Medan, Indonesia: Travel/Tourist Information Guide
Medan is the capital city of the province of North Sumatra. It is the 4th largest city in Indonesia and the largest city outside Java. Its metro area has 18 municipalities and home to four million inhabitants. It is bordered by the Deli Serdang Regency to the east, south and west, and the Strait of Malacca to the north. Legendary plantation owners became immensely wealthy during the colonial era including the Chinese, Portuguese, and the Dutch. The city of Medan was known as “Deli” during the Dutch establishment of tobacco commerce after the Deli Company along with the construction of the Deli Railway for shipping. After the Dutch occupation, the Japanese invasion began in 1942 throughout Indonesia until the Independence of Indonesia in August 17, 1945.
Nowadays, Medan is the main gateway to the province of North Sumatra. As the main gateway and as the capital city, it is a commercial and economic hub. Medan was dubbed as the Parijs van Soematra due to the city's resemblance to Paris. The city was recognized as one among six cities in Asia to feature and preserve several colonial architectural sites. A diversity of cultures and races co-exist in Medan as the rest of this incredibly diverse country. Coming to Medan is a step back in time to the era of the colonization. There are also monuments and places to visit that are Oriental as the Chinese and Indian cultures also left their mark to this city. Medan is not only about religious monuments. Other attractions to be seen here is of course, wildlife. It is hard to understand how cities teeming with humanity can leave room for an overwhelming amount of animal, bird, fish and vegetation species and there are several wildlife centers in Medan and its surroundings.
There are many things one can do in Medan, so it is worth a day exploring the city. The city comes more alive when the sun goes down. The nightlife is not complete without drinking. Medan has numerous options for those looking for a drink or two. Everything from inexpensive beer bars to the trendy clubs, the city has something to offer. There are also wine bars and exclusive night spots in the hotels. As a tourist hub, Medan has countless hotels and other forms of accommodation. These hotels can even provide assistance for tours and excursions to the places on the outskirts of the city. Medan can serve as a launch pad to reach other tropical paradisiacal islands nearby.
Medan is the primary departure and arrival stop in Sumatra. Medan can be reached by air and boat, but it is also possible to travel by bus, car or train.
The Kualanamu International Airport, about 45 kilometers away from the city center, has international flights from Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and domestic flights from Banda Aceh, Batam, Gunung Sitoli, Jakarta, Padang, Pekanbaru, and Pontianak. From the airport, there are shuttle buses and airport trains that could take the visitors to the city center.
Ferries are also available. The port of Belawan, about 26 kilometers away from the city center, is the main port that also caters to the high-speed ferries coming from Penang.
Upon arrival in Medan, public transport is available including taxi and becak. One can also rent a car or a motorcycle to conveniently get around the city.