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Things to do in Medan

  • 5 Feb 2014


Throughout history, communities from different parts of the world have always flocked to and thrived in Medan, making it a city with rich and strong living traditions. In addition to the native Bataks, the fourth largest city in Indonesia is characterized by sizeable Malay, Chinese and Indian populations, coupled by vibrant rhythms and ancient heritage.


Best of Medan

1. Merdeka Walk

A favourite hangout for the locals, you’ll find great selections of restaurants as you sway to the friendly rhythms of live music. Travelling with kids? No worries as they will get to enjoy themselves at the nearby Playland!

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2.  Maimun Palace

A heritage of the Deli Sultanate, the palace has a majestic combination of Malay, Spanish, Indian, Italian and Islamic architecture. Get your full dose of the experience by renting a traditional Malay costume and play the part of an ancient nobleman for the camera!

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3. Al Mashun Grand Mosque

Masjid Raya Al Mashun was built with contributions from everyone including the famous Tjong A Fie and even Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands herself! The majestic mosque is worth a visit or two.

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4. Vihara Gunung Timur

The temple is also known as Tong Yuk Kuang or Heng Hwa Bio, the largest Taoist temple in Medan. It is said to have an excellent feng shui position as it is located right across the Babura River.

5. Shri Mahamariamman Temple

This temple was built by the Tamil community with the definitive Dravidian style along with beautiful gopuram (entrance tower). It can get especially busy during Thaipusam and Deepavali festivals.

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6. Marian Shrine of Annai Velangkanni

Built in Indo-Moghul style, Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni is unique amongst Catholic shrines dedicated to Our Lady of Good Health. People from all over the world swear by the healing powers from the holy water here.

7. Tjong A Fie Mansion

The former residence of Tjong A Fie, a Chinese tycoon who played a major role in the development and welfare of Medan. Come and get a grand tour of the two-storey mansion of the once richest man in Medan.

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8. The Old Medan City Hall

Balai Kota Medan, the regal city hall constructed in 1908, has been transformed into a café whilst retaining its original opulence.

9. Bika Ambon

Bika Ambon is a delicious golden cake that is rich in coconut-milky goodness. Its sweet taste and spongy texture makes it a perfect treat for afternoon tea.

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10. Pasar Petisah

Petisah market is said to be as old as Medan itself, a delightful melting pot of friendly vendors of different ethnicities selling everything and anything under the sun! Look out for kebaya (traditional blouse-dress) and laces!

Nearby Attractions

Lake Toba

Formed by a prehistoric volcanic explosion, it is the largest volcanic lake in the world with towering mountains surrounding the caldera. Its area is larger than the whole country of Singapore and there are many interesting places to visit, from hot springs to the tombs of ancient Batak kings.

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Bukit Lawang

A UNESCO World Heritage Site comprise mainly of shady trees, cool rivers and a sanctuary for 5,000 Sumatran orangutans who are even more endangered than their Bornean cousins.

Nias Islands

The beauty of Nias Islands was once a secret only shared amongst surfers, and now, it is still a tranquil and serene spot. Though known for its amazing waves, Nias is also the home to unique megalithic sites and beautiful beaches.

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Sipiso-piso Waterfall

A 120-metre high waterfall with a vast plain, surrounded by lush green hills. Make sure to drop by the waterfall on your way to Lake Toba!

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