Medan...A City You Could Never Be Done With It

Trip Start Feb 02, 2011
Trip End Feb 06, 2011

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Where I stayed
Garuda Plaza Hotel Medan
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Indonesia  , Sumatra,
Saturday, February 5, 2011

By the time we had arrived in Medan, it was almost 1pm and we were all starving. Initially, we had wanted to slot in the visit to the Sri Maha Mariamman Hindu Temple for the afternoon session, however, as we were starving and the heat not assisting us in any way, we decided to have lunch instead. The driver brought us to this particular restaurant in town, Restoran Simpang Tiga, which was very impressive from the outside but average on the inside. 




As usual, Padang Food was served and taste was average, in fact the previous meals were much better compared to this one. Once we were done with lunch, our next destination was to visit Istana Maemoon, the Palace of the Kingdom of Deli, of course such kingdom does not exist today but of the yesteryears. I have been to this place many times before hence I did not spend much time taking photographs. More photographs of this palace is available in my previous blogs, sometime in 4th quarter 2009 including a short history of this place and kingdom. This kingdom was the neighboring kingdom to the Karo Kingdom in Berastagi and the Siak Kingdom in Riau (which is available in my previous blogs as well with detailed photographs).



From this Palace, since the hotel we stayed was pretty close by, we went over to check in the luggage and freshen up a little. Both my parents we quite worn out from the journey we had earlier today all the way from Berastagi. 



After the brief break, it was shopping time. We headed to my favorite place in Medan, Medan Plaza. This is not the up-market mall in Medan but it has two supermarkets, Carrefour and Matahari (Matahari is the largest supermarket chain in Indonesia and this is followed by Ramayana) Matahari is famous for branded garments (Indonesian Made) and Ramayana is famous for cheap low end items. We spent a whole deal of three and a half hours shopping. Garments especially are very cheap in Indonesia, probably costs 1/3 of what it may cost in Malaysia. 


After shopping, our next destination was another one of my favorites and must visit places every time I come here, which is the Thandayuthapani Temple in Medan. Here, I ensured that we arrived before 6 pm to witness the full prayers which happens on a daily basis. This temple is the second largest Hindu temple in Medan, the largest being the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple which is just a five minutes walk from this temple. Of course there are other small temples like the Kaliamman Temple, Muniswaran Temple and Dewi Temple. This Thandayuthapani Temple was constructed in 1892. As far as Hindu Temples are concerned, one very common feature that stands out both here in Indonesia and Thailand, are that the upkeep of the temples are very good and cleanliness is par excellence. This, you could not even see in Malaysia and what not other parts of the world. 



After spending a full one hour here, we moved on to the Mariamman Temple. It seems that this temple has been recently painted with some small renovations here and there. This temple was originally built in 1885. We were not long here, just approximately around 30 minutes and then we moved on to another mall.






From the earlier mentioned temple, our next destination was Sun Plaza, the newest and most up-market Mall in Medan, selling only European Brands. Typically, we came here just to have our dinner at another one of my favorite restaurants, a 'Halal' Dim Sum restaurant, which is located on the third floor of the mall directly opposite the main entrance. The offering at this restaurant is pretty good, with a wide variety of servings, just like of that in Malaysia where the waiters carry the dishes in trays and just keep walking around to the tables offering the items. Another interesting dish which I have only seen here is the Durian Dim Sum. Despite its pungent smell, durian has made its way to even Dim Sum kitchens. Well, unlike Malaysia, an entire Dim Sum dinner for four here had only cost me around USD 8 . The similar offering in Malaysia would have come up to USD 25.





Pretty much after dinner, we went back to the hotel and called it a night. Of course, my parents were really really tired today and they had retired to bed early. Me...knowing myself, could not sleep that early. I decided to head out again. The two of us, went out to town on the traditional 'Becak Motor' . It is an interesting ride and such a thing is unique to the city of Medan. These guys are quite accommodating when you request them to take you to various places, even to get certain delicacies like the Kek Ambon, a cinnamon layer cake that is famous in Medan. I specifically wanted to get this just to bring it back to Kuala Lumpur to be handed over to friends. The ride did not cost much, I think we spent around one hour with this guy and it had also cost us around USD 5 . 


After that, definitely, I had to get my bath again. Well, in that heat and humidity, running around the city in a Becak which has no windscreen, by the time you reach your destination, you would be covered with at least 2 inches thick of dirt on the face and the entire body would smell of fuel emissions. With that, we packed the bags and called it a night ourselves. Anyway, we have an early flight to catch tomorrow and have to rise before 4 am.
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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greekcypriot on

When you talk of numbers it is really cheap compared to everything here Venoth! Nice entry.

venoth on

Hi Greekcypriot, oh yes, I have heard a lot about the prices over there. :)

Jay on

Beautiful temples and 'durian tim sam', hmmm ....i wonder how it would taste. Im sure the whole kitchen would smell....

venoth on

Hi Jay, yeah the temples were beautiful, simple and maintained a holy presence. You should try the Durian Dim Sum if you happen to go there.

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