Medan Local Customs

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  • Local Customs
    by globetrott

Best Rated Local Customs in Medan

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    All inscriptions are in latin letters

    by globetrott Written May 18, 2009

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    It is really very helpful for the ordinary tourist, that all inscriptions in Indonesia are in latin letters, so you will be able to read street-names and directions etc. easily. In my photos : these seem to be advertisments that we saw, when passing by in the minibus. At first I had the feeling, these are made by colorful flowers, but now I rather think that this is some kind of plastic added that makes a 3-dimensional signpost.

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    street-lamps

    by globetrott Updated May 18, 2009

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    Watch out for these great street-lamps, you will find them in many parts of the old part of Medan, I saw it for instance in the street, where the Tjong A. Fie Mansion is situated in the old chinese quarters of Medan, they obviously are dating back to the beginning of the 20th century.
    Another quite interesting lamp I saw inside of the big mosque, it has the shape of a lotus-flower - see it in my 3rd photo !

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    Multi-cultural Medan

    by SLLiew Written Nov 23, 2007

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    Local Chinese, look like Penangites

    In Medan, you can see mosques, churches, Chinese temples and Indian temples.

    This is a reflection of the diversity of cultures and ethnic groups in Medan city.

    Medan (meaning "battlefield "in Malay) was said to be fought between the Aceh sultanate and Deli sultanate. Later the Dutch arrived and set up tobacco plantation and got migrant laborers.

    The local Bataks were said to be "head hunters" before. Today, they are mainly Christians and there are many beautiful Batak songs and wonderful Batak dances.

    The earlier Chinese migrants were Hakka (Kejiaren) and later supplanted by the Hokkien (Fujianese) from Penang island.

    You can hear the local Chinese speaking Hokkien dialect which is identical to that of Penang version with similar food like "Char Koay Teow".

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    How to transport eggs & other goods

    by globetrott Updated May 18, 2009

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    Mofas are the main means of transportation of the local merchants and smaller shops in Medan and other towns of Indonesia and this is why you will see many interesting vehicles like the motorbike that is delivering fresh eggs in quite an unusual and funny way at least in the eyes of the tourists.

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    dress like a sultan in the Maimoon-palace

    by globetrott Written May 18, 2009

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    The Maimoon palace (Sultans Palace) is a great chance to dress like the sultan and/or his wife in authentic costumes. In the back of the palace there is a room with a large selection of costumes and there is a photographer, who will take photos of you dressed in these costumes at whatever place in the palace : in front of the throne or at the terrace etc.
    Charges are certainly quite low, but I did not ask for the price.

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    Batak Ulos

    by SLLiew Written Nov 23, 2007

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    Batak Ulos is a traditional ceremonial shawl worn by both men and women.

    This beautiful shawl woven in different design is colorful and of importance significance.

    It is long and folded by width twice and placed equally on both sides over your shoulder.

    Wearing a lighter color clothes will bring out the brilliant colors of your ulos.

    As the saying goes, when in Medan, wear a ulos....

    At the Convention, the ulos was sold at 50,000 rupiahs or 20 ringgit (less than 6USD).

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    Tor Tor Dance

    by SLLiew Written Nov 23, 2007

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    This is a popular Batak dance to welcome visitors.

    The steps are simpler and holding the palms together and moving is up and down. Then later palms apart and blessing over the dancer's head.

    It is a common practise to give a RM1000 rupiah into the hands of the welcoming host and hostess as a symbol of returning your goodwill and belessings.

    We had a lot of fun doing the tor tor dance during the welcoming dinner night of our convention.

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    President of Indonesia

    by SLLiew Written Nov 23, 2007

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    Indonesia is the 4th populous country in the world with the largest Muslim population. It has a secular constitution, a republic with an elected parliament and a President. Indonesia declared independence and waged a war against Dutch in 1945 - her former colonial master.

    So my camera caught the photo displayed in one of the hotel rooms of the current Indonesian President Susilo Bamban Yudhoyono.

    Previous Presidents were Sukarno, Suharto and followed by elected Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, Abdurrahman Wahid, the daughter or Sukarno - Megawati Sukarnoputri.

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    Use simple English

    by SLLiew Written Nov 23, 2007

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    If you have to use English, speak slowly and use textbook English phrases like...

    "I want to go to Lake Toba for 2 nights" and not

    "We are hoping to get out of town for a few nights, perhaps you can recommend us an itinerary which includes Lake Toba"

    The name of this shop caught my attention. I have heard of bakery and eatery but "cakery" for the first time in Medan.

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    Bahasa Indonesia

    by SLLiew Written Nov 23, 2007

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    If you know Malay, you will not have problem communicating with the locals.

    Bahasa Indonesia uses latin alphabets. There are differences in pronounciation, choice of words and spellings between Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysia. It is just like UK English and American English.

    In Indonesia, you address someone older as "Pak" (short for father) or "Ibu". In Malaysia, it is "Tuan" or "Puan". In Malaysia, a car park is called "Tempat Letak Kereta" (a place to put your car literally". In Indonesia, it is "parkir".

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    Sign Boards Advertising

    by Audrey118 Written May 2, 2003

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    This is a very colourful way how they adverstise the going -on at the hotels, etc.
    like food fair, food festivals, some performances etc

    In Malaysia they have it in a fabric banner, or a solid large board with neon lights. Here it is really long and huge, and ultra colourful!!!

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    Magazine Vendors

    by Audrey118 Written May 2, 2003

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    Man with lots of latest imported magazines

    We were sitting around waiting for our bowls of bamie at the Hock Sing shop, and then all of a sudden a man came around our table, carrying lots of imported magazines and he started displaying it in front of us. we just stared blank at the magazines, dared not touch them, and look at the poor bloke still carrying loads of other magazines. For me, there was fashion magazines - becos I am a gal, and for our client, who has smart with Rolexes etc, he had the Fortune Magazine laid out!!!

    The man then just left us with all the magazines, and went on to the next table with the same act!!! After that he came back to our table and collected all our magazines except those that were selected by our client...sure enough the Fortune magazine was sold - he seemed to know what you want to read - hehehe!!!

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    "jangan" means not allowed..

    by missmarianne Updated Apr 24, 2010

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    This part of Indonesia is inlove with its native tongue.
    It is not a good idea to walk around the small city alone.
    Require yourself a guide or take a risk for the pleasure
    of adventure ahihih

    just to let you guys know.. when you hear the locals
    repeatedly utter the word "jangan" , figure out what it is
    that you are wanting to do that may not be allowed to their
    customs. Body language helps and maybe a few skills in charade heheheh ^_^

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    never ever hand money with your left hand..

    by missmarianne Written Apr 24, 2010

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    itu salah..

    means it is wrong.
    for some reason, they would know that you are not an indonesian (other than the looks) if you are making some payment and you used your left hand for handing over the money.. tsk, tsk, tsk.. expect a strange look from whoever sees you doing it that way.

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    not special without red hot chili (..ssss!)

    by missmarianne Updated Apr 24, 2010

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    when ordering food, do not chose the "special paket" unless you can stand a thick layer of red chilis on top of your dish. Better clarify if it is "pedas" (spicy) or not. you may try to say "aku ungga mau pedas" (I don't like spicy ..) plus some pointing skills to the menu heheheh

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Medan Local Customs

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