Let’s explore the top tourist attractions in Medan, Indonesia. The city of Medan in North Sumatra sees a large number of tourists as it is the entry and exit point for stunning neighboring attractions like Lake Toba and Bukit Lawang. Unfortunately however, many people stay overnight in Medan and leave as quickly as possible, thinking that this is just another big city in Indonesia. They couldn’t be more wrong however, and Medan sees a lot of domestic tourists who realize its charms and who also recognize that it has some of the best food in Indonesia.
People flock here for the food scene, and whatever your tastes you won’t go hungry in the city. Most of Medan’s top attractions are focused around food and you can sign up for a food tour, or simply go it lone and explore the sights, smells, and tastes of the city by yourself. In addition to the restaurants, stalls, and food courts, Medan is known for its diversity, and this is reflected in the range of attractions that you can experience here including a strong Tamil influence, a large Chinese community, and the indigenous Batak people who also call Medan home.
Top Tourist Attractions In Medan, Indonesia
Lake Toba, located in Northern Sumatra, is the largest lake created within a volcanic crater. Deemed to be one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, the vast area of the lake surpasses the size of Singapore. Its depth of 450 meters also makes Lake Toba one of the deepest lakes across the globe. The exotic greenery and pristine blue waters of the lake make a mesmerizing picture that lures thousands of tourists to the site easily accessible from Medan.
Visitors are simply awestruck to find the Samosir Island within the island of Sumatra. That makes it an island within another island! Lake Toba is an ideal place to get away from the busy city life and cacophony with the cool mountain air providing instant relief from the heat, humidity and dust of the urban localities nearby. The spectacular view of the mountains all around can be relaxing while interacting with the indigenous Batak people can help one understand more about unique culture and lifestyle.
Mesjid Raya Al Mashun
Mesjid Raya Al Mashun, or simply Mesjid Raya as it is often referred to, is Medan’s main mosque and is known for being one of its prettiest. The mosque was built using imported building materials such as Italian marble and you can take a tour and check out all the exquisite details here.
Some things to look out for include the pretty stained glass touches as well as the emerald green tiles, and the mosque is topped with dark elegant domes. Non-Muslims are welcome to tour the mosque outside of prayer hours, but make sure to dress respectfully.
Istana Maimun is the name of the royal palace in Medan which belonged to the Sultanate of Deli. Nowadays parts of the palace are open to the public and have been turned into a museum.
These include the throne room and there are a few displays that explain the history of the royal family and some collections of ancient clothing and other objects of interest. One of the big draws here is that for a small fee you can dress up in period garb and take pictures in the throne room, and you can also walk around the lush grounds that encircle the palace.
Seen from afar, the Annai Vellangkanni church looks nothing like a typical church. The church’s architecture has influences of Indian, Mughal, Tibetan, and Chinese and is clearly seen. The pagoda-like structure evokes feelings of looking at a Buddhist temple and is one of the finest examples of religious fusion and exemplifies Medan’s religious harmony.
Annai Velangkanni is a Christian temple (Our Lady Of Good Health Church) that is ensconced within a beautifully designed Indo-Tamil exterior. This temple, built in 2005, has served as the best testament to the religious diversity present in Medan. It is a must-visit for tourists interested in architecture.
Sri Mariamman Temple
Located at the center of the hustle and bustle of Little India, this temple is a treat to behold. It is one of the top tourist attractions in Medan you should not miss.
The Mariamman Temple is one of the more esoteric temples, as it is dedicated to the Tamil goddess Mariamman, and is a beautifully old piece of architecture. The temple was built in 1884. Tourists, after visiting the temple can check out the various Indian restaurants surrounding the area.