Medan, one of the biggest cities in Indonesia, is located in Sumatra Island, just west of Java. This city is the main point for flight and boat connections to Malaysia. Medan is a big city, but not too chaotic, and has a lot of buildings with colonial architecture built by the Dutch that are good spots to visit. You don't need to stay long in the city, but don't miss the Museum of North Sumatra that can explain a lot about this island. Less then a kilometer away, you can find the Mesjid Raya, a different mosque from the ones you are used to -– visit it outside praying time. The best place to go for a walk is the area with the colonial buildings. Start your walk in Jalan Brig Jend A Yani and explore the area with a map to make sure you understand the purpose of each building.
The easiest way to arrive in Medan is by airplane, since it's the main hub for connections to Malaysia; there are also plenty of boats and buses connecting the neighboring main cities. The island of Sumatra is known for frequent earthquakes; the very north of the island -– the province of Aceh -– still has some problems with security for travelers. So, if you arrive in Medan -– a safe and wonderful city –- get some good advice on how to get out and about to your next destination on this island.
There are a few hostels in Medan with average facilities. The better area for you to stay in a hostel would be near the Mesjid Raya -– Medan's hostels in this area usually have good views of the mosque.
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