Kualanamu International Airport is the main airport for Medan. The airport opened in 2013 replacing the civilian functions of Soewondo air force base known as "Polonia International Airport" during the time it handled civilian flights. Ultimately it was deemed that the old site couldn't be expanded and to alleviate noise in heavily populated areas a similar decision as in Munich or Denver was taken, moving all flights and civilian aviation equipment to the new site overnight. Because Kualanamu is far from Medan (the destination of most arriving passengers), it takes around one hour to get to the city by car (see the section on Ground transportation).
Note that Kualanamu is not the only airport serving North Sumatra. If you're going to the areas of Pematangsiantar, then go to 1 Silangit Airport: it is reachable via another flight from Kualanamu as well as Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta. If you're going to the areas of Sibolga, then 2 Dr. Ferdinand Lumban Tobing Airport is reachable via Kualanamu and Jakarta as well.
- Call center ☏
- Office ☏
- Fax ☏
- Official airport website
- Lost & Found
- Garuda Indonesia ☏
- Air Asia International ☏ 8584
- Air Asia Domestic ☏ 8585
- Sriwijaya Air ☏ 8561
- Malaysia Airlines ☏
- Lion Air, Wings Air, Batik Air, Malindo Air ☏
- If you left something behind or accidentally dropped something, ☏
Kualanamu does not have terminals, but it does have two areas: an international area and a domestic/regional area. International flights are parked at the left side, while domestic and regional flights are parked at the right, looking from the north. If you're going on an international flight, you will have to be prepared for immigration and a security check. If you are going on a flight parked at the satellite area (indicated with the letter A at the gate number), go to gate 1 (for international) or gate 5 (for domestic) and go down the escalators; that's a hidden waiting area for you. Because all gates are combined (although domestic and international gates are bordered), you don't have to enter the entrance of your gate; you can wait at any gate for your flight.
If you treat Kualanamu as a transit airport, as you exit the aerobridge, you'll have to do the arrival process, take your luggage, and then go all the way up to the departure area using the elevator or escalator, and then you can just go right to the passenger area. If your plane is treating Kualanamu as a transit hub and you're going to ride the same aircraft again, you'll need to do the arrival process, skip the baggage part, go up, report your flight to the airline's agent at the transfer/transit desk, and then you can proceed to the gate.
Kualanamu has direct flights from across Asia, with the farthest coming from Saudi Arabia. The routes most in demand serve Jakarta, Singapore, and Penang, and those flights are often full. If you live in Amsterdam or London or are able to reach Medan via those airports, Garuda Indonesia often randomly commences routes between them, so be sure to check their schedule; usually you could just enter your airport and Kualanamu in Flightradar24. Malindo Air flies from Ipoh. Cathay Dragon, based in Hong Kong, in August 2020 suspended flights, and could resume serving this airport again.
In Kualanamu, check-in counters are called "islands." There are 4 islands: Island A, B, C, and D. On all islands, there are also self check-in kiosks. Self baggage-dropping facility is only for AirAsia passengers.
|Island A |
Garuda Indonesia, Saudi Arabian Airlines
|Island B |
JetStar, AirAsia, Malaysia Airlines, SilkAir, Cathay Dragon, Susi Air
|Island C |
Lion Air (international), Citilink, Batik Air, Wings Air
|Island D |
Lion Air (domestic), Citilink, Sriwijaya Air
Kualanamu is at Deli Serdang, which is an hour's drive from central Medan. You can get to Medan by car, bus or metro. The airport has had rail service since day one and it was the first airport in the country to be served by a railway of any kind. The metro is usually faster than the crowded roads and the predictability of the metro makes the trip easier to plan.
There is a metro service connecting central Medan and Kualanamu named Kalayang Bandara Kualanamu (English: Kualanamu Airport Skytrain), operated by a company named Railink. The 3 station of the same name can be seen at the exit of the arrival area, which is the lowest floor; its right in front of you. The 4 destination station is near to a popular mall in Medan named Centre Point if you're interested. Prices are Rp100,000 for adults (if you buy the ticket online you'll get a 50% discount-- see more promos here), additional terms/conditions may fluctuate it. The seats are a bit stiffer than a general economy class seat, but is still decent. Night trains are usually lonely and lacking passengers, often you may be the only one there, so if you're autophobic, make sure you have a person with you. Average time is 20 minutes. Here's the schedule:
|Metro name||Departure time||Arrival time|
|Metro name||Departure time||Arrival time|
Go-Car, in-Driver, and Grab are online taxis (Uber has not operated in Indonesia since 2019). Grab is usually cheap and most in demand. There are also regular taxi options such as Bluebird, Puskopau, Matra, Abadi, Kokapura, and Nice Trans. All operate 24/7. Avoid them if possible, as they most often use taximeters which generate money based on journey time and distance and may enable scams. However, here are their contact numbers:
- Abadi ☏
- Bluebird ☏
- Kokapura ☏
- Matra ☏
- Nice Trans ☏
- Puskopau ☏
Kualanamu has reasonably wide parking lot areas. If you want to park, go to the right side of the fork; go to the left for drop-off. Park a truck 1 here. There are two areas to park other vehicles. To go to the 2 section A or the truck zone, go straightforward once you passed the fork; to go to 3 section B, turn left at the roundabout, and then turn left. For the first two hours, cars are charged Rp5,000 (Indonesian rupiah), less-than-6-wheeled trucks are charged Rp10,000, and 6-wheeled trucks are charged Rp15,000. For the first 12 hours, motorbikes are charged Rp3,000. For more other hours, all vehicles are charged Rp1,000/hour.
If you want to keep your vehicle there for days (maybe because you are going on a flight and you can't bring your vehicle home), you can reserve an area: for the first six hours, cars are charged Rp20,000, less-than-six-wheeled trucks are charged Rp35,000, and six-wheeled trucks are charged Rp50,000. For additional hours, all vehicles are charged Rp2,000/hour. Motorbikes are ineligible for reservation. If you do so, your vehicle will be secured 4 here. Keep the parking/reservation ticket: losing one will cause you to be charged Rp100,000.
Buses operate from 07:00 until the last flight lands. Prices range from Rp15,000 to Rp55,000. They are parked outside the arrival area, and nearby them is a counter for you to purchase. Here is a list of them:
|Service||Station destination||City destination|
|Damri||Amplas Bus Terminal||Medan|
|Damri||Plaza Medan Fair||Medan|
|ALS||Ring Road City Walks||Medan|
|ALS||Binjai Super Mall||Binjai|
|Paradep||Sutomo St||Pematang Siantar|
|Nice Trans||Millenium ICT Center||Medan|
|Nice Trans||Sutomo St||Parapat via Pematang Siantar|
If you’re not going to Medan, but instead Lake Toba or places nearby, there are shuttle buses or minivans that can bring you there directly from the airport. However, these buses/minivans will only depart when it’s full, so you need to be flexible in terms of timing. Prices are around Rp90,000 for a 7-seater minivan.
Kualanamu is not that big an airport, just a casual international airport, so you'll probably be walking 100% of the time. There are 3 distinct floors in the airport; you can transfer between floors by elevator or escalator. If you're going on an international flight whose gate is far on the edge, there are two travellators you can use to save time. Upon request, a 6-seater golf cart may drive you around the passenger area.
There are lots of art installations scattered throughout the airport. Visitors very often take photos there. Some of them are based upon holidays.
The arrival area is, in a sense, quite cramped. So be sure to know where you're going to and don't lose your mind.
Departing travellers are expected to be present at the boarding lounge 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time. If you are late, the PA will give you two calls, and then a final call. If you are not in sight after the final call, bye-bye birdie.
The standard boarding lounges includes chairs, free computers for use, and charging stations, as well as for an aviation enthusiast, planes! There's also a curved TV streaming sport channels in select areas. But if you are bored, there is a lounge at the domestic area opposite of Gate 12 called the Sapphire BlueSky Executive Lounge, open from 08:00 to 17:00 everyday. For international passengers, the Sapphire Mandai Lounge opens from 05:00 to 22:00 everyday. Maximum time in both lounges is 3 hours. Price is Rp110,000; children under the age of 10 are free to enter. There's a TV, reading materials, refreshments limited to tea, coffee, and water only and a mosque. There is a lounge membership you can order for future entry; Priority Pass [dead link] also offers membership. Garuda Indonesia has an executive lounge nearby Gate 10 for business/executive-class passengers and those with a SkyTeam card; regular passengers may enter with cost. Bank company BRI also has a lounge nearby Gate 10. A lounge called Tixspot is also available for people booking their flights through Tiket.com, opening from 05:00 to 21:00. There's an executive restroom, shower room, and meeting room. Normal price is Rp. 170,000, but there's also a special cutoff to Rp. 50,000-Rp. 100,000
If you want some entertainment by watching movies, there's a movie theater nearby the ramp leading to the departure terminal, with the blue sign "Bioskop Bandara." Its door is bordered colorfully, with a gray sign "MOVIE THEATER." There are 10 seats for standard class and 12 for executive class. Unlike general movie theaters with a scripted schedule, Kualanamu's theater stores a handful of home media; simply pick a movie, and they'll project it. Don't expect it to be big; it's just an average wide TV, but it does have surround speakers. See here, here, and here for a glimpse of the theater.
A game center is also available, open from 07:00 to 22:00.
For children, there is a playground at the passenger area.
There are two relaxation stores: one at the departure area named B'Relax and one at the arrival area named Batik Spa.
Outside the airport, there is a garden that you can walk around at.
Be prepared in the future, as there is a huge masterplan for what Kualanamu will have in the future.
Upon arrival, you will usually wait at the carousel for your baggage. But for Garuda Indonesia business/executive class or SkyTeam passengers, you can wait for your belongings at an exclusive arrival lounge. When your belongings are available, it'll be taken to you at the lounge and you can leave.
Eat and drink
There are a decent number of restaurants, stalls, and minimarkets in Kualanamu.
If you are at the departure area, you can go to coffeshops Starbucks and Excelso, as well as signature Indonesian restaurants like Ayam Goreng Kalasan, Chop Buntut, Es Teler 77, Kok Tong Kopi, Old Town White Coffee, etc. There's also an Indomaret minimarket: from the north, simply head straight, and right-- Indomaret's right at the edge. Unlike other Indomarets, this one sells frozen carbonated drinks too.
If you are at the arrival area, an Alfamart is available; there is a bar table and chair too. For restaurants, there's A&W, Dunkin Donuts, D'Penyetz, KFC, Maximum, Maxx Coffee, Ichiban Sushi, etc.
In level 2, there's also a restaurant, which not everyone noticed.
In the passenger terminal, there are a couple of restaurants (notably Excelso and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf) and bread shops too. Bika Ambon and bread shops are scattered around the airport, which some foreigners noticed too. It can be a souvenir for your fellows overseas.
There is an ATM at the arrival area, but only mostly operates Indonesian banks. It does operate Maybank, Visa, MasterCard, and Cirrus. A money exchange area is also at the arrival area opening from 06:00 to 20:00: the currencies available are euro, US dollar, Singapore dollar, Malaysian ringgit, Japanese yen, and the Chinese yuan.
If you want to buy a SIM card, there are two Telkomsel stores outside and inside the arrival area. The indoor store is named GraPARI, while the outdoor store is named Broadband Corner KNO. The indoor store sells prepaid SIM Card with 10GB data, few hundreds minutes of international talktime and 14-day validity for Rp170,000. Meanwhile, the store outside the building sells prepaid SIM Card with 1GB data for Rp65,000, 4.5GB for Rp100,000, and 10GB data for Rp135,000.
Kualanamu is filled with stores from a spectrum of genres. You can buy watches at a Swatch store at the departure area. Other stores in the departure area includes Converse, Beauty Forever (make-up store), Cotton On, Batik Keris (batik-motif boutique), iPort Shop (selling gadgets and luggages), Polo, Puma, KImia Farma (phramacy store) and more. At the international passenger area, there's a library, identifiable with its black design.
Free Wi-Fis are available. There's two Wi-Fis: firstname.lastname@example.org and Kualanamuemail@example.com. The first Wi-Fi is faster than the second, but both are also average in speed, at around 3-4 signal bars, so if you're watching a video and it buffers time to time, be patient. If you're leaving Indonesia and still has reasonable amount of mobile data, use it: it's your last time in the country and your last time using the SIM card... for now.
At the departure area, there is also a post office called "POS Indonesia." Read their shipping terms and conditions beforehand. There's also a courtesy telephone between Island C and D, behind the information counter.
A rest area at the passenger terminal is available; there's also a television if you need it. If you don't need a head/neckrest, the boarding lounge's chairs can be a decent resting place. Indonesians love to lean on the walls and sit at the floor if there's no seating area, but if you're a foreigner, mimicking them will make you humiliated, but don't take it seriously, as stated before.
If you are a Muslim and want to pray, there is a small mosque at the arrival and passenger area. They're often independent: there's no leader.
Although there is a rest area as mentioned above, it is not for a long sleep; doing so may annoy some passengers. If you want an overnight sleep, you can go to 1 Horison Sky Kualanamu, which is directly at Level 1M of the airport (location: From the departure area entrance, go up the escalator once). There's also the 2 Wing Hotel Kualanamu, which is just few minutes away from Kualanamu. Another cool hotel is the 3 Prime Plaza Hotel; there is a shuttle pickup service to/from the hotel for free. If you're an aviation enthusiast, check out 4 870 Aero Hotel: it has a retired Boeing 737-200 that you can enter, although you can't enter the cockpit (you can glimpse its dirtiness from outside in nighttime), and the beds and foods are decent.
In Indonesia, scammers are common. Kualanamu has not seen scammers coming in, but if someone offers you a ride or offers you something suspiciously, go away! Scammers in Indonesia are dumb in tricking minded mature people, so it's often easy to know one. If you have a minor, keep them safe. If you are a minor travelling alone, don't listen to untrusted strangers and run away: in such crowded place, scammers are usually scared.
Minor thing to consider: although it has been prevented extensively, mosquitoes in Indonesia are still a pain in the area, so be sure to have mosquito repellents with you.
If you are an aviation enthusiast and is still outside of the airport, there are 5 planespotting areas beside the airport's sole runway, the most popular being 1 Pondok Kualanamu Tengah, at an area named Pasar Enam Kuala Namu. It is made by the locals there. You'll have to get pass some bumpy roads along the way, considering it is in a village. There's also a food stall, and an artificial lake for kids to ride duck-shaped boats in, too. The four other places are 2 KNO Sidourip Pantai Labu, 3 this unnamed location, 4 this other place, and also 5 this professional place, depending on the angle you want to planespot.
When visiting North Sumatra, the Medan city is usually the main place to start, but you can also add Binjai as an addition to Medan; it's right at the corner of Medan. Other cities to visit include Kabanjahe, Tebing Tinggi, Tanjungbalai, Pematangsiantar, Labuhan Batu, especially the regency the airport is at, Deli Serdang. There's also Mandailing Natal, the iconic Karo, Simalungun, Batubara, etc. Some places are quite preferencial, so look thoroughly at pictures online, and see which fits your pallette.