Things to Do in Medan

10 Amazing Things to Do in Medan Indonesia

Medan, the vibrant capital of North Sumatra, Indonesia, is a bustling city known for its cultural diversity, rich history, and tantalizing culinary scene. As the gateway to the natural wonders of Sumatra, Medan offers a unique blend of urban attractions and nearby natural escapades. Here are ten amazing things to do in Medan that will make your visit unforgettable.

1. Visit Maimun Palace

Maimun Palace, also known as Istana Maimun, is a historical landmark that epitomizes Medan’s rich heritage. Built in 1888 by the Sultan of Deli, the palace showcases a stunning blend of Malay, Mughal, and Italian architectural styles. Inside, visitors can explore the grand throne room, adorned with intricate carvings and antique furniture. The palace also houses a museum displaying royal artifacts and photographs.

Tip: Check the palace’s schedule for cultural performances and traditional music events held on the grounds.

2. Explore Tjong A Fie Mansion

A visit to Medan wouldn’t be complete without exploring Tjong A Fie Mansion, a beautifully preserved Chinese heritage house. Built in 1900 by Tjong A Fie, a prominent Hakka merchant, the mansion offers a glimpse into the life of the Chinese elite during the colonial era. The mansion’s architecture combines Chinese, Malay, and Art Deco styles, with ornate interiors and lush gardens.

Tip: Take a guided tour to learn about Tjong A Fie’s contributions to Medan’s development and his philanthropic efforts.

3. Discover the Wonders of Lake Toba

While not located in Medan, a trip to Lake Toba is a must for any visitor to North Sumatra. Just a few hours’ drive from the city, Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world and a natural wonder. The lake’s serene waters and the surrounding mountains create a breathtaking landscape. Don’t miss a visit to Samosir Island, located in the middle of the lake, where you can explore traditional Batak villages and historical sites.

Tip: Spend a night at one of the lakeside resorts to fully appreciate the tranquility and beauty of Lake Toba.

4. Wander Through the Great Mosque of Medan

The Great Mosque of Medan, or Masjid Raya Al-Mashun, is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Built in the early 20th century, the mosque’s architecture features a mix of Middle Eastern, Indian, and Spanish styles, with a distinctive green dome and elegant minarets. The interior is equally impressive, with beautiful stained glass windows and intricate tile work.

Tip: Visit during prayer times to experience the mosque’s spiritual ambiance and see the local community in action.

5. Indulge in Medan’s Culinary Delights

Medan is a food lover’s paradise, offering a diverse array of culinary delights. The city’s multicultural population has given rise to a rich food scene, blending Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Batak influences. Must-try dishes include Soto Medan (a rich coconut milk soup), Babi Panggang Karo (Karo-style roast pork), and Durian Medan, known for its unique flavor and aroma.

Tip: Visit the famous food street, Jalan Semarang, to sample a variety of local dishes from numerous food stalls.

6. Shop at Medan’s Traditional Markets

For a truly local experience, visit Medan’s traditional markets, where you can find everything from fresh produce to handicrafts. The Pasar Petisah and Pasar Ikan Lama are two popular markets offering a wide range of goods. Here, you can buy souvenirs, traditional textiles, and local snacks.

Tip: Bargaining is common in these markets, so don’t hesitate to negotiate prices with the vendors.

7. Relax at Sibolangit Nature Reserve

Just a short drive from Medan, Sibolangit Nature Reserve offers a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. The reserve is home to lush rainforests, exotic wildlife, and scenic hiking trails. It’s an ideal spot for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Tip: Visit the Two Color Waterfall, a stunning natural attraction within the reserve, known for its unique blue and white waters.

8. Experience the Vibrant Nightlife

Medan’s nightlife scene is lively and diverse, offering something for everyone. From trendy bars and nightclubs to traditional music and dance performances, the city comes alive after dark. Popular nightlife spots include Merdeka Walk, a bustling area with numerous restaurants and cafes, and Kesawan Square, known for its street food and live entertainment.

Tip: For a unique experience, visit a traditional Batak music and dance performance at one of the cultural centers in the city.

9. Tour the Rahmat International Wildlife Museum & Gallery

The Rahmat International Wildlife Museum & Gallery is a fascinating attraction for wildlife enthusiasts. The museum houses an extensive collection of over 2,000 taxidermy animals from around the world, displayed in lifelike dioramas. The exhibits aim to promote wildlife conservation and educate visitors about the importance of preserving biodiversity.

Tip: The museum often hosts special exhibitions and events, so check the schedule before your visit.

10. Explore Medan’s Coffee Culture

Medan has a thriving coffee culture, with numerous cafes offering locally sourced and expertly brewed coffee. The city’s coffee scene is influenced by the surrounding coffee-growing regions of North Sumatra, including the famous Mandheling coffee. Enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee at one of Medan’s stylish cafes or traditional coffee shops.

Tip: Visit one of the local coffee roasters to learn about the coffee-making process and sample different varieties of Sumatran coffee.


Medan, with its rich cultural heritage, diverse culinary scene, and proximity to stunning natural attractions, offers a wealth of experiences for travelers. Whether you’re exploring historical landmarks, indulging in local delicacies, or venturing into the great outdoors, Medan promises an unforgettable journey filled with amazing discoveries. Plan your trip to this vibrant city and uncover the many wonders it has to offer.

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