Sumatra is the fourth largest island in the world. Although not known for the rich archaeological sites that distinguish Java, Sumatra offers magnificent natural landscapes. The port serves as our gateway for Medan and Lake Toba, Southeast Asia's largest lake, which lies about 120 miles from Belawan.
Sumatra is also vital to Indonesia's economy, with over 60% of the country's total production coming from the island. Belawan is one of the busiest ports in Indonesia. Exports include minerals, oil, palm oil, rubber, tea and tobacco. It is located 15 miles from Medan, the capital and largest city of North Sumatra.
Medan, established in 1682 as a trading center, was made the regional capital by the Dutch in 1886. It remained a small trading center to this century. Following the Second World War, the population soared from one hundred thousand to well over 2 million. Today, Medan has become a congested and noisy city, which in the hot months offers little respite in the way of parks and greenery.
The rich volcanic soil provided an ideal location for the development of plantation agriculture. To fuel this economic growth, the Dutch used immigrant Chinese laborers, and even today, Medan has the largest Chinese population in Indonesia.
The architecture in Medan reflects the diverse cultural influences in the city, with a concentration of Colonial buildings around Merdeka Square, while churches, mosques, pagodas and temples fulfill the spiritual needs of the population.
As the capital city of North Sumatra province, Medan has its new airport officially operated on 25th July 2013 under the name of KNIA-Kuala Namu International Airport ( airport code : KNO ) is believed to be the second largest airport in Indonesia after Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Jakarta and one of the most advanced airport in term of technology in Indonesia. It has a capacity of 9 million pax per annum, and has a longer runway that will be able to accommodate Airbus A380. The distance from Kuala Namu International Airport to Belawan port is approximately 40 miles (1,5-2 hours depend on en-route traffic due to passing several places with heavy traffics).
The countryside surrounding the vast inland Lake Toba is among the most beautiful in Southeast Asia. At an altitude of nearly 3,000 feet, the lake has a cooler climate and pine covered mountain sides. The town of Prapat lies on the shores of the lake and ferries ply the waters to Samosir Island, one of Sumatra's most popular destinations.
The ship will be docked at Belawan Port. There is terminal building at this Belawan port.
A limited number of private taxi (non meter) may be available from Belawan to Medan.
In Medan, among some of the most popular items are antiques, batiks, textiles and woodcarvings from all over Sumatra. The Lake Toba region is known for Batak handicrafts, including calenders, carved spirit figures, carved buffalo horns and basketry. Perhaps the best place to shop is either at the Central Market on Jalan Jend A. Yani, which has the largest concentration of local antique shops - beware of fakes.
For textiles we can visit at Pasar Ikan Lama (flea market) where there are many local shops selling local batiks and clothes.
Several shopping complexes could also be visited opened daily at 10am and the biggest shopping centre is the Sun Plaza located at Jalan H. Zainul Arifin Medan closed to the Hindu Shrine of Sri Maryaman Temple, or at Medan Fair Plaza where local or import goods are available around.
A staple food on Sumatra consists of a bowl of rice followed by an array of small bowls of vegetables, meat, fish and eggs and everything is very spicy. All those dishes are easily found in Medan city among of which is Restoran Simpang Tiga located at Jalan Mongonsidi and Restoran Garuda situated at Jalan Gajah Mada. The oldest restaurant in Medan is the Tip Top Restaurant built in 1936 has been frequented by European visitors mainly the Dutch as their nostalgia reason. Indonesians are keen snackers so you will always find plenty of pisang goreng (banana fritters), peanuts in palm sugar, or shredded coconut cookies.
Museum of North Sumatera Province
An extensive collection of North Sumatran artifacts, including some fine wood and stone carvings from Nias. The collection is of varying quality and is dimly lit with few explanations. All the contents in this museum representing the different ethnic tribe groups found in North Sumatra region.
Bukit Barisan Museum
Displays a decaying selection of tribal houses, crafts and military items.
Taman Margasatwa Zoo
It is not recommended to visit this poorly maintained zoo. Situated at some 17 kilometer at the outskirt of Medan this zoo is still requires big improvement due to lack of animals.
Asam Kumbang Crocodile Farm
This is the largest in Indonesia, housing over 2,000. Here they are hatched, reared and 'bagged'.
Bukit Lawang Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre
About a 4 hour drive north of Medan, on the edge of the Gunung Leuser Reserve, which together are home to about 2,500 apes. The daily feeding time of orang utan take place twice at 8am and at 3pm. Visitors have to buy the permit at the forest office in Bukit Lawang before entering into the national park.
Private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be arranged by contacting ShoreConcierge@Silversea.com a minimum of 14 days prior to your cruise. Otherwise, contact the Shore Concierge Office onboard the ship for assistance.