Medan is the Jewel of Sumatra Island. When mentioning about South East Asia region and Indonesia, everyone must be crazy with Bali. This being the mystical island that attracts more than 3 millions visitors a year.
Little did we know, that romantic Indonesia has other tons of cultural and historical rich cities worth visiting. One of them is Medan, the fourth largest city in Indonesia that famously known as Parijs van Soematra for its resemblance to Paris during the Dutch Colonialism era.
The city of Medan is blessed with its strategic location in Indonesia and served by dozen of domestic and international flights to the region. Major South Asian Cities like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Bali, all have daily under 3 hours direct connections flights to Medan.
Medan is the Jewel of Sumatra Island
Connections to further cities in Asia such as Jeddah, Medina, Bangkok, and Colombo are also available. In addition, the city is equipped with the world-class airport opened in 2013. This is Kualanamu International Aiport. This positions Medan as a major point in the regions transport hub and Medan is the Jewel of Sumatra Island.
This is the first major airport in the region that has an integrated railway system within it. Train connections from the airport is something that is missing in other Indonesian major airports.
Moreover, the airport in Medan is one of only three airports in the archipelago that are capable of serving the huge A380 Superjumbo. This is a very large plane capable of taking many passengers. However it cannot land at every airport in the world.
Medan in Video
Take a browse in video of some of the sights of Medan, the jewel of Sumatra. See the coastal areas, the busy towns and tourist attractions in motion. Appreciate why Medan is the Jewel of Sumatra Island.
Where to Stay in Medan
Finding a place to stay in Medan is probably as easy as flipping your hand. With major international prestigious hotel chain operating in the city, coupled with other prominence local hotels such as Emerald Garden, Aston, and Swiss Bell, Medan is saturated (in a good way) with hotels, providing its visitor with a wide range of selection ready to cater every needs.
Moving Around Medan City
If you are looking for adequate mass transportation system, something that the like of Hong Kong, Tokyo, or Singapore familiar with, then you are clearly heading to the wrong place.
Medan, like any other Indonesian city, has other variety of public transportation system, which you hardly find in other part of the world. Here are the lists of some commonly used public transportation in Medan:
The Sudako Mini Bus
Sudako, it is basically modified minibus capable of handling around 10-15 passengers in one go. Having no air conditioning system, Sudako mainly serve lower middle class local people in daily mobilization.
Sudako has extensive networks covering lots of different routes, each assigned with specific number. For example, Sudako 52 serves route from Padang Bulan to Pinang Baris. The cost of using Sudako is varying according to distance and it is extremely cheap.
Using the Betor
This the abbreviation of Becak Motor, something similar with pedicab but equipped with motorized cycle. Using betor, you are practically can go anywhere in Medan. The driver usually is very knowledgeable about the city surrounding and cost per trip can be negotiated up front.
Using the betor to get around Medan is an excellent choice when your traveling budget is getting tighter. Some even said that you never really visiting Medan if you have not ride with Betor.
Traveling Around Medan by Vehicle
Taking a cab is probably the most logical choice for most travellers. A number of cab companies are operating in Medan and sometimes the tricky part is to find which one is ‘legitimate’. The term legitimate here refers to those using legal cab-meter.
If you find yourself riding a cab with no meter, then trouble may come your way, as the price will be out of sense. The safest way of finding legal cab is by asking assistance to your hotel staff. Never attempt to take unidentified random cab in the street by yourself, as you are more likely to become the victim of some monkey business.
If flexibility is what you want and you have plenty of spare money in your pocket then rent a car. Renting a car is the most ideal option to mingling around Medan. Most hotels offer car that can be rented with a fixed price for specific amount of time.
You can choose to also hire the driver. With only relatively small add on cost it will be much better to hire a local driver as he can navigate the city traffic obviously better and become travel guide as well. You will soon see why Medan is the Jewel of Sumatra Island.
Where to go in Medan
As the center of Deli Sultanate during 19th century. Medan has a large selection of old historical buildings and worthwhile museums that are too good too miss. Those who want to relive the exotic history of Deli Sultanate should be heading to Istana Maimoon and Masjid Raya.
Istana Maimoon is a grand palace built by Sultan of Deli in the late 19th century. While Masjid Raya is a big Islamic worship place that attracts thousands of religious visitors during the festive Ramadhan season every year. Both Istana Maimoon and Masjid Raya are located close to each other, making it easy to visit them in one go.
A couple of museums worth visiting are also situated in Medan such as North Sumatra Museum and Bukit Barisan Military Museum just to name a few. Another good attraction site that probably could blow your mind is Maha Vihara Maitreya.
This is one of South East Asia biggest vihara built in 1991. Situated in 4.5-acre area, the vihara is surrounded by peaceful beauty scenery making anyone want to stay there for ages.
The list of cultural and historical sightseeing in Medan could go on forever while the city is also continuously develop its metropolitan side to provide vibrant atmosphere to local people and visitors.
Last but not least, let us not forget that Medan also famously known as the home of some Indonesia’s most exotic and delicious foods. Its is easy to see why Medan is the Jewel of Sumatra Island.