Lake Toba - Medan, Indonesia

Medan’s crowds and crocodiles

Best known as the economic and trade center of the region, the thriving city of Medan is the largest city on the island of Sumatra, attracting not only tourists, but also residents from all over the country, who come here for business purposes.

Aerian city view - Medan, Indonesia

Aerian city view – Medan, Indonesia

Speaking about residents of the country, you shouldn’t be surprised by the diversity of Medan’s population. Here you will be able to get to know virtually every Indonesian ethnicity, from Batak, Malay, Javanese and Minang, to Acehnese, Indians and Chinese.

Additionally, Medan is usually referred to as a gateway to North Sumatra, since numerous tourists fly into the city and out of it in order to approach cooler highlands of Toba Lake, or the wild Sumatran jungle.

Time machine of Medan

 

If you had the opportunity of going back to the early days of the city, you could have seen it as a hometown of the traders and sailors who were working under the control of Islamic Malay leaders. This situation lasted until Acehnese at some point of the 17th century conquered the area after years of struggle.

A worker carrying fertilizer at an oil palm plantation - Medan, Indonesia

A worker carrying fertilizer at an oil palm plantation – Medan, IndonesiaPapua – Indonesia, 2010.

A couple of centuries later, in the 1860s, this area started to become more and more popular, due to its various qualities. For example, some entrepreneurs recognized the potential of the rich volcanic soil there and began plantation agriculture. In 1865, a Dutch entrepreneur introduced snuff in this region, ushering in a new era of prosperity. This resulted in an influx of foreign investment and growing interest of European capitalists. Snuff crops, rubber, palm oil, sisal and tea were all planted here. Thus, from a small village, Medan became a prosperous colonial city.

In 1886, under the influence of the Dutch, Medan literally became a capital of North Sumatra and its population soon increased to nearly 80,000 inhabitants. After independence declaration in 1948, the population of Medan exploded and that leads us to modern Medan, representing the third-largest city. The influence of the colonial plantation past is today reflected in the Medan European architecture of many of the largest buildings. Medan has become an impressive mixture of modern and old.

Panoramic city view - Medan, Indonesia

Panoramic city view – Medan, Indonesia

Places to visit in Medan

 

Are you scared of crocodiles?

Crocodile Farm - Medan, Indonesia

Crocodile Farm – Medan, Indonesia

If you are a lover of adventure, shocking and adrenaline-filled vacation moments, you should undoubtedly visit the crocodile farm in the Asam Kumbang, which is about 10 km away from the center of the city. There you will be able to see some of the most terrifying creatures, since this farm has nearly 2,000 crocodiles of different sizes and species, and no – we didn’t add a couple of zeros more – two thousand crocodiles. Can you even imagine that?

You can visit the farm during the feeding time if you are interested in seeing these fierce reptiles using their sharp teeth to chop their food into pieces. Here you can get both interesting and intimidating facts related to these animals, and in addition, you can buy crocodile skin. This farm is open for visitors from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.

Cultural centers of Medan

Mesjid Raya, Great Mosque - Medan, Indonesia

Mesjid Raya, Great Mosque – Medan, Indonesia

If you are one of those tourists who wouldn’t dare to mess with crocodiles and you are looking for some more usual (and not so scary) experiences, you should feel free to soak up some Indonesian culture and find out more about Indonesian traditions and there is no better way of doing that than to visit Negara Museum. A fascinating collection of archaeological relics of South India from the 12th century remains of the stone statues and Islamic Nisan will leave you breathless.