Medan is the largest city in Sumatra, and the third largest city in Indonesia, i.e., after Jakarta and Surabaya. The town is about 1-hour flight north-west of Singapore and serves as the gateway to the western part of Indonesia, i.e., via Belawan Port and Kualanamu International Airport. Access from the city center to the port and airport is available by motorways and trains.
Bordering the Malacca Strait, Medan is a major city of commerce, industry, and business in Indonesia. There are many old buildings in Medan, most of which still retain the typical Dutch architecture. They include the old Town Hall Building, Medan Post Office, Tirtanadi Water Tower (which is an icon of Medan), Titi Gantung (a bridge over railroad), Post Office, Bank Indonesia, London Sumatera Building and old buildings in the Kesawan area. The vast Maimun palace of King Deli and the octagonal Grand Mosque of Medan dominate the center of the city, combining both Islamic and European styles. And Tjong A Fie Mansion, a museum in the former home of Chinese merchants, and the Indo-Moghul Catholic church in Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni, among others, have made Medan a center of diversity. The main tourist attractions are:
- Annai Velangkanni Catholic Church
- Maimun Palace
- Medan Grand Mosque
- Vihara Gunung Timur (Maha Vihara Maitreya)
- Shri Mariamman Hindu’s Temple
- Tjong A Fie Mansion
- Medan Post Office
- Pajak Ikan Lama (traditional fabric market)
- Ucok Durian
In addition to the provincial government offices, Medan is home to consulate offices from various countries such as the United States, Japan, Malaysia, and Germany.
What to Expect
Although Silangit International Airport provides the nearest access to Lake Toba, Medan continues to be the primary gateway to the lake since it serves a lot more flights that Siborongborong does. See Kualanamu International Airport.
Medan is also the first city in Indonesia to integrate the city and the airport with a train system. You can quickly get to the city center by a train called Railink. The ticket price is Rp150,000 (US$ 12). You can buy a ticket on arrival at the ticket counter.