Serving as the capital of South Sumatra, Palembang sprawls on the banks of the meandering Musi River. It’s one of the oldest cities in Southeast Asia and served as the capital of Srivijaya, a Buddhist kingdom that controlled the Strait of Malacca between the 7th and 12th centuries.
Things to do in Palembang
Delve into the local history at the Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Museum, which occupies a 19th-century colonial residence that served as a Japanese military headquarters during World War II. Its galleries house an impressive array of South Sumatran handicrafts, traditional costumes and historic coins. The surrounding gardens are dotted with religious statues dating back to the Srivijayan period.
To learn more about the Srivijayan Empire, pay a visit to Taman Wisata Kerajaan Sriwijaya, a large archaeological park that encompasses an alluvial plain beside the Musi River. Ancient canals, moats and ponds have been discovered in the area, together with Buddhist statues, Chinese ceramics and beads. In an ornate pavilion are exhibits detailing the legacy of the Sriwijayans in Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula.
A short drive north of Palembang is the Balaputradeva Museum, which boasts an outstanding collection of ethnographical artefacts. In addition to traditional crafts and artefacts dating from the prehistoric era to the Dutch colonial period, the museum houses megalithic statues and relics from the 18th-century Palembang Sultanate. On the museum grounds is an authentic rumah limas, a traditional wooden house built on stilts.
Getting around Palembang
Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport is a 35-minute drive from the centre of Palembang and has flights to destinations across Asia. Trains connect from towns and cities across South Sumatra to the Kertabati railway station while both buses and a light rail system travel throughout the city.