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Medan

Travel Guide Asia Indonesia Sumatra North Sumatra Medan

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Introduction

Red hot Chillis

Red hot Chillis

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Medan is the third biggest city in Indonesia, and is the capital of North Sumatra province. It's located in the east coast of North Sumatra, bordered by the Malaka Strait to the east, and Deli Serdang residence to the north, west, and south.

Medan was founded on July 1st, 1590 by Guru Patimpus, and until now, still sitting on the Land of Deli Sultanate.Today, there is still the Maimoon Palace, the palace of Deli Sultanate, that was built by Sultan Makmun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alamsyah in 1887 - 1891. Medan has four sister cities:

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Neighbourhoods

Medan's central point is around Sudirman Street, and spans to all directions, to Menteng in the southeast, Medan Baru and Sunggal to the west, Medan Perjuangan and Tembung in the east, Polonia area in the southwest, and Petisah at the northern part of Medan.

Sudirman street and its surroundings (Zainul Arifin, Diponegoro, Gajah Mada, Imam Bonjol, Juanda) are the areas of government offices, government's home offices, and also private buildings. Within this area you can also find Kampung Keling (an area that is occupied by a sizable community of Tamil descent) and Pagaruyung (an area that is occupied by the Minang community). Here you can also find Sun Plaza, the most modern shopping center in Medan. Sudirman street and its surroundings are usually getting a little bit crowded at certain hours (around 5pm).

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Sights and Activities

  • Crocodile Conservation
  • Sun Plaza - Most modern shopping centre in Medan
  • PRSU (Pekan Raya Sumatera Utara)

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Events and Festivals

  • Ramadhan Fair - Yearly festivval in Medan and usually held in Festing Month, Medan Government put this festival to celebrate Hari Raya Lebaran. During this festival, you can find many local food and souvenirs though the food can be very spicy.

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Weather

May to September is the dry season in Medan. April is transition month, you can have very hot temperatures up to 35 °C during the day. Nights usually are around 22 °C. Please be prepared to have some heavy rain showers possible all year but heaviest during the wet season. During storms on the Indian Ocean, the climate in Medan is unpredictable. You can have quiet sunny weather in the morning but in the afternoon you will get heavy showers.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max31.6 °C32 °C32.7 °C32.9 °C33.4 °C33.3 °C32.9 °C33.3 °C31.9 °C31.7 °C31 °C30.9 °C
Avg Min22.2 °C22.6 °C23.2 °C23.5 °C23.3 °C23.6 °C23.5 °C22.8 °C22.2 °C22.6 °C23 °C22.5 °C
Rainfall92 mm115 mm97 mm157 mm178 mm141 mm167 mm185 mm263 mm387 mm253 mm228 mm
Rain Days141913182215131724222019

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Getting There

By Plane

Polonia International Airport (MES) in the middle of Medan, has flights flying in from cities in neighbouring countries. Medan is serviced by Silk Air and JetStar from Singapore; Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur; Firefly from Penang and Kuala Lumpur; and many domestic airlines from Jakarta, Batam, Surabaya, Pekanbaru, Yogyakarta, Banda Aceh etc. The old airport is due to be closed soon with a brand new opening some 45 minutes drive from the city.

By Boat

There is a daily ferry operating between Penang in Malaysia to Belawan (the port of Medan). From Penang, it leaves at 9:00am, arriving at 1:00pm. From Medan it leaves at 10:30am arriving in Penang at 2:30pm. Check the Langkawi Ferry website for more details about schedules and prices.

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Getting Around

By Car

There are many car rental agencies in Medan, for example TRAC (Toyota Rent A Car). In local newspaper you can find rental cars from around IDR 250.000 to IDR 300.000 (US$35). Just be sure to include insurance and otherwise rent a car with a driver.

By Public Transport

As a mode of local transport you can use Angkutan Kota. It's a lot cheaper, the cost is about IDR 5,000 per 10 kilometres. This way of getting around is not suggested though, because it's too small and too hot in them.

Another way of getting around is Becak Motor. It's a rickshaw with motor power. You must haggle the price first. Do not be afraid, try to haggle half price from what the driver asks in the first place.

Taxi's are another alternative mode of transport in Medan. But be careful, there are many malafide taxi drivers, who don't use their official meters. It's best to use a brand new taxi instead called Express Taxi.

By Foot

Getting around by foot is only suggested if you want to walk upon Old City Kesawan or Textile Market in Pajak Ikan. Please be careful with your bags. There are regular reports that tourists are being snatched in Medan.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Candi Hotel124, Darussalam Street, Medan - North SumateraHotel-
Gumagaba Youth HostelJln. S.Raja Simpang Amplas 21. MedanHostel-
Kost VIPJl. Sunggal No. 58-60, Simpang Jln. Sei batang HarHOSTEL-
Sultan HomestayJl SM Raja no 66 Medan - North Sumatra - IndonesiaHOSTEL-
Nora's Homestay and RainforestJl. OrangutanGUESTHOUSE-

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet is becoming more widely used in Indonesia, and warung Internet (warnet) - Internet cafés - are emerging everywhere. A lot of restaurants and cafés in big cities normally have wireless internet available for free. Internet connection speed in Indonesia varies between ISP and location. Prices vary considerably, and as usual you tend to get what you pay for, but you'll usually be looking at around Rp3,000 to Rp5,000 per hour with faster access than from your own mobile phone. In large cities, there are free WiFi hotspots in many shopping malls, McDonald restaurants, Starbucks cafes, 7 Eleven convenience stores, and in some restaurants and bars. Some hotels provide free hotspots in the lobby and/or in their restaurants and even in your rooms.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

You can use 112 as an emergency number through mobile phones. Other numbers include 110 (police), 113 (fire) and 118 (ambulance).
The international phone code is 62.

If you have GSM cellular phone, ask your local provider about "roaming agreement/facility" with local GSM operators in Indonesia (i.e.: PT Indosat, PT Telkomsel, PT XL Axiata). The cheapest way is buying a local SIM card, which would be much cheaper to call and especially use internet compared to your own cell phone's sim card.

The Indonesian mobile phone market is heavily competitive and prices are low: you can pick up a prepaid SIM card for less than Rp 10,000 and calls may cost as little as Rp 300 a minute to some other countries using certain carriers (subject to the usual host of restrictions). SMS (text message) service is generally very cheap, with local SMS as low as Rp129-165, and international SMS for Rp400-600. Indonesia is also the world's largest market for used phones, and basic models start from Rp 150,000, with used ones being even cheaper.

Post

Pos Indonesia provides the postal service in Indonesia. Pos Indonesia is government-owned and offers services ranging from sending letters and packages to money transfers (usually to remote areas which have no bank branch/ATM nearby) and selling postcards and stamps. Sending a postcards, letter or parcel is relatively expensive, but fairly reliable. It takes several days at least to send it within Indonesia, at least a week internationally. It is recommended to send letters from a Pos Indonesia branch, not by putting it inside orange mailbox (called Bis Surat) in the roadside, because some of the mailboxes are in very bad condition and aren't checked regularly by Pos Indonesia. Opening times of post offices usually tend to follow general business hours: Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm (sometimes shorter hours on Fridays), Saturdays from 8:00am to 1:00pm, closed on Sundays. Bigger cities, tourist areas and central post offices tend to keep longer hours, into the evenings.

Private postal services based in Indonesia include CV Titipan Kilat (CV TIKI), Jalur Nugraha Ekaputra (JNE), Caraka, and RPX. There are also foreign postal services that have branches in Indonesia, including DHL, TNT, UPS, and FedEx.

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This is version 17. Last edited at 8:50 on Jul 15, 14 by Utrecht. 17 articles link to this page.

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