Palembang (sometimes also called as Pelembang by the locals), is Indonesia's provincial capital of South Sumatra with 1.7 million people (2020). Palembang is a cultural centre with some of the world's cheapest 5-star hotels, must-try delicacy foods, and natural wonders within day-trip distance.



The LRT Palembang crossing the famous Ampera Bridge

Palembang is not just a regular city, Palembang holds a lot of historical values. Dates back to ancient times, Palembang was founded as the state and capital of the Srivijaya Empire in the 7th century, Srivijaya was the largest Buddhist empire in ancient Indonesia whose territory covers most part of western Southeast Asia (both insular and mainland). For centuries, it was a sprawling centre of trade, government, and religion.

When Srivijaya fell in the 14th century, Palembang transformed as the Kingdom of Palembang and came under the control of the Java-based Majapahit Empire. The Majapahit would rule the Kingdom of Palembang until later it is transformed as the Sultanate of Palembang. The Sultanate lasted until 1825, when the Dutch seized the area. Under the Dutch colonization, canals were built and the Musi River was optimised for trade and transportation.

Palembang was the site of a battle between the Allies and Japan during World War II, and several conflicts during the National Revolution period of the late 1940s. Since independence, the city has undergone major development. In the 1960s, the iconic Ampera Bridge was built to allow development to the eastern side of the city.

In 2011, the city was the venue for the Southeast Asian Games, and for the 18th Asian Games in 2018 (jointly with Jakarta).


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 centre.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

  • 1 Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport (PLM  IATA), Jl. Bandara Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II, Talang Betutu, Sukarami 30761 ( Bandara SMB II LRT). 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. The Palembang LRT connects to the city with a special fare of Rp10,000. 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! Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport (Q1432286) on Wikidata Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport on Wikipedia

By train[edit]

Palembang's rail network is serviced from 2 Kertapati Station, 2 km south of the city centre along Jl. Kemang Kertapati road. However service is limited to trains from Bandar Lampung in Lampung, to Lubuklinggau in western South Sumatra, and a railbus to Sriwijaya University at Indralaya. From Lampung, there are two trains daily, one daytime express economy class train, Rajabasa and one overnight executive class, Sriwijaya.

By bus[edit]

Palembang is connected by bus from other cities in Sumatra (Jambi, Padang, Pekanbaru, Medan and Lampung) as well to Jakarta in Java. The main intercity bus terminal is 3 Alang-Alang Lebar Terminal (locally known as AAL) north of Palembang.

Get around[edit]

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 light rail[edit]

To support the 2018 Asian Games, a light rail system was built. The single line has 13 stations connecting the airport, the city centre, and the Jakabaring stadium complex from north to south. Trains run at least every 17 minutes daily from 05:05 in the morning, and takes up to 49 minutes from end to end. The latest train from DJKA Station is 19:01 and from the airport is 19:55. Tickets cost at a flat rate of Rp5,000, except for trips from and to the airport, which costs Rp10,000 (regardless of distance).

By bus[edit]

TransMusi is the best public transportation so far. For a flat rate of Rp5,500 (April 2016) you can hop on along its 11 lines in operation:

  • Corridor 1 : Bus stop below the Ilir part of Ampera Bridge - Alang Alang Lebar Bus Station (KM 12)
  • Corridor 2 : Perumnas Bus Station - PIM (Palembang Indah Mall)
  • Corridor 3 : Plaju - PS Mall (Palembang Square Mall)
  • Corridor 4 : Jakabaring - Karya Jaya Bus Station (Kertapati)
  • Corridor 5 : Alang Alang Lebar Bus Station (KM 12) - Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport
  • Corridor 6 : Pusri - Palembang Square (PS)
  • Corridor 7 : Kenten - Letkol Iskandar
  • Corridor 8 : Alang Alang Lebar Bus Station (KM 12) - Terminal Karya Jaya (Kertapati)
  • Pangkalan Balai Corridor : Alang Alang Lebar Bus Station (KM 12) - Pangkalan Balai
  • Indralaya Corridor : Terminal Karya Jaya - Indralaya
  • Unsri Corridor : Unsri Bukit - Unsri Indralaya


Main landmarks[edit]

  • 1 Ampera Bridge ( Ampera LRT). Open 24 hours. The first bridge to cross the Musi River in Palembang, and was the longest in Indonesia when it first opened in 1965. Originally a vertical-lift bascule bridge, its central span stopped being lifted only several years after opening. The bridge is the most prominent landmark in Palembang, being located right at its heart, connecting the two sides of Musi River. Free of charge. Ampera Bridge (Q643147) on Wikidata Ampera Bridge on Wikipedia
  • 2 Great Mosque of Palembang (Masjid Agung Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin I Jayo Wikramo), Jl. Jend. Sudirman, 19 Ilir, Bukit Kecil 30111 ( Ampera LRT). This grand mosque was first opened in 1748, and has been renovated and significantly expanded a few times. The original praying hall and minaret is located on the northwestern side of the compound, showcasing a mix between Palembang Malay, Chinese, and European architectural styles. The expanded praying hall is built around the original building with pyramidal roofs as well as a taller and slimmer minaret. Free of charge. Great Mosque of Palembang (Q14917382) on Wikidata Great Mosque of Palembang on Wikipedia
  • 3 Kuto Besak (Benteng Kuto Besak), Jl. Sultan Mahmud Badarudin, 19 Ilir, Bukit Kecil 30113 ( Ampera LRT). 06:00–22:00. A walled compound from the Sultanate era on the northern side of Musi River. Originally completed in 1797, it is now used as the headquarter for the regional command of the Indonesian National Forces. The compound is closed to public due to its military use, though an enourmous open plaza right in front of it functions as the city's main square. On the plaza there lies the 4 Belido Fish Monument, dedicated towards a protected endemic species that used to be the main ingredient in local delicacies. Free of charge for the plaza area. Kuto Besak (Q16773690) on Wikidata Kuto Besak on Wikipedia
  • 5 Palembang Mayoral Office (Kantor Ledeng), Jl. Merdeka no. 1, 22 Ilir, Bukit Kecil 30113 (750 m/12-minute walk from Ampera LRT). First built in the early 20th century to serve a dual function as both a water tower and a city hall. It now hosts the city's mayoral office. Palembang Water Tower (Q23009349) on Wikidata Palembang Mayoral Office on Wikipedia
  • 6 Kemaro Island (30-minute motorboat trip from Kuto Besak piers). A riverine island which has seen various uses throughout history, from hosting an outpost of the Sultanate and a detention camp for political prisoners, to being a destination for cultural and religious tourism. The island hosts a Buddhist compound consisting of 7 Hok Tjing Bio Temple and the 9-story 8 Kemaro Island Pagoda. The city's annual Lantern Festival (Cap Go Meh) celebration is centered around the compound, during which the northern side of the island will temporarily be connected with a pontoon bridge to the mainland. Kemaro Island (Q12506795) on Wikidata

Museums and heritage sites[edit]

  • 9 Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Museum, Jl. Sultan Mahmud Badarudin, 19 Ilir, Bukit Kecil 30113 ( Ampera LRT). 08:00–17:00 (weekdays), 09:00–17:00 (weekends and public holidays). This municipal museum right beside Kuto Besak was once the office of Dutch colonial resident, built in the traditional Palembang limasan architecture. The museum showcases the history of the city, from the era of Srivijaya to the colonial period. Rp5,000 (general admission), Rp20,000 (foreign tourists). Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Museum (Q48988740) on Wikidata Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Museum on Wikipedia
  • 10 Balaputradewa Museum (Museum Negeri Sumatera Selatan), Jl. Srijaya no. 1, Srijaya, Alang-Alang Lebar 30139 (700 m/10-minute walk from RSUD LRT). 08:30–15:30 (Tuesday–Sunday), closed on Monday and public holidays. This state museum showcases the history of South Sumatra province, with displays ranging from pre-historic megaliths to Srivijayan era statues and inscriptions. The museum also hosts an iconic Palembang limasan house that was also featured on the pre-2016 Rp10,000 banknote—they may also lend you a copy of this old banknote if you want to take photos comparing its illustration with the real-life house. Rp5,000 (general admission), Rp15,000 (foreign tourists). Balaputradeva Museum (Q48728288) on Wikidata Balaputradeva Museum on Wikipedia
  • 11 Sriwijaya Kingdom Archaeological Park (Taman Purbakala Kerajaan Sriwijaya), Jl. Syakyakirti, Karang Anyar, Gandus 30148 (5.5 km/15-minute drive from the center of Palembang). 08:00–18:00. An archaeological site hosting remnants of an ancient settlement (probably from Srivijayan era) with networks of artificial canals. The park displays many artefacts such as Buddhist statues, potteries and ceramics, but no major historic structures, as the buildings there were most likely built from perishable materials like wood instead of bricks or stones. Sriwijaya Kingdom Archaeological Park (Q7586543) on Wikidata Sriwijaya Kingdom Archaeological Park on Wikipedia
  • 12 Ong Boen Tjiet's House (Rumah Saudagar Ong Boen Tjiet), Lorong Saudagar Yucing no. 55, 3-4 Ulu, Seberang Ulu I 30124 (10-minute motorboat trip from Kuto Besak piers). 11:00–18:00. Former residence of Ong Boen Tjiet, a famous 20th-century Palembang merchant of Chinese-Indonesian background. Facing Musi on its southern bank, it features a mix between Palembang Malay and Chinese architectural elements, and hosts collections owned and maintaned privately by Ong Boen Tjiet's family. Can be also be reached through land route, though the alleyway to the house fits motorcycle only. No fixed price, but donations are accepted.
  • 13 Bayt Al-Qur'an Al-Akbar, Pondok Pesantren IGM Al Ihsaniyah, Jl. M. Amin Fauzi, Soak Bujang, Gandus 30149 (14 km/35-minute drive from the center of Palembang). Claimed to house the largest wood-carved copy of the Quran in the world, displayed page by page on the 15-metre high galleries. Reviews are mixed, with many travellers saying it is a must visit on a trip to Palembang and others complaining about a long drive on bad roads to a rural area and poor access for disabled people. Rp20,000 as of February 2020. Bayt Al-Qur'an Al-Akbar (Q20426381) on Wikidata


  • 1 Musi River. On the northern bank, the riverfront Kuto Besak and 16 Ilir plazas overlooking the Musi River and Ampera Bridge are popular spots for local families, youngsters and visitors to hang around and enjoy late afternoon breeze. There are also a row of warung terapung (floating eateries) boats on the east side of the bridge which offer various local delicacies. From the piers of Kuto Besak, one can also take motorboat trips to various destinations along the river (the price wildly varies depending on the length of the trip and the number of passengers). A trip just across the river or so (less than 2 km) usually costs Rp5,000 per person. Musi River (Q39247) on Wikidata Musi River (Indonesia) on Wikipedia
  • 2 Jakabaring Sport City, Jl. Gub. H. A. Bastari, 15 Ulu, Jakabaring ( Jakabaring LRT). The sports complex with its grand Gelora Sriwijaya Stadium hosted parts of the 2011 Southeast Asian Games and the 2018 Asian Games. On Sunday morning it is a popular spot for locals to converge, do jogging or exercise. Free of charge, though you will need to pay for parking if you bring personal vehicles. Jakabaring Sport City (Q17051742) on Wikidata Jakabaring Sport City on Wikipedia
  • 3 Kambang Iwak Besak, Jl. Tasik, Talang Semut, Bukit Kecil 30121 (1.8 km/25-minute walk from Ampera LRT). A major urban park consisting of a large pond surrounded by vegetations and a nearby smaller pond. Every Sunday morning the streets around the park are closed to traffic, giving space for pedestrians to stroll around and street vendors to sell local specialties and delicacies. Free of charge.


  • Songket. Among Indonesians, Palembang is famous for its songket handycraft. It is a traditional handwoven cloth with metallic golden or silver threads. Songkets are available in most Palembang marketplaces and even available in Palembang airport, however for richer variety and choices, several songket handycraft centres, production houses, boutique or showroom are available in the city.
  • Pempek. Although pempek can be found in most of Indonesian cities, the original Palembang pempek is said to have distinct taste and beyond compare. Unfried, packed, precooked boxed pempek is popular as food souvenir among Indonesians visiting the city. Fish based Palembang krupuk is also popular choice.
  • Palembang Square (PS), Jl. Angkatan 45. A quaint yet crowded mall at the heart of the city, attached to the Aryaduta Hotel and Siloam Hospital. While the original mall looks old, its new underground extension is more spiffy and has better restaurants.
  • Pasar 16 Ilir, Jl. Pasar 16 Ilir. To the right of the Ampera bridge is one of the most crowded places in Palembang. Some people refer to this bazaar as the Tanah Abang of Palembang. Women's clothing is widely sold. A lot of clothing sold here are in beautiful colours and embroidery with Indian/Pakistani styles. Bargaining here is a must. Pasar 16 is also good to buy traditional palembang textile called Songket. A must-buy in Palembang, you can get songket as a textile to make clothes, songket shoes, purses, cushion covers, calligraphy, art, hand fans, etc.
  • Palembang Indah Mall (PIM), Jalan Letkol Iskandar no.18, +62 711-350999. Daily 10:00 - 22:00. The classiest mall in Palembang. The most quantity of branded fashion, anchor stores, and food tenants in one building. It also hosts a lavish cinema.


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:

  • Pempek is the dish virtually everyone in Indonesia thinks of when mentioning Palembang cuisine. It is a dough of fish cake which can be either boiled, fried, or grilled and is eaten with a sweet and spicy sauce called Cuko, topped with cucumber and prawn powder. Because it is actually a dough, locals have intelligently crafted them into shapes and sizes, as well as being creative with fillings. Examples include lenjer (long cylinder shaped), keriting (curly), kapal selam (literally: submarine. filled with egg), adakan (round and fried) and pites (filled with cooked young papaya).
  • Model are a variety of pempek with tofu fillings.
  • Tekwan are small pempek balls served with fresh shrimp soup.
  • Mie celor is a soup of thick yellow noodle served with coconut milk broth, topped with egg and prawn.
  • Pindang Ikan is a spicy smoked fish soup, similar to Thai's tom yum soup. It is normally eaten with rice, with side dishes like seluang goreng and sambal buah.
  • Pepes Tempoyak is made of patin fish seasoned with durian and spices.
  • Nasi Minyak is Palembang's version of Briyani Rice. The rice is seasoned with ghee and other spices to create the fragrant and distinct taste. Best served with Ayam Kecap (soysauce chicken) or Malbi (spiced stewed beef).


  • 1 Mie Celor 26 Ilir H. M. Syafei Z., Jl. Merdeka No.54, Talang Semut, Kec. Ilir Bar. I, +62 711 5630501. 06:00-17:00. The most famous mie celor restaurant in Palembang, situated at a market. The Mie Celor is similar to laksa, but less spicy and more condensed broth, with scents of prawn and coconut milk. From Rp30,000.
  • Pempek & Es Kacang Vico, Jl. Letkol Iskandar No. 541-542. A constant flow of customers are craving for pempek at this tenant across the Palembang Indah Mall. Its Es Kacang Merah (red bean ice) can neutralise the spiciness of the broth or to be enjoyed on its own on a hot day. A popular gift idea from Palembang, they do delivery across the country even by air cargo! From Rp15,000.
  • Pempek Saga Sudi Mampir, Jl. Merdeka, +62 711 314 417. While most of the pempek you see are typically either fried or steamed, this establishment has it baked or grilled, making the texture crispy outside and soft inside, without the guilt of too much oil. Recommended for its pempek lenggang (pempek filled with duck egg, grilled while wrapped in banana leaves). From Rp20,000.


  • Martabak HAR, Jl. Jend Sudirman No. 2269, +62 711 315 086. 24 hours. The HAR stands for its founder, an Indian immigrant named Haji Abdul Razak who opened the murtabak restaurant which still stands 70 years later in the same spot! One of the most famous restaurants in town, their specialty is the Murtabak filled with minced meat and duck egg, eaten with curry. You can also order a plain murtabak or prata, or other Indonesian delights. About Rp25,000.
  • Pagi Sore, Jl. Ahmad Yani No.285 B 8, +62 711 510 655. Most major cities in Indonesia have at least one prominent Padang restaurant, and this is the one that Palembang has. Famous for all-rounders of the spicy Padang food. From Rp30,000.
  • Sri Melayu, Jl. Demang Lebar Daun No. 1, +62 711 420 468. The restaurant, which is next to the governor's office, offers pindang - a smoked or steamed fish in a sweet, sour, and spicy soup - as its specialty. While Palembang primarily uses Pangasius (ikan patin) fish as its ingredient, the restaurant has other varieties such as fish head, shrimp, or other fishes, such as the second most favourite, ikan baung. Top it off with the sweet srikaya pudding or coconut water. Mains from Rp25,000.


  • La Vita Bella Casual Dining, Jl. AKBP Cek Agus 284 Kenten Golf, +62 711 562 6366. A Western restaurant with an open kitchen concept. Chic and quaint British style exterior and so is the food, from steaks to pizzas, for a generally lower price than hotels. From Rp50,000.
  • River Side Restaurant, Jl. Rumah Bari, +62 711 368 222. Lunch 11:00-14:00, dinner 16:00-22:00. A dining experience by the bank of the Musi River with a fantastic view of the iconic Ampera bridge. Primary offerings include the Palembang's local delicacy, especially its pindang, seafood, and a few Chinese dishes. From Rp40,000.


Try local Palembang drink, es kacang merah, an iced drink made from azuki bean.



  • Tune Hotel Palembang, Jl. Jend. Sudirman, +62 711 315 222. The no-frills hotel brand that lets you pay only for what you need, but has complete facilities such as breakfast, Wi-Fi, air conditioning and TV. From Rp200,000.
  • Zuri Express, Jl Dr. M. Isa no 988, +62 711 710 800. Budget hotel with noticeably modest but clean rooms and minimum design. Restaurant is in a separate building downstairs but don't expect a wide variety of menus. From Rp350,000.


  • 1 Aston Palembang Hotel & Conference Center. This Aston hotel is more modest than its bigger city counterparts. Provides large deluxe rooms, suites, and an option that includes Palembang cuisine for breakfast. From Rp600,000. ASTON Palembang Hotel & Conference Center (Q111139126) on Wikidata
  • 2 Novotel Palembang, Jalan R Sukamto No. 8A. One of the best hotels in the city. Typical Accor style hospitality with spacious rooms, generous breakfast, a wide swimming pool and jogging area. Generally suitable for business travelers and families. From Rp700,000. Novotel Palembang (Q12500946) on Wikidata


  • 3 Hotel Aryaduta Palembang, Jl. POM IX, Palembang Square, +62 711 383 838. An 18-storey atrium hotel offering 174 rooms. One of the facilities they offer to guests is their the largest banquet and meeting space in South Sumatra, accommodating up to 2,500 guests reception-style. Guests could also enjoy their experience in their Pool Café that offers healthy food, snacks, and light refreshments. From Rp1,100,000. Aryaduta Palembang Hotel (Q111139132) on Wikidata

Go next[edit]

  • Travel by road to Jambi
  • Go to Lampung by train
  • Travel by ferry along the Musi River estuary to Bangka Island

This city travel guide to Palembang is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.