7 Things You Should Do When You’re in Medan
If you travel to Sumatra, Indonesia, the stop in the capital city of Medan is probably pretty short. But we spent a few weeks here, and can tell you how to maximize your time with the 7 things you should do in Medan!
1. Visit Coffee Shops
If you know me (Menekse), you know that I love coffee, which means all you have to do to make my day is to give me a good cup of coffee. (I know what you’re thinking, how easy for James, right? Right!). Read here about the best 7 things you should do when you’re in Medan!
Getting that good cup of coffee is quite easy here in Medan. While in some countries we had to search to find a real coffee, you get a tasty one no matter where you are in Medan.
Even if you don’t know anything about the island of Sumatra itself, you probably know that coffee beans are grown here.
We have enjoyed coffee in several different places; from little coffee shops to warungs, and also fancy places that are on the more pricy side. But no matter where it all tastes absolutely delicious.
Do you love coffee? If so, you will be in heaven here!
2. Don’t miss The Great Mosque of Medan
One of Medan’s landmarks is this stunning mosque. Completed in 1909, and large enough for 1500 believers, the Great Mosque of Medan is the largest mosque in North Sumatra.
One interesting fact is that the carpets came from Turkey, the marble from Italy, Germany, and China, the chandelier is from France, and the stained-glass windows are from Spain. Quite international!
Built by Sultan Makmun Al Rasyid and designed by the Dutch architect J.A. Tingdeman, the Great Mosque combines Middle Eastern as well as European architecture.
One thing that we have never experienced before while visiting mosques was that we had to pay to leave our shoes. It was 2500 Rp. per pair.
The entrance is free, but it is expected that you give a donation. Just give what you feel. We gave 20.000,00 Rp, but there were also fewer amounts (and more) noted in the guestbook.
And don’t forget to dress appropriately. Your knees and shoulders should be covered, and ladies should have a scarf to cover their heads.
As we relied on Grab to get from place to place, we found it very simple to get there. If you have your own car or scooter, the address is Jln. Sisingamangaraja Medan.
We found the mosque to be really beautiful. And if you go, go around to the left of the main entrance and you will have a great empty space for taking pictures.
3. Tour the Maimoon Palace
Another unique building that we visited while in Medan was the Maimoon Palace. Its architectural style is a mixture of Malay, Persian, and European.
We loved the green and yellow colors which are found both outside as well as inside the Palace.
Inside there is the giant royal throne chair and a large chandelier.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t too much to see inside and we thought there were too many tourist shops that rented royal costumes to get your picture taken.
We were about ready to go when we saw three young people looking at us and whispering to each other. Pretty soon they approached us and asked if they could take pictures with us. Of course, we couldn’t say no!?
The entrance fee to the Palace is 5000 Rp.
Address: Jln. Sultan Makmun Al Rasyid Medan
4. Swing by the Tirtanadi Water Tower
Originally, we had planned to walk to the tower from the Great Mosque, but it started raining so hard that we decided to drive back to the hotel.
When we Googled which direction the taxi would take us, we realized that we would pass this landmark. Lucky us!!
The water tower was built in 1886 by a private company for clean water that the city needed.
Our understanding is that it is not in full use anymore and is only used as a backup water supply.
5. Walk across the Titi Gantung Bridge
Honestly, we didn’t even know that this bridge existed. We just stumbled across it, and the only reason why we put it on our list was that we met some young Indonesian students who are studying English and they asked if they could interview us.
We were walking around, just to get that „local“ feeling as we ended up at the railway station where the bridge is located. Built for pedestrians, it seems to be kind of a gathering point now.
Despite that we didn’t know anything about it before, we found it to be really beautiful.
And talking to the students was a really nice experience.
6. Eat in a Warung
A Warung is a little restaurant that is mostly family-owned and usually has very reasonable prices. You can find them all over Medan.
We have eaten at several Warungs now. Sometimes we have no idea what we’re ordering, but that is part of the fun, right?! And it has always been very delicious.
7. Admire Colonial Architecture
Driving around Medan shows you all kinds of different things.
Sometimes it is the busses, which are so full that people are riding on top of them. Sometimes it is the rain that comes down so hard that you wonder if the cars will make it through the deep puddles.
But often it is the amazing buildings that you see along the way.
Go see the Lonsum Building, the Town Hall, the Bank of Indonesia, the Waren Huis Building, and the Post Office to get a good idea of Colonial Dutch Architecture in Medan.
Curious as to what we did outside of Medan? Read about our adventure in the jungle here.