The majority of accommodation is on or near Jl SM Raja. Most budget options have cold water only.
Ronna's Guesthouse I ( 732 4556; ronnasaloongyahoo .com; Jl Tengati 33; r with/without bathroom 40,000/20,000Rp) Friendly bright-yellow guest house with simple but perfectly fine rooms that make a great choice for those on a tight budget.
Zakia Hotel ( 732 2413; Jl Sipiso-Piso 12; s/d without bathroom 30,000/45,000Rp, r with bathroom 60,000-80,000Rp, r with air-con 120,000-130,000Rp) An old backpackers in the '90s, Zakia isn't a bad budget option but is in dire need of a refurb; none of its Western toilets have seats.
Ponduk Wisata Angel (Hotel Angel; 732 0702; Jl SM Raja 70; s with fan & with/without bathroom 70,000/50,000Rp) The best backpacker option in town. Angel's clean rooms are a swirl of vivid blues and yellows, a colour scheme that almost succeeds in offsetting the noisy traffic. It has a sociable street-front cafe .
Hotel Raya : A bit df an improvement on most of the other SM Raja cheapies, with large rooms looking out to the busy road.
Wisma Hari Kota : Only 10 minutes from the airport, this family-run guest house has a friendly vibe and comfortable rooms with street-facing balconies. Breakfast is included (except for the cheaper rooms).
JJ's Guesthouse : In an old Dutch villa, JJ's has tidy boarding-house-style rooms run by a mannerly Dutch-speaking Indonesian woman. Opposite RFC; its lack of signage makes it tricky to find. The gates are locked, so you'll need to ring the doorbell tucked inside the left-hand side of the gate.
Hotel tax and breakfast are included in the quoted rates.
Hotel Sumatera : One of the comfiest sleeps out of the glut of hotels around SM Raja. You'll find that once you add another zero to the price tag the rooms in Medan start to look a lot better.
Ibunda Hotel :A cheery spot, with minty green walls and new tiled baths.
Medan's best hotels all have the standard top-end facilities you'd expect, such as fitness centres, swimming pools and 24-hour room service. You'll also find many of the international chain hotels in town. All rates include tax and breakfast.
Polonia Hotel : Excellent-value top-end choice located in the aristocratic section of Medan, close to the airport.
Garuda Plaza Hotel : Almost hip, Garuda Plaza is Medan's homage to Jakarta, with modern, corporate accents. Discounts of up to 40% are available.
Hotel Deli River : Outside the city chaos, this family-run hotel is shaded by fruit trees and overlooks the Deli River. The hotel provides free transfers from the airport.
Aryaduta Hotel : One of Medan's newest luxury hotels is international class, with all the frills you'd expect for the price and sprawling high-rise views across the city. Don't be put off by the above-mail location.
The further upriver you go, the more likely you are to ogle the swinging monkeys and apes from your porch hammock. You won't find hot water or air-con at any of the guest houses. The following are listed in geographic order from south to north.
Nora's Homestay : Nora's little cluster of bamboo huts between the rice fields and the main road is an old backpacker favourite with a reputation for being Sumatra's friendliest guest house. Many readers swear by it, despite the prettier-located guest houses upriver. Nora is very helpful with local information, though these days she's mostly found at Rain Forest (see below).
Ecolodge Bukit Lawang : Popular with package tourists, the village's most upmarket lodging has a range of hotel-style rooms. There are many commendable attempts at ecofriendly business: an organic garden provides produce for the restaurant, a medicinal-plant garden preserves the pharmaceutical aspects of the jungle, and there's recycling. Children under 10 stay free.
Wisma Leuser Sibayak : A basic cheapie that's worth a stay if you've arrived at night and don't fancy trekking up through the jungle path in the dark. Us rickety bridge across the river is rather frightening, though.
Rain Forest : Nora (or 'Mama', as she calls herself) has recently opened this new spot on the river. The big house has i ooms as close as you'll find on the water at bargain prices. Nora also has cooking classes for 100,000Rp, including meal.
Green Hill : For a few more rupiah you get a lot more than what's offered by most of the competition. Run by English conservation scientist Andrea Molyneaux and her Sumatran husband, Green Hill has two lovely stilt-high rooms ideal for couples, where the en suite bamboo-shoot showers afford stunning jungle views while you wash. Also has dorms and cheaper rooms available.
Garden Inn :A popular backpacker choice. The lovely high rooms look over the river and the jungle, plus there's a sweet little cafe for swapping monkey-spotting tales.
Jungle Inn : The last guest house along the strip near the park entrance, Jungle Inn is an old favourite of many a reader. One room overlooks a waterfall, while another incorporates the hill's rock face, and the bathroom sprouts a shower from living ferns. Its only downsides are the sometimes unreliable information provided by staff and overcharging for treks.
At the time of research, a new ecolodge called Jungle Border was about to open across the river from Rain Forest guest house, with five bungalows at the edge of the jungle, organic food and a yoga centre planned.
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