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78 Top Things to Do in Medan, Indonesia – Natural – Cultural – Historical Places

by Yuli Ana

Medan is one of big cities in Indonesia which is also rich of tourism destinations and best places to spend quality time with beloved people. It may be less popular than Bali, Malang or Yogyakarta, but it does not mean that Medan offers less interesting destinations. Located at North Sumatra Province, Medan has a lot of cultural and historic destination places as well as natural tourism spots so do consider to enlist Medan at the tourism destination list you are going to visit at holiday, special moments or traveling period. You can also make a plan to visit those destination in your visit for business or family meetings.

Everyone would likely relate Medan to Toba Lake, which is the largest lake in Indonesia. It is internationally recognized tourism destination which can also introduce—and improve—other tourism destinations at Medan or at general, at North Sumatera. International regional tourists visiting Toba Lake would not want to visit one particular spot only, so that it leads local government to promote Medan tourism and make improvement as fa as they can. Therefore, Medan has been establishing and improving other tourism destinations to enhance local income as well as promote local culture and product. Based on this very basic reason, you may consider more to visit Medan sooner than what you planned before.

For your information and reference, here are some Medan’s cornerstones of tourism destinations. You can pay attention to the information to decide the right time of visit or invite right persons to be with you in traveling to Medan. For easing you to digest information, the following list will be categorized to several points including natural tourism spot, entertainment center and historical-cultural buildings. As a result, there are many things to do in Medan, Indonesia.

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Natural Tourism Spots

1. Linting Lake

Linting Lake is located at STM Hulu Village, Sibunga-bunga Hilir, Deli Serdang Region. This small lake (about one hectar) has green and blue water surrounded by rocks and big tress. It is originally volcanic lake containing sulfur which then influence the water color. Well, Linting lake has greenish and bluish color, so it looks so beautiful. Thus, the water feels so warm when you sink your feet into it. This combination makes it a shady place which is suitable to visit at holiday, weekend or other special times. However, visitors are advised not to swim too far because it can be dangerous because of natural and/or mystical factor. As a result, Linting lake is so amazing and naturally beautiful.

2. Sipiso-piso Tongging Waterfall

Places to visit in Medan Indonesia, just like Linting Lake, local people also believe that this waterfall has mystical values. It is located quite far from Brastagi, i.e. about 135 km, inside Sipiso-piso mountain area and close to Toba Lake. Sipiso-piso’s water height is about 120 m and visitors can reach the spot after stepping one thousand zig-zag rungs taking about half an hour. Geographical position makes this waterfall very beautiful because visitors can enjoy great panorama view (including the illusion of rainbow color), breathe fresh and clean air as well as happily enjoy the strong stream water falling from the top or simply listening to the water sound from the top of hill. Thus, this is one of the highest waterfall in Indonesia. Also, it brings so beautiful view and gives you warm feeling when you spend a day.

3. Sibayak and Sinabung Mountain

Sibayak is located at Brastagi area, taking about 2km trip by bus from Medan. Local people call Sibayak mountain as King Mountain, or Gunung Raja because Sibayak—which is also a name of village— means a king at their local language. Mountaineers like to hike this mountain whose height is about 2.094 m above the sea surface. As an active volcano mountain, Sibayak billows out the smoke about 2 km height so that local government uses it as an electrical source. Surroundings are local people residences who choose to still stay at the are although the mountain possibly erupts anytime. This is one of the best Medan attractions.

Meanwhile, Sinabung, erupted a few years ago, is also a favorite destination for mountaineers. It becomes a great background of Brastagi area as well as the fruit park Tongkoh. At its ‘feet’, Sinabung has a small yet beautiful lake called Lau Kawar particularly at the ecosystem area of Leuser, Kuta Gugug Village, Simpang Empat, Karo Regency. Taking about 3 hour-trip from Medan downtown, the lake is very suitable and comfortable for camping location. Surrounding are some traditional villages so visitors will easily cover their needs. However, they are prohibited to swim or take a bath at the lake because a mystical belief says that any swimmer will disappear.

4. Lawang Hill

To arrive at Lawang Hill, visitors can pass Binjai Town because it is about 80 km from Medan downtown. It has a conservation area of Indonesian animal, Orang utan, so that international tourists like to visit this spot, especially those who are interested about local animal study. Orang Utan Conservation Park located at this hill cares about 500 Orang Utans.

In addition to Orang Utan, visitors can also meet with other animals visiting other sides of Lawang Hill, which are National Park of Lauser Mountain. The park contains tropical forest and some natural tourism destination from waterfall, Bahorok River and hot water center. Visitors can find Sumatera Elephant, Sumatera Rhinoceros, goat, Sambar Deer etc at the forest. This is particularly suitable for study tour to introduce Indonesian animals to children or students. One of the top things to do in Medan Indonesia.

5. Dwi Warna Sibolangit Lake and Waterfall

Located relatively quite close to Medan, this destination is preferable for those who visit Medan for business or family agenda. They can reach the spot which is at Sibolangit District, Deli Serdang Region, by public bus or private vehicles. The lake and waterfall are the ‘contents’ of Sibolangit forest and called dwi warna, bicolor, because the stream water colors blue at one side and white from another. The blue one is warm while the white is cold.

This is particular unique and interesting so that visitors are willing to have a foot-walk-trip from the front gate of Sibolangit forest to the spot taking time about three hours. It close relates to the great panorama wof the spot which will ‘heal’ the tiredness of foot walk. However, it is advisable for every visitor to pay a tour guide so that they will not get loss at the forest or suffer something unexpected. This spot is also popular as a camping destination and one of the best places to visit in Medan Indonesia.

6. Warm Snow of Tinggi Raja

Things to do in Medan Indonesia? People will possibly think it weird but the phenomenon of warm snow at Tinggi Raja, Silau Kahean, Simalungun Region really exists. The spot is sort of a hidden treasure because the to reach, visitors can only use motorcycle. Taking 3 hour-trip from Medan, this sulfur mountain is called as Indonesia’s Pamukkale.

It has both white and green sulfur combined with warm water surrounding the river. It has warm snow from combustion resude and the lake water is also warm from limestone hill. Indeed, the visitors is allowed to bath on the edge of lake. Also, there is a little waterfall falling down. It is so refreshing, relaxed, and totally beautiful. Meanwhile, it is the perfect to visit all the time.

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7. Siombak Lake

Different from other lakes, Siombak is not natural or original lake because it was intentionally created by human. However, it does not mean that Siombak offers less interesting panorama, view as well as experience. This lake is even unique becasue as a sort of synthetic lake, it extends about 40 hectare between Deli and Terjun River. The water is totally clean and clear so anyone who doesn’t know will not think that it is humanly made.

Fertile of algae and seaweeds, you will find the green color of water which will really refresh your mind and eyes. Adults can do fishing at the area, yet children can have swimming at a particular place provided for fun and full of safety. If you want to visit this spot, you can ask local people about the location because it is not located downtown. It lies at Paya Pasir, Medan Marelan. The other thing you may consider to visit this lake is the entrance ticket which is so cheap. You just have to pay 2 thousands idr to get in to the lake area and enjoy its surrounding and features. One of the most favorite things to do in Medan Indonesia.

Entertainment Center

8. Mickey Holiday and Hill Park

These two spots are the center of entertainment as like what we find at Dunia Fantasi, Jakarta. Located at Brastagi, pople usually make a visit to this destination before or after enjoying some natural tourism spots that Brastagi and its surroundings offer. If you invite your children in the trip to Sumatra, stepping by to these spots would be interesting and can balance natural spots that you will probably like it at most. You can experience and enjoy at least 34 types of game including rafting, outbound, paint ball and the likes. It is recommended for you to pay one-for-all ticket so that by doing one time payment, you can enjoy the while offers inside. Meanwhile, Mickey Holiday and Hill Park is the recreation spot to visit with your family and friends as there is so many attraction to enjoy.

9. Merdeka Walk

Merdeka Walk, often shortened to be MW, is a center of Medan culinary, entertainment and hang out. People usually come there at the evening to attend any entertainment agenda, taste Medan, western and Asian foods or simply killing the time. Located at the downtown, it could be your last destination after visiting some spots at the Medan downtown for taking a rest and having dinner.

Indeed, Merdeka Walk is one stop special culinary in Medan. Also, it offers live music to enjoy and big screen to watch the greatest movies. So, you all get one packet entertainment, which are food and visual scenes. Also, there is souvenir corner that please you to visit special gifts from Medan.

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Animal Park

10. Asam Kumbang Crocodile Park

This park is a sort of feeding center of crocodile. By visiting this park, you will see living crocodile at its habitat and directly take a look at its behaviors. The park has thousands of crocodile and some of them are already at 78 age or more. Although it perhaps seems as a luxurious tourism destination because you will hardly find it outside or at other places, you will just have to pay 5 k idr for the entrance ticket.

In this park, you can see the crocodiles group for real. Yet, do not be worry because this crocodile is safe for you, also it’s clean and comfortable to hang out in. Still, you have to be careful by following the rules and the warnings. As a result, Asam Kumbang Crocodile Park is unique spot to visit. This park will give you different sensation of holiday, also it improves your adrenaline to see hundreds of crocodiles in one place.

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11. Rahmat Gallery

If you are studying veterinary, natural science or the likes, you will be interested to visit this spot because it exhibits preserved and embalmed animals. You will feel like visiting hereafter or the other world in which dead animals area around you, at the left and right side. The gallery has about one thousand species of animals embalmed, preserved and then exhibited to the visitors. The management of this gallery do not kill the animals which the bodies they use, because they embalm the dead animals. By just paying entrance ticket 25k IDR, you can enhance your knowledge about animals by accurately paying attention to every detail of each. Do not hesitate to visit this spot because you can easily reach it at the downtown, i.e. at Jl. S. Parman Medan.

12. Tangkahan

Tangkahan is also a good destination for study or private tour. It feeds and cares Sumatra elephants and train them to be friendly to visitors. Management staffs of this tourism place creates a sort of wild forest where there is no gate or cage so that visitors can directly interact with benign elephants. In addition to the elephants, the place also offers other choices ranging from waterfall, cubing, flying fox cave or beuatiful and natural river. Therefore, Tangkahan would ba a gret place for spending holidays because just by making one visit, visitors can enjoy different experience.

Actually, Tangkahan scene is the combination of tropical rain forest and hilly topography. So, you can imagine how beautiful is it to see water flows, tree dances, wind waves, and stone stands still. As a result, Tangkahan is so beautiful, naturally beautiful.

Cultural and Historical Places

13. Maimun Palace

This destination is so popular as the heritage of Deli Kingdom. The palace itself is yellow colored and prestigiously standing at the middle of Medan downtown, particularly at Jl. Brigjend Katamso, Sukaraja, Medan, so that visitors can easily reach the destination. Every day, a lot of visitors come to see this historical spot as its entrance ticket is so reasonable, 5k IDR. Visiting to this place can enhance national historic references, especially about Deli Kingdom, as the old products and goods of Sultan (King)’s family still exists and available to look at.

Indeed, Maimun Palace has unique design and wonderful architecture. This palace is dominated by yellow color or also know as Melayu’s pretentious color. As a result, you may visit Maimun palace if you visit Medan someday. Indeed, you won’t be regret.

14. Tjong A fie

Tjong Afie is an old house owned by Tjong Afie family built by combining architecture design of Tionghoa, Malay and Europe. Insides are historical goods ranging from paintings to home furniture as the combination of those culture. Located at the downtown, especially at Jl. Ahmad Yani Kesawan Medan and close to Merdeka Walk, visitors interested to take a look at this historical building can easily find the house. Rumor said that the house is full of mystical stories but people are still interested in enter it, although the entrance ticket is relatively expensive. By the way, Tjong A Fie was a generous man when he was alive. Also, he has the most important rule to build Medan in the past. As a result, the things that you will get when you visit this house you will be welcomed by history one century ago. By the old black and white photos of Tjong A Fie, you will learn about history and fights.

15. Great Mosque

Great Mosque or Masjid Agung is one of Medan icons that local or regional visitors would not miss to visit it. Besides serving as a house of worship, the mosque also reflect historic and cultural values. Built at 1906, this mosque is octagonal shaped with five black domes around. People can easily reach this destination as it is located at the downtown and close to Maimun Palace especially at Jl. Sisingmaraja Medan. Not only different from other mosques find in other areas or regions, this mosque also strongly reflects acculturation of Islamic and Sumatra culture. It combines the cultural and architectural values of India, Spain and Middle East as well as local ones.

16. Medan Post Office

Built at 1911 by a Dutch, Medan Post Office gently stands at the downtown of Medan, across Lapangan Merdeka. It has a unique dome looking like a dove diagonal house and highly built. The windows are also well built in a half circles and make the building seem luxurious. Regional visitors usually take a picture in front of the office especially at the evening when the shinning lamps make the view greater. Meanwhile, Medan Post Office held an important role for Indonesia freedom and history. This post office was the only one way to kept the communication on by sending letters to armies and communities. Also, Medan Post Office is now the icon of Medan. Thus, this building has beautiful classic design and architecture. As a result, Medan post office is one of the greatest history of Indonesia.

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17. Santa Maria Velangkanni House

Besides a great mosque as the house of worship for Moslem, Medan also has a great house of worship for Christians as its icon and tourism destination. It is Santa Maria Velangkanni House, adapted from a name of a lady, Annai Velangkanni. What makes this sort of church special is its architecture resembling Hindu temple. For local people, it is a real evidence that Medan is a pluralistic city inhabited by people of different faith. Indeed, Santa Maria Velangkanni House was designed by clergyman named James Bharataputra S .J in September 2001. The ornaments and furnitures was designed by ameteurs but it is so beautiful. Thus, for catolics you can pray there and for others, you can just check out the places. Thus, Santa Maria Velangkanni House is the symbol of pure tolerance between religions in Medan.

18. North Sumatera Museum

Located at the downtown of Medan, this is the biggest museum at the city contaning various types of local heritages. The collection ranges from local animals, Hindu-Buddhist statues, pre-historic products and so on and so forth. Building of museum also reflects special architectural designs of Sumatera and relatively simple by having one upstair only. The interior of museum contains permanent exhibition room, temporar exhibitiion center, audio-visual room and so on and so forth. Till 2001, North Sumatera Museum has 6799 collections which are ancient human fossils replica, diorama of prehistoric life, and another hundred historic gears. Also, it stores the historical heritage of Hindu-Budha religions, tombstone, Azizi Mosque replica, and Netherlands’s gears.

19. TB Silalahi Museum

Different from other museums which are usually located at the downtown, this museum is at Toba Lake areas. It specifically collects products, goods or heritage of Batak tribes from the past to the present time. Visitors are particularly interested to visit this museum, instead of others, because they can both enjoy historical building and natural phenomenon. Actually, TB Silalahi Museum stored the personal collection of TB Silalahi such as uniforms, decorations, honors, personal and official vehicles, weapons that was used by Mr. TB Silalahi, and memento that were given to TB Silalahi from around the world. Indeed, TB Silalahi Museum was built in order to conserving Batak cultures and maintaining Batak characterization.

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20. Madras/Keling Village

Visiting this village, you will feel like at India because it is an Indian village. Most of local people have Indian blood so you can see the Bollywood scenes directly in front of you. Keling Village is located not quite far from Sun Plaza Medan so you can easily reach it by footwalk or private vehicle. It has a big and great temple which gold-yellow colored and feature combination as well as acculturation of India and Indonesia architecture designs. Indeed, Keling Village is cultural village that provides old classic building and stuff from Netherlands’s colonialism. Also, there are many temples here such as Shri Mariamman temple since 1884. As a result, Keling Village is the base came of cultural and religion community.

21. Tirtanadi Water Tower

Built by Dutch at in 1908, this water tower serves as one of Medan icons. People will easily guess and assume that the Dutch touch is clearly seen from the tower heightening about 42 m and weighing 330 tons. Until recently, it still functions well and Medan people use the water from collected and streaming from the tower. Meanwhile, this tower has a unique design but it has several renovation by days to maintaining the building. Nevertheless, this tower now is not the Medan’s landmark anymore since the crowd of other buildings around the place. Still, this tower is stand still to remind us about Medan history in colonialism era.

Thus, that is all beautiful places you can find and best things to do in Medan. So, if you have holiday space, you may list Medan as your next holiday destination.

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