Palembang is situated on Sumatra Island and is divided into two parts by the Musi River. Palembang is known as the “Venice of the East” and it has always been a very important trade center of the country from where the trade used to go on with India and China.
During the 13th century Palembang was among the most important ports of the world. It was once the capital of the Sriwijaya Empire. There were hundreds of scholars who used to come over here to learn the Buddhist texts and Sanskrit as history recalls it.
Palembang itself is a very delightful place to visit because of its glorious past as well as its present. Tourists find the place to be very enchanting. The Musi River cuts the region into two halves and its banks are called the Ulu bank and the Ilir bank. These two banks are linked by the Ampera Bridge. The river has a huge traffic of boats – both small and big. The scenic beauty of the place as viewed from these boats is just mesmerizing. The sunrise and sunset seen from the river is unforgettable and the visitor can not truly afford to miss that!
Each year around Independence Day there is a special event that takes place in the river and that is boats compete in a race each carrying about 50 oarsmen.
The traditional houses that are seen scattered all over the province are called Limas and these arises the curiosity of the traveler. These houses are built on stilts. The architecture of these houses is worth checking out as they give it a unique beauty. It is quite a treat to be able to live in these houses even if for a single day.
The places that interest the occasional tourist are the State Museum, Ki Gede Ing Suro Ancient Cemetery, Bangka Island’s Matras Beach, Punti Kayu- the natural pine forest, Tenang waterfall etc.
The rivers of Palembang has created many a waterfall among which the most famous one is Tenang Waterfall which is the biggest of them all and it falls from the height of 90 meters. The State Museum gives the tourist an idea of ancient Indonesia, its rituals, cultures, customs and life styles. The Ki Gede Ing Suro Ancient Cemetery has got thirty-eight ancient tombs all under the same roof which is a very interesting sight.
The Matras Beach, situated forty-four kilometers north of Pangkal Pinang, the capital of Palembang, is unusually long – 6.5 kilometers. The width of it is 300-400 meters. There are two main islands that can be visited – the Bangka Island and the Belitung Island. Punti Kayu is an amusement park where there is a man made lake. This place is particularly a delight for children of all ages.
Sriwijaya Festival and Musi Festival are celebrated over here which excites a lot of curiosity to the new comer. It was once believed that gold can be found under the rivers of Palembang but metaphorically speaking Palembang is indeed a goldmine for Indonesia today as thousands of tourists flock here each year.