12 Mar - 16 Mar 2012 Medan

Republic of Indonesia
North Sumatra aka Sumatera Utara
Jalan Tengah 1
Small but adequate and clean enough twin room (no. 402) with tiny private bathroom for only IDR 60,000.- or US$ 6.50 per night.
From the hotel’s written rules and regulations: “ …unmarried couples are not allowed to sleep in the same room... “

Click below for an interactive road map of the Residence Hotel in Medan and for directions:

Exploring sprawling Medan, the big and chaotic capital of North Sumatra and the third-largest city in Indonesia, where seedy Dutch colonial buildings “adorn” the affluent older suburbs while jerry-built lean-tos house the bulk of today’s population of about two million Chinese, Javanese, Batak, Minangkabau and Indians, which all contribute to thousands of mouth-watering dishes found in every corner of the city (our favourite eatery: H. Azmy Chatib’s rumah makan Putra Raya with great Padang food +62617362997), and where we noticed the same social dichotomy as in many other countries and cities in Southeast Asia: “owned” and politically/religiously controlled by a nationalistic majority, but “run” and developed/propelled by a clever and hard-working Chinese minority (often discriminated as “Jews of the East”, thus suffering regularly pogroms with anti-Chinese riots, e.g. Medan in May 1998).

Taking one of the battered red minibuses (angkot, no. 41) for IDR 2,000.- or US$ 0.20 per person to Medan’s provincial Polonia International Airport and flying with Sriwijaya Air (“Your Flying Partner” and a longstanding member of the List of Airlines Banned in the EU) in a vintage Boeing 737-300 to Banda Aceh’s Sultan Iskandarmuda Airport for only IDR 290,000.- or US$ 31.60 per person, one way, plus the departure tax of IDR 30,000.- or US$ 3.30 per person, based on an all-inclusive special/promo air fare for flights on Fridays during the Islamic main-prayer time at 01:00 p.m. (luckily, with Chinese pilots at the sticks), and thereafter taking the convenient airport bus (IDR 15,000.- per person) right into Banda Aceh’s beer-free city centre, thus arriving at Indonesia’s northernmost province and the most staunchly Muslim part of Sumatra: “Assalamoe Aleikoem!”

Click below for other blog posts about interesting cities in Indonesia

Click below for a summary of this year's travels

Facing Sumatra
© Konni & Matt

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