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Home » Destination » Medan



Located in the northern part of the province along the coast, Medan is the third largest city in Indonesia. You may travel to Lake Toba (Danau Toba) from Parapat, 5 hours from Medan. Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world.
Now you can take Firefly from Penang to Medan daily.

General Information

Medan is the capital of the province of North Sumatra, Indonesia. Located in the northern part of the province along the coast, Medan is the third largest city in Indonesia, with approximately 2.5 million people.

Medan is recognised for its multi-cultural society that lives in harmony, creating a unique culture blend. The population is mainly made up of Batak, Javanese, Chinese, Indian, Minang, Acehnese and other ethnic minorities such as Sundanese and Madurese.

There are many old buildings in Medan that still retain their Dutch architecture. These include the old City Hall, the central Post Office, the Water Tower, which is Medan City’s icon, and Titi Gantung (a bridge over the railway).There are several historic places such as Maimun Palace (Istana Maimun), where the Sultan of Deli still lives, and the Great Mosque (Masjid Raya) of Medan built in 1906.
In general, Medan isn’t really a tourist destination, but it’s a convenient stepping stone to other places like the ‘weekend getaway’ Brastagi, Gunung Leuser National Park at Bukit Lawang, and beautiful crater Lake Toba.


  1. Maimoon Palace – was built by the Sultan of Deli in 1888 and is a good picture of Sumatra looks like.
  2. Masjid Raya Mosque – Located outside Tanjung Pinang on Bintan island, Indonesia.The mosque was built in 1844. And are today one of Tanjung Pinang’s most popular attraction for visitors.
  3. Bukit Barisan Museum - Brigade General Leo Lopulisa opened this museum on June 21 1971. This museum was located in H. Zainul Arifin Street 8, Medan. This military museum kept several historic weapons include the weapon that was utilized in the struggle for independence and the revolt in North Sumatra during 1958
  4. Mesjid Raya - This Great mosque was one of the Sultan Deli legacies in North Sumatra other than the Maimoon Palace. This mosque was still utilized by the Muslim community to pray every day. Some of the building materials for this mosque decoration were made in Italy.
  5. Berastagi - popular mountain resort for weekend getaways, for Medan locals. About 1.5 hours drive from Medan.
  6. Bukit Lawang - A 3 hour journey from Medan, the latter half of the journey being a rather bumpy and pot-holed ride. Beautiful little village on the edge of the Leuser National Park and home to an Orang-utan rehabilitation center where you may get up close and personal with some of the inmates.
  7. Lake Toba - Toba is an immense volcanic lake covering area 1707 sq km (bigger than Singapore) with an island in the center. Formed by a gigantic volcanic eruption some 70,000 years ago, it is probably the largest resurgent caldera on Earth. Pulau Samosir, located in the middle of the lake. You get a ferry from Parapat to Pulau Samosir Island, they run every 1-2 hours, the last one at 7:30pm (Rp 7000). Tuk Tuk is the main town to stay on Samosir.
  8. 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.


Medan has the large number of interesting arts and crafts shops, especially along J1 Ahmad Yani.

  • Medan Mall. A must go place for tourists where you can find almost everything from fine jewellery, clothing, food, and groceries. The mall attached to Central Pasar that sells everything in bulk. This is the place where the big retailers are.
  • TauKo Medan, Cutting-edge Medan merchandise at Merdeka Walk, balai kota, lap.merdeka medan.
  • Toko Mr. Ben, sells imported western food all sorts at reasonable prices, e.g frozen New Zealand beef and lamb. It is a small, Chinese-owned shop, all expatriates know it.
  • Tondi Gallery - Contemporary arts by local, national and international artists.
  • Bolu Meranti located Jl. Kruing, near Jl. Meranti, on Petisah area. The home-made roll cakes with variety of tastes, such as cheese, blueberry, mocca etc.
  • Bika Ambon & Marquisa located at Jl. Majapahit, on Petisah area. With numbers of shops along the street there, you can do the selection.
  • Dried fruits with sugar on Pasar Rame, a famous morning till afternoon market, beside Thamrin Plaza.

Food & Beverages

  • Obonk Steak Restaurant located on Krakatau Street & Pattimura Street. It serves lot varieties of steak, salad and fried rice.
  • Apek’s Coffee House Jalan Hindu, Kesawan, Medan. Historic coffee house with excellent Lintong Coffee served up by 79-year old Apek. This place was set up by Apek’s father in 1922. Serves Roti Srikaya (Kaya Toast). Contains stalls with Indian Roti Cane bread with goat curry and martabaq and Malay Soto soup.
  • Merdeka Walk the hottest hangout place in town, cafe, resto, exhibition, entertainment at Lapangan Merdeka.
  • Tip Top Restaurant, used to be THE restaurant in Medan, this unique restaurant can trace its history back to the Dutch colonization. Located in Ahmad Yani street, the food has a nostalgic taste clinging on every bites.
  • Selat Panjang, Sumatera Streets and Semarang Streets is where some of the oldest Chinese eateries in Medan serves their reknown cuisines.
  • Mie Aceh Titi Bobrok, which has been dubbed by one of the Indonesian lifestyle magazines as the most popular local dish in Medan.
  • 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.
  • Pagaruyung Alley, located at Medan’s “little india” or refered as “kampung keling” by locals. They offer Indian and Indonesian cuisine.


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