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Medan is the capital city of North Sumatera and is one of the four main cities in Indonesia with the other 3 cities being Jakarta, Surabaya, and Makassar. The city has a population of over 2.2 million people and is a busy trading city along the Strait of Malacca. What are the things to do in Medan Indonesia?

Medan is very much a regional hub and because it is a trading city it is very much a multicultural city. In Medan, you can visit museums, see historic buildings, enjoy the local food, visit Toba Lake, and more. Medan is popular in Indonesia despite this fact it is not as famous as Bali or other places in Indonesia.

In this post, we will go through things to do in Medan Indonesia. So let’s get started!

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Is Medan Indonesia Worth Visiting?

Medan is not a place tourists generally visit when traveling to Indonesia as Bali is where they go. Medan is worth visiting if you are interested in enjoying the local food and visiting museums, the more cultural things. But if it is to party then no as it is definitely not a party town.

Is Medan Indonesia Safe To Visit?

Yes, Medan is safe but safe does not mean zero crime. You do need to use basic common sense. Simply Indonesia is not a wealthy country so do not bring all your money around with you and keep it in your hotel safe. Do not be flash with your money either.

Muggers and pickpockets are a major problem in Indonesia and Medan is no exception. Ignore anyone who is overly friendly with you, just smile and keep walking.

You do need to be aware of the crazy driving, manholes on sidewalks, open sewage, and the fumes from all the cars, mopeds, and bentors.

Things To Do In Medan Indonesia

Medan is the largest city in the Indonesian province of North Sumatra and is one of the four main cities in Indonesia. There are numerous landmarks around the city. There are fun things to do in Medan that will keep you busy for a few days.

Here are some of the best things to do in Medan Indonesia.

Rent A Bentor

Bentor is a type of public transportation that uses a motorbike like a pedicab which is commonly used in North Sumatra. You can find this kind of pedicab in every corner of the city.

Bentor in Medan

When in Medan, you have to try using a Bentor to travel around the city. The locals usually used the Bentors as they are cheap and you can go anywhere within the city. All you have to do is just say where you want to go and then the driver will take you there.

Explore Medan City

You can use a Bentor to explore Medan city because it is not too expensive and it is also flexible. Medan is a busy and crowded city and there are about 2 million people who live in the city.

There are also a lot of Chinese in Medan who own some shops. If you do not want to be stuck in a traffic jam. You can also rent a motorcycle but you have to make sure that you have a license, otherwise, you may have problems if caught by the police.

Try The Local Food

If you are a bit of a foodie, there are so many typical local meals you can enjoy in Medan. You may want to try Arsik which is an Indonesian spicy fish dish that is popular in North Sumatera. There is also a large range of fruits that you can enjoy such as the Durian fruit.

You may also try Holat which is a popular food from Mandailing people and there are many other types of food you can type such as Bika Ambon, Bakso, Mi Sop, and much more.

Visit Historical Buildings

Medan has a long history but you can still see some historical buildings which have a lot of stories. Some of the historical buildings that you may visit are.

Istana Maimun medan
  • Istana Maimun.
  • Tjong A Fie.
  • Tirtanadi Water Tower.
  • And many more buildings since the Dutch colonial era.

Visit Taman Buaya

Literally, Taman Buaya is called Crocodile Park. Taman Buaya is not far from Medan. It is about 5 kilometers from the city. This is the biggest reptile park in Indonesia where you can see more than 2000 crocodiles of many different sizes.

Taman Hewan Pematang

Lho Than Muk is the person who had the idea to keep crocodiles in this park. If you are not afraid of crocodiles or you wonder what they look like, then this park is a worthwhile visit got a few hours.

See Taman Alam Lumbini

You can go to the south of Medan and head to Tongkoh Village, Tanah Karo regency where you can see a big Pagoda as you see it in Myanmar. However, it is just the replication of Shwe Dagon Pagoda as a Buddhist building.

Taman Alam Lumbini in Medan

You do not need to pay when you enter the Pagoda but you have to follow the rule and do not forget to put off your shoes. You can get to this location by renting a motorcycle because the landmark is quite isolated.

Mesjid Raya Mosque

The main mosque in Medan and one of the largest mosques in the city. The Mesjid Raya is an interesting mix of Middle-Eastern, Indian and Spanish architecture. Constructed in 1906, the Grand Mosque, or Mesjid Raya, was designed by a Dutch architect, and tombs of former sultans can be found on its grounds.

Mesjid Raya Mosque in Medan

The mosque is made with beautifully designed marble, stained glass windows, and an immaculate octagonal design. This is a good place to visit for a cultural insight into Medans history and architecture.

Expect to spend around IDR 10,000 for a visit and there is also a tip for the person who looks after your shoes.

Visit The Museum Of North Sumatra

The Museum of North Sumatra is considered the best museum in the city and a must-see or things to do in Medan if you want to learn more about the history and culture of the province.

At the museum, you will find galleries that tell the story of the different periods of North Sumatran history and take you through the Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim eras as well as the Dutch colonial period.

Trekking In Bukit Lawang

Bukit Lawang is an Orang Utan conservation area that is located in Langkat Regency, North Sumatera. If you want to see the real Orang Utan, then you can visit Bukit Lawang. It takes three hours from Medan so you can reach this landmark anyway.

Orangutan in the Orangutan Centre

You also do not need to worry because there are so many tourists who visit this place every day and there are also some guides who are ready to take you to Bukit Lawang.

Visit Sipiso-Piso Waterfall

If you enjoy waterfalls, then the Sipiso-Piso waterfall might be worth a visit. This is also known as the highest waterfall in Indonesia that is worth visiting. You can enjoy the beauty of the waterfall along with the view of Toba Lake.

Sipiso-Piso Waterfall

Enjoy Toba Lake

If you want to see one of the biggest lakes on earth, then you may only see it in North Sumatera, Indonesia. When you visit Medan, it will be perfect if you visit Toba Lake to enjoy its wonderful view and greatness.

Toba Lake in Indonesia

Toba Lake was known as the biggest volcano on earth but now it has become a great lake with an island in the middle of the lake. Many visitors come to Medan because they want to see this beautiful and amazing lake.

If you want to get there, it takes 4 hours from Medan and you can stay in Toba Lake by renting a villa or a hotel available.

What To Buy In Medan Indonesia?

Medan is quite famous for its food. If you visit Medan, there are many kinds of local food that are worth trying. Here is a list of only a few to try, there are loads more that I could mention.

  • Bika Ambon.
  • Lapis Legit.
  • Bolu Gulung Meranti.
  • Durian Fruit.
  • Durian Pancakes.
Bika Ambon

Also, there is Ulos cloth. Ulos cloth is a special fabric as well as the pride of the people of North Sumatra. This cloth must be used for a variety of special occasions ranging from weddings, and funerals to welcoming guests.

Wrapping Up

Finally, Medan is very much a regional hub and because it is a trading city it is very much a multicultural city. When in Medan you can visit museums, see historic buildings, enjoy the local food, visit Toba Lake, and more. As a party city, it is definitely not a party city.

And that’s it for now! I’d love to know if this guide on the things to do in Medan has helped you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if there is more to add.

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Things to do in Medan Indonesia
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