Palembang is a great city to explore and there are a lot of things to do. You can check out Al Munawar-the Arabic village, the endless choices of tasty food, the iconic Ampera Bridge, the unique Bait Al Quran Al Akbar, and many more.
You probably heard that on 8-9 March 2016 there will be happening one of the very rare moments, the solar eclipse. If you are a professional photographer, you must be wishing to be in one of cities/towns where you can experience the solar eclipse. There are total 11 towns/cities in Indonesia where you can go to experience the solar eclipse, they are: Palembang, Bangka, Tanjung Pandan (Belitung), Sampit, Palangkaraya, Balikpapan, Palu, Poso, Luwuk, Ternate, and Maba (Halmahera).
Since I just got back from Palembang (and Palembang will be the first city to experience the total solar eclipse), I would like to share some general things and the best areas to stay in the city. I hope it will be useful for those of you who are interested in travelling to Palembang for the Solar Eclipse or anyone who is thinking to go to Palembang really.
Palembang is the capital city of the province of South Sumatra province. It’s a trading city with diverse cultures. It is one of the oldest cities in Indonesia and has a population of almost 1.5 million people. In the past, there were plans to make it the capital of the country. That never happened though.
From the airport of Palembang (Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II international airport) to the city center is less than 20 km distance. You can get an international flight to Palembang from Singapore and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur). There are daily direct flights from Jakarta (various national airlines) and Bali with Garuda Indonesia.
Palembang offers a mix of public and private transport. If you are looking for private transport taxis and rickshaws are available. The public transportation system in Palembang consists of small buses (locals call them Angkot, some call it “Taksi”) that run from the morning until around 7 pm. Oh, there is Gojek in Palembang (Yayy!!).
What to wear:
Wearing t-shirt (preferably with sleeve) and comfortable pants/shorts (not too short please) should be ok for roaming around the town. Make sure that you are wearing comfortable clothes with cool fabric since it is usually pretty hot and humid.
Best Area to Stay
The best place to stay in Palembang is close to the city center. From here you have easy access to several city landmarks. There are also lots of options for places to eat. Here are several recommendations for where to stay in Palembang:
Angkatan 45 – Kapten A Rivai Area
There are two big malls around the city: Palembang Square Mall and Palembang Icon. From the malls the distance to Ampera Bridge, Kuto Besak fort and the floating restaurants is less than 4 km. The best hotels in the area are:
- The Arista Hotel Palembang – a five star hotel.
- Aryaduta Hotel – a five star hotel located super close to the Palembang Square Mall.
- Batiqa Hotel – a three star hotel. Batiqa is a new hotel with a good deal.
Kambang Iwak Area
Kambang Iwak or KI is the city park. The park is famous as a place where youngsters hang out. It is really enjoyable to walk around the area in the afternoon. I met the super friendly Palembang Street Imaginator (PSI), a skateboard community on my afternoon stroll around the area. I also got a free skating lesson for 15 minutes. Kambang Iwak is 3 km away from the famous Ampera bridge.
Batiqa hotel is located quite close to Kambang Iwak. I would also recommend Swarna Dwipa Hotel.
- Swarna Dwipa Hotel – a three star hotel.
R. Sukamto – Jend. Basuki Rahmat Area
This area probably a bit far from the Ampera Bridge (around 7-8km), but it is also a strategic place to stay in Palembang. It’s especially popular with business and leisure visitors. There are a lot of places to eat around the area and there is easy access to several tourist spots in the city. It is also close the Palembang Trade Center Mall. Here are four hotels to consider:
- Novotel Hotel – a four star hotel. I stayed in this hotel on my last visit to Palembang. They had an extensive choice of breakfast, spacious rooms and the pool was simply amazing.
- Aston Hotel – a four star hotel.
- Favehotel Palembang – a three star hotel.
- a href=”http://www.agoda.com/maxonehotels-at-vivo-palembang/hotel/palembang-id.html?cid=1655533″ target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>Maxone hotel – a two star hotel located close to Novotel.
Do you plan to see the solar eclipse? Which city or town will you visit to watch the eclipse?
If you are interested in booking accommodation for your holiday in Indonesia I recommend Airbnb. Book through this link to receive a $25 discount. For hotel reservations I recommend Agoda for its low price and discounts.