As the fourth biggest city following Jakarta, Surabaya and Bandung in Indonesia, Medan is home to a unique mix of Western and Asian cultures, not to mention its rich historical past. Medan is also among the few cities that still manage to preserve its cultural heritage, as seen by the ancient monuments and buildings that still stand tall in this modern time. Located at the North coast, it is bordered by the Malacca Strait to the north and Deli Serdang Regency on the south, west and east. There are several ways in getting to Medan, either by air, by land or by sea.
Medan appeared from various folklore stories in 16th to 17th Centuries. Based on myths, two powers went to war in Northern Sumatra – Aceh and Deli. The term ‘Medan’ means battlefield, which is exactly the place where the war between the two raging powers took place. On the other hand, it may also be associated with the popular Islamic city in Arabia, ‘Medina’. If you wish to experience a great reflection of rich Indonesian cultural heritage, then getting to Medan is a good choice.
When getting to Medan by air, the nearest airport is the Polonia International Airport, which is only 15 minutes’ drive from the city. It caters to both domestic and international flights. The new Kuala Name International Airport is under construction for expanding flight services in the area. Take note that this airport is quite distant from the city so taxi transfers might be more expensive. Several cheap airlines that serve flights to Medan include Air Asia, Firefly, Jetstar Asia, Sriwijaya Air, Garuda Indonesia and many others just to name a few. These airlines serve flight to/from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Penang, Bangkok and Hong Kong. All of these are low-cost carriers so rest assured that you will get what you pay for.
If you prefer to know about getting to Medan by land, you can rest assured that there are easy options available: you can choose to go either by bus or by rail. The main station of major buses in Medan is the Amplas Station Central. This is not situated in the city center although this station is not exclusive to buses but also to minivan. Many buses are air-conditioned and operate 24 hours. Most buses provide small snacks and sometimes have televisions and toilets on board. Even though seats are comfortable, the trip to Medan can be quite bumpy and drivers usually play loud music during the entire trip.
Medan is linked by rail heading to other conurbations on the east coast of Sumatra. Economy, business and executive class trains are accessible and tickets may cost between Rp 9,000 for economy to Rp 70,000 for executive class.
For people who want to know about getting to Medan by sea, the adjacent Belawan in the northeast coast, is the nearest international and domestic port and ferry service from Medan City. This port is listed as visa-free and visa on-arrival entry point. Pelni (Pelayaran Nasional Indonesia) boats deck in Belawan and travel in various ports in Indonesia and Sumatra. There is also ferry service to/from Medan and Lumut, Malaysia.
There are different transportation options to choose from when getting to Medan. As one of the northernmost regions, Medan can be your first or last stop in your Indonesian vacation. Depending on your budget and preferences, you can easily book your itinerary beforehand via online.