Sunday, April 17, 2011


Medan is the capital of North Sumatra Province, a trading center and important harbor. Once part of the Deli Sultanate, the Mesjid Besar (Grand Mosque) and the Palace of the Sultan of Deli have been restored there past grandeur. Medan’s harbor, Belawan, is the sea link to Penang, Malaysia. Regular flights to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Amsterdam, Vienna, and Jakarta arc available, as well as destinations in Sumatra.

The Capital of North Sumatera Province and the largest city in Sumatera with a population around 2 million. Many travellers stay around the Grand Mosque, or Mesjid Raya where there are a number of budget hotels as well as star rated ones. The Mosque, one of Indonesia's largest, was built in 1906 in the Moorish style. Remember if you want to look inside to dress respectfully, no shorts or bare shoulders, take your shoes off before you enter (and make sure your feet are clean!) Medan does not get very good write ups in some guide books, but it can be a fun place, it has bars with live music, disco's, cinema etc, and about 300 Ex Pats have chosen to live here. If you are here for a few days it can be worth visiting:

Maimoon Palace: Built in 1886. Open to the pthlic. The Palace, Grand Mosque, and Taman Sri Deli (currently closed) are historically all part of the same complex.

Military Museum: Lots of old canons and guns, including weapons used in the War of independence. Also paintings depicting struggles against the Dutch. Zainil Arafin St. Much more interesting than it sounds.

The Library: An excellent collection of reference books and novels, including many classics in English. Touists can join, taking two books for a deposit of Rp 25.000. Definitely worth a visit if you are in Medan for a few days.

The Museum of North Sumatera. 51 Jl. H. M. Jon, established 18 years ago to present and preserve the natural and cultural history of North Sumatera's ethnic groupss. It has exhibits that date from the stone age to the merely antique.

The Crocodile Farm is the largest in Indonesia, With about 2,000 crocs of various species. Asam Kubang Village. Open 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, 10 km from city centre.

The Zoo. Three hectares full of animals. Traditional shows on Sundays. but both the zoo and the crocodile farm are not likely to appeal to most westerners.