Palembang South Sumatra and local attractions information. Heritage site, places of interest, what thing to do, and valuable resources in Palembang. The capital city of South Sumatra is Palembang. Hence, the Musi River runs in this city. A famous Ampera bridge spans on this river. In the past, Palembang South Sumatra was the capital city of the Sriwijaya Kingdom. South Sumatra is also well-known for its Songket and rainbow textiles. Situated on the eastern side of the Bukit Barisan mountain range the province of South Sumatra is relatively flat, nevertheless fertile, as numerous rivers crisscross and meander throughout the region. Part of this province are two sizable islands called Bangka and Belitung, off Sumatra’s east coast in the South China Sea. Palembang, its capital city and gateway to the province, lies right on the banks of the great Musi River, 60 km upstream, and navigable by oceangoing vessels.
No wonder that most major social and economic activities should center in and around Palembang and the Musi river where the region’s pride, the Ampera Bridge, is found as well.Because of its sheer location on the southernmost rim of the South China Sea and close to one of the world’s busiest sea lanes linking the Far East with Europe, the region’s historical background is undoubtedly rich and colorful. Once the very site of the Buddhist Kingdom of Sriwijaya, it practiced a bustling trade with then ancient China during its era of dynasties.
Inevitable of course, were the interacting forces of the two different cultures at the time which nowadays are still noticeable as consequences of the past.
Visitors can easily reach Palembang South Sumatra by air through four major airports at Palembang, Pangkal Pinang, Bangka and Belitung islands, all having direct connections with Medan, Batam, Padang, Jakarta, and from now with Singapore too. Air-conditioned buses from points North and West of Palembang are regularly available, as well as from cities on Java and Bali.
Palembang South Sumatra and Places of Interest.
The Musi River South Sumatra
By Javanese standards, the Musi River is both very broad as well as long, comparable to those found on the big island of Kalimantan, formerly Borneo. The river flows right through the city, cutting it in two halves called the Ulu bank and the Ilir bank and linked by a bridge of considerable size and length, called the Ampera Bridge. If visitors do not care to make an interesting or unique boat trip down the river, they could still take a walk halfway over the bridge to see the vast panorama surrounding them, rare at any other place in Indonesia. Down below they will see unbelievable traffic of boats, big and small, crisscrossing water lines without accidents as if steered by the ablest navigators. From the same spot, both halves of the city are clearly visible as well.
And if the time is right, sunrises and sunsets as witnessed from the bridge would be an unforgettable sight of beauty. Worthwhile noticing is the floating restaurants and shops on both sides of the river and other curious scenes of daily habits of the city’s inhabitants.
An annual event is the Bidar Race, held on or around Independence Day, each 17th of August. Measurements of the competing boats are 24 1/2 m long and only 0.75 m wide, each boat carrying as many as 50 oarsmen.
Limas, the traditional house.
Another interesting item to see is the Limas house which is still found scattered over the province, most of them built on riversides, however, not facing the waterfront. One explanation could be that daily household activities can be done in full privacy, out of sight of passers-by. These very ornate wooden houses built on stilts have rather sizable measurements: from 15 to 20 m in width and from 30 to 60 m in length. A good part of the house has hand-carved columns, door, and window frames, and cross ventilation between the rooms by placing wooden panels with flow-through carvings just below the ceilings. Indeed, it would almost be a must to observe the architecture and style of these Limas houses, some of them open to the public.
The State Museum
Relatively new the building was erected in 1977 only, however, its collection of around 2000 relics and antiquities originating from the province itself would make a visit here definitely worthwhile. See ancient household articles, utensils, looms, hunting tools, a bridal room, and some preserved animals of the region.
Ki Kede Ing Suro ancient cemetery
This cemetery dates back from the 16th century where as many as 38 ancient tombs are found of which one of them belongs to Ki Gede Ing Suro, one of the prominent forefathers of South Sumatera’s present society. Notably, these 38 tombs are found under one roof of one building.
Bangka Island’s Matras Beach
Bangka can best be reached by air from Jakarta by scheduled flight in just about an hour by jet. However, boat service from Palembang to either Muntok or Pangkal Pinang is adequate and should not take more than an overnight voyage. This island lies right at the mouth of the Musi River in the South China Sea and is one of the world’s major producers of tin.
A beach of exceptional measurements, 300 – 400 m wide and 6 1/2 km long, called Matras Beach is located 44 km north of Pangkal Pinang, the island’s capital. Fine, white, and clean sands make this beach area most attractive to the sun and beach lovers, whereas at this time the Parai Beach Hotel with 35 rooms already exists right on the beach.
On the other side of the island at Muntok you can find the Ranggam House built in 1921 on the hill overlooking the sea.
It is like a big lodging house where at one time the first Indonesian president was held captive along with some of his close followers during the nation’s physical revolution.
The President’s car at the time has still been kept intact and can be seen by the public at the House’s opening hours.
Closer to the capital is the Pasir Padi Beach, just 7 km from Pangkal Pinang, and is merely a place to rest or swim and sunbathe.
There is no accommodation as tourists normally come to this beach from the city and villages around this place, 4 km long and about 20 to 60 m wide with endless coconut trees to give it a genuine tropical setting.
Adjacent to Bangka island is Belitung island, another tin producer, with its capital city called Tanjung Pandan. If you are interested in visiting both islands, the best way to do it is to leave by air from Jakarta to either island first, and then cross over to the other one by boat and onward to Palembang to visit the rest of South Sumatera.
To save time, energy, and money, it would not be recommended to make a special side trip to either Bangka or Belitung out of Palembang, but rather these three destinations should best be covered in a single line of direction.
The Belitung Tourism Development Corporation is at present in the midst of a huge tourism project at Tanjung Kelayang Beach, half an hour from the capital by car. A complete beach resort hotel with all modern facilities and promises to become a great success for the area because of its proximity to Singapore, Sumatera, and Java.
Punti Kayu Natural Pine Forest
This recently built recreational complex covers an area of 50 hectares, consisting of four parts: an amusement park, a recreation park, a natural forest, and a man-made lake.
In this complex are to be found a children’s playground, a cultural park, a souvenirs shop, restaurants, and an information booth. Because of its proximity to the capital and easy accessibility, this complex actually caters mainly to the local inhabitants of the city of Palembang, however, international tourists may enjoy passing a calm day here to watch urbanites amuse themselves.
Rich in the number of small as well as big rivers flowing through this province, waterfalls of various sizes come with them too. The biggest in the region is the Tenang waterfall where the water smashes down from a height of 90 meters into a deep pool and further downstream in a strong current. By public transportation, it takes 2 hours from Palembang, however, less by private car. Located in the Muara Enim regency.
One of the best things about the city of Palembang is that you can walk to most places depending on where you are staying and if you are not energetic enough then you can always hop into a becak or catch a bus. Or, you can even get a boat ride down the Musi river. Palembang has a lot to offer. The city has a 1,300-year-old history and is steeped in the culture of Malay and the ancient Buddhist Srivijayan Empire.
Here are a few places you might want to check out during your stay in this bustling city:
The city’s landmark and one that is spectacular at night when fully lit. The bridge was built by the Japanese as reparation after the Second World War.
Masjid Agung Grand Mosque
This large and beautiful mosque is located in front of the main roundabout in Palembang which you will pass coming from the Musi Bridge. It has Sriwijayan style architecture and was built by Sultan Machmud Badaruddin 1 in 1740.
Museum Sultan Machmud Badaruddin 11
The building has a fascinating semi-circular staircase and is a combination of traditional Malay and colonial architecture. Constructed on the site of the former Sultan’s Palace, it was built by the Dutch in 1823.
Benteng Kuto Besak
A fortress built by the Sultan in 1797, it has a 3-meter high wall around it. Unfortunately, you can only walk around it as now it is being used by the army. Nevertheless, it is still part of Palembang’s history.
Pasar 16 Ilir
A floating market that now has a multi-storied bazaar. Basically a clothes market, bargaining here is a must. It’s a good place to buy traditional Palembang textiles called Songket. When you come to Palembang, buy yourself a piece of Songket because you won’t regret it.
Forty kilometers from Palembang, Kamero Island is a popular recreation site in the middle of the Musi river. the island has a Buddhist temple. This small island is a couple of kilometers downstream from the city center. It is home to a large Buddhist temple and the grave of a Chinese princess. Legend has it that the princess was sent from China to marry the King Of Srivijaya but when she arrived on the island with the dowry of ceramic pots, the king expected them to be filled with gold and precious stones. Upon inspection, the king found only preserved food and became angry. The princess jumped off a cliff in fear for her life.
Palembang is its capital city and as the gateway to the province, lies right on the banks of the great Musi River, 60 km upstream, and navigable by oceangoing vessels. No wonder that most major social and economic activities should center in Palembang and Musi River where the region’s pride, Ampera Bridge, is found as well.
Because of its sheer location on the southernmost rim of the South China Sea and close to one of the world’s busiest sea-lanes linking the Far East with Europe, the region’s historical background is undoubtedly rich and colorful. Once the very site of the Buddhist Kingdom of Sriwijaya, it practiced a bustling trade with then ancient China during its era dynasties. Inevitable of course, were the interacting forces of the two different cultures at the time, which nowadays are still noticeable as consequences of the past.
The visitors can easily reach South Sumatra by air through four major airports at Palembang, Pangkal Pinang, Bangka and Belitung islands, all having direct connections with Medan, Batam, Padang, Jakarta, and not long from now with Singapore too.
Air-conditioned buses from points North and West of Palembang are regularly available, as well as from cities on Java and Bali.
Palembang and Miscellaneous Information
Geographically, South Sumatra province is located between 1o and 4o South Latitude and between 102o and 108o East Longitude.
The boundaries of the area is:
Northside: South China Sea
Westside: Jambi Province and Bengkulu Province
Southside: Lampung Province
Eastside: Java Sea.
South Sumatra Province is divided among 8 regencies, 2 municipals and 3 administrative towns with Palembang as its capital
The humidity of south Sumatra province is 78%. The rainfall range is variation between 2,000 – 3,000 mm per year and an average wind velocity of 3.23 km per hour. And the temperature ranges between 21.8o C and 32.2o C.
A migration flow to this province is supported by the existence of heavy plantation exertion, mining, and transmigration programs. The population density of this province is 58,8 people per Km2 (1994). Compared to the average national population growth amounted to 2.144% per year, this province was on the lower level with 1.10% per year.
The area of south Sumatra province is 103,688 sq. km in width.