There’s plenty of reasons to visit Palembang, but it’s possible you’re not familiar with this vibrant Indonesian city.  Want to learn about it?  Read on.

Tired of visiting holiday destinations that seem pretty much identical to your home city?  Want to see more than just exported Western culture on your vacations?  Yep, we’ve been there too.

We’re here to offer you a solution, and its name is Palembang.

Get your fill of family time by visiting one of Indonesia’s largest hidden gems. Okay, okay, maybe a city of 1.5 million isn’t exactly ‘hidden’, but Palembang is pretty much unknown in the West, which means you’ll be able to get a dose of genuine Indonesian culture without competing with a bunch of fellow tourists for a seat on the subway.

We’ve put together a list of five reasons for you and your family to check out this fascinating city during your next vacation, and, man, are we excited for you to visit!


Top Reasons to Visit Palembang

1. It’s the Venice of the East

Yup, that’s Palembang’s official nickname.  The locals might not eat tagliatelle and garlic bread, but it’s still a pretty awesome experience.

The city’s bisected by the massive Musi River – if you’re travelling with your partner, book a cheeky sunset cruise to keep things romantic.  Because the Musi floods kinda sorta regularly, you’ll see lots of houses on the riverbanks raised up on wooden stilts.

In fact, there’s actually a type of traditional building – the rumah limas – which combines stilts with a massive, Aussie-style porch.  Cool, huh?

It’s also got the Pasar 16 Ilir going on – nope, we’ve got no idea what the name means either, but we do know that it’s an authentic floating market, where you can see vendors hawking their wares out of tiny paddle-boats.

Ampera Bridge in Palembang, Indonesia
Ampera Bridge


2. It’s totally authentic

Remember how much you hate it when holiday destinations look, sound and feel more or less the same as your home country?

Good news: you won’t experience that in Palembang.

With a bunch of unique dishes, fascinating customs and a culture that’s based around the city’s riverine origins, you’ll feel completely out-of-place – which, when you’re travelling to a foreign country, is the best thing imaginable.

Get lost in the city’s labyrinthine streets, or cruise the brown waters of the Musi in a brightly-painted bidar. 

Traditional Palembang wedding
Traditional Palembang wedding


3. Brocading is, like, a thing

Yes, Palembang is famous for its songket, a type of brocaded fabric which is threaded with silver and gold threads.  It’s traditionally very expensive and only worn on special occasions, so, if you think you could rock a snazzy Palembang-style songket, pull out a wad of rupiah and start spending.

Oh, and there’s also plenty of amazing food, like pempek (crunchy dumplings stuffed with fish), kue lapis maksuba (a sweet cake made with duck eggs) and martabak har (an egg creation in a flavourful curry sauce). Yep, we think with our stomachs too.

Close-up assortment of songket
Songket fabrics


4. Palembang has a long, rich history

Sure, it’s a little bit quieter in the 21st century, but back in the day Palembang was actually the capital city of Srivijaya, a Malay kingdom which ruled a pretty big chunk of the islands.

Although Srivijaya was destroyed by invaders, you can still see historic icons like Kemaro Island, Hok Cing Bio, Kuto Besak Fortress and Cheng Ho Mosque.

For a run-down on the city’s history, check out the Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Museum, the Sriwijaya Kingdom Archaeological Park or Balaputradeva Museum.

Kemaro Island, Palembang, Indonesia
Kemaro Island


5. There’s no foreigners!  Yay!

This city’s dense Indonesian culture can make travelling both exciting and frustrating.  You’ll have to dig a little deeper to discover holiday attractions, but, when you do, you’ll be richly-rewarded with a mostly tourist-free experience.

Although English is spoken, it’s secondary to Musi (the local language), Komering and Chinese, so don’t expect to be catered to.  A Musi dictionary (or Google Translate) is definitely going to come in handy here.

Do you feel sold?  Of course you do!  Who could turn down such awesome reasons to visit Palembang?

Get over there and start experiencing the city’s unique, rich culture.  Oh, and make sure you stay at Wyndham Opi Hotel Palembang.  It’s right next to Palembang’s entertainment precinct, boasts a bunch of cool features and it has – ta-da! – a rooftop pool!

What are you waiting for?  Book that Palembang getaway today.

Wyndham Opi Palembang dining room interior
Wyndham Opi Palembang

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