Medan City Profile

Long known as the gateway to the wilds of northern Sumatra, Medan is capital of this largely Islamic area of the country. Be prepared to be stared at and possibly hassled if you’re not dressed modestly and conservatively.

Don’t wear shorts, tank tops, or even “clingy” clothes, because the locals will be very offended. Skirts, t-shirts, and light cotton pants are your best bets. Batik patchwork pants are widely available and super cheap. Check out official Medan tourism information on this website.


2.1 million


Medan is the capital city of North Sumatra province on the island of Sumatra. It is located just inland from the port of Belawan.


Medan’s coastal location makes for hot, humid weather year-round.


Medan’s international airport has connecting flights to Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Penang, and has air service to all major airports in Indonesia as well. You can also reach Medan by bus or train, or via boat through the port of Belawan. Travel within the city is best undertaken by bus, bemo, becak, or taxi. Be sure to agree on a fare before you embark; prices for foreigners are generally higher.

Places of Interest

Keep an eye out for unusual architecture, and be sure to visit Sultan’s Palace, the Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, and the Museum of North Sumatra.


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