North Sumatra, Indonesia: Travel/Tourist Information Guide
North Sumatra is a province in the Indonesian island of Sumatra. With an area of almost 73,000 square kilometers, it has an approximately 13 to 14 million inhabitants. The North Sumatra is the 4th most populous province in the country. The province stretches itself between the Indian Ocean and the Strait Malacca bordering Aceh on the northwest and Riau and West Sumatra on the southeast. Its main gateway is Medan, the capital city of the province. As the largest city of the region, it is the economic center and a bustling metropolis. The North Sumatra is currently divided into 25 regencies and 8 autonomous cities.
North Sumatra is a land of magical rainforests. The capital city, 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. In a short distance from the city, travelers head directly to Lake Toba, the largest lake in Southeast Asia covering an area of 1,145 square kilometers. With a depth of 450 meters, it is one of the deepest lakes in the world. Set at about 900 meters above sea level, it is a place where travelers relax and enjoy nature in a cooler climate.
Apart from these main tourist drags in North Sumatra, there are a lot of attractions that the province offers. There are a lot of things to do. At night, there are few places to go to. 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. A stay in the province is really advisable. There are hotels from luxury to budget hotels offering accommodation. These hotels are also hosting tours and excursion to the nearby provinces and other places at the outskirts of North Sumatra.
North Sumatra’s main gateway is Medan. It 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. There are buses that could take tourists to their destination in the whole province.