BATAK CULTURAL CENTER
Favorite thing: Lively and exciting dance and music performances are held here every Saturday night for a modest entrance fee; alternatively Prapat hotel has a similar cultural exhibition on their premises for tour groups.
The week-long Lake Toba Festival is held annually in June, where alongside the song and dance, is the fascinating canoe race held by competing villages.
Fondest memory: The lake and the mountain...
Tree Lined Roads & Nice Roundabouts
Favorite thing: My first impression of Medan from the airport was the beautiful trees along the road. It reminded me of Penang and Nanjing.
In many places due to widening of roads, trees have to be cut down to make way for more lanes. Hopefully the trees along the roads of Medan will be preserved.
Not only the trees provide greenery and shade, they are so important symbolically in our world working against global warming.
There are several endearing roundabouts with fountains and small monuments. Hope they will not all be replaced by "efficient but lack of character" traffic lights anytime soon.
Road Side "Restaurants"
Favorite thing: At the corner of the busy road, I was fascinated by the sight a local woman selling her breakfast/lunch menu of rice with different curry dishes.
A mobile unit, there seems to be complaints by the locals or interference by the authorities.
There were a few stools for her diners or you could take away (to go).
There are many enterprising foodstalls over all Medan.
Tourist Information Office
Favorite thing: There is a Tourist Information Office at the entrance of Kesawan Square with a prominent sign. It is a few houses away from Tjong A Fie Mansion. I took a quick look, not as well stocked as I would have expected.
There was one staff helping an Indonesian tourist. So I did not hang around.
So better to get your free city map and information from the concierge at your hotel. Most of the becak and taxi drivers seemed familiar with the major sights and shopping malls shown on the map.
Favorite thing: Yes, if you on a becak behind a car, you can smell the fumes.
But what a wonderful surprise when I was walking opposite the Post Office at Merdeka Square and looked into the drain surrounding the square right in downtown heart of Merdeka.
There were the usual clot of urban rubbish but the water in the drain was clear with green growth and teeming with fish - the ferral guppies. Reminded me of Penang many years ago.
This was an indication that pollution level in Medan is still low compared with many fast growing Asian cities. Hopefully, a healthy balance will be maintained as Medan inevitably will developed from a quiet laybaid city to a thriving metropolis in the future.
Favorite thing: There are many beautiful heritage buildings of colonial administration and the prewar shops of Kesawan Square area.
While some are conserved and used as banks and musuems, many are neglected and hopefully UNESCO and other world wide agencies will help to restore them to their former glory.
I was impressed by giant Greek columns, delicate window frames and the Tjong A Fie Mansion.
Perhaps, tourism can be a driving force to avoid these heritage buildings from being torn down. So do visit Medan....
Favorite thing: At the Main Post Office, I observed many locals having their coffee at this mobile "coffee shop" by the road side.
Across the road was a 24 hour McDonald serving their breakfast menu but it had fewer clients.
At least for the time being, it is great that everyone has a choice of going local or "international".
Prayers as your take off
Favorite thing: I was alerted while on board "Lion Air" that stashed in the pouch behind every seat with the standard plane safety and evacuation pamphlet is another pamphlet called "Invocation".
The invocation contains prayers of different religions, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism. It is all in Bahasa Indonesia.
Not sure if this is a good sign for boarding passengers but a prayer or two does not hurt...
Favorite thing: My second time here - Danau Toba & Samosir Island. My fascination is still intact -- . They offer FANTASTIC VIEW....
At 8am you can see top of green hills (surrounding the lake) covered by mist -- BEAUTIFULl!! it's a natural beauty - like a truly nice paintings.
Fondest memory: Shopping in Tomok, area in samosir island :) i love all the bargains and the people!
Beautiful Cake Deco
Favorite thing: For those bakers out there, don't miss the opportunity to visit local bakery. The cake decoration displayed was wonderful. wanted to take pictures but was not allowed. may be they are afraid of me stealing their design.
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