Sumatra's

MEDAN

Global Mark : 9.59 /20

 

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
1 1 2 1 2 1 1 2 2 12.00

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
11 45% (5) 27% (3) 18% (1)   7.18


Description :
The capital of Sumatra and the third biggest city of Indonesia with 2.5 millions people

Comments : In spite of the efforts of the population to promote tourism, Medan remains a transit town with very little attractions. 

What to do ? Get some info from the tourists office / Pick up a copy of the free magazine "Friendly Planet" for the latest info about North Sumatra and Aceh plus a useful linguistic section  / Have a look at the Maimoon Palace / Continue to the superb Mosque, Mesjid Raya (donation) / Walk Chinatown and its two markets (Jalan Sutamo) / Learn about the cultural history of North Sumatra at the Museum [price, schedules] / Shop in one of the numerous shopping malls (cheaper in Medan than in the rest of Sumatra, see below) / Visit a fabric of hand bags (crocodile farm, Asam Kubang village, open from 9.00AM to 5.00PM, 10km of the city center, [how to reach], more than 2000 crocodiles / If you crave for more animals, visit the zoo / If you crave for more culture, visit the military museum (Jalan Zainul Arafin) / Escape the town by going to Siombak Indah Lake (Rengas Pulau, 18 km away) /  

What you may not like ? The noise, pollution and dirtiness / The lack of attractions / The lack of animation / The pushy locals, too happy to "help you" / The depressing zoo / Being turned into an exotic hand bag if you fall into the crocodiles' den / The lack of motorbikes for rent / Paying for an air cond or minibus to find yourself in a local bus (conclusion : always pay for local bus, you may find yourself in an AC !) / The waking up prayer at 4am. Welcome to a the most populated Muslim Country in the world !

How long ? As short as possible. If you can avoid staying, avoid !


Where to stay ? Most of the accomodations are in the Mesjid raya area :

  • Sumatera Garuda ("Sugar" hotel) (062) 734350 / Jalan Sisingamangaraja, near the Mesjid Raya & Yuki Simpang Raya / Dorm (4) R7000 / Dbl w. shower & fan R25000, Trpl without shower R21000 / All rooms w. windows mosquito nets / Internet R5000 per hour / Restaurant / Go there for the cheapest bed in town, the OK rooms and the clean bed sheets / What you may not like : the location by a busy street and the Mosque, the few mosquitoes
  • Zakia Hotel, in the small street opp. the above, in front of Mesjid Raya / Dbl w. fan R17000, w. shower R20000 to R25000, Trpl R300000 / Incl. light breakfast / Go there for the cheapest room and to hear the children from the opp. school sing at 7am  / What you may not like : the noisy location, the way the kids sing, the too light breakfast 
  • Deli Raya Hotel [tel], next to Sugar hotel / Dbl w. shower R34000, Trpl R44000, w AC & TV R53000 / Family ropm (4 people) R63000 / Go there for a bit of luxury / What you may not like : the noisy location, the prices
  • Hotel Garuda Citra, Jalan Sisingamangaraja:2 / Rooms w. AC, HW shower and TV start at R70000
  • Hotel Dhaksina (7320000) / Rooms w. shower start at R50000 or R60000 w. AC
  • Hotel Garuda Plaza (7361234, email : reserv@garudahotel.com) Luxury rooms start at R1400000 / Go there if you are rich and to enjoy the free half an hour internet service included with the room price (really generous !)
  • A few more budget hotels in the same area as the Mesjid Raya : the Tamara Hotel (behind the above), Shariba Hotel or Irma Hotel 

Where to eat ? Medan lack good markets like in Malaysia. You can try your luck at one of the Shopping Center (see below).

Bike or Motorbike ? Bike R4000, motorbike R5000 

Internet ? The cheapest place is at Perisai Plaza / The basic cost is R5000 per hour w. no min. charge

Shopping Center ? Numerous shopping centers :

-Yuki Simpang Raya, near the Mesjid raya (10.00AM-9.00PM),supermarkets, shops, Mc do, KFC, ATM, Food, Internet (5000Rp/hr).
-Medan mall (bus No3), internet, shops, food...
-Thamrin plaza, cinema, food, swimmind pool, internet, fire disco. Becak to go 4000Rp 
-Perisai Plaza, bowling, cheapest  internet in town (2500RP en semaine, 3500rp le week-end/hr), Kristal disco, cinema, Lunar cafe with pool table.
-Deli Plaza (bus No30), cinema, food, shopping, internet.
-Hong-Kong Plaza, health center for 25000rp, swimming pool 10000Rp, internet (more expensive but for how long ?).

Change money ? Plenty of banks and money changers. ATM available on Jl A. Yani, near the tourist office

Tourist Office ? Jalan Jend A. Yani Num 107. Tel : (061) 4538101. Not very popular with the local people as they would rather give you the info directly and get some business going. 

Bus Schedules :

To Price Type Duration Time
Berastagi 3K / 22K ordi / mini  2.5-3 when full
Bukit Lawang 3K/ 25K ordi / mini 2.5-3 when full
Lake Toba 30K mini 4-5 when full
Bukittinggi 45K ordi   when full

Minibus with Tobali Tour & Travel

Train ? 10000Rp up to Siantar (4h), then local Bus to Parapat (Lake Toba) 

Boat to Penang ? Penang-Medan : Rm90 + Rm6 tax, Medan-Penang Rm90 + Rp15000 tax, Return Rm160 + tax