Touted as the capital of the North Sumatra Province and the third-largest city of Indonesia, Medan is flanked by the Deli Serdang Regency and the crystal blue waters of Malacca Strait in the north. It houses an ethnic melting pot of Chinese, Javanese, Toba-Batak, Minangkabau, Indians, and more. With visible influences on their many cultural monuments, Medan is a place brimming with rich history. Even their scenic surroundings are reason alone to visit.

Since the city overflows with cultural and natural grandeur, we’ve come up a list of 6 must-see tourist spots in Medan!

1. Maimoon Palace

Maimoon Palace
Also known as Mainum Palace, this royal palace is the residence of the Sultanate of Deli / Photo by Tropenmuseum

Packing over a century of history within its architecture, Maimoon Palace was built in 1888 by the Sultan of Deli. Even today, the royal family resides within its back wing. With Italian, Dutch, and Islamic influences apparent in its design, the palace is a gorgeous representation of Medan’s multiculturalism. In addition, visitors can visit the main hall for peeks at the luxurious inauguration throne and tune into the daily traditional music performances.

2. Sipiso-Piso Waterfall

Sipiso-Piso Waterfall in Medan
Marvel at Indonesia’s tallest waterfall / Photo by Mindmaker

Your waterfall trek won’t be complete without a visit to Sipiso-Piso waterfall, which earns its title of being one of Indonesia’s tallest waterfalls because of its 120m plunge from a cliff. Framed by verdant and lush greenery, the majestic waterfall hurtles down into a beautiful gorge below. Most noteworthy, set sights on the constant eruptions of fine mist and rainbow illusions. With nearby food stalls and souvenir shops, simply take a seat and admire its thundering sounds. Better yet, go up close and take pictures of a lifetime!

3. Great Mosque of Medan

Great Mosque of Medan
The Great Mosque of Medan showcases Islamic influences in its architectural design / Photo by Merbabu

There is no escaping the historic Great Mosque of Medan. Designed by the same architect who designed Maimoon Palace, the mosque exhibits similar Mediterranean and Islamic influences. Of them, find the visible colour scheme of white walls, sky blue accents, and navy blue domes. Additionally, the octagonal architecture ropes in Indian and Spanish elements as well, making it truly abundant in international influences.

4. Graha Maria Annai Velangkami

Our Lady of Good Health Church in Medan
This church mirrors that of an Indian temple / Photo by Ronald Tagra, via Wikimedia Commons

Also known as Our Lady of Good Health Church, this structure is a symbolic beacon of Medan’s diversity. The architecture and design mirror that of an Indian temple as it was inspired by church planter temples in India. The detailed ornate carvings and wide interiors are worth capturing on film for keepsakes. For a more personal and fulfilling experience, get in the act of joining their daily prayers.

5. Tjong A Fie Mansion

Tjong A Fie Mansion in Medan
An English-speaking guide is available to give a tour of this historic mansion / Photo by Tropenmuseum

Tjong A Fie Mansion boasts Chinese, Malay, and Victorian architectural styles, and is once the house of the wealthiest merchant in Medan. You can find hand-painted ceilings, an upstairs ballroom, a Taoist temple, and much more within a single roof. Moreover, spot wooden furniture inlaid with marble and mother of pearl and structural elements that signify the “Well of Heaven”. 

6. Lake Toba


Last on the list, Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in Southeast Asia. Situated amongst Sumatra’s volcanic peaks, the lake is also home to the expansive Samosir Island that was created by a volcanic eruption 30,000 to 75,000 years ago. Dip your toes in the lake, explore the tiny village of Tuk Tuk that sits carved inland, or take a boat out to Samosir Island for an adventure – this tourist hot spot is a must see when travelling in Medan.

Now that you know the which tourist spots to visit, check out this 4D3N Medan Tour with Hotel Stay. If you’re looking for more Indonesian destinations to visit on your next holiday, check out our Discover Indonesia page and book your trip today!

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