Maimoon-palace / The Sultan`s palace is certainly the most important sight in Medan, for tourists as well as for local people. You will find it close to the big mosque inside a large park (my 2nd photo). Your taxi will drive with you into that park and in order to see the palace, you have to fill in your name at the reception-desk and give a small donation, 1-2 US $ is fine and you will be able to walk around on your own.
10-20 minutes inside the palace will be enough, except that you would like to get dressed like a sultan in order to take photos - read more about it in my "local customs-tips" !
This is the throne of the Sultan in the largest hall of the building and it is the only part of the furniture, where you cannot walk closely, but at least there are absolutely no restrictions regarding photography and video. You will even have the opportunity to dress like the Sultan and his wife and let a photograph beeing taken in front of the throne. Just take one of the many costumes that you will find in the back of the house, get dressed and walk through the palace like you would be the Sultan.
The big mosque of Medan is one of the major sights of the city and you will be able to see it almost free of charge and without any restrictions except that you have to take off your shoes, when entering the mosque and there might be someone at the main entrance, asking you for a donation, 1-2 US$ is certainly enough.
Of course you have to take off your shoes, when entering the Mosque and i was glad to learn tat Photography is no problem at all even inside of the mosque.
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 ;-)
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...
Located right at Merdeka Square, in downtown is the Medan Train Station.
There is a wonderful old train engine on display for any train enthusiast. The train ticket counter are called "loket". On the other side of the pedestrian and bicycle and motorcycle bridge over the railway track.
The only problem is if you are walking across the road from Merdeka Square there is no pedestrian bridge or zebra crossing. Exercise caution when you cross the road even though it is a one way street.
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 !
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 !
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.
One of Medan's must see tourist site is the majestic Grand Mosque or Masji Raya Al-Mashun. It was built in 1906.
The architecture is Moorish with the minarets. It has a wide tile slab covered square around the building. This add serenity and simplicity to the mosque.
Unfortunately, there is a sign that non-Muslims are not allowed to enter. Hence the Grand Mosque is to be viewed from outside at this busy traffic junction.
Pic 1 - Grand Mosque
Pic 2 - Sign of do's & dont's
Tjong A Fie was a wealthy Chinese businessman who grew prosperous in Medan.
His elegant Mansion with a pair of stone lions at the entrance and with mythical classical Chinese creatures on the roof top. It was not open to tourists. But a view over the wall, you can see this beautiful two storey mansion with a moongate in the garden.
Smaller than his counterpart in Penang, the Cheong Fatt Chee mansion which has been restored and awarded a UNESCO award. Hopefully, the Medan Tjong A Fie will be restored to her former splendour soon.
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.
After years of neglect, this beautiful wooden palace of the former residence of the Deli Sultanate has been restored. The spacious garden has been used as tent ground for a fair.
You can get a tour guide to take you into the building and learn more about the history of sultanate that was installed by Aceh sultanate after their victory over the local tribes.
Maimoon Palace was buildt around 1888. Again it is worth a short visit if you are in Medan for the first time. It is located near the Grand Mosque and so you can visit both places at the same time.
This is the historic downtown of Medan with many colonial and prewar buildings.
Some are neglected and some are restored as handicraft center and tourist information. During the day, it is a busy traffic road.
In the evening, you will find many food stalls and shopping stalls set up along the road.
Medan City Hall (Balai Kota) is a beautiful Dutch colonial building located at the downtown center opposite Merdeka Square.
The building was constructed around 1906. The Dutch ruled Indonesia for nearly 300 years as the Netherland East Indies. The Medan region started with tobacco cultivation.
Unfortunately, the City Hall is under renovation. Yet worth a stop for a photo.