Just a week ago, I had a chance to visit one of the biggest city in Sumatra Island, Medan. It was just a short visit, only a of couple days. I had always knew that Medan is considered a big city in Indonesia along with Jakarta, Surabaya, and Makassar but since it’s located a bit far from Java Island, I figured that the standard might be a bit different. I knew as well that it had just recently build a new international airport,replacing the old Polonia, Kuala Namu which has gained a lot of attention due to its modern design.
I didn’t have a lot of time to explore Medan since I was there for an impromptu errand (which I will share later if I manage to pull it off), so I’d like to share my experience in its new airport and the mode of transportation I used to commute from the airport to downtown Medan.
I was a bit reckless to had found out that the distance from the new airport, Kuala Namu to downtown Medan, where I stayed is quite far. I thought I could just hop on a taxi and go straight to my destination. Well, actually I could but that would cost me a fortune due to the distance. It was only when I was about to board the plane that I found out that there’s a train service to take me to Medan, but I was a little skeptic because, well, everyone knows how the public transportation in Indonesia is.
When I landed at Kuala Namu Airport, I was only partially impressed because Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali is also as modern so I had my expectation right. But then I went to the Airport Railink Station, the train station from where I would go to Medan, I was astonished. It was located right in front of the arrival gate and the building was huge and modern. I know it’s not a big deal for those who accustomed to live in developed countries where most of the airports have such facility, but for me personally it’s quite a huge development for Indonesia as I have always dreamed that someday Indonesia can have proper public transportation.
The station had a modern and sophisticated vibe along with its helpful information desks. We can purchase the ticket and look for the schedule online (http://www.railink.co.id/), directly to the counter, or for credit card holder, there are some machine you can use to buy the tickets. I didn’t really recognize the schedule upon my arrival since it was already late and I was exhausted, but in my last day, impressed with the quality of the Aiport Railink Services, I took the train again on my way to the airport, and I realized that the train departed right on time.
To summarize, I had such an amazing experience visiting Medan, not only because to my surprise it was quite a modern and hip city, which was better than my expectations, but also because of Medan has a such convenient mode of transportation, although still limited to only to and from the airport. It’s no wonder then, that Medan is considered as one of Asia’s cities that will drive the Asia economy in a decade, according to DBS Asian Insight. Seeing this, my hope for Indonesia’s development continues to grow and how I wish I could be a part of that.