Medan Is NOT The Worst City In The World

P1010611Creative Commons License photo credit: a_rabin

I came to read this article that says Medan (capital of North Sumatra) is the worst city in the world from Twitter. Eyebrows were raised reading it, disturbing but at the end I found myself laughing.

Disturbing, because as much as I have this love-hate affair with my own country, it always pull a few nationalism nerves on me when I read others write badly about Indonesia. Funny, because it sounds like that piece of crap – yes it is crap – article came out of an amateur bitter tourist.

Let’s analyze it a bit, will you.

You’re slim pickin’s for hotels, you don’t seem to boast a single, decent restaurant and from what I’ve heard, you’ve got no real nightlife

Last I heard they do have 5 stars hotels there such as the Marriott. Maybe next time you need to consult Mr. Google or better yet a travel agent! As for nightlife ‘activities’…what kind of nightlife are you expecting? It’s not Jakarta or New York City!

Okay, I admit, there’s a personal element to this. See, I got robbed in one of your hotels.

It wasn’t a very nice hotel. It promotes itself as a four star hotel when in actual fact it’s closer to a two. But that’s fine. I don’t need luxury and it cost less than $100 a night.

Except, in the end, it actually cost a couple of grand. Because while I was out one night scouring the streets for a decent meal – in vain, of course – someone broke into my room and stole a giant wad of company cash from my suitcase.

Okay…number 1 rules of travelers are: NEVER EVER EVER leave your money – especially couple of grand like you said in your hotel room! That’s what the hotel’s safety deposit box at the Front Office is for! Common sense…not that hard. You know you’re staying in an ‘average’ hotel with several grand in your suitcase, isn’t exactly the smartest move! The guy said the hotel doesn’t have safe deposit…well, tough luck then you shouldn’t even stay in that measly hotel in the first place!

Needless to say I moved to a different hotel for my final night. I woke up the next morning in blood-stained sheets. Mozzies never take any interest in me but your Medan mozzies made quite a frenzied exception.

I didn’t get malaria. But I did get spectacularly, violently sick about a week later from an intestinal parasite, which I’m certain I picked up from you, Medan. I just know it.

See the pattern here people…cheap hotels? Wait, maybe all the 5 stars ones were booked? Could possibly be…but intestinal parasite? Maybe this guy just ate something that’s not cooked right or ate street foods that his weak stomach can’t hold. Oh and he said he lives in Jakarta too? Interesting isn’t?

Personally, I haven’t been to Medan but knowing how poorly some of Indonesians infrastructures are outside of Jakarta, it is possible that the roads are bad, their public transportation are inadequate but to call it the worst city in the world? I think that’s a tad too far!

I understand some tourists will have digestive problems when they first got here because let’s face it, in Indonesia hygiene issues are still questionable. You most certainly cannot drink straight out of the tap like in some other countries. That’s why if you consider coming to Indonesia for a visit I strongly advise you to bring some pepto-bismol (or anything like that) and just take it religiously everyday for at least a week and always drinks bottled water and avoid ice in your drinks if you’re in a place where the hygiene may be questionable.

Indonesia is an acquired taste…that’s for sure but when you are a tourist, try to explore the country with an open mind. Keep in mind that Indonesia is still a developing country and also a country with such vast cultures so chances are things will be different than back home.

Granted, I haven’t seen all the cities in the world but Medan is certainly not the worst one.

Do you have any bad experience in a city that you considered calling them the worst city in the world? Share away.



  1. Megan @ motherhoodunedited
    July 27, 2010 / 11:39 am

    Your right… Miami, Florida is! 😛 Born and raised 18 years and I am still amazed it is not a 3rd world country. Let’s just say that certain restaurants are not up to par in their health standards unless a health inspection agent is around and even than it might cost them a few hundred in bribes. LOL! No just kidding it probably isnt that bad (er in most places) but it ranks up there on bad cities to live in. Visit for a few hours maybe ok but don’t bring a weak stomach! Some of those cubans have food that will burn a hole in your intestine!

    • July 29, 2010 / 6:24 pm

      Hahaha Megan, your comment crack me up. I love Cuban foods the hotter the better 😉
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience. 😀

  2. July 27, 2010 / 11:58 am

    Since I love Indonesian food (or at least the Dutch variation on the theme), so I have a hard time believing this guy couldn’t find a decent meal. But then I suppose we all have different tastes. I’ve actually been quite lucky in that I’ve never visited a place I truly detested. Maybe NYC, which was just a poor one time experience of meeting aggressive street performers. Probably not the worst place in the world though.

    • July 29, 2010 / 6:25 pm

      Amanda, it’s so awesome to hear you love Indonesian food! 😀
      Maybe that guy just had a different expectations about the food when traditional cuisine from Medan such as their BBQ Pork is one of the best I had ever try. 😀

  3. July 27, 2010 / 12:02 pm

    Hi, I’m visiting from 31DBBB I’m really hoping that participating in more forums will be as successful as you seem to be getting. You have a beautiful blog.

    • July 29, 2010 / 6:26 pm

      Hi Candice, thank you for your kind words and I wish you all the best with our 31DBBB 😀

  4. July 27, 2010 / 12:30 pm

    I need to enlighten myself on Jakarta. I want to know more now! Honestly, I didn’t even know where it was until I started following you. I think that’s one of the many perks about blogging, it’s enlightened me in many ways.

    • July 29, 2010 / 6:27 pm

      Agree with you with the perks of blogging, it opens up our door to many different places in the world 🙂 Thank you for your sweet comment, will try to share more about my country here. Oh and thank you for following me!

  5. July 27, 2010 / 2:33 pm

    Whuueee… I didn’t think you’re going to comment on this article at this length, Mo! :p
    Alright .. simply put … we are one unique nation. Love it or hate it, I’m still proud of how we’ve come so far to be this nation. If some don’t like a certain circumstances .. then heck .. it’s never been a perfect world. But .. I wouldn’t brag it that way. Show some respect dude!
    I went to a few different cities around the globe, my impressions are varied, but I still respect how things work locally. Too bad he needs to learn his hefty lesson as his some huge grands should’ve never been left there in the first place .. tsk tsk tsk … I think the dude who wrote it ever heard of credit cards, eftpos, atms, cheques, travel cheques …. D’oh!
    Ah anyway … Independence Day is coming .. let’s share some stories on how unique our ID could be 😀

    • July 29, 2010 / 6:28 pm

      Hahaha Asta, I guess that guy just ‘inspired’ me in a way.
      Indonesia is far from perfect but I still do love this country.
      Love your idea for Independence Day! Wish I can travel to more places here and write more about the many beautiful places our country has to offer to tourism.

  6. July 27, 2010 / 4:49 pm

    I’d suppose any city you visit, where you’re careless enough to get robbed, clueless enough NOT to have done enough advance research on where to eat and grumpy enough to blame your irritable bowels on, is going to be the worst city in the world. Every place has it’s problems – next time…he should visit Timbuktu.

    • July 29, 2010 / 6:29 pm

      Nami, you rock, girl! I totally love your comment hahahaha! Thanks for your visit 😀

  7. July 27, 2010 / 5:09 pm

    Here is a perfect example of someone who obviously didn’t check anything out on the web before he left! 😛
    I think you always need to keep an open mind when going to new places, expecting it to be just like home is pure stupidity.

    • July 29, 2010 / 6:30 pm

      Exactly! I head learn that when we travel, we need to be flexible and although some things might leave a bad impressions I wouldn’t quickly jumped and label that country/city as worst in the world. The way I had a bad culture shock in China when I first got there…now I actually miss the city we stayed.

  8. July 27, 2010 / 7:06 pm

    I think the same principle applies here as you might use for family members. It’s okay for me to point out my family’s faults, but I don’t want to hear my husband do it.

    Who is that guy to talk smack on your country?

    • July 29, 2010 / 6:31 pm

      Hahaha so true, Joey! Love your analogy!

      I have no idea who that guy is but he sounds so bitter LOL.

  9. July 27, 2010 / 8:10 pm

    Well, Memphis is constantly ranked as one of the most unsafe cities in the US, and that’s where we’ve lived, twice.

    The person who wrote the article you are commenting on definitely made some unwise traveler’s decisions.

    • July 29, 2010 / 6:32 pm

      Really? I didn’t know that about Memphis! Thanks’ for letting me know…Memphis just reminds me of that song Walking To Memphis 😀

  10. July 27, 2010 / 8:23 pm

    OMG. that guy DESERVES an intestinal parasite and his money stolen. what an idiot! I can see why you felt the need to disect his “critique”. He does not sound very well traveled to make some of the most basic mistakes.

    • July 29, 2010 / 6:34 pm

      LOL Thanks, Kerry! I just love how you tell it like it is 😀

  11. July 28, 2010 / 1:12 am

    LOL! sorry…but I’ve read several stories from different countries/cities in TripAdvisor where one tourist loves and the other one hates.
    If a person leaves money like that he/she is not well organized.
    And there’re always people who are negative what ever you do with them. I know a few tourist guides! 🙂 Oh, you couldn’t believe those stories I’ve heard!
    Have a great day,
    greetings from Casa!

    • July 29, 2010 / 6:36 pm

      LOL couldn’t agree more with you. 😀
      It is interesting to read TripAdvisor for sure, I sometimes read them but I always thinks that until I get to experience it myself those comments are just that…well comments 😀

  12. July 28, 2010 / 1:41 am

    Another great post! Like I said, I learn so much from your posts. And yes, I agree, sounds like sort of a douche bag who is not a very good traveler!

    • July 29, 2010 / 6:37 pm

      Katie, you’re the best! Thanks girl!

  13. July 28, 2010 / 2:02 am


    When I travel somewhere outside of my culture, I want to experience the offerings of the locals. It sounds like this person reluctantly traveled for business purposes. Apparently, his attitude never recovered from jet lag.

    While I haven’t yet made it to Indonesia, I’ve heard the food is fabulous!

    • July 29, 2010 / 6:38 pm

      Helen, I love your attitude and I wish more people will carry the same efforts when they are traveling. Oh yeah, I’m thinking of making a post to introduce some of Indonesian foods. 😀
      Thanks for stopping by, really appreciate your visit!

  14. July 28, 2010 / 5:11 am

    Let’s face it…no matter where in the world you go, you can have both good and bad experiences. And the author of the article did some pretty stupid things! Good for you for standing up for your country and for replying back to all the comments he made!

    • July 29, 2010 / 6:39 pm

      Thanks Natalie! 😀 He got plenty of more ‘mean’ reply there which makes me giggle but I thought this guy inspired me to write this post oh and I agree with you good and bad experiences are everywhere, all depends on how we take it.

  15. July 28, 2010 / 2:12 pm

    I live in Bushwick, which long time New Yorkers warned me against! NYC is generally safe, but in every major city you have to be careful.

    Sure, you can dislike a city, and even never want to go back because of an experience. But we are conditioned to look at superlatives. Would you have read the article if it was “My bad Medan experience?”

    • July 29, 2010 / 6:40 pm

      Again, common sense, in major city there are always risk of crimes so yeah, common sense is a must.

      I would probably still read it if it’s titled that way just to know where he’s coming from.

      Thanks Amanda 😀

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