Palembang is the capital of the province of South Sumatra. The second largest city in Sumatra Island, about 2 million inhabitants have filled the area right before the delta of the Musi River, and acts as the economic center for southern Sumatra.



Palembang begins as the capital city of the Srivijaya Kingdom from the 7th century, the biggest Buddhist Kingdom in Indonesia. It was soon sprawling to become a trade, government & religious center. After the kingdom falls, the city was a toss up until it became an area of an even bigger kingdom, Majapahit of Java. It too falls after more than 100 years conquering the city. Palembang would soon see again a kingdom emerging from there with the main hero, Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II. But it was short lived as the Dutch finally seized the town and start development of the city. Canals were made, the Musi River was optimized for trade & transportation.

The city's icon, Ampera Bridge, was constructed in the 1960s to provide development to the east side of the city. Soon, the city has been expanding quickly. The city was the venue for the 2011 Southeast Asian Games. Soon, Palembang was put on the world map and is still expanding with new buildings soaring.


The development of Palembang spreads along the Musi riverbank. The Ampera bridge is visible from everywhere at the riverbank in order to locate how far one is from the city center.

Get in

By plane

The city's main airport is the Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport (PLM), just built in 2005 to replace an old airport. There are tons of flights daily from Jakarta, as well as an international flight each from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Taxis can be hailed and will take you to the city in 30 minutes for roughly Rp100,000. You can also use the TransMusi to Terminal AAL, and then transfer to other lines that can take you to the city proper, all for only Rp5,000!

By train

Palembang's rail network is serviced from the Kertapati Train Station, 2 kilometers south of the city center. However service is limited to Bandar Lampung in Lampung, to Lubuklinggau in western South Sumatra, and a light rail to Sriwijaya University. From Lampung, there are 2 trains daily, one daytime express economy class train (Rajabasa) and one overnight executive class (Sriwijaya).

By bus

Palembang is connected by bus from other cities in Sumatra (Jambi, Padang, Pekanbaru, Medan and Lampung) as well to Jakarta in Java. The main terminal is Alang-Alang Lebar (locally known as AAL) north of Palembang.

Get around

It is quite easy to get around in Palembang since there are a lot of public buses, modified vans (Angkots or Angkutan Kota) and for short distances there is always becak. Don't be surprised if they keep packing the buses and angkots with people even though they are full. Short trips should be no more than Rp5,000. Taxis are scarce, far between, and often refuse to use meters and insists on fixed price for certain distance. Just like other Indonesian cities, the most reliable and safe taxi in Palembang is Blue Bird. On land, motorcycle taxis, ojeks, are cheap, quick, and everywhere. Boats can be hired on the river.

By bus

TransMusi is the best public transportation so far. For a flat rate of Rp5,000 you can hop on along its 11 lines currently in operation:


Ampera Bridge at Night




Pempek Kapal Selam and Keriting in Kuah Cuko.

Palembang cuisine is the second most well-known from Sumatra after Padang. They primarily use freshwater fish and prawn as ingredients due to the paramount role of the Musi River for the area. Spices are also generally included although not as liberal as its same-island counterpart. Malay, Indian, and Chinese culture has also influenced Palembang's culinary scene. Do try these while you are here:


Mid Range




Mid range


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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, December 10, 2014. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.