You people must know that.... in Medan, you can have a better than starbucks cup of coffee for less than a dollar. Yearp, 'heard me right.
When I was there, I thought life was all about coffee and.. I have reached my maximum acid level and voila! I was rushed to the hospital due to excessive ( I meant "abusive") intake of the latter.
In opposition to what I have heard and experienced, I think Indonesians are as friendly as the rest of the asians are. They just get easily intimidated when you speak to them in English knowing that it is not so welcomed and used in the place regularly.. so they have not exercised the potential ability.
They are very cultural (which I admire the most) but not so open in adapting the global perspectives. They easily judge "strangers" just like what they do to each other (when one makes a "noise").
Apparently, it is the mutual trust that works, not one way.
They take pride of being your friend and you will feel the same. Once you are friends (*in genuine context) with them, you will be like a family.
Their preparation of fruit shakes is very simple yet I wonder how it comes out great in my taste bud. They just use natural products, no powdered flavour etc. You get what you order, if it is avocado shake, then you see and taste pure avocado, comme ca!
Medan is a city surrounded with Batik shops for locals themselves. You can practically get them cheaper in the markets as they are not priced for tourists.
Indonesians say that original batik came from them ( and it is one of their national symbols) and the ones from Malaysia aren't as good the ones they produce..
Next to City Hall (Balai Kota) is another impressive Dutch Colonial building - housing the Bank Indonesia.
Both buildings next to each other opposite the Merdeka Square resembles the colonial City Hall and Town Hall opposite the Esplanade in George Town (Peanng). The difference is Medan was administered by the Dutch while Penang was administered by the English.
The Bank Indonesia was enacted in 1999 as an independent central bank.
There are many other different bank buildings located around the Merdeka Square.
motor bike rental is rp80,000. we stayed at Ambarita, so it was only a short ride to the stone chairs which is behind the post office. from there, we rode through Tuk Tuk town. Lots of places to eat and shop here. Tomok was a little further, very much further actually. Can't remember how long it took, felt like almost an hour. My legs ached from having to ride pillon, sitting straddle on the bike, for the entire ride, from Ambarita to the Batak Museum in Tomok. The show there starts at 10.30am. we arrived there late, at 11am. wanted to wait for the next show at 11.45am but were told that if they didn't have enough visitors, that show would be canceled. entrance fee is rp30,000. since we had only 15 minutes of the show left to watch, they charged us only rp30,000 for two.
To see the highlights of Dutch architecture in Medan we have made a heritage tour with Trijaya Tour& Travel. Mr. Dirk Buiskool, a dutch historian, and owner of the Hotel Deli River Hotel (an oasis in busy Medan) has written a a good guide with photos of all the places you have to visit.
Trijaya Tour&Travel runs also other trips in Sumatra (orang oetangs, Toba Lake etc.)
Me and my wife enjoyed the heritage tour very much in may 2010.
This is a historical palace which had housed the local Sultanate till early this century. Generally, they do not charge an entrance fees but it is good to give a tip of at least RPH 10,000 . It is located right in the heart of the city.
Sri Mariaman Temple is the biggest Hindu temple in Medan and obviously it is not considdered to be a tourist-sight, because you have to persuade the local guides to make a short stop there and see the lovely details of this great temple. Take some time, 10 minutes might be enough to see also the interior - see my next tip !
Dont miss to take a look inside of the hindu-temple. You have to take off your shoes and will be always welcome by the attendants of the temple, who seem to spend their whole day there drinking tea and chatting. We had a lot of fun there with these people, even when they almost did not speak and good english...
It is a pity that I did not find any informations about this interesting building in the traditional style, that was obviously recently built next to the Maimoon palace of the former Sultans of Belan. You can go inside, but will not see anything special (take a look at my last pic) , the most beautiful part of that house is certainly the facades with great ornaments.
The colonial postoffice of Medan is a sight by itself and it is really a pity that we only passed by it in our minibus but at least I could take some photographs so you will get an idea of its great architecture dating back to the year 1911 and in style it is late Art Nouveau and nice to look at.
Tjong A. Fie Mansion was the house of a rich chinese merchant and it is privately ownded nowadays. There were some restaurations going on and the gate was open, so we entered the building and I was able to take a few photos before we were thrown out by a friendly man who did not speak any english, but asked us to leave immediately. Well, no problem I had taken my photos already ;-)
This cemetery is right behind the big mosque of Medan and there you will find a lot of old tombs of sultans and other noble people. Dont hesitate to walk there and you will find a lot of great photo-opportunities of unique and exotic inscriptions. The official city-tours will not go there, so I was lucky that we had organized this tour on our own.
The big mosque Al Mashun was partly under reconstruction inside but nevertheless we were able to take a look inside and walk around on our own after we had gotten some brief informations by our local tourguide. Dont hesitate to take photos, nobody will mind it and dont miss to take a look out of the back-door, because there will be the cemetery, read more about it in my next tip !