurant, Teuku Cik Ditiro street is connected by Sudirman street
- Mesjid Raya Mosque at SM Raja street across of Yuki Simpang Raya mall and near Garuda Plaza Hotel
- Merdeka Walk (5 mins from Kesawan Square) across hotel Aston
- Tondi Gallery (Contemporary Arts Exhibitions by local artists)
- Annai Velangkanni (Catholic Shrine with Tamil Hindu-style architecture)
- Shri Mariamman (Tamil Hindu Temple) located at Zainul Arifin street near Sun Plaza in Little India
- Vihara Maha Maitreya (Buddhist Temple, The Biggest Temple in Southeast Asia) located in Cemara Asri complex in Cemara street near Pancing street,beside Vihara have a nature pool with bird living in there,good view in sunset where bird back to their nest, inside temple have canteen sell vegetarian food, it’s nice to try.
(How to go there: Cemara Asri complex is megacomplex of houses, school, Temple, Mosque, restaurant. it can reach by rent car or taxi. it’s hard to find taxi in these area so don’t take taxi in one way , the location is outside downtown)
- Tjong A Fie Mansion (Old Chinese House in Dutch colonial era) at Kesawan street
- Kesawan square (Old town in Medan where many old building in Dutch colonial era)
- Pura Agung Raksa Bhuana (Hindu Temple) located in Polonia street no 216 connected by Mongosidi street enter about 1 km
- Water tower ( Icon Medan City) build in 1908 ,located in Pandu street and SM Raja street near Hotel Novotel Soechi ,this tower located inside National Water Company (PAM) complex ,this tower have sirens sound , usually can heard the sirens sound in Ramadhan month.Beside main gate have small station of free drinking water or can see many people fill their bottle.
- War Museum located at Pemuda street across Hotel Hermes Palace
- Hospital Santa Elisabeth the only hospital build in Dutch colonial era, located at H.Misbah street where in front of hospital have many hawker sell food, near Sudirman street (Sudirman fountain monument) .
- HillPark GreenHill City – the latest theme park 1 hour from Medan on the way to Berastagi.
- 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). Closed on Tuesday, except public holiday. With admission fee: Mon, Wed, Thur and Fri ->adult Rp 40,000,-child Rp 20.000,- (below 1,1 metre) and Sat, Sun and public holiday-adult Rp 60,000-child Rp 40,000,- (below 1,1 metre). Swimming, sun bathing and kayaking. To go there; rental car, private car or take mini bus (sudako) at Jalan. MT. Haryono (in front of Medan Mall) and stop at Perbaungan city. Then take a machine trishaw to the beach.
- Integrated Mangrove Tourism Village Address: Sei Nagalawan village, Perbaungan district, Serdang Bedagai Regency Off Asian Highway 25 (Jl. Medan-Tebing Tinggi) lies Integrated Mangrove Tourism Village, where you can learn about mangroves and how they protect the environment from coastal erosion. Its touted as the first of its kind on earth.
Although Sumatera 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 star hotel spa facilities, with a one hour massage from Rp 250,000++ for 1 hour massage, more for more elaborate rituals. This is of course a very expensive fee in Indonesia.
- Zengarden, located in the heart of Medan (Jalan S Parman No 22 / 272). The prices range from Rp 129.000 NETT – Rp 149.000 NETT for 90 / 120 minutes treatments. Skillful, clean and very affordable by local standard, Zengarden is one of the most valued premium family spa in town. Reservation is recommended. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +62614519306 or simply do an online reservation
- Eucalypt’s Spa There are two branches of Eucalyptus Spa in the city, one at the Travellers Suite hotel, prices here are lower, at Rp 120,000++ for 1 hour.
- De’Spa located in Jl. Malaka no.136, Phone +62614148416, is a perfect haven for enjoying a traditional indonesian spa, The price will vary, depending on the type of treatment, The prices range from Rp 100.000,- to Rp 350.000,-.
- ESCAPE SPA located in Jl. Kapten Muslim Kompleks Megacom Blok D7-11, Phone +628448186, is a five star spa with facilities of whirlpool, steam and sauna room. The treatment includes body massage, body scrub, shiatsu, earcandle, hotstone, herbal and facial. Located in the middle of Medan city. indonesian spa, The price will vary, depending on the type of treatment, The prices range from Rp 100.000,- to Rp 250.000,-.
- Cambridge City Square, located downtown, linked to both Grand Swiss BelHotel and Cambridge apartments. Although it is only less than a quarter of the size of Sun Plaza, it houses many restaurants and cafes. There are also several boutiques which sell knock-off “branded” stuffs. Located at Sparman street and Zainul Arifin street
- Sun Plaza, located downtown in the Central Business District area, just at the border of Little India, surrounded by major international banks. This is the major and largest high-end shopping mall in Medan. Plenty of food choices from western to eastern. There is a huge supermarket, Hypermart, which stocks almost anything, just like Carrefour. Has more luxurious goods than other malls in town, however many of them are knock-off branded products. The products can range from C to AAA grades. It is highly advisable to bargain. Some good buys include Mont Blanc pens which can be purchased for just IDR 100,000 to 200,000 per piece. It comes complete with gift box and warranty card.Located at Zainul Arifin street
- 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.Located at Gatot Subroto street.In front of plaza have bus transit to the Kuala Namu International airport
- 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. Hypermarket on the basement. No international brands for clothing, shoes and accessories.Located at Kapten Maulana Lubis street
- Centre Point Mall is new mall open in July 2013 located in Jawa street across behind Railway station where train from Kualanamu International airport arrive to Medan city. behind Mall have Hotel Karibia and beside Mall have Hospital Murni Teguh. in Ground level Mall have Lotte Mart Hypermarket.
- Medan Mall, Jl. MT Haryono. 10AM-10PM daily. 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 Market that operating in the morning time only, and a dry market that operates only in the evening.
- Thamrin Plaza. 10AM-22PM daily. located at thamrin street, inside mall have large Matahari Department store,Maximart supermarket, Timezone arcade, Texas restaurant, cinema and top-floor food court. There’s a wholesale market beside Thamrin Plaza called Pasar Rame that opens from 9AM-5PM daily.
- Yuki Simpang Raya Inside mall have McDonals, Texas restaurant location is across Mesjid Raya Mosque
- Yang Lim Plaza located at emas street, behind Thamrin Plaza cross Bakaran Batu street. inside plaza have maximart supermarket,Crystal Restaurant, KTV, salon.Beside mall have traditional market name Pasar timah or pasar besi, open in 06.00AM until 12.00AM in the morning
- Medan Focal point mall or FP mall grand opening in november 2014 , located at ring road gagak hitam street outside downtown near Setia budi houses complex and Sunggal
- Lippo Plaza grand opening in 2014 , inside have food mart, Nobu bank, restaurant and gym. located beside Lapangan benteng near goverment office and Grand Palladium Mall
- Forum nine or Forum 9 grand opening in 2014,This building combination of mall and office, inside have bank CIMB Niaga, restaurant, KTV and cafe. located in front of Lippo plaza and beside Bank Mandiri building
- Central Market or Wet Market known by local as Pusat Pasar the biggest market in Medan,located in Sutomo street near Centre Point Mall and Hotel Karibia, this market open in 04.00am until 10.00am in morning ,sell various vegetable , fruit, spices all fresh from Brastagi highland plantation, all product sell in cheap price (Recommended to go in early morning to get fresh product)
- Rame Market known by local as Pasar Rame located in Thamrin street and Asia street , beside Thamrin Plaza, sell Indonesia food, Chinese food, Dry fruit , cloth, etc.open in 09.00am until 05.00 pm
- Sambas Market known by local as Pasar Sambas connected by Rahmadsyah street near Hotel Garuda Plaza, sell fruit, vegetable, in second floor sell fish , open in 06.00am – 11.00 am in morning.
- Beruang Market known by local as Pasar Beruang located at Beruang street connected by Madong Lubis street , where Madong Lubis street connected by Sumatera street, near Thamrin Plaza distance between about 200m , sell Indonesia food, Chinese food, cloth , etc. open in 06.00am until 11.00am in the morning.
- Petisah Market known by local as Pasar Petisah sells vast array of meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. connected by Gatot Subroto street and Glugur street near Gatot Subroto water fountain monument, open in 08.00am until 05.00pm
- Old fish Market known by local as Pajak Ikan Lama located in perniagaan street enter in small alley connected by Ahmad Yani II and Ahmad Yani III street to kesawan street, sell food , cloth, etc. in perniagaan street many shop sell curtain,fabric,clothes. open in 09.00am until 05.00pm
- Besi Market known by local as Pasar Besi or Pasar Timah located in emas street in front of Yang Lim plaza enter in small alley. this market is connected by many small road like tembaga street,logam street. where small road is connected by Asia street. sell chinese food,cloth,fruit,vegetable,etc. open in 06.00am until 12.00am in the morning
- Hindu Market known by local as Pasar Hindu located in Hindu street connected by Ahmad Yani VII street across McDonal’s restaurant in Merdeka walk ,open in 06.00am until 10.00am. sell food, fruit, etc
- Bolu Meranti, Jl. Kruing, near Petisah market distance between is 200m. The home-made roll cakes with variety of tastes, such as cheese, blueberry, mocca. This is the most famous roll cakes in Medan city. Almost all Indonesian visitors to Medan always bring home boxes of Bolu Meranti to their origin place, expect very long queue everyday all around the clock. This is a must buy food-souvernir from medan city. Bolu Meranti also has branch in SM Raja street near Hotel Garuda Plaza. Price is about Rp60,000 – Rp70,000 and can last 3 days
- Bika Ambon Zulaikha. See this link to understand what is Bika Ambon. Zulaikha brand of Bika Ambon is the most popular and widely seeked by local tourist when it comes to Bika Ambon. Besides original flavor, the Bika Ambon cake also provides pandan, mocca and cheese flavor. Location of Bika Ambon Zulaikha is at Jalan Mojopahit No. 62. The price for big sized Bika Ambon would be about Rp 60 – 70 thousand dan small size between Rp 35 – 43 thousand, can last up to 4 days.
- Durian Medan Durian is widely cultivated in this North Sumatra Province, therefore Medan is famous in Indonesia for its durian. One of the most famous durian stall in Medan is Durian Ucok at Jl. Iskandar Muda and Jl Wahid Hasyim. The price of durian varies depending on its size, can be from 20,000 rupiah to 40,000 rupiah per fruit. It is possible to fly it over the plane if the seller can help you with the removal of the durian seed and special packing on the durian fruit to remove the durian odor.
- Passionfruit Syrup (Markisa Syrup) The syrup is made primarily of real passionfruits locally grown in Berastagi areal of North Sumatra Province. There are two brand of markisa syrup that is most famous in Indonesia that originates from Medan, that is Pohon Pinang brand and Sarang Tawon brand. The syrups are widely available in almost any souvernir shop in Medan. Price varies about Rp25-30 thousand per bottle.
- Clover Breadshop Many local tourists bring home over the plane boxes of cakes and pastries bought from this particular bread shop.
- Carrefour stores stock food as well as electronics and clothing. The clothing section includes many name brands at very low prices (ex: Diesel t-shirts for Rp 15,000. 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.Located inside Medan Fair Plaza
- Medan Home Dairy, ☎ +62 813 9703 3540. 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, pasteurised (twice) organic goat’s milk
- Macan Yaohan Supermarkets, there are 13 branches located around Medan for your grocery shopping. Find more information and locations at.
- Toko Mr. Ben, provides imported western food such as frozen New Zealand beef and lamb at reasonable prices,. It is a small, Chinese-owned shop.located in little India area.
- Bika Ambon & Marquisa,Jl. Majapahit, near Petisah area. With numbers of shops along the street there, you can do the selection.connected by rotan street in Petisah Market to Majapahit street
- Lotte Mart (formerly known as Makro), (on the road towards Pinang Baris bus station). A branch of the international cash & carry. Membership may be required.
- Dried fruits with sugar at Pasar Rame, a famous morning till afternoon market, beside Thamrin Plaza.
- Dewi Plaza Bakery, Jl.Lampung No.8B. One of the best cake shops in Medan, ☎ +62 61 7344272, +62 61 77701323.
- Zuki Bakery, Jl.S.Parman No.103. Bika Ambon, Spekoek, Prunes, Role Cake (Bolu Gulung), Breads. Famous for everyday fresh homemade goods and additional homemade syrup such as Marquisa syrup, Terong Belanda syrup, Kietnah Syrup.
- Hels, Jl Sei Batang Serangan 39/54, ☎ +62 61 4573166. Complete design services in graphics and fashion. From Rp10,000-120,000.
- TauKo Medan, Jl. Sei Batang Serangan, ☎ +62 61 4573166, Merchandise including t-shirts, from Rp 75,000.
- Tondi Gallery, Jl Keladi Buntu No. 6. (close to Jl Sriwijaya and Dharma Agung University). Contemporary arts by local, national and international artists. Open Mon-Sat 10AM-5PM, Sundays 12 noon-5PM.
- Medan is a famous city in Southeast Asia for food, and gets lots of tourists from within Indonesia who enjoy the city’s blend of Padang, Javanese, and local dishes. Proximity to Berastagi means the city has some of the freshest and most unique fruit choices in the world.
- Jungle Booked, offers food tours and cooking classes. Medan can be hard to navigate as a foreigner without speaking Bahasa Indonesia. Starts RP 350,000 (US $27) per person. Tour is full-day, meals included. Private tours more expensive. website :
- Asia Mega Mas, New Chinatown in Medan. If you like food street, you must go to here. Open only at night, very crowd.
- Koki Sunda, ☎ +62 61 4533282. ,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.
- Merdeka Walk, A complex of restaurants and food stalls with a variety of Asian and western food. It is a landmark of Medan and quite a happening place at night.
- Havana Kafe, is the first ever Cuban restaurant in Medan. This restaurant located in Jalan Sei Bingei 11/13 Medan City. For Telp. no. 061 4512456. website : [www.havanakafe.com]
- Roland’s German Restaurant. The only German restaurant in Medan Located at the main entrance to TASBI Complex. ☎ +62 61 821-4379. For Moslem, it not be allowed
- Gelato Bar, Italian gelato dessert and many popular pasta dishes are available. Its good place to hang out and relax. ☎ +62 61 4533166
- Apek’s Coffee House Jl Hindu, Kesawan. 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
- 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 colonisation. Located in Ahmad Yani St, the food has a nostalgic taste clinging on every bite, 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 chair on the verandah. A/C seating available in the back.
- Selat Panjang , Semarang and Sumatra Street, this is where some of the oldest Chinese eateries in Medan serve their reknown cuisines, such as mie pangsit tiong-sim (noodle served with stuffed dumplings), kwetiau goreng (wok-fried Chinese rice-fettuccine), 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. Selat panjang and Semarang street is connected by Bogor street this chinatown located across hotel Novotel Soechi, open in 06.00pm until 10.00pm.But Sumatra street in different location ,it’s near Thamrin Plaza the distance between about 100m
- Kotacane street this is old chinatown hawker sell various food like chichen rice, kwetiau goreng , location is near hotel Citi International Sun Yat Sen ,open in 06.00pm until 10.00pm, kotacane street connected by yoserizal street where yoserizal street connected by sun yat sen street.
- Mie Aceh Titi Bobrok, 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. Cafe-like ambience with non-stop jazz music. 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 2AM. 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). locaton is near Sun Plaza at Zainul Arifin street
- Spoutnik Cafe, Jl Tengah No. 33 (behind Pelangi Internet). Gado-gado special, a traditional mixed vegetable salad).
- Bollywood Food Centre (Medan, near Sun Plaza), Jl. Muara Takus No 7, ☎ +62 61 453694. This is nice place for real, homely Indian food.
- Kwetiau Kerang, Jl. S Parman no 22.
- Cemara Asri complex restaurant located in cemara street near pancing street , inside complex have many restaurant about 50 restaurant sell Indonesia food, Chinese food, Western food, Seafood , most restaurant open in 05.00pm until 10.00pm.
Durian is one of the most famous fruits of both 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 and Perbaungan. Get Medan durian at Sumatera street, Semarang street, Adam Malik street, Ucok Durian, and more. Price start from Rp 5000-50,000 (US$ 0.5 – 5) each depending on size and season.
There are several clubs, pubs and karaoke joints to visit at night in Medan.
- Shoots Bar, Jl. Kapt. Patimura No.423, ☎ (061) 4531884. Modern Sports Bar/Live band venue catering to locals and expats alike. Drinks are reasonably priced for the area and staff are very good.
- Soho Cafe, Jl. Jamin Ginting No. 690F (Next to USU, sumber). 08:00 – 24:00. Modern cheap cafe, very friendly locals and owner, English spoken. Experience a true student hangout. With internet. super cheap.
Clubs, pubs and karaoke
- Capital Building This is the entertainment complex located in the heart of the city in Medan, close to the Post Office at Jalan Putri Hijau.
- Taipan- Silver service chinese restaurant, with excellent interior decor
- Snook Pool Bar
- Classical – exclusive KTV Karaoke room
- Entrance Pub, Karaoke and Bistro, these all in one entertainment venue host parties with local celebrities and international DJs. A popular place for expatriate and the local ‘elite’, located at the first floor of Grand Aston City Hall Hotel.
- Millennium Three (M3) Discotheque, located at Thamrin Plaza 8th floor
- Kristal Discotheque , 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
- Elite (previously known as M-City), located at Jalan Gatot Subroto
- Retro pub, Capital Building
- Vintage Wine shop, ☎ +62 61 4577750. Located at Grand Angkasa Hotel Lobby at Shopping Arcade. Enjoy the jazzy environment with a glass or a bottle of wine chosen from the wine rack displaying more than 200 choices.
- Shoot Pool Lounge & Sports Bar, Jl. Kapten Pattimura 423, ☎ +62 61 453 1884. A pool bar with big screen playing sports channel (football games on the weekends) accompanied by regular live bands and DJ performance. It was expanded and renovated in June 2008 and introduced a more spacious and more relaxing venue. It also has a large collection of wine from all over the world.
- The Tavern, (in the Hotel Dana Toba complex). 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, Jl. Sipisopiso, (next to Mesjid Raya – The Grand Mosque). The warm and friendly place to hang out, in the mornings and afternoons, with a delicious mixture of Western and Indonesian food. In the evening a great cheap place to drink beers, as it is open 24hr. Lots of English spoken.
- 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.
- H.o.M.E Family Karaoke, Jl. Pattimura, ☎ +62 61 4536567.
- Inul Vizta Family Karaoke, Jl. Multatuli.
- Karaoke Keluarga (K2) Family Karaoke, Kompleks Multatuli, ☎ +62 61 4575055. 11AM-2PM.
- Happy Puppy Family Karaoke.
- NAV Family Karaoke. NAV has 2 locations in Medan: Jl. Raden Saleh & Jl.Palang Merah
- Yap Hostel, Jl. Kelapa No. 8-C ☎ +62 81 165 4865 / +62 61 452 0164. Budget backpacker accommodation for Ladies only. Very clean and well maintained. Very near to Airport Raillink station and Medan Fair Airport Bus Terminal to catch early morning flight. Free wifi, hot shower, Air cond room, Personal power points, Lockers.
- Gumagaba Youth Hostel, Jl SM Raja 21 Simpang Amplas, ☎ +62 813 9611 5221. Good place to spend the nights if you have to catch an early departure from the nearby AMPLAS Bus Terminal. Rp 40,000/night.
- Hotel Zakia, ☎ +62 61 7322413. Budget accommodation next to the Grand Mosque. Rooms range from Rp 70,000-120,000. It is reasonably clean and central. (Does not not include a breakfast anymore)
- Hotel Residence. ☎ +62 61 7760 0980. Budget accommodation next to the Grand Mosque. Rooms range from Rp 70,000-120,000 . It is reasonably clean and central. Unmarried couples are not allowed to sleep in the same room.
- Wisma Ronna’s, Jalan SM Raja No. 34 C Medan (4 doors to the Grand Mosque), ☎ +62 813 7598 9056. Plywood walls surround a large double bed and private bathroom and the most dirty rooms in the area. From Rp 70,000.
- Wisma Wahana Daya Pertiwi. (a short walk from the railway station on M. Yamin St). Owned by the railway company, clean, decent, cheap. Superior rooms Rp 135,000/night, suites Rp 250,000. Restaurant (Permata DSM) is acceptable.
- Sultan Homestay, JL.Sisingamangaraja no.66 (50 m from the Grand Mosque Al-Mashun), ☎ 061-7363311. Clean, friendly people, good information. Located in the heart of travellers’ area. The place changed the name to Sultan Homestay (Aug 2012), still very friendly and clean. Standar room from Rp 70,000 ( Rp 40,000 dorm ) include breakfast and wifi.
- Blue Angel (Ponduk Wisata Angel), Jl. Sisingamangaraja 70. Very popular budget backpacker place with a cafe attached. Address Jl. Sisingamangaraja 70. Free wifi in the lobby/restaurant. Rooms small, basic, clean. Angel is still a nice place to stay susi and her staff will help you with anything that comes up rooms from 70,000 rp. Twin room Rp 90,000.
- Antares Hotel, Jl S.M Raja 84 (on same street and near Hotel Garuda Plaza and Hotel Sumatera), ☎ +62 61 732 4000. Discounts on weekends. Breakfast buffet included in the price. SatTV with HBO, Star Sports, Discovey Channel, CNN. A/C. Clean, but room doors not properly noise-proofed, so you will hear anything and anyone walking the corridor on their way from the elevator. Bring ear plugs if you are a light sleeper. There is a children pool on the 3rd floor. Rooms from Rp 229,000 (about US$25).
- Alpha Inn, Jl. Jen.Gatot Subroto No. 148 A, ☎ +6261 4514006. Offers hotel accommodation at the heart of Medan City, Indonesia. Fully air-conditioned Standard, Superior and Deluxe Rooms are available. Only 10-minutes drive from Sun Plaza and Polonia Airport. Rooms from Rp 252,000 (about US$20).
- Candi Hotel, Jl Darussalam No. 124, ☎ +62 61 4536 888. From Rp 275,000.00.
- Hotel Citi International Sun Yat Sen, Jl. Sun Yat Sen No.77, ☎ +62 61 736 3479. Clean, no-frill & modern hotel with wifi in rooms and cafe. One of the highest buildings in Medan. Current rate is at Rp 286,000 (around US$24) for Superior Room, credit cards accepted.
- Hotel Citi International Palang Merah, Jl. Palang Merah No.112A,, ☎ +62 61 455 4787. Business hotel in the central district of Medan. Standard Room is Rp 250,000 (around US$21) per night.
- d’primahotel Medan, Jl. Stasiun Kereta Api No. 1, Sumatera Utara,, ☎ +62 61 4561077. This 2-star hotel is conveniently located at the train station making early-morning trips to the airport very easy. Breakfast is a cup of coffee and a croissant from Starbucks. It can get a bit noisy at nights since it is across the street from Mederka Walk. Standard Room is 434,500 IDR per night.
- Hotel Danau Toba Internasional. located at Imam Bonjol street,5 star hotel, large swimming pool. US$40/night. Popular music venue Tavern. Near Sun plaza, Little India, Borobudur Buddhist temple,Kesawan square
- Grand Angkasa Hotel. 5 star hotel. The night club Soccer is in the basement. From US$89.
- Hermes Palace Hotel Medan, Jl. Pemuda No 22, ☎ +62 61 4515 777 (fax: +62 62 4515 999). Hermes Palace Hotel Medan provides standard and deluxe room with air-conditioning, cable TV and internet connection. Facilities and services include Chinese seafood restaurant, fitness center, room service and city tours
- Mikie Holiday Resot & Hotel, Jalan Raya Medan Brastagi, ☎ +62 62 891650, +62 62 891 6551. Swimming pool, wifi hotspot restaurant, Star Theater, function rooms and funland, a theme park. Hot water pool, trampoline. The rooms aim for minimalist design and a zen-like atmosphere.call info about berastagi 085297589379
- Hotel Novotel Soechi, 4 star hotel in the city centre, attached to a mall. From US$70/night. Has a pub (3rd floor) and karaoke club and wifi on 8th floor for Rp 75,000/day.
- Garuda Plaza Hotel, Jl Sisingamangaraja 18 (Medan), ☎ +62 61 736 1234. checkin: 10AM; checkout: 12 noon. 250 rooms in the city centre, 10 min from Polonia airport. Free wifi in public areas, rooms, meeting facilities. Rp 350.000,
- Madani Hotel, Jl. Imam Bonjol No. 11 (Medan), ☎ +1.408.663.9073. checkin: 2pm; checkout: 12 noon. Madani Hotel is a 4-star Moslem hotel located in Medan just a few minutes away from Polonia airport. Offers air-conditioned accommodation in its Superior, Deluxe, Executive and Family Rooms. Serves complimentary breakfast and has a restaurant that cooks Indonesian and Malay cuisines.
- Danau Toba Hotel, Jl. Sisingamangaraja / Amaliun No. 1, ☎ +1.408.663.9073. checkin: 2pm; checkout: 12 noon. Danau Toba Hotel offers 4-star hotel accommodation at the heart of Medan City, Indonesia. All rooms are air-conditioned complete with amenities. The hotel has a swimming pool, poolside bar, cafe, restaurant, meeting or banquet facilities, fitness facilities and spa services. Only 10-minute walk to Sun Plaza.
- Grand Aston City Hall Hotel and Serviced Residence, Jl. Balai Kota No. 1 (across Merdeka Walk). The building is in the national archive of historic places and was recently restored.
- Hotel Aryaduta Medan, Jl. Maulana Lubis No 8. 5 star hotel opened in 2007 located in near business and government district, adjacent to Grand Palladium Mall. 15 minutes drive away from the airport. Resort style swimming pool, Pool Cafe, the Lounge and the Kitchen restaurant. since airport Polonia move to Kualanamu in 25 July 2013 so drive to airport not take 15 minutes.
- J W Marriott, Jl Putri Hijau No. 10. 5 stars hotel near police station
- Grand Swiss-Belhotel Medan, Jalan S.Parman No.1, ☎ +62 61 4576 999. 5 star hotel with 240 guest rooms in the CBD and close to Polonia international Airport. 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.get out,you can do traveling to berastagi,like visit sipiso piso,karonese traditional house,gundaling spectaculer view,sibayak sinabung volcano.
Walking in the city is usually fine but, as anywhere, caution must be exercised, especially if alone. Snatch thieves can be rather ruthless: women have been injured by purse-grabbers on motorcycles. If this happens to you, let go of the bag rather than be dragged several metres and risk injury. Hold your bag away from the street side and try not to appear flashy if possible. Be wary in alleyways or parking grounds that appear dark and deserted, petty thieves with knives or firearms might mug you. Do not walk alone at night.
Don’t keep valuables in your bag, anything that you really can’t lose.
110 – police, 118 – ambulance, 113 – fire brigade, 108 – local information, 107 – International connection by operator
- Australia Honorary Consulate, Jl. R. A. Kartini No. 32, ☎ +62 61 415-7810, +62 61 455-4520, +62 61 455-4504.
- Royal Danish Honorary Consulate, Jl. Hang Jebat No. 2, ☎ +62 61 415-3020, +62 61 453-8028.
- Finland Honorary Consulate, Jl. Hang Jebat No. 2, ☎ +62 61 415-3020.
- India Honorary Consulate, Jl. Uskup Agung A. Sugiopranoto No. 19, ☎ +62 61 455-6452, 453-1308.
- Japan Consulate General, Wisma BII, 5th Floor, Jl. Diponegoro No. 18, ☎ +62 61 457-5193.
- Malaysia Consulate General, Jl. Diponegoro No. 43, ☎ +62 61 453-1342, +62 61 453-5271, +62 61 452-3992.
- Consulate of the Republic of Singapore, Suite No 2 – 6, 11th Floor, Forum Nine Office, No. 9 Jalan Imam Bonjol, ☎ +62 (61) 8050 1500.
- Royal Netherlands Honorary Consulate, Jl. Monginsidi No. 45-T/39, ☎ +62 61 453-6130, +62 61 456-9853.
- Royal Norway Consulate General, Jl. Ir. Juanda I No. 24-O/38, ☎ +62 61 457-0012.
- Royal Thai Honorary Consulate, Jl. Cut Meutia No. 6, ☎ +62 61 415-2425.
- Sri Lanka Honorary Consulate, Jl Putri Hijau Dalam 4 FG (nmn,), ☎ +62 61 4144777.
- Sweden Honorary Consulate, Jl. Hang Jebat No. 2, ☎ +62 61 415-3020.
- United States of America Consulate, Jl. Walikota No. 13, ☎ +62 61 2956.400.
- There is little tourist infrastructure in Medan, and sorting out a clear plan for a Sumatra trip can be an exercise in frustration. Having a bit of help and good advice from a local can be incredibly useful. Many guest houses can assist with booking tours and jungle treks, and there are also a few travel agencies scattered around the city, although hours are unpredictable and often the prices are exorbitant.
- The main bus station out of Medan is Pinang Baris. WARNING: there’s a regular scam there, involving an old woman and some young men in cahoots to sell you onward tickets at 4x proper rates. There doesn’t appear to be ticket offices at Pinang Baris, so always buy from the bus driver and ask other passengers what the rate is.
There are a few locals who specialize in helping backpackers navigate Sumatra.
- Berastagi – popular mountain resort for weekend getaways, for Medan locals. About 1.5 hours drive from Medan. Check out other references to Berastagi, which is pronounced Brestagi by the locals. It’s a really beautiful place. You can hike the two nearby volcanoes, Sinabung and Sibayak. Cost Rp 25,000 (March 2015).
- 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 Gunung 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.
- Lake Toba – one of biggest fresh water lakes 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. Local bus will cost you 32,000 IDR and takes about 5 hours to reach Parapat. From there, you can take ferry to Samosir.
- Pulau Weh – Garuda Indonesia operates three weekly flights to Sabang (Indonesia) on Pulau Weh, where some of Indonesia’s finest diving can be found.
- Padang – ALS runs buses to Padang. Executif class AC bus may cost around 250,000 IDR and reaches Padang at 10 AM next morning.
- Jakarta – A long and arduous 3 days long journey can take you to Jakarta through an ALS Bus. Current price is at 525,000 IDR for an AC bus.
- Banda Aceh – You can get a 13-hour night bus here, but it does not depart from the normal bus stations.