Three Malay Dances at Merdeka Walk

After tasting Waroenk Nenek’s pecel lele (fried catfish with chili sauce), the sky looked occasionally throwing lightning. As if announcing to earth inhabitants that soon it would drop rain which it couldn’t hold anymore.

It seems I never heeded the announcement. The green button “Order GoRide” has already been touched and invited a online taxibike driver to appear in front of me in 4 minutes. Motorizing along 4.5 km, I got off at right in front of “Pos Indonesia” building. “Anno 1911” was precisely wrote above a old window with four columns and three rows shutters, had became a birth certificate of the building, it is meaning that the building is 109 years old now.

The colorful gates of Merdeka Walk which are only 150 meters from my dropping point, I approached it by walk. This time, I passed next old building which had become “Bank Indonesia” office and next to it I found an elegant Old City Hall which was doused in yellow spotlights from its roof.

Arrive at a big T-junction, right in front is my next destination and at the south side is “Bank Mandiri” Building.
Old City Hall in north of Bank Mandiri.

I slowly tread into Medan’s culinary center. Large trees became the first sight which catched my eye’s attention. How shady it would be if I arrived at noon, the assumption which I immediately imagined.

Let’s come in!….Don’t just stare.

Long rows of tables and chairs which were arranged lengthwise following restaurants direction which lined up parallel to Balai Kota Street greet me. I wasn’t counting but I heard that Merdeka Walk provided 700 seats for visitors.

Hang out there seemed good.

This place also provides menu variety from Asian food to European food. But yes, that’s how I am, you can certainly guess….I never once sat and tasted food in this place.

Sitting there is fun also…Looks like again.

Two Merdeka Walk restaurant sides will be centered in a field area called the Center Piece. That night, this area was transformed into a red carpeted stage which was functioned as a catwalk. Loud music delivered by backstage sound system was welcomed by swinging footsteps in one straight line. Child models were able to stylish like an adult and experienced models.

At the Center Piece there was also a local TV shooting activity.

Not long after, the sky really poured heavy rain. I couldn’t imagine, they who quickly sipped hot coffee or they who chewed their food which have just been served with a high tempo too….amused to see it. While me?…. Easy…. Just ran away and took shelter in an closed restaurant then waited for rain until finished.

What’s behind of Merdeka Walk?

The night began to move, in the soft drizzle I went down some stairs at back of Merdeka Walk to saw activities at Merdeka Square. It seemed that this field is an children choice area which allowed them to free run around or just drove around in cars which were glittering with colorful lights.

Medan Hall.

Then my steps came to a large hall where several families gathered while laying mats and enjoying dinner together with a dinner basket from home. A harmonious family.

And when I intended to end my visit on Merdeka Walk, I hear a faint Malay music which was followed by someone’s voice which I guessed as MC. The sound was sourced from north. I rushed over

It turned out to be a free performance of Malay dance.

For a moment I enjoyed three Malay dances which were held right in front of the yellowish green “Tourist Service” building.

Beautiful closing night in Medan because on next day I would go to Toba Lake….I couldn’t wait.

Revealing a Benefactor story at Tjong A Fie Mansion

Sumatra Money Museum and Tjong A Fie’s House are only three blocks away and pass a large intersection which separates Pemuda Street where the museum is located and Jenderal Ahmad Yani Street where the house is located.

Security: “Hey, brother. Why do you capture photos of this building?”, his left hand is on his waist, his right hand hold a T-stick.

Me: “Oh, that’s sir….The building is nice, really classic“, bent down as a sorry.

Security: “Oh yeah, that’s great … I didn’t realize it“. Saying while standing on my right side led to the same building.

Me: “Sure, Sir….You who has worked here for a long time, just realized that” while holding a laugh in my chest.

I thought he will take my camera and erased the picture in it…. Apparently no, hahaha.

—-****—-

That house gate is so small and I had a little bit passed it. I turned and slowly walked toward it.

My bad habit: silence for a long time in the courtyard and even didn’t blink.

Young staffs who on duty at ticket desk were watching me from terrace. They were glad to get a guest. Some time later, I realized that they were waiting me.

Staff: “Sir, you can keep your backpack here. The house is spacious, you will be tired“.

Me: “Thank you honey Ms, I put it here….Is it safe?”.

Staff: “I’ll take care, Sir….You don’t need to worry”.

Me: “Take care of my heart too….Thanks Ms”.

OK….Let’s start to entering Tjong A Fie Mansion.

A multicultural figure from Guangdong.

Do you know about Tjong A Fie?….He is a Chinese descent resident who in his life became a rich trader and became an important figure in Medan because of his generosity in building Medan city in his era. He worked hand in hand with Sultan Makmun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alamsyah to develop city economy. At that time, Deli was famous worldwide with its high-quality tobacco, and even Deli was dubbed as Dollar Landsh (Dollar Land).

The beauty of his 120-year-old house is truly eye-catching. Has four guest rooms with different concepts to receive guests from different communities.

The yellow dominant living room is for receiving guests from Deli Sultanate as Malay community.
Chinese descent guests are welcome here.
This room is to receive guests from Dutch government.

I was fortunate to meet two visitors from Aceh who used a tour guide services. Seeing me when visiting it alone, Mr. Syaiful smiled and waved to me and then invited me to join with them. “Come on, brother, come here!“, he lightly said. How lucky is my fate.

Tjong A Fie was so rich, many of his home furnishings were imported from Europe such as safes, ceramic decorations or ovens in his kitchen.

The dining table was ever used to entertain Deli Sultanate family in Chinese New Year celebration.

Next exploration showed photos of the entire Tjong A Fie family, which consist from 21 family members. The photo was taken during his 60th birthday celebration in early 20th century.

A bed made from classic carving woods with white mosquito nets.

An orange kitchen wall with three wood-burning stoves next to a separate room with two flour stone-grinders and one rolling pin with similar material.

A hall which contains a row of family history photos.

In other side, I found a Tjong A Fie family tree, some photos of important buildings in the city which were built with his funds (such as Gang Bengkok Old Mosque, Sipirok Old Mosque and even Al Mashun Grand Mosque in downtown), as well as a photo of Kesawan Bank Commissioner which was founded by Tjong A Fie.

A high windows with a dominant number make the house so spacious.

Tour guide said that during President Soeharto era, the state acquired Tjong A Fie’s plantation and merged into state’s plantation ownership i.e PT. Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN).

End of my visitation in Tjong A Fie Mansion. His house gate is seen from 2nd floor.

See the Tjong A Fie Mansion situation here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYmGn_g4FW4

Attaching a Signature at the Sumatra Money Museum

I began to walk at exit path of Sri Deli Park.

My steps were so harmonious with my index finger pressure on camera to capture the best images along Sisingamangaraja Street.

Red motorcycle suddenly got off from asphalt and its brake pounding threw dust which made me momentarily cover my nose. A face which was hidden behind helmet turned towards me while waving. I paused while thinking what was happen. A little suspicious, I stepped up to him while keeping a safe distance.

He : “Sir, don’t carry your good camera like that. There are a lot of thieves here. Just keep it!“, speaking after slowly taking off his helmet.

Me: “Oh, thank you sir….Okay sir”, I relieved replied

He: “Be careful, Sir. Assalamualaikum

Me: ”Wa’alaikumsalam Sir”. Good people are always around me.

—-****—-

Strong despite being old.

I was stunned under Tirtanadi Water Tower while sitting and putting my backpack next to a tree trunk to protect myself from the sun’s heat. Then I filled my bottles with free drinking water in front left of PDAM (the name of water company) Tirtanadi office.

Worried that the dusk which had been queueing to present, I fastly stepped to Tjong A Fie’s house. Passing a railroad crossing and then entering Pemuda Street, I accidentally passed a roll up banner which its titled “Sumatra Money Museum“.

See the way toward Sumatra Money Museum here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1NWlMmGZr0

Maybe just need about 30 minutes to explore, stop by for a moment!“, inwardly whispered teasing me. Without argumentation, now, I have been speaking with Miss L – a sweet young woman in a sky blue scarf – as a staff and also as a museum’s tour guide. She took souvenirs in the form of two coins made by Palembang Sultanate with a hole in its middle which was neatly wrapped while giving a piece of green paper as size as a ticket with a writing “Souvenir Fee USD 0.75“.

—-****—-

2nd floor.

I stepped stairs and continually observed its classic building. Ms. L said, I was in “Gedung Juang ’45“. “No need to hurry, Sir. The museum closes at 5 pm“, she said with a smile.

Arriving on 2nd floor, I was treated to a view of money printing machine “Oeang Republik Indonesia Tapanoeli (ORITA)” which was used in early era of President Soekarno.

ORITA.

Founded 3 years ago by Saparudin Barus, this collection room became the first money museum in Sumatra. The collector’s personal intention was approved by local government after Gedung Juang ’45 was chosen as museum location. In the past, This building itself has an important role as headquarters of Barisan Pemuda Indonesia (Indonesian Youth Front) in carrying out resistance against Dutch colonial government.

In 1726, for the first time, the VOC published coins known as DOIT or DUIT.

Exploring from one storefront to another, accompanied by an explanation from Ms. L, I began to float into nation’s historical flow through coins sequence which is sorted by its using.

Indonesian coins from time to time along with Malaysian coins.

Being the only visitor that afternoon, I was willing to repeatly observe some trade exchange tools in the golden era of Srivijaya Kingdom. Or money which was made from burlap which was issued by Buton Kingdom in Sulawesi.

It’s so large, Soekarno era’s paper money!

At the end of my visitation, Miss L directed me to a long white cloth and she briefly explained that each visitor would be asked to write his impression message about the museum and ending with a signature underneath. Okay, no need to be stingy to write on the cloth. My signature scratch ended this visitation.

Museum’s storefront with many money collection from various times.

How lucky me to passing and visiting it….Let’s to next destination!

Eight Facets in Al Mashun Grand Mosque Architecture

That green mosque with dominant white was clearly visible from Maimun Palace gate. It’s a 111 years old mosque which is be a memory of Deli Sultanate greatness. According to story, Sultan wanted to build a mosque more beautiful than the palace where he lived as a service for religion. So the palace and mosque are an architectural package which were planned by Sultan Deli which you must visit when you are in Medan.

Impatient steps made me sweaty panting and my back was increasingly achy because burdened by a backpack which even I have carried for 4 hours since leave Kualanamu International Airport.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight….Oh, eight facets“, I murmured in heart when I got around outside of the oldest mosque in Medan. The main dome with dark color is surrounded by three twin domes. A unique form and rarely found in any mosque.

Sultan Ma’mun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alam needed for 3 years for finishing the building.

Dhuhr azan reprimanded me for immediately turning off the camera and purifying myself with wudu (ablution) in a separate building at east of mosque.

Wudu (ablution) place.

After put my shoes, I walked on a rubber track into mosque’s worship room. I was looking around and admiring mosque’s interior which is very charming.

Able to accommodate 1,500 worshipers at a time.

Eight buffer pillars are coated by marble which was imported from Itali by the architect – Mr. Tingdeman -. Combined with the elegance of a chandelier from France which its form like a reverse birthday cake. Then walls on every sides consist of doors with Spanish arch style and are completed with large stained glass from China. Then islamic nuances of Taj Mahal are represented on wall motifs and pulpit (minbar) carvings….AMAZING.

Al Mashun Grand Mosque dome are black from outside.

After Dhuhr prayer, I watched an Aussie tour group who visited the mosque using hijab which were provided by the mosque. They looked fascinated when entering mosque’s door.

Some mosque worshipers were seen heading to tombs on west side and made a pilgrimage to Sultan tombs. Al Mashun Grand Mosque looked solemn inside and outside.

Do you know the meaning of word “Al Mashun”…. “maintained” is the meaning of its name.

Pedestrian bridge which its shape is influenced by mosque architecture.

I tried to approach Sisingamangaraja street to enjoy the mosque from a distance. Its beauty increasingly become when I observed it from pedestrian bridge

Madani Hotel is in across of the mosque. See!. It have a dome too….Beautiful.

See Al Mashun Grand Mosque situation here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGM70L6JeaQ

That was my adventure in Medan’s second destination….Come with me again to another good destination !.

Golden Yellow of Maimun Palace

Call his name as Yunus, a young man with a Malay face with his confidence patting my shoulder from behind. My focus to snapping the palace image from the best position finally faded.

Yunus: “Can you take photo of me, brother?”

Me: “Oh, okay. Don’t stand there…. stand in the middle! “, I directed his position like a professional photographer.

He just came from Pangkalan Brandan to try his fortune in Medan after passing a vocational school with its majoring in Automotive Engineering. He want to work in automotive workshop. He was so fascinated by my appearance so he guessed me as a reporter with a camera which he thought expensive. Even though……Hahaha

Take my photo, boy!“, I said. “Oh okay, smile, smile“, Yusuf managed…. Snap…. Am I similar to a reporter?

Our small talk was resolved when my steps were leading to a separate building at left of the palace. I looked inside, there was a cannon with a broken end. That is the “Buntung/Puntung” Cannon. Amazing, that cannon piece fell as far as 75 km at south of the palace because of cannon’s heat which was continuously fired.

It is said that this cannon was the incarnation of Putri Hijau (Green Princess) when Deli Sultanate was attacked by a king from Aceh who was angry because his marriage proposal was rejected.

“Dee Eerste Steen Van Dit Gebouw

Is Celeco Op Den

26 Augustus 1888

Door Z. H. Den Sultan Van Deli

Mahmoed El Rasjid Perkasa Alamsja

I read with lips curve which is similar to dutch accent at the base of front pillar just before climbing the white gray stairs.

Fixing my backpack in preparation for whole palace exploration then was continued with buying an entrance ticket for USD 3.7 at the top of stairs. Then my steps began to tread palace floor.

King and Queen chairs.

Yellow color palace door which are so numerous, adopt an European style which is combined with green dominant shutters and arches at the top with Indian Mughal architecture, were the first scene which I remember.

Great wedding altar in golden yellow.

Then “the yellow and the green” are combined with “the red” as a signify that this palace clearly belongs to whole Malay nation. Yellow represents wisdom, green represents Islam and red represents tradition colors.

Lamp ornaments above the height of palace ceiling.

So many faces of Deli Sultanate family are introduced to public through classic photographs which are neatly arranged and tightly attached to wooden walls of the palace.

As a result, I was stunned by the beautiful face of Yang Mulia Raja Noorsida who is wife of Seripaduka Sultan Osman Al Sani Perkasa Alam.

Photo of Sultan Deli who rules today: Seripaduka Baginda Tuanku Sultan Mahmud Arya Lamanjiji Perkasa Alam Shah.

In some corners, I diligently watched several weapons which are left by Sultan, such as Bentara Kris (Keris Bentara), Tumbok Dagger (Tumbok Lada), Cenderahati Kris (Keris Cenderahati). Also some musical instruments, jewelry, ceramic plates and Sultan’s clothes.

Deli Sultanate spears.

More noon, more visitors enlivened the whole palace. Many people were willing to queue for wearing Malay traditional clothes and pose in king and queen’s chairs. Students didn’t hesitate to sit on palace floor and listening to teacher’s explanation which loudly tell some stories until his jugular veins appeared.

Malay traditional clothes rental.

My visitation to Maimun Palace really left a deep impression because this was the first time I visited a palace on Sumatra island.

See you again, the magnificent and modest palace.

See the Maimun Palace situation here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzCzrdsv978

Come on….See next creations of Deli Sultanate !…. Al Mashun Grand mosque. It’s not far …

10 Tourist Attractions in Medan

I’ve never given brain a slightest chance to think long. Riding a motorcycle taxi, I sayid “sayonara” to Amplas Terminal which seems unwilling to be left behind by visitor who are willing to take time to know about it.

15 minutes later, I already alighted at Medan’s main destination. They are:

1. Maimun Palace

The palace whose name means “blessing” has served for nearly 130 years in representing a greatness of Deli Sultanate. This palace was constructed as a sign of kingdom’s capital shifting from Labuhan to Medan.

Yellow is a distinctive Malay color that symbolizes wisdom.

Redeem an entrance ticket worth USD 0.37, I explored every corner of the palace and continued to admire every detail of the fusion of Indian, Middle Eastern and European architecture. Five hectares of palace area makes anyone freely enjoy beauty of the palace from various points of view.

Next destination is only 2 minutes by walking, which is:

2. Al Mashun Grand Mosque

Located in west of palace, this octagonal sacred building majestically stands in passing time. This fenomenal creation by Sultan Ma’mun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alam implies that he prioritizes grandeur of the mosque rather than the palace where he lives.

Its marble was directly imported from Italy.

Right on Dzuhur prayer time, I took time to mingle with local people to taste the coolness of this 110 years old mosque. The grandeur of mosque is a marker of prosperity of Deli Sultanate in its time.

Don’t leave an area around the palace and mosque because there is still one more place which is believed to be a relic of Deli Sultanate, namely:

3. Sri Deli Park

Stepping for about 100 meters to north of mosque, I was arriving in the park. To absorbed its historical value, I tried to imagine being a Sultan’s son who was relaxing in afternoon then taking a bath in the trapezoid pool which is located in the middle of park.

Park which can reduce city’s heat.

This park was as a closing exploration to remember the glory of Malay under the leadership of Sri Paduka Tuanku Sultan (the title of Sultan Deli).

4. Tirtanadi Water Tower

Continuing to walk to north, within 800 meters I found a giant water tank which is owned by PDAM (stands for Perusahaan Daerah Air Minum) Tirtanadi in North Sumatra Province. This giant water tank has long been a tourist landmark for the city.

Don’t look at its old face but look at its role.

Who would think that this red and white water tank was made by Netherlands Colonialism at beginning of 20th century. According to the meaning of its Sanskrit name, Tirtanadi has a vital role in supplying clean water needs of townspeople since it was first built until now.

Do you know the meaning of “Tirtanadi” word?….Yups, Tirta means water and Nadi means life.

5. Museum Uang Sumatera (Money Museum of Sumatra)

Let’s take more step!….

About 300 meters at west of Tirtanadi Water Tower, I found a various forms of money collection from several eras in a museum which its establishment was initiated by a money collector named Saparudin Barus.

Even money from Deli Sultanate era was still well preserved.

This museum doesn’t have an entrance ticket. It’s just that museum will give souvenirs in the form of 2 old coins with a hole in the middle and is valued for about USD 0.74.

6. Tjong A Fie Mansion

This time, I stopped at another important destination in Medan. This is a house which is owned by rich trader of Chinese descent who had a major role in city development. This benefactor is Tjong A Fie. And the remain aside from his greatness name is her house where he lives.

Every room in Tjong A Fie’s house has a special function that fascinates me.

I was willing to pay an entrance ticket for USD 2.6. But that value paid off once I understood about its story that explaining each side of the house and traced Tjong A Fie’s career in growing his business and build Medan.

7. Madras Village

There was no authentic reason which I could explain why I had to visit Madras Village. One simple reason, it was a domino effect because I stayed at Dazhong Backpacker Hostel in the center of Madras Village.

Mingling with Indian descent citizens.

Madras is taken from the name of an area in South India which is the ancestors origin of Indian Tamil descent residents.

8. Waroenk Nenek

After meeting up with my friend in city, the darkness persuaded me to return to hotel. But the hunger that was unstoppable, made me to looking for dinner before I actually arrived at hotel.

Bonus destination.

Then I arrived at a restaurant with its slogan “Semua Ada” at Patimura Street. One portion of fried catfish with sambal which was served by beautiful waitress in hijab became the most beautiful gift that night.

9. Merdeka Walk

Fresh after dinner made me canceling to back to hotel. I was adding to one destination again by visiting the city’s culinary and entertainment center which is usualli called eMWe.

Drizzle started to fall when I arrived.

Created in 2005 and able to accommodate 700 visitors at one time making this place as a favorite destination when weekend arrives. Especially for young people who want to relax after working hard all week.

10. Medan Hall.

It’s still one area with Merdeka Walk which occupies at one side of Merdeka Square. This hall will be the center of Medan square in the future after revitalization which is being designed by city government.

At 21:00 hours, the hall still had visitors.

Availability of parks around the hall makes this place very crowded with activities variety from just gathering with family, sports or activities of several young communities.

That was a quick visit in Medan that made me want to back there again.

Kualanamu Airport Bus and Amplas Terminal which is Getting Old

Even a week before flying, I made a choice. Not “The fast train from Woojin“, let alone the “blue bird” that often passed in Kualanamu International Airport. My choice was on cheap transportation which is friendly to my wallet. It is none other than DAMRI Bus.

Sitting sleepily in waiting room of airport train station then observing executives people who dragging their suitcase, chasing train’s departure time. Or conversely, quick steps of dapper passengers who had just gotten off the airport train to catch up on their flight times. I became a relaxed man that morning at Kualanamu International Airport. Yes….I was on backpacking, not on business trip.

They who were busy.

15 minutes watching the “The Blue Sky train” which passing by, I exited the train station and carrying my blue backpack which I got through a famous e-commerce a year ago.

Chief Sergeant’s smile welcomed when he helped to crossing me across airport car lane and then I directed my steps towards airport bus platform.

DAMRI Bus hide at the side of red minibus.

Turning to right end of airport exit gate, DAMRI ticket sales counter is very easily seen and found. Can be clearly read “Amplas, Siantar or Binjai“, as several public transportation destinations at outer of Kualanamu. I have studied it well and clearly stated in my itinerary, Amplas is my next destination.

Redeeming a ticket for USD 1.1, I was accessing to taste government-owned transportation which is already legendary in all people heart.

Very cheap.

Brother, just look at destination direction board!. Over there”, ticket staff in uniform said, with his forefinger and his eyes headed in the same direction.

Ok, Sir” I curtly replied.

24 passenger bus in medium size which was never full.

Entering its single door, I sat right next to the door, less than a minute I was in back seat, even a moment later I was in middle seat. AC ventilator was uncovered, rear window was dull so that my camera also lost its clarity, in the middle, reclining seats didn’t function properly.

Air conditioner was super cold which made me shiver along journey.

 “Where’s your ticket?“, The conductor loudly said that surprised me.

Ah, this is Medan, apparently“, I thought that finally made me naturally behave and not be surprised.

Amplas Terminal, Sir“, I handed him the ticket. It turned out that behind the ferocious conductor’s face, there was a faint smile which automatically released on his lips. I began to fall in love with Medan.

Drive and stay away from Kualanamu.

I was very busy in moving to other seats in order to create the best shots (though failed ultimately….Haha), because this DAMRI bus carried 5 passengers only. I knew that the driver keep watching me through rearview mirror. In order to made it natural, I gave him a thumbs up and, uniquely, he also raised his thumbs high. All passengers laughed at me.

Alley situation of a village.
Wide gardens owned by residents.

DAMRI bus had already been quickly speeding on Medan-Kualanamu-Tebing Tinggi toll road.

Preparing to enter the fast lane.

In thirty minutes, DAMRI run towards west until it finally arrived at Amplas Integrated Terminal which is very famous in Sumatera. The terminal isn’t as frightening as I imagined. Nobody bothered me when I spent 20 minutes to exploring entire terminal.

Amplas Terminal which is 29 years old.

Even I took time to talk to Department of Transportation officer about how to go to Toba Lake from this terminal. Also conversing with a “Sejahtera” bus conductor to asked about bus first departure to the world’s largest volcanic lake.

Blue stall where I talk with local residents.

Very happy to hear that Amplas Terminal will be revitalized by Minister of Transportation, and will become an terminal which is integrated with malls and hotels. So cool.

Come on, didn’t stay long at terminal !. Let me show you about Medan.

See the way towards Amplas Terminal here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iv6lQjoYmQ&t=15s

Let’s explore Medan!

Not Silangit, but Kualanamu

KNO is the code for Kualanamu International Airport which is established by IATA. Like CGK for Soetta, KUL for KLIA and SIN for Changi.

In the past, when I thought of Medan (before I actually visited it) then the first place which I imagined was Toba Lake….Even though, Toba Lake is in Simalungun Regency, while Medan is 190 km at north of lake.

Perception changed again when Indonesia airport optimization era was promoted throughout the country. When I hear the word “Medan”, then I automatically imagine Kualanamu. How not, Kualanamu had set a record in as a pioneer in using of airport train to downtown in Indonesia.

1. Arrival Hall

Conveyor belt area.

Sriwijaya Air SJ 010 with its very economical ticket meritorious for landing me at Kualanamu International Airport (KNIA). As always, airport exploration is a must for me. I decided to invest my first hour in North Sumatera to explore each side of Kualanamu.

Main Arrival Hall.

The temperature of Medan had only moved to 28 Celsius degrees, so it wasn’t as hot as I imagined. Therefore I feel relaxed when stood a little long in plane parking lot while waiting for shuttle bus apron to picked me up right under the plane.

Maimun Palace Replica, Medan tourism icon.

Entering the airport which has meaning of the name i.e “Meeting Place”, situation became noisy because many passengers were running around and even willing to queued to take pictures with Mr. Jokowi who was pedaling a bicycle or just to captured theirself in KNO yellow signboard spot.

2. Departure Hall

That is check-in area.

After exploring Arrrival Hall and understanding a dozen directions to several airport facilities, I made time to go up to 2nd floor to see Departure Hall. This became a necessity because I was aware that I would back to Jakarta from Minangkabau International Airport in Padang Pariaman.

They were busy to leave Medan.

Only situation of plane’s waiting room wasn’t caught on my camera because I didn’t have a ticket to enter it. Exploration at Departure Hall must finally end here.

The departure gate after you check-in.

3. Other Facilities

Down from 2nd floor through escalator, I returned to Arrival Hall to see available other facilities .

Tourists must come here if they want to find information about North Sumatera tourism.

I talked for a long time with “The Beautiful Hijab” on duty at Tourist Information Center. Her aura made me feel comfort and smoothly issued as many questions as possible just to be able to admire her beauty longer….Hihihi.

Information Center at Arrival Hall.

Leaving Arrival Hall and hold many brochures as result of my conversation with her. Combined with an itinerary which I composed, my exploration focus for North Sumatera Province this time are in Medan, Toba Lake and Pematang Siantar. Because I would pass all this three places.

Exit gate of airport main building.

4. Airport Train Access

Yuhuii….I was excited because in an instant I would directly see “The Blue Sky” which is already famous throughout my country as the first airport train in Indonesia.

Look at the sign board. How easy it is to find it.

This South Korean-made train sells its tickets for USD 7.4 for one way trip from airport station to downtown or vice versa.

Gate to airport train station.
Ticketing counter and information desk.
Automatic Ticket Vending Machine.

But sorry, gaes….I couldn’t show the train interior, because I wasn’t ride it to downtown. Its price is too expensive for me. There is other transportation mode which are more affordable with my wallet.

That is the airport train….

5. Airport Bus Access

Yes, I chose to use DAMRI bus to go to downtown. Its ticket price which is only USD 1.1 really made it as first choice and suddenly appeared in my backpacker instinct. Not bad anyway, the price gap about USD 6.3 can be made for four time meals…. So this savings started from DAMRI airport bus….Hahaha.

Let’s buy a DAMRI ticket and then head to downtown.

I was satisfied after successfully collecting one airport which is belonged to my country and would be stored in my journey history.

See the airport’s inside: https://youtu.be/9XkLfmzCuqA

Thank you Kualanamu….Welcome Medan.

Breaking a Record with SJ 010

Yessss….Finally I flew to Medan via that route.

Was SJ 010, Sriwijaya Air’s morning flight using BOEING 737-900ER which took me to “Kota Melayu Deli” (other name of Medan). Amazing journey which was actually unplanned. It is different from my habits when traveling abroad with making detail itinerary since a year before the trip is executed.

At 3:58 am, I have arrived Terminal 2 Soetta.

Starting from a taunting every morning in my beloved office, who is always me as victim. “Achh….you don’t love our country and always go abroad. Our country is beautiful, why do you have to go abroad?“. Even though they who spoke it also rarely went on picnics everywhere….Hahaha.

Upon arrival at airport, I went straight to check-in counter.

This trip was also obsessed because of another tickling event. Starting from planning to go with marketing friends to Toba Lake, which is always planned at the end of every year. Even three years have passed or arguably until I have explored more than ten nations, it was never realized.

Install your own cabin baggage tag, Donny!

Yes, such it, sometimes friends have passion just on their lips. So if I don’t do the action by myself, I will never go to outside of Jakarta.

Preparing to passed x-ray security screening at gate F.

The end of October is time when I get an additional 5 days leave. This is a benefit which I got since I was become a supervisor in my office. Somehow, the discussion about Toba Lake at Thursday morning briefing made me curious to open a ticket search site.

05:46 am….Let’s boarding!

Following my fingers which kept dancing on keypad, I was anesthetized because I suddenly had ended the payment gate session on website and then bringing a Cengkareng-Kualanamu e-ticket for USD 40.8. Damn, travel maniac….I had to get ready for next 18 days to explore Sumatra island.

The dashing of Sriwijaya Air SJ 010.

Now I would be the first marketer in my office who would see beauty of Toba Lake. No need to plan a lot, didn’t need to say much….Just go whatever you want, Donny!

Not only in highway….Wanted to fly through Soetta runway also had to queue.

I hope that after returning from Sumatra expedition, my friends wouldn’t say that I don’t love my own country.

At 6:41 am I floated above Jakarta.
And having breakfast with Sriwijaya Air menu.

And you need to know, this trip started from Medan and would end in Padang. After returning home, I would be dubbed as a crazy traveler for the first time by all friends in office….Wow.

Why did Sriwijaya Air always make strange noises like rickety while flying.

I didn’t deliberately land in Silangit because my strong desire felt exploration of North Sumatra mainland to see its nature and mingled with unique local people from the various stories which I heard.

The view outside was able to forget strange noises in the cabin.
Flight with zero turbulence.
The sparkling Malacca straits is doused by dawn.
The awesome North Sumatra coastline.

My furthest exploration on Sumatra island so far only reached the edge of Martapura city, South Sumatra. But that wasn’t in traveling, but only to fulfill my duty when I was a freshwater fish sales many years ago.

I was arrived….Come on down!
That’s the main building of Kualanamu International Airport.

There was one interesting comment on my social media when I just landed in Kualanamu. “Bro Donny, He always work hard and travel harder“….Looked like I have to accept that jargon from my friend.

Waiting for apron shuttle bus.
The bus was coming.

Just like a dream, finally being able to visit North Sumatra. One thing that was never thought of before. It must be like that to explore the beauty of Indonesia. No need to think a long, just go….If lost, it won’t far from home….Hahaha.

Exploring Medan started from this door….Let’s go!

You can see its video here: https://youtu.be/3Bwjm3VULPc

By the way, you can search for flight ticket from Jakarta to Medan in 12go Asia. Try to search the route here: https://12go.asia/?z=3283832

Tiga Tarian Melayu di Merdeka Walk

Selepas mencicip pecel lele khas Waroenk Nenek, langit terlihat sesekali melempar kilat. Seakan mengumumkan kepada penduduk bumi bahwa sebentar lagi dia akan menjatuhkan hujan yang tak mampu ditahannya lagi.

Sepertinya aku tak pernah mengindahkan pengumuman itu. Tombol hijau “Order GoRide” sudah terlanjur kusentuh dan mengundang pengendaranya hadir dihadapanku dalam 4 menit. Bermotor sepanjang 4.5 km, aku turun tepat didepan gedung Pos Indonesia. “Anno 1911” tertulis tepat diatas jendela tua dengandaun kolom empat baris tiga, telah menjadi akta lahir gedung itu, artinya usianya telah beranjak 109 tahun.

Gerbang warna-warni Merdeka Walk yang hanya berjarak 150 meter dari titik turun, kudekati dengan berjalan kaki. Kali ini aku melewati gedung tua berikutnya yang telah menjadi kantor Bank Indonesia dan disebelahnya lagi kutemukan Old City Hall yang elegan tersiram lampu tembak berwarna kuning dari atapnya.

Tibalah di pertigaan besar, tepat di depan adalah destinasiku berikutnya dan di seberang selatan itu adalah Gedung Bank Mandiri.
Old City Hall di Utara Bank Mandiri

Perlahan aku menapak memasuki pusat kuliner kota Medan. Pepohonan besar menjadi pemandangan pertama yang menarik perhatian mata. Betapa rindangnya jika tiba di siang hari, perandaian yang kubayangkan seketika.

Yuk lah, masuk!….Jangan bengong aja donk.

Deretan panjang meja dan kursi diatur memanjang mengikuti arah tenant yang berbaris sejajar dengan Jalan Balai Kota menyambutku. Tak menghitung tapi mendengar bahwa Merdeka Walk menyediakan 700 kursi untuk para pengunjung.

Nongkrong disitu enak deh kayaknya.

Tempat ini juga menyediakan variasi menu dari makanan Asia hingga ala Eropa. Tapi ya begitulah diriku, kamu pasti bisa menebaknya….Aku tak pernah sekalipun duduk dan mencicipi makanan di tempat ini.

Duduk situ juga asekkk….Sepertinya lagi.

Kedua sayap tenant Merdeka Walk akan berpusat pada satu area lapang yang disebut Center Piece. Malam itu, area ini disulap menjadi sebuah panggung berkarpet merah yang berfungsi sebagai jalur catwalk. Musik keras yang dihantarkan oleh sound system di belakang panggung di sambut dengan ayunan langkah kaki-kaki kecil dalam satu garis lurus. Model-model cilik itu mampu bergaya bak model dewasa dan berpengalaman.

Di Center Piece juga sedang ada aktivitas syuting TV lokal.

Tak berselang lama, langit benar-benar menumpahkan hujan dengan derasnya. Tak kubayangkan, mereka yang menyeruput kopi panasnya dengan cepat atau mereka yang mengunyah hidangan yang baru saja disajikan dengan tempo tinggi pula….Geli melihatnya. Sementara aku?….Gampang….Tinggal lari dan berteduh di sebuah tenant kosong lalu menunggu hujan selesai.

Ada apa di belakang Merdeka Walk?.

Malam semakin beranjak, dalam gerimis lembut aku menuruni anak tangga di bagian belakang Merdeka Walk untuk melihat aktivitas di Lapangan Merdeka. Sepertinya lapangan ini menjadi area pilihan buat anak-anak yang memungkinkan baginya untuk berlarian dengan lega atau sekedar berkendara keliling dengan mobil-mobilan yang bergemerlap lampu warna-warni.

Pendopo.

Kemudian langkahku sampai pada sebuh pendopo besar dimana para beberapa keluarga berkumpul sembari menggelar tikar dan menikmati makan malam bersama dengan bekal rantang dari rumah. Sungguh keluarga harmonis.

Dan ketika bermaksud mengakhiri kunjungan di Merdeka Walk, aku mendengar sayup musik melayu yang selang beberapa waktu terdengar suara seseorang yang kuduga adalah MC. Suara itu bersumber dari utara. Aku pun bergegas menghampiri

Ternyata pertunjukan gratis tarian Melayu.

Sejenak aku menikmati 3 buah tarian Melayu yang diselenggarakan tepat di depan Bangunan “Tourist Service” yang berwarna hijau kekuningan.

Malam penutup yang indah di Medan karena keesokan harinya aku akan menuju Danau Toba….Tak sabar rasanya.