Medan travel guide

Medan Tourism | Medan Guide

You're Going to Love Medan

The fourth-largest city in Indonesia, and comfortably the largest on Sumatra, Medan is an exciting place to spend time. Bursting with energy, it's a city that offers historical sights, great food, nightlife, and access to the famous rainforests of the island.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Medan

1. Colonial Architecture

Medan was once a hub for local princes, rubber planters, and Chinese traders, and this economic heritage is still evident in a wealth of 19th-century buildings like the glorious Istana Maimoon palace or the Tjong A Fie Mansion.

2. Impressive Religious Sights

Medan is a meeting point of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. See awe-inspiring sights like the massive Maha Vihara Maitreya Buddhist temple or the beautiful Masjid Raya mosque.

3. Visit the Sumatran Interior with Ease

There are some gorgeous spots near Medan, including Lake Toba (a vast crater lake) and the Berastagi highlands.

4. Exciting Family Attractions

You'll find several huge amusement parks like Hairos Water Park and Hillpark Sibolangit that have all the rides and slides you could need.

5. Enjoy an Indonesian Spa Experience

Medan has a wealth of masterful masseurs. Make a booking at places like Zengarden and feel your stress evaporating in seconds.

Where to Eat in Medan

If you want a sweet treat, the Medanese roll cakes at Bolu Meranti are a must. For sit-down meals, Cahaya Baru is a superb Indian option, and Sushi Tei is an excellent Japanese eatery. Meals should cost around Rp25-40,000.

When to visit Medan

Medan in August
Estimated hotel price
$9
1 night at 3-star hotel
Medan in August
Estimated hotel price
$9
1 night at 3-star hotel

Medan's temperature hardly budges from around 85 degrees all year round due to its tropical location. However, the dry season between March and August is probably the best time to go.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Fahrenheit (°F)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Medan

Plane

Flights land at Kualanamu International Airport (KNO). From there, you can take a fast rail connection (Rp100,000, 30 minutes) or take the DAMRI bus (Rp20,000). Taxis will cost around Rp150,000.

Train

Medan has good rail connections with other Sumatran cities, and "executive" class can provide a very comfortable ride. Services arrive at Stasiun Medan in the center.

Car

If you are driving up Sumatra's east coast, there's only one major artery: Jl. Lintas Sumatera. From the cruise port at Belawan, take Jl. Tol Belmera straight into Medan.

Bus

Buses run from north and southern Sumatra into Amplas Station Central. It's actually not that central, so a taxi ride will probably then be needed (around Rp50,000).

Airports near Medan

Airlines serving Medan

Lufthansa
Good (28,401 reviews)
KLM
Good (3,806 reviews)
SWISS
Excellent (9,188 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Excellent (11,532 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (15,777 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (6,759 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (3,957 reviews)
Malaysia Airlines
Good (1,543 reviews)
ANA
Excellent (4,703 reviews)
Oman Air
Good (669 reviews)
Vistara
Excellent (154 reviews)
China Airlines
Good (3,710 reviews)
AirAsia
Good (1,197 reviews)
Garuda Indonesia
Excellent (718 reviews)
Batik Air
Good (9 reviews)
Indonesia AirAsia
Good (305 reviews)
Lion Air
Okay (46 reviews)
Citilink
Excellent (23 reviews)
Sriwijaya Air
Good (13 reviews)
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Where to stay in Medan

Some of Medan's best hotels include the JW Marriott Hotel Medan (which has one of the best spas in town) and the Grand Swiss-Belhotel Medan.

Popular neighborhoods in Medan

Medan Kota - the eastern half of the city center, Kota is home to the beautiful Masjid Raya Al-Mashun mosque and some excellent restaurants, like Wajir Seafood.

Namo Simpur - a spread-out southern suburb, Namo Simpur is a great place to cool off and relax, thanks to the Hairos Water Park.

Medan Barat - the commercial hub of Medan and the best place to hunt for great food, Barat has a vast amount of eateries, offering Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, and European cuisine.

Where to stay in popular areas of Medan

Most booked hotels in Medan

Prime Plaza Hotel Kualanamu
Excellent (8.7, 258 reviews)
$37+
Thong's Inn - Kno Kualanamu Transit Hotel
Excellent (8.5, 180 reviews)
$31+
The Crew Hotel Kualanamu International Airport
Excellent (8, 24 reviews)
$19+
The Maharaja Business Hotel
Poor (0, 0 reviews)
$82+
Royal Hills Vasai - Thane
Poor (0, 0 reviews)
$45+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Medan

Public Transportation

Buses in Medan tend not to cater to tourist needs. Instead, most visitors use "sudako" minivans which ply the most popular routes and charge around Rp5,000 for a standard journey.

Taxi

Taxis in Medan usually charge a meter drop of around Rp7,000, and then a fare of Rp6,000 per mile. It's advisable to negotiate a price before traveling, however.

Car

Car rental companies in Medan include Rental Mobil Medan and Medan 88 Rent Car, and prices are usually reasonable, starting at Rp35,000 per day.

Car rental agencies in Medan

Find car rentals in Medan

The Cost of Living in Medan

Shopping Streets

Shopping in Medan is all about the malls. Sun Plaza, Cambridge City Square, Plaza Medan Fair, and Medan Mall all offer high-end international brands and dining options.

Groceries and Other

Local supermarkets include Carrefour and Brastagi. Prices are low, at around Rp15,000 for 12 eggs.

Cheap meal
$1.79
A pair of jeans
$45.60
Single public transport ticket
$0.36
Cappuccino
$1.20