Medan MES (Polonia International)

Best fares, airport info, and general guidelines

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Medan airport info

Polonia International Airport (MES) is located about 2km south of the city centre. It is the first international airport in Medan. It serves flights to several Indonesian and Malaysian cities, along with a flight to Singapore. In terms of passenger numbers, Polonia is the fourth largest airport in Indonesia - after Soekarno-Hatta, Juanda, and Ngurah Rai. There are direct international flights to/from Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and Ipoh in Malaysia, Singapore and Phuket. Several discount airlines service Medan: Air Asia, JetStar Asia, Firefly and others.

The name of this airport refers to the name of the area in which it is situated, Polonia is the Latin name of the country of Poland. Before the airport was built ther, the area was a plantation owned by a Pole, Baron Michalski, who received a concession from the Dutch East Indies administration for a tobacco plantation in an area in Medan in 1872. He named the plantation after his country - which was in that time not an independent state.

Medan’s domestic flights airport is side by side with the international flights airport. Its walking distance between the two terminals, and there is no shuttle bus transfer between them. The airport suffers from overcrowding, serving more than 4 million passengers every year with resources designed to handle less than 1 million passengers. These problems are going to be resolved by the construction of Kuala Namu International Airport, which replaces Polonia Airport and becomes Indonesia's second-largest airport.

Departure tax at Medan airport

When flying within Indonesia, everyone must pay a departure tax that may vary from airport to airport. At Medan the departure tax for domestic flights is Rp. 30,000. Make sure you have this amount in Rupiahs as the departure tax must be paid at the airport before you proceed to the departures area.

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Transport to and from the airport

A Taxi into town costs around Rp40,000 - unless you walk past the taxis in front of the terminal and proceed towards the exit, where there are more taxis, which can be bargained down to Rp.20,000. A public bus for one of the city destinations is Rp.3500 per person.

Airports near Medan

The following airports are very close to Medan. As prices can differ remarkably you may want to check flights to these airports. Then, in case of finding a good fare, catch a bus, boat or train to your destination city.

Airlines which serve Medan airport

AirAsia Bandung, Jakarta, Surabaya,
Batavia Batam, Banda Aceh, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Makassar,
Citilink Jakarta,
Garuda Batam, Banda Aceh, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Pontianak, Surabaya, Makassar,
Lion air Ambon, Bima, Batam, Banda Aceh, Jakarta, Denpasar (Bali), Gunung Sitoli, Yogyakarta, Lhokseumawe, Manado, Meulaboh, Manokwari, Maumere, Padang, Pekanbaru, Surabaya, Tambolaka, Makassar,
Mandala Medan, Pekanbaru,
Merpati Biak, Balikpapan, Gunung Sitoli, Yogyakarta,
Sriwijaya Batam, Banda Aceh, Jakarta, Padang, Pekanbaru,

Medan city info

Medan is the capital of the North Sumatra province in Indonesia, located on the northern coast. Medan with a population of 2 million is the fourth largest city in Indonesia (after Jakarta and Surabaya and Bandung), and the largest Indonesian city outside Java. Medan is in an area of tropical rainforest climate with no real dry season. Temperatures average approximately 27 degrees celsius throughout the course of the year. The name of Medan can be derived from Medina, a holy city in the Saudi Arabia. Other sources indicates that the name of Medan comes from Hindi word "Maidan", that means "ground" or "land". One of the Karo-Indonesia dictionare claims that Medan name meaning could also be defined as "recover" or "be better".

Medan started as a village called Kampung Medan (Medan Village), founded by Guru Patimpus in 1590. Medan did not experience significant development until the 1860s, when the Dutch colonialists began clearing the land for tobacco plantations. Medan quickly became a center of government and commercial activity, dominating development of Indonesia's western region.

There is no single ethnic group forming a majority; the largest ethnic groups are the Chinese, Javanese, Toba-Batak, Minangkabau, Mandailing Batak, Karo Batak, Southern Indians , Northern Indians, and many more ethnic minorities. The city itself is quite well known for "food-tourism", especially amongst other Indonesians - each ethnic group contributes to thousands of tasty, mouth-watering dishes found in every corner of Medan. .

Being a part of Indonesia, all locals will be able to speak Bahasa Indonesia. However, the ethnic Chinese can often be heard speaking a localised variant of Hokkien known as Medan Hokkien, which is almost identical to Penang Hokkien spoken across the Strait of Malacca. Medan isn't really a tourist destination. It is rather a convenient starting point to other 'weekend getaway' places like Brastagi, the island of Penang, Malaysia and the very popular crater lake Lake Toba.