Medan is the capital city of North Sumatra. This is the largest city in Sumatra Island, with a population of two million. Tourists can expect a diversity of cultures in this city, as almost every ethnicity in the country is represented in this place: Acehnese, Batak, Chinese, Indians, Javanese, Malay and Minang, however, there is no ethnic group that is considered a majority.
For travelers, Medan is famous as the entry point to North Sumatra. Aside from serving as the gateway to the region, the city also functions as a commercial and economic hub; this Indonesian city attracts not only shoppers, but also business professionals and entrepreneurs. Medan is a modern metropolis and like other Asian cities, it can be very busy and suffer from heavy traffic.
Before Medan became a sprawling city, it was a trading and seafaring town under Islamic Malay leadership during its early days. It was in the 19th century when the city's commercial potential was uncovered. Because of plantation agriculture, Medan transformed from a small town to the prosperous city today.
The influence of the Dutch and all other cultures that have made their mark in the city are clearly imprinted on the metropolis, as exemplified by the attractiion and architectural landmarks found in Medan.
One example is the Maimoon Palace, which was built in 1888 by the Sultan of Deli. This grand attraction is a 30-room stucture built with Malay, Mogul, and Italian influences. Out of the 30 rooms, only the main room is accessible to the pubic. This is where tourists to the opulent inaugural throne. Meanwhile, the back wing of the palace is occupied by the members of the famil of the current Sultan.
Foodies will love Medan as the many ethnic groups that reside in the city contribute to the unique dining scene. Medan is known for food tourism, mainly because there is no shortage of delicious dishes here.
Probably the most famous restaurant in Medan is Tip Top Restaurant, which is located across the street from the Tjong A Fie Mansion. Those with a taste for nostalgia will love the establishment, as every bite of each meal transports the diner into an earlier time. Originally named Jangkie (after the owner's name), it has been around since the time of the Dutch occupation; in fact, Dutch officials often went here for a cup of coffee. The only thing that has changed in this colonial restaurant is the prices.