Airports in Medan - All About The Kualanamu International Airport
Surrounded by two active volcanoes, rich in ecological diversity and a haven for food lovers, Medan has got everything one might need to have a good time in Indonesia. But still, it is also one of the most underrated tourist destinations in all of the island nation. The city of Medan is as close as you can get to true Indonesian spirit, which is filled with grit and beauty, as well as realism and romanticism. The home to the largest volcanic lake in the world, the Lake Toba, Medan is definitely a place to spend a week in and explore all its dimensions.
And to top it off, getting there isn’t a problem as well, as discussed below. So get packing, and start flying!
The Kualanamu International Airport in Medan
Medan had two airports in the past, the Kualanamu International Airport, and the Polonia International Airport, with the latter being converted into an army base, and the former being made the major and only airport for the city. The Polonia Airport was closed as it was located in the centre of Medan, and it had a short runway, which made the functioning a little cumbersome. Also, the accident toll was quite high and the residential areas nearby were not safe. Hence, in July 2013, the Kualanamu International Airport was opened for the public.
The Kualanamu International Airport is the only serving airport in Medan in Indonesia. It is established in the Deli Serdang regency, almost 23km from the city of Medan. Kualanamu is the third largest and the fourth busiest airport in all of Indonesia. It is expected to become the second largest airport by 2030.
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Distance and Transport
An airport this big must have regular transport facilities to the main city of Medan as well. Be it buses, trains, rental cars or taxis, you will not have any kind of problem propagating from the airport to anywhere in the city.
Distance to Medan City: 37 kilometres (45 minutes to one hour by taxi)
1. Buses and Trains: This is the cheapest way of transport from the airport and one can say, the most accessible as well. Buses and trains leave from the airport for the main city every 30 minutes. They might be cheap, but the often include long travel times, up to 2 hours, since they have scheduled stops in different parts of the city. So prepare a travelling schedule and plan accordingly.
2. Car Rentals: Several car rental companies are available throughout the airport, which will let you hire a car for the entire journey as well. These may be SUVs, Saloons or Hatchbacks. Companies like Golden Bird, KSU Sena, TRAC provide such facilities.
3. Grab Cars: There is also an online service, Grab Cars much like Uber or Lyft available in Medan. So just download the app and off you go!
4. Taxis: There are various service providers such as Blue Bird, Matra, Nice Trans which will provide you with taxi Services from this airport in Medan to the main city. This service is operational 24 hours and will be available when you get out of the airport. The accessibility is also quite easy.
Services and Facilities
1. ATMs: ATM machines are available throughout the airport, so you will not run out of cash in any circumstance.
2. Currency Exchange: If you are an international traveller and need to get some local currency in a jiffy, there is more than one location in the airport where you can get your money changed between 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM in the arrivals area.
3. Massage Chairs: The airport feels like a mall sometimes, with these massage chairs in all different places, ready to keep you relaxed before/after your strenuous journey.
4. Game Centre: There are places to game if you’re too bored with travelling the normal way. Arcades and other games like air hockey are available free of cost to all the passengers between 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM.
5. Children’s Play Area: If your children are causing mayhem and you need them to calm down or just get tired before you catch the flight, there is a designated children's play area.
6. Food and Drinks: There are various shops spread all across the airport which provides eatables and other drinks. Shops like Alfa Mart, Indo Mart and Sarembi Deli are open 24X7.
7. Smoking Area: Designated smoking areas are built within coffee shops to enable the smoker in you to have a good time, while also not disturbing a non-smokers peace of mind. This airport has really thought about it all!
8. Spa: Fancy a bit of relaxation before your flight? There are batik spas in the airport itself which will help you attain that peaceful state of mind before the take-off. The services are available from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
9. Shopping: Want to buy something for a loved one? Or yourself? Kualanamu has you covered with their various duty-free shops.
10. Wi-Fi: The entire airport is fitted with wifi routers where you can avail the free wifi services and access the internet. The services free of cost and does give pretty good speeds as well.
Hotels In and Around the Airport
If you have to spend the night at this airport in Medan while waiting for your flight, or if it is just really early in the morning and you want a good night’s sleep, there are a few good options both inside and close to the airport.
1. Horison Sky Kualanamu: This is a hotel owned by the Horison group and is inside the airport, on the Mezzanine Floor. The prices may vary from USD 35 to USD 40 per night, depending on when you book it.
2. The Crew Hotel: This hotel is 5 minutes from the airport and offers a luxurious stay. Though its reviews might be mixed, since its still very new. It is the closest to the airport and a shuttle runs to and from the hotel every hour. The prices may vary from USD 25 to 30 per night.
3. Miyana Hotel: This hotel is about 30 minutes from the airport. The prices will range from USD 30 to 35 per night. A roundtrip shuttle is available at request.
4. Swiss-Belinn Medan: This hotel is about 45 minutes from the airport and will cost you around USD 40 per night. Airport shuttles are available for the hotel if requested.
There are also multiple lounges which you can pay for by a membership, no matter what calls you are flying in. These are super luxurious lounges which feel no less than a hotel. Services like air conditioners, beverages, flight information monitor, internet, newspaper and television are provided here.
If you are an economy class traveller, do try the Saphire Bluesky Executive Lounge and the Saphire Mandai Executive Lounge. If you’re flying first class, do check out the Garuda Indonesia Executive Lounge for the best experience.
Tips While Travelling Through Kualanamu International Airport
1. There are a lot of mosquitoes inside and outside the terminals, which means only one thing, carry a repellent cream! 2. People have complained about two extremes: some say the Air Conditioning doesn’t work, some say it works too well and makes the terminal too cold. 3. The airport has become a local hangout spot, which means that the traffic is horrendous, so make sure you leave your hotel on time so you could catch your flight. 4. If you are travelling economy, you can always upgrade your lounge facilities to first class by paying a little extra. 5. Always keep the local currency at hand before leaving the airport, for the airport departure fee. If you do not have the local currency, the people might just charge you more than usual.
In the end, being the only airport in Medan, Kualanamu International is quite a good place to be if you know what services you’re being offered and how to avail them. The people are good to talk to, they are polite and will definitely help you if you cannot understand somethings due to the language barrier. The staff at the airport is delightful as well and will make sure that you as a traveller, take only good memories from the underrated city of Medan. So get flying!