Things To Do in Palembang



Palembang is located in South Sumatra and here is a list of Things To Do in Palembang, based on my actual visits here in February 2016. You should also know that Palembang is the birthplace of the Sriwijaya empire and then following the Majapahit empire therefore the entire place is rich with culture and history. It is also known as the Venice of the East due to the many rivers that cut through the city, which is the second largest city on the island of Sumatra. 

Currently, Malaysia shares a lot of similarities with Palembang simply due to the ancestral backgrounds dating back over 500 years and for anyone wanting to know the cross-connections, Palembang is the best place to do so. Most of the attractions and places of interest are also located throughout the city therefore it is easy to move around here. 

List of Things To Do in Palembang

Ampera Bridge, photographed from the rooftop of Monpera Museum
Ampera Bridge - The most iconic symbol of Palembang is the Ampera Bridge over the Musi River or locally known as Jambatan Ampera which divides the Ulu and Ilir parts of Palembang. This is also probably the most photographed place in south Sumetra which was built in 1965, and officially opened by Indonesia's first president, Ir Soekarno. 

The idea of this bridge came up to be a match for London’s Tower Bridge and was first named the Soekarno Bridge, but it was then renamed to Ampera which is shorten from the Mandate of Suffering People. The total height of the two towers stand at 63 meters (206 feet) and is 1177 meters (3861 feet) long. The best time to visit the Ampera Bridge is either during sunrise or sunset. At night, the bridge is lit up with multiple color lights, turning this into a beautiful attraction to photograph. 

Nine story Pagoda at Pulau Kemaro, Palembang
Toa Pekong Temple at Pulau Kemaro Island - A beautiful and tragic story made this beautiful island which houses Palembang's largest Chinese Temple called Toa Pekong, which is also dedicated to Tan Bun An, a Chinese trader who committed suicide over a local girl named Siti Fatimah. This temple was built in 1962 and also serves as a shrine both their graves. Outside, a beautiful nine-story pagoda stands in the middle of the island surrounded by a Laughing Buddha statue and a Love Tree that signifies the cross culture love from the old myth. 

The best way to get here is by using one of the ferry services from the main jetty as you will also see the local lifestyle along the Musi River. A number of operators run this service and for me, I took Nakoda Kapal, the company that provided a nice ferry ride which lasts about 30 minutes one way.

Ferry Ticket: Around Rp. 30-50,000 per person
Address: Nakoda Kapal, Telephone: 0582 6891 8556

Masjid Cheng Hoo Mosque in Palembang with the strong Chinese influence
Masjid Muhammad Cheng Hoo Mosque - This unique and fascinating Chinese inspired Muslim mosque is built in honor of the famous admiral from China who sailed the region. Once you arrive here, you will think you are in a Chinese temple, simply because of the strong Chinese architecture found throughout the temple. The red colors are striking and the mosque is open for all to visit. This beautiful mosque was built in September 2005, replacing an older mosque here and highly recommended for those who like architecture or religion. 

Entrance: Free
Address: Perumahan Amin Mulia, Jakabaring, opposite Jakabaring Sport City.

Monpera Museum and Monument
Monpera Museum and Monument - In the center of Palembang city, you will find a unique looking concrete tower called Monpera which also serves as a revolution museum, reminding the people of South Sumatra about the five days and five nights of fighting between the Indonesians and the Dutch. Inside, there is a narrow staircase that leads you eight floors up to the rooftop. 

Along the way up, you will learn about the revolution that took place here in Palembang. From the rooftop, you will also have a great birds eye view of Palembang and a nice photo opportunity of the Ampera Bridge. Overall, the place should be well kept by the government and do visit in a group to be safe here. 

Entrance: Rp. 1000 per person
Time: 08.00 am to 15.30 pm
Address: Jalan Merdeka No. 1, Kelurahan 19 Ilir, Kecamatan Ilir Barat I, Palembang

A traditional Arab home at Kampung Al Munawar
Kampung Al Munawar - The Arab people have been living in Palembang for over three centuries and the best place to see this is at a traditional Arab Village called Kampung Al Munawar which is estimated to be over 250 years old. Here, traditional Arabic and European classical homes are still standing, some all wood, and some brick and wood. Based on the architectural designs, you can see the strong European influence in the workmanship. The best part about this village is that the 300 odd people who live here still operate as a community, where they celebrate weddings and festivals as one village. 

The main area of Kampung Al Munawar holds a common courtyard surrounded by beautiful homes, some as large as mansions. The one which I visited had old traditional doors as high as 12 feet! The tourism board of Palembang also has plans to turn this beautiful village into a tourist destination and hopefully by this year (2016), it will happen and create another tourism attraction here. 

Entrance: Free
Address: Kawasan 13 Ulu or 12 Ulu Area in Palembang
Recommended Tour Guide: Bapak Latief, Telephone 0813 7333 2436

One of the structures at Bukit Siguntang Hill
Bukit Siguntang Archaeological Site -
One of the tombs at Siguntang Hill
The most important historical and archaeological site in Palembang is Bukit Seguntang or Siguntang Hill where it is known to be the original place where the Sriwijaya empire started. 

This 26-28 meter high hill with an area of 12 hectares is known locally as Bukit Seguntang is also where a 277 cm (9 Feet) granite statue of Buddha was found in the 1920s. 

Now the park serves as a tourist and archaeological site where tombs of Malay-Srivijayan royalties and heroes are found throughout the hill. Writings in the Malay history also date this place back to the year 1612.

In total, there are seven graves in this hill - Raja Sigentar Alam Pangeran Raja Batu Api, Putri Kembang Dadar, Putri Rambut Selako, Panglima Tuan Junjungan, Panglima Bagus Kuning, Panglima Bagus Karang. The hill is also believed to be the final resting place of king Si Gentar Alam, who is one of the Kings of Srivijaya from Mataram. 

Entrance Ticket: Rp. 3000 per person
Address: Bukit Lama, Kecamatan Ilir Barat I, Palembang.
Note: Best to go with a tour guide

Largest display of wooden Al Quran Pages in the world
On the first floor of Al Quran Al Akbar

Al Quran Al Akbar -  This place houses the worlds largest wooden carvings of every page of the Quran. Formally housed at another location, they decided to bring this to a new home out of the city area. 

For religious travelers, you will be fascinated with the amazing feature of this place where each page of the Quran is mounted up five storeys high and can be accessed by visitors. Inside the structure, you are able to see each page which is mounted using a revolving method. 

Entrance Ticket: Rp. 5000 per person
Address: Jalan Pangeran Sido Ing Lautan Lrg Budiman, No 1009 Kelurahan 35 Ilir Palembang
GPS Coords: -3.018379,104.7401531

Relics inside the Srivijaya Museum
Museum Sriwijaya - For any museum lover, this is probably the best museum in south Sumatra to visit and also learn about the Sriwijaya Empire. Inside, the history of the empire is displayed with original and replica artifacts with supporting information in Indonesian and in English. The main museum grounds are vast as the area is also gazetted as an important archaeological site. 

Inside this museum, you will find history on the Batanghari and Malay Kingdom, history of The Siddhayatra, information on the Bumiayu Temple, the trade route of the Srivijaya empire and many other related information. The Srivijaya Museum was also opened on 5th November 2008 by the Governor of South Sumatra. 

Entrance Ticket: Rp. 2000 per person
Address: Jalan Syakirti Karang Anya, Palembang
Note: Best to go with a tour guide

The famous Limas traditional house at the museum
Museum Balaputradewa Palembang - This museum showcases Palembang's rich culture and history and is quite huge. Inside, a lot of historical rock statues and carvings are seen while for Malaysians, you will be pleased to know that the Malacca Museum has a joint-partnership where a special dedicated Melaka Room is highlighted. All because of the two cities close relationship and cultural ties from centuries ago. 

For those interested in a fantastic photo opportunity, go to the back part of the museum and you can see the famous traditional Limas house which is featured at the back of the Rp. 10,000 Indonesian bank note. visitors are allowed to go inside this Limas house built on stilts and no nails were used. 

Entrance Ticket: Rp. 2000 per person
Address: Jalan Sriwijaya I No.288, KM. 5,5, Alang Alang Lebar, Sukaramai, Sumatera Selatan 30139, Palembang.

A stone structure at the Kambang Iwak Park in Palembang
Kambang Iwak Park - KI Park as it is also called, this place is a huge park around a lake and is extremely lively on the weekends. A lot of hawkers will sell food and drinks while locals will fill the park up. Many come here to just hang out as around the park, there are many popular restaurants, cafes and even souvenir shops. 

At certain sections, skateboarders and BMX bicycles show off their skills while at other places, you can exercise with the many free exercise machines built there. Suitable for those wanting to do a bit of jogging or exercise while on holidays or simply to do the park visit. 

Entrance: Free
Address: Jalan Tasik, Bukit Kecil, 30121 Kota Palembang

Palembang Photos
Below are various photos taken around Palembang to give you a feel of what some of the places look like. They were all taken with my Nikon D5100 and a Panasonic Lumix LX-7 digital camera. I am not a professional but more of an avid user, therefore, when I have the opportunity, I try my best to take some photos of my destination as sometimes, photos tell a thousand words. 

Boys will be Boys - Curious kids peek inside one of the old homes at Kampung Al Munawar
A floating house along the mighty Musi River in Palembang
A black structure with carved inscriptions of the Sriwijaya history seen at the Bukit Siguntang Hill
 
         Left - An Arab house owner poses with his huge doorways, Right - Pulau Kemaro's 9-Storey Pagoda
This is Old Malay or Traditional Malay, used during the Sriwijaya times. Seen at the Muzium Sriwijaya in Palembang
Inside the traditional Limas house at the Balaputradewa Museum
On 9 March 2016, this place will be the highlight of Indonesia as Palembang is one of the top places in the world to see the Total Solar Eclipse for 2016. Also in 2018, Palembang will play host to the 18th Asian Games alongside with Jakarta as the two host cities. 

My trip to Palembang in February 2016 was made possible with the assistance of the South Sumatra Tourism and Culture Service and I hope that you will visit this amazing place to experience the many things to do in Palembang, South Sumatra. If you have any questions, comments or feedback, please do leave them below. 



1 comments: