Palembang is South Sumatra’s capital and largest city, featuring hotels, shopping and restaurants galore. It is the main gateway to South Sumatra and provides access to the beautiful Bangka-Belitung Islands.

The population of Palembang is around 1.5 million, and although large, the city is easy to get about on foot. It sits on the north bank of the Musi River, with the huge Ampera Bridge being Indonesia’s largest. The bridge is pretty impressive at night and boat trips on the river are popular.

Palembang’s 1,300-year-old history is best discerned in the many museums, while one of the main attractions in town is the Grand Mosque (Masjid Agung). It is built in the old Sriwijayan style and is near Ampera Bridge. The 200-year-old Benteng Kuto Besak fortress is also worth a look.

Palembang also comes with a string of markets and restaurants where Pempek fish cakes, a popular local snack, can be sampled.

Getting There & Away

Palembang is a 45-minute flight from Jakarta. Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport is a modern facility and also receives flights from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and elsewhere in Sumatra. Buses also serve Palembang from Bandarlampung (Lampung Province) and Bengkulu (Bengkulu Province) in about 10 hours, while ferries run to Bangka Island in 3 hours.

Things to Do

Palembang Attractions

Grand Mosque (Masjid Agung)

A striking, monumental mosque known as the ‘center of palembang’ that can hold up to 1,200 people.

Side trips from Palembang

Bangka Island

Located 3 hours east of palembang by boat, this pretty island has fantastic white sand beaches and a quiet atmosphere.


Srivijaya Festival

A fun annual festival celebrates palembang’s founding with much fanfare and flag waving.