Two guys drove away with my laptop bag containing my laptop, 1000 USD, Prada sun glass, two reading glasses etc etc, which was in front of me, from a moving Bechak (the common transport in Medan).
Keep your bag in your lap or towards the inside right and hold the strap so that it can not be picked easily. Get cautious if the Bechak guy slows down or moves to words a side without an obvious reason, he may be trying to make it easy for the guy on bike to pick the bag. Not 100% sure but I guess it's an organized thing along with the Bechak driver.
we were approached by a taxi driver at Medan airport. We had told him our hotel was picking us up but he wouldn't leave-kept following us. Since we could not find the person who was suppose to pick us, we took that taxi driver's cab. thought we'd give him a chance-he seemed so desperate. he then offered to take us to Lake Toba for rp450,000. we took his number and told him we'd think about it. at our hotel, we were told that a trip to Lake Toba would cost rp1,200,000. wow!, so we thought, that guy was really offering us a good deal. as long as the car's air cond's working and tires were in ok condition, why not. anyway, after arriving back from Medan, we paid him the balance of rp450,000 and that was when we found out rp450,000 was for a day. we had no choice but to pay him the balance of rp900,000. when he made the offer, he never once said the price of rp450,000 was the price for a day. we should have known rp450,000 was too cheap but it just didn't register then. he goes by the name, Irawan. a small thin guy with mickey mouse ears, in his late thirties. his taxi's clean and well maintained. his clothes were a bit worn but clean. we paid rp900,000 just for transport from Medan to Parapat and back. the price is reasonable, but we would have rather paid a little more and taken a package tour.
prices of accomodation, especially on Samosir Island, is better to be confirmed before arrival. The room rate advertised was rp40,000 per night and the reviews on trip advisor were good. we emailed the guesthouse telling them we wanted the rp40,000 room. we were picked up and driven to the far out guesthouse. only upon arrival the driver cum owner only told us the room with hot water is rp250,000.
at the departure hall, be careful of people coming to carry your bags and asking for your passports after your bags pass through the scanner, and people asking for the airport tax after you check in.
After our bags were scanned, two guys came, picked our bags and asked for our passports. We thought that they were airport personnel coming to assist. but they weren't in uniforms, and didn't have tags. it didn't seem right. we quickly grabbed our passports and bags back and hurried to the check in counter. they followed us and asked us which bag we wanted to check in. thank goodness an Air Asia security personnel came up and got rid of the 2 guys. later, after check in, another man came to ask us for payment of the airport tax. he wasn't in uniform-he had a lanyard around his neck but the end of it where a tag is suppose to be, was stuffed in his shirt pocket. wiser this time, we told him we'd pay at the counter. I really think the airport shouldn't allow these people into their departure halls. I felt quite harrased.
For drivers, specially new to Medan.
Beware of one-way streets in Medan, drive slowly and surely. Some streets are one-way and if you miss your turn you will have to make a big turn to get round to your correct turn.
it is not safe to do so. other than the potential barriers in communication, this place is famous for hypnotism on bad purpose. yeah.. hypnosis is one of the tools of psychologists, but NOt here. People on the street can easily get hypnotized with a tap on the shoulder (appears like accidental) especially in crowded places. what the house helper (kakak) suggested was.. to tap back as fast as you can before the spell takes it effect.
for one, I think.. it is just 5% or a little higher among the indonesians here speak and comprehend the global tongue, English. That is based on my 6month stay here. I may be wrong or exaggerating, but that has been a struggle on my end. That obliged me to learn their language instead.. not bad at all. Bahasa (language) Indonesia is somehow similar with Tagalog (my language). I just have to adjust with some short and long vowel sounds.. which is fun to do hehheeheh
When you arrive at polonia airport ,alot of youngster waiting outside the arrival hall to volunteer to carry your bag ...please get the uniform porter to help you or you will be serounded by at least 10 -15 youngster asking for money .iTs happened to us as we end up giving about rm 50 to all of them as they wont let you car go before they get what they want !!!!!
Medan time is GMT 0700 and so it one hour behind Penang and Singapore (GMT 0800).
Remember to change your time. And so it gets dark earlier in Medan and you make want to do your outdoor tour earlier.
At the same time, it gets bright earlier and so 6:30 am is a great time to go around the city before the traffic gets heavy for work.
I stop by at the Medan airport several times, on my trip to or from Nias. I often lost my things in my bagages there. I ever tried to tied it with extra plastic rope (this service was avaliable in the airport), but it didn't work. At the last time, I used Garuda & lost several things, including 2 cds containing 500 holiday pictures! :C The officer there said, you can use the rope, but still there is no garantee that your baggage would safe. So, appearantly there is nothing I can do about it. :CC
Plan your trip to brastagi properly so that you'll be back to medan during the daylight.Road are narrow and winding and possibility for an accident is high especially when it rain. so be careful!