Asia > Southeast Asia > Indonesia > Sumatra > North Sumatra > Medan
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, 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.
Medan's Kualanamu 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 Kualanamu International Airport (KNO IATA) and is located about 45 minutes from the city. It opened on 2013 and handles both domestic and regional international flights.
After arrival, ATMs are quite easy to find in the interior of the airport. An information desk is also available.
The old Medan's international airport Polonia International Airport (MES IATA) is no longer handling commercial flights. It is now given back to the military as the original owner.
Train services is provided by Railink, a joint venture between Angkasa Pura II and Indonesian Railway. The South Korean-made trains have a carrying capacity of 172 passengers per trip. It is the first integrated Airport rail link in Indonesia, city check-in and electronic tickets are also available for passengers' convenience.
The airport train runs up to 21 trips (including one facultative trip) a day in each direction with the first trip from Medan Main Train Station besides the Merdeka Square on Balai Kota street at 4:00 and the last trip from the airport at 22:00. It is the fastest way to get from the airport to central Medan, taking 31-41 minutes. Ticket can be purchased either from the ticket vending machine or from the ticket counters or by online only from D-30 to D-1. One way ticket costs up to Rp 100,000 (various). Since April 1, 2015 a promotional ticket can be purchased for Rp 55,000 with limited seats through online, travel agents and external channels only (not from vending machines and ticket counters), no schedule change allowed and no refundable. Most updated schedule, pricing and booking can be checked in here or from Mobile Application Railink. Payment can be done by Klik Pay BCA, Click Pay Mandiri, Visa or Master Debit/Credit Cards.
Buses operated by state-owned bus company DAMRI also connects the airport to two destinations in Medan, Jl. Gatot Subroto next to Plaza Medan Fair and Amplas bus terminal. The bus needs about 60 to 90 minutes to reach the airport, but the bus ticket costs cheaper than that of the airport train.
|Kualanamu Airport Bus|
|Damri||Amplas Bus Terminal||Medan||Rp10,000|
|Damri||Plaza Medan Fair||Medan||Rp15,000|
|ALS||Binjai Super Mall||Binjai||Rp30,000|
Taxis are about Rp130,000-150,000 for the ride to the city centre, but will leave immediately, arrive quicker and be more comfortable than the bus: do note that there is a Rp10,000 surcharge to all fares for airport pickup, so be prepared to pay the metered rate plus this amount.
There are direct international flights to/from Penang (for only around US$70 return), Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru in Malaysia, Singapore, and Bangkok. There are a few international flights which serve Medan: Silkair, Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Firefly and Valuair. The first two are regular airlines, while the rest are budgest airlines.
Silkair and Valuair fly the popular Singapore-Medan route. Kuala Lumpur-Medan route is served by both Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and Firefly. AirAsia also connect Medan to other cities in Malaysia, including the popular Medan-Penang route.
- AirAsia from/to Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Bangkok, Johor Bahru
- Firefly Airlines (operated by Malaysia Airlines) from/to Kuala Lumpur (via Subang Airport)
- Lion Air from/to Penang
- Malaysia Airlines from/to Kuala Lumpur
- SilkAir (operated by Singapore Airlines) from/to Singapore
- Sriwijaya Air from/to Penang
- Valuair (operated by Jetstar Asia) 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 (Indonesia) on Pulau Weh
- Indonesia AirAsia LCC from/to Bandung and Surabaya
- Kartika Airlines from/to Batam
- Lion Air LCC from/to Pekanbaru, Jakarta and Banda Aceh
- Sriwijaya Air from/to Banda Aceh, Padang, Pekanbaru, Batam and Jakarta
- Susi Air from/to Kutacane, Silangit, Aek Godang, Simeulue, Blang Pidie and Meulaboh
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.
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).
As an example of prices from August 2005, expect to pay around Rp 50,000-80,000 for an 8-10 hr 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: Domestic routes are served by Pelni, it links Belawan with various ports in Sumatra and other Indonesian islands.
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 20,000 (economy) to Rp 70,000 (executive).
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).
Also known as trishaws or pedicabs. You have to be a good negotiator if you want to ride on becaks, with price ranging between Rp 5,000-20,000 depending on the destination (near or far). Too far, and the driver may refuse to take you.
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.
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 20,000-25,000 - 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).
- 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.
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.
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 Rp3,000/trip.
One easy route is Minibus #3 from the great mosque (at the side of yuki mall) to the Medan Mall, which is Rp2,000.
Being a part of Indonesia, all locals will be able to speak Indonesian. 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. Those over 50 or 60 also tend to 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.
The locals will really appreciate your efforts to learn Indonesian, and please not be offended if they will laugh loudly with you too. It is not a mocking expression.
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 Sumatrans 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.
Other attractions include:
- 1 Maimoon Palace (Istana Maimun), Jalan Brigjend Katamso (5 mins walk from Great Mosque). A royal palace of Sultanate of Deli, built by Sultan Makmun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alamsyah in years 1887–1891, the palace covers 2,772 m² and has 30 rooms. It has unique interior design, mixing elements of Malay cultural heritage, Islam, Spanish, Indian and Italian style. Free.
- 2 Vihara Borobudur (Buddhist Temple). Mostly closed. Features some Chinese-style Mahayana statues of Guanyin (the Goddess of Mercy) as well as regular Theravada Buddhist paraphernalia. The conservative opening hours may have something to do with a rumour heard on the grapevine that apparently one of the major figures behind the temple has become a devotee of Sai Baba (the late controversial Indian Guru), who in his passing apparently still maintains a small community of supporters in Medan. Free.
- 3 Gunung Timur Temple (Vihara Gunung Timur), Jalan Hang Tuah. A Daoist temple of significant scale located about 500m from Sri Mariamman Temple. It contains a large paved area with an impressively scaled incense burner, two covered badminton courts, a very large main hall and is partly surrounded by a moat and walls. It is particularly crowded with worshippers on Chinese New Year and Cap Go Meh. Free.
- 4 Rahmat International Wildlife Museum & Gallery, Jalan S. Parman No 309, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Opened in 1999 and is chiefly the most incredible global taxidermy collection you could imagine. This place has to be seen to be believed - it's the sort of thing that could only happen in Asia! A veritable treasure-chest, it features numerous critters of sea, land and sky as well as the collected flotsam of the eccentric founding Afghan's life hunting big game, fishing, hob-nobbing and generally getting around the world. An obvious labour of love by Doctor Rahmat himself, who has since been successfully installed as the chairman of the Indonesian Museum Association, this place is a small stay against the sea of Sumatran rainforests being destroyed and poached every year. Worth supporting against ill-contrived zoos otherwise found throughout the region. Rp50,000.
- 5 Great Mosque of Medan (Masjid Raya Medan or Masjid Raya Al Mashun), corner of Jalan Masjid Raya and Jalan Sisingamaraja (5 mins walk to the east from Maimoon Palace, across Yuki Simpang Raya department store). Built on 1906 and completed on 1909, the mosque was designed by a Dutch architect mixing Morrocan, European, Middle Eastern and Malay styles. One week prior to Idul Fitri, the whole Jalan Masjid Raya is closed to hold a night market where food and merchandise are sold. Free.
- Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni, Taman Sakura Indah, Jalan Sakura III No. 10 Tanjung Selamat. Catholic Shrine with Tamil Hindu-style architecture, devoted to Our Lady of Good Health. Free.
- 6 Sri Mariamman Temple (Kuil Shri Mariamman). A Tamil Hindu temple. Beware: there are two of these! This one's the one on the corner not so far from town. The other one is down a long alley and is closed up. Featuring many brighty coloured statues of all the major gods from the Tamil Hindu pantheon and a few naga stones, this temple is testament to the reach of the ancient Tamil maritime empire and the age of the Tamil community in Sumatra. Events regularly take place at this temple. Free.
- Sikh Temple. Located in the old Chinese school 50m to the right of the Shri Mariamman Tamil Hindu Temple, opposite the maternity hospital. After you walk in to the impressive grounds, turn to the left and walk behind the stairway. The humble temple hall is located to your left. Note: Do not enter without both permission and proper attire! There is supposed to be a larger one elsewhere in the city. Free.
- 7 Tjong A Fie Mansion (Rumah Tjong A Fie), Jalan Ahmad Yani (Ten minutes' walk south of the train station, across Tip Top restaurant). The former mansion of the leader of the local Chinese community of Medan (then Deli) who succeeded in ingratiating himself with both the Indonesian Muslims and the Dutch colonial authorities. No mention is made of his relations with the local Indian community. He became very rich on the profits of his hard-working countrymen, importing them as labour for Dutch plantations and shipping them off when they became destitute or impoverished through overwork, old age or opium. This colourful and ornately decorated building tells his story and that of his descendants, as well as filling in some details about the city's past. Rp35,000.
- 8 Tirtanadi Water Tower (Menara Air Tirtanadi), Jalan Sisingamaraja No. 1 (intersection of Jalan Sisingamaraja, Jalan Pandu and Jalan Cirebon). One of Medan's icon, the water tower was built by Dutch government on 1908 with height of 42 m. Currently it's state owned by PDAM Tirtanadi. Free.
- Pantai Cermin Theme Park & Resort, Sales office : Jalan D.I. Panjaltan No. 153, Theme Park : Dusun 1 Desa Pantai Cermin Kanam, Kec. Pantai Cermin, Kabupaten Serdang Bedagai, ☏ (Sales office), , fax: . 11am - 5pm (weekdays), 9am - 6.30pm (weekends and public holidays). The first and only water theme park in North Sumatra, located in Cermin Beach, Serdang Bedagai. The theme park is organized by a Malaysian investor and the local government. Swimming, sun bathing and kayaking. To go there, take a rental car, private car or 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. The whole journey may take about 1-2 hours. weekdays : Rp40,000 (adult)/ Rp20,000 (children); weekends and public holidays : Rp60,000 (adult)/ Rp 40,000 (children).
- Taman Simalem Resort, Km 9, Merek-Sidikalang Highway (Travel to Berastagi (90 mins) and continue journey to Merek town (45 mins), turn right and after around 15 minutes you will see the sprawling resort on the left.), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Open Daily. Taman Simalem Resort is Indonesia's first agro-eco-tourism destination that has the magnificent Lake Toba as the backdrop at some 1400 m above sea level. Some unique features of the resort comprise Indonesia's largest loquat farm, an organic vegetables farm, a 9-hole golf course set in a tea and coffee estate and a twin waterfall in the 130-ha jungle that surrounds the resort. The resort is still under development but accommodation is available; ranging from the 4-bedded rooms with detached bathrooms to villas set in the jungle. For the more adventurous, camping packages are also available. A minimum 2-night stay is recommended to be able to enjoy most of the resort's facilities. Windbreakers and sweaters are recommended as the temperature averages below 20 deg C year round. Rp250.000 per sedan.
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 masseuse 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.
Mostly hotels also have their own spa. You can contact your receptionist for further info.
- Quan Spa, JW Marriott Hotel 17th floor, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 10am - 9pm daily. 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. Rp250,000++ for 1 hour massage.
- Zengarden, Jalan S No. 22/272 Parman, ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. Weekdays : 10am-10pm / Weekends : 09am-09pm. Located in the heart of Medan. Skillful, clean and very affordable by local standards. Reservations are recommended. Rp150,000-Rp280,000.
- Eucalyptus Spa. There are two branches of Eucalyptus Spa in the city, one at the Travellers Suite hotel. Prices there are lower, at Rp 120,000++ for 1 hour.
- De'Spa, Jalan Malaka No.136, ☏ .
- Ras Spa.
- Feng Huang Spa.
- Ocean Spa, Cemara Asri.
- H.o.M.E Family Karaoke, Jl. Pattimura, ☏ .
- Inul Vizta Family Karaoke, Jl. Multatuli.
- Karaoke Keluarga (K2) Family Karaoke, Kompleks Multatuli, ☏ . 11AM-2PM.
- Happy Puppy Family Karaoke.
- NAV Family Karaoke. NAV has 2 locations in Medan: Jl. Raden Saleh & Jl. Palang Merah
Though Medan doesn't have many super malls like Jakarta or Surabaya, it does have plenty of medium-sized malls. Many new malls have been built recently, with more under construction.
- 1 Cambridge City Square, Jalan S. Parman No 217 (intersection of Jalan S. Parman, Jalan Gajah Mada & Jalan Zainul Arifin (5min walk from Sun Plaza along Jalan Zainul Arifin), ☏ . 10am-10pm daily. Combining four concepts into one, Cambridge City Square consists of office spaces, a mall, condominium and the Grand Swiss-Belhotel International linked together. The mall is less than a quarter of the size of Sun Plaza, but houses many restaurants and cafes like Nelayan Jala-jala (dim sum restaurant), Starbucks Coffee, Grand Duck King (Chinese restaurant famous for their duck cuisine), Es Teler 77 (Indonesian street food), Pepper Lunch (teppanyaki restaurant), Haagen-Dazs, Jittlada (Thai cuisine), etc. A small supermarket, Berastagi Supermarket, is located in LG floor. There are also several boutiques which sell knock-off "branded" items.
- 2 Centre Point, Jalan Timor (behind the train station). 10am-10pm daily. Largest upscale-mall after Sun Plaza, Centre Point aims to combine mall, apartment, hotel and office into one big integrated complex. As of 2015, the apartment and hotel are still under construction. Has Lotte Mart (hypermarket), Cinema XXI (movie theater) & food court in top floor, Parkson (department store), and many more retailers of brand-name items. If you take a train from airport, after exiting train station, you can just cross the street into the mall.
- 3 Grand Palladium Mall, Jalan Kapten Maulana Lubis No. 8. 10am-10pm daily. Mediocre mall adjacent to Hotel Aryaduta in the city center. Has a Haunted House attraction (the only one in Medan), Hypermart, Matahari (department store) and some good restaurants. Be sure to try Tiong Sim Noodle & Hong Kong BBQ (open until 2AM daily!): Their roasted pork and noodles is very famous locally. No international brands for clothing, shoes and accessories. Sun Plaza is be a better destination - it's about a 10min drive from here.
- 4 Medan Mall, Jl. MT Haryono. 10AM-10PM daily. A must-go place for shoppers where you can find almost everything from fine jewelery, clothing and food to groceries. The adjacent Olympia Mall is a wholesale market. There is also a wet market located just behind the Central Pasar that operates only in the morning and a dry market that operates only in the evening.
- 5 Plaza Medan Fair, Jalan Gatot Subroto No 30. 10am-10pm daily. One of the major malls in Medan renowned for selling electronics and gadgets. Has Carrefour (hypermarket), Matahari (local department store), Ayam Kalasan (Indonesian restaurant famous for its roast chicken), etc. Slightly cheaper than Sun Plaza. On the top floor, you will find almost all outlets selling gadgets or PCs and accessories.
- 6 Sun Plaza, Jalan Zainul Arifin Nomor 7 (intersection of Jalan Zainul Arifin & Jalan Diponegoro). 10am-10pm daily. Located downtown in the Central Business District area, just at the border of kampung keling (Little India), surrounded by major international banks. It is one of the largest high-end shopping mall in Medan. Plenty of food choices from western to eastern. There is a hypermarket chain, Hypermart, on the top floor, which stocks almost anything. 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 apiece, complete with gift box and warranty card. Also has Cinemaxx (movie theater), Sogo (department store), Gramedia (largest book store chain in Indonesia), Ace Hardware, etc. Very crowded especially on weekends or public holidays.
- 7 Thamrin Plaza, Jl. Thamrin. 10AM-10PM daily. One of the oldest mall with large Matahari (department store), Timezone arcade, top-floor food court and limited international brand stores. Located near the Chinatown. There's a wholesale market beside Thamrin Plaza called Pasar Rame that opens from 9AM-5PM daily.
- 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 some 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 and cow milk cheeses, as well. For the goat milk products they are using fresh, pasteurised (twice) organic goat milk.
- Macan Yaohan Supermarkets, there are 13 branches located around Medan for grocery shopping.
- Pasar Petisah, central market, sells vast array of meat, fish, fruit and vegetables
- Toko Mr. Ben, provides imported western food such as frozen New Zealand beef and lamb. It is a small, Chinese-owned shop.
- Ti Huang Taart, selling famous Pineapple Taart and Durian Taart, Kastengels, Cookies and few local Snacks known as 'Oleh-Oleh Khas Medan', address is on Jl. Merbabu No. 34 F-G Medan. ☎️ +6261 4523622 , ☎️ +6261 4523633, or 📱/Whatsapp +62811619488.
- Bolu Meranti, Jl. Kruing, Petisah. The home-made roll cakes with variety of tastes, such as cheese, blueberry, mocca. The most famous roll cakes in town.
- Bika Ambon & Marquisa,Jl. Majapahit, on Petisah area. With many shops along the street there, you can shop selectively.
- 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, roll cake (Bolu Gulung), breads. They bake items fresh every day and also make their on syrups, including Marquisa syrup, Terong Belanda syrup and Kietnah syrup.
- Masindo Jewellery, Jalan Gwangju No 30, ☏ . Established on 1927 and located in the center of the city. Various jewellery including necklaces, bangles, bracelets, earrings, men's and women's rings, pendants in 24K gold which are structured by pearls, and a diversity of gemstones. Designed by an expert designer. A branch known as D'On Jewellery specializes in diamonds.
- Hels, Jalan Sei Batang Serangan No 39/54, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Complete design services in graphics and fashion. Rp10,000-120,000.
- TauKo Medan, Jalan Sei Batang Serangan, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Merchandise including t-shirts. From Rp65,000.
- Tondi Gallery, Jalan Keladi Buntu No 6 (close to Jalan Sriwajaya and University of Dharma Agung). Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12pm-5pm. Contemporary art by local, national and international artists.
- Koki Sunda, ☏ . 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 (just across the train station.). 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.
- Roland's German Restaurant, ☏ . The only German restaurant in Medan, located at the main entrance to Taman Setia Budi Indah complex.
- Gelato Bar, ☏ . Italian gelato dessert and many popular pasta dishes are available. Its good place to hang out and relax.
- Apek's Coffee House, Jalan 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 (University of North Sumatra) 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, Jalan Ahmad Yani. Used to be the restaurant in Medan, this unique restaurant can trace its history back to the Dutch colonisation. 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.
- Jalan Selat Panjang/ Sumatra/ Semarang. This is where some of the oldest Chinese eateries in Medan serve their renown 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.
- 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 irresistible 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. 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), babi panggang karo (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 maintains its status as one of the first local restaurant who expands itself by franchising.
- Lontong Sayur Kak Lin, Jalan Teuku Cik Ditiro. Serving tasty and cheap lontong sayur (rice cakes in hot vegetables curry), this humble eatery is not much to look at for the uninitiated. 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, Jalan Teuku Cik Ditiro. The North-Indian restaurant is one of Medan's best kept secrets, which recently has been featured in Kompas newspaper as the only restaurant in Medan which serves a wide range of authentic North-Indian cuisine. Visit the restaurant for its endless choices of delicious vegetarian and curry dish!
- Pagaruyung Alley. Located at Medan's "little India" or referred 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 martabak telur (egg pancake topped with diced potatoes, and onions, often served with curry).
- Spoutnik Cafe, Jl Tengah No. 33 (behind Pelangi Internet). Gado-gado special, a traditional mixed vegetable salad.
- Bollywood Food Centre, Jl. Muara Takus No 7 (behind Sun Plaza), ☏ . This is nice place for real, homely Indian food.
- Kwetiau Kerang, Jl. S Parman no 22.
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 Jalan Sumatera, Jalan Semarang, Jalan Adam Malik, Ucok Durian, and more. Price start from Rp 5000-50,000 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.234, ☏ . Modern Sports Bar/Live band venue catering to locals and expats alike. Drinks are reasonably priced for the area and staff are very good.
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) Discothèque, located at Thamrin Plaza 8th floor
- Jet Plane KTV, Plaza Medan Fair
- Equator KTV & Pub , Hongkong Plaza
- New Zone Discothèque, located at Jalan Wazir / Jalan Kolonel Sugiono
- Stroom Bistro, located at Jalan Listrik
- Elite (previously known as M-City), located at Jalan Gatot Subroto
- Retro pub, Capital Building
- Vintage Wine shop, ☏ . 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, ☏ . 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. A bit expensive for the standard.
- Corner Cafe Raya, 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 travellers and a few die hard expats here. Be careful, drugs may be offered here and 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.
- Blue Angel (Ponduk Wisata Angel), Jl. Sisingamangaraja No 70. Very popular budget backpacker place with a cafe attached. Free Wi-Fi in the lobby/restaurant. Rooms small, basic, clean. Windows and door handles provide doubtful security, better not leave valuables in your room. Twin room Rp 90,000.
- Gumagaba Youth Hostel, Jalan Sisingamaraja No 21 Simpang Amplas, ☏ . 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 Residence, ☏ . Budget accommodation next to the Grand Mosque. It is reasonably clean and central. Unmarried couples are not allowed to sleep in the same room. From Rp60,000-120,000.
- Hotel Zakia, ☏ . Budget accommodation next to the Grand Mosque. Includes breakfast. It is reasonably clean and central. Rp55,000-120,000.
- Trav-fella Homestay, Jalan Sisingamangaraja No.66 (50 m from the Grand Mosque Al-Mashun), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Clean, friendly people, good information. Located in the heart of the tourist area Single from Rp 35,000 and double room up to Rp 80,000.
- Wisma Wahana Daya Pertiwi, Jalan HM Yamin (a short walk from the railway station). Owned by the railway company, clean, decent, cheap. Restaurant Permata DSM is acceptable. Superior rooms Rp135,000/night, suites Rp250,000.
- Yap Hostel, Jalan Kelapa No 8-C (From Jl. Putri Hijau traffic light in front of Deli Plaza, turn left to Jl. Guru Patimpus, go straight after you pass the bridge. Jl. Kelapa is the 2nd street on the left side (after Jl. Sei Deli)), ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. Check-out: 12:00. Budget backpacker accommodation for ladies only. Very clean and well maintained. Very near to Airport Railink station and Airport Bus Terminal to catch early morning flights. Free Wi-Fi, hot shower, air conditioned room, personal power points, lockers. Rp70,000/person.
- 1 Antares Hotel, Jalan Sisingamaraja No 84 (on same street and near Hotel Garuda Plaza and Hotel Sumatera), ☏ . Discounts on weekends. Breakfast buffet included in the price. SatTV with HBO, Star Sports, Discovery 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).
- Candi Hotel, Jalan Darussalam No. 124, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. From Rp 275,000.00.
- Citi International, ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 2pm, check-out: 12pm. Clean, no-frills modern hotel with hot & cold shower, air conditioner and WiFi in rooms and cafe. Provide free shuttle to train station. Start from Rp242,000++ per night for Standard Room.
- 4 Garuda Plaza Hotel, Jalan Sisingamaraja No 18 (south of Tirtanadi Water Tower, about 5min walk), ☏ , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 10AM, check-out: 12 noon. 4-stars, 250 rooms in the city center with free Wi-Fi in public areas, rooms, meeting facilities; swimming pool, major local bank ATM, shuttle bus, etc. From Rp350.000++ per night.
- 5 Grand Angkasa Hotel, Jalan Sutomo No. 1 (across University of HKBP Nommensen), ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. 5-star hotel with 266-rooms, free Wi-Fi, personal safety box and a choice of smoking/non-smoking room . The night club Soccer is in the basement. Its location is a bit far from shopping center or other landmarks, so you need to take taxi to go somewhere place. Beware though, the student from across university have been renown to cause violence when there are strikes. Just stay in the room should a strike happens. From US$89.
- 6 Grand Swiss-Belhotel Medan, Jalan S. Parman No. 217 (adjacent to Cambridge City Square), ☏ . 5 star hotel with 246 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. From Rp350,000++.
- 7 Hermes Palace Hotel, Jalan Pemuda No 22 (southeast of Tjong A Fie Mansion, about 10min walks), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 3-star hotel with 106 rooms, offer shuttle service to train station, 24-hours room service, cafe & bistro, fitness center, etc. From Rp530,000++.
- 8 Hotel Danau Toba International, Jalan Imam Bonjol No. 17 (5min walks west from Sun Plaza, the same street with Vihara Borobudur), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Pleasant 5-stars hotel with 311-rooms, free Wi-Fi, professional staff, a large swimming pool and excellent, inexpensive Indonesian food available on 24-hour room service (international options are available but perhaps less impressive). Sometimes takes tour groups. Popular music venue The Tavern. Start from Rp500,000++ per night.
- 9 Hotel Soechi International (Novotel Soechi), Jalan Cirebon No 76A (across the Tirtanadi Water Tower), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 4 star hotel in the city center, attached to a mall. Has a pub (3rd floor) and karaoke club and WiFi on 8th floor for Rp 75,000/day. Provide airport transfer. From Rp275,000++.
- 10 Santika Premiere Dyandra Hotel, Jalan Kapten Maulana Lubis No 7, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. One of the newest hotel, located just across Grand Palladium Mall. It has Gramedia bookstore on 3rd floor and Club Premiere Sky Lounge on 10th floor.
- 11 The Aryaduta Hotel Medan, Jalan Kapten Maulana Lubis No 8 (adjacent to Grand Palladium Mall), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 5 star hotel opened in 2007 located in near business and government district. Resort style swimming pool, Pool Cafe, the Lounge and the Kitchen restaurant. From Rp900,000++.
- 12 Grand Aston City Hall Hotel and Serviced Residence, Jalan Balai Kota No. 1 (across Merdeka Walk), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. The building is in the national archive of historic places and was recently restored. From Rp800,000++.
- 13 JW Marriott, Jalan Putri Hijau No. 10 (head straight from Grand Aston about 10min walk), ☏ , toll-free: . 5 star hotel. From Rp800.000++.
- Australia Honorary Consulate, Jl. R. A. Kartini No. 32, ☏ , , .
- Royal Danish Honorary Consulate, Jl. Tengku Amir Hamzah Block G No. 106-108, ☏ , .
- Finland Honorary Consulate, Jl. Hang Jebat No. 2, ☏ .
- India Honorary Consulate, Jl. Uskup Agung A. Sugiopranoto No. 19, ☏ , .
- Japan Consulate General, Wisma BII, 5th Floor, Jl. Diponegoro No. 18, ☏ .
- Malaysia Consulate General, Jl. Diponegoro No. 43, ☏ , , .
- Royal Dutch Consulate, Jl. Cakrawati No. 12, ☏ , .
- Royal Norway Consulate General, Jl. Ir. Juanda I No. 24-O/38, ☏ .
- Royal Thai Honorary Consulate, Jl. Cut Meutia No. 6, ☏ .
- Sri Lanka Honorary Consulate, Jl Putri Hijau Dalam 4 FG, ☏ .
- Berastagi - a beautiful mountain resort, about 1.5 hours' drive from Medan; popular among Medan people for weekend getaways. When it is deemed safe, you can hike the two nearby volcanoes, Sinabung and Sibayak. Check with the local authorities before hiking, as the volcano recently erupted and is considered to be still dangerous.
- 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 for information..
- 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 Orangutan rehabilitation centre, which is now closed. 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 perfect, it seems to be 25'c 24 x 7. Rent a scooter to explore 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.