You will find something missing if you visit Palembang without taking a Musi River tour. This famous river is the longest in Sumatra at 750 kilometers long. Taking the Musi River tour is a must for visitors who wish to know the Palembang of the past. Long ago, the native population in Palembang lived along this river. Some even built their homes along the river banks. When taking the tour, you can find several tourist sites such as Kemarau Island and temples. Local people rely on this river for their transportation. You can see many motor boats (taxis) taking passengers to the other side of the river.
You won’t have any difficulty finding local foods here. Not far from the Palembang Grand Mosque, you can enjoy Palembang traditional foods like empek-empek panggang and kerupuk (crackers) for Rp1,500 to Rp22,200 per piece, depending where you eat. There is also a food stall selling es belimbing (star fruit ice). It is the only food stall that sells es belimbing. Its name is Ujuk. On the Musi River, there are floating restaurants where you could improve your culinary experiences in Palembang.
You can find souvenirs near the Musi River or you can just walk one to two kilometers from Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Museum and you will find two markets seeling various types of food and souvenirs including fruits and Songket (woven fabrics). These markets are called Pasar 16 Ilir and Pasar 35 Ilir. About two kilometers from there, you could find a Songket center and 50 meters from there, you can find a Lekeur (carving) center.
Since Palembang was chosen as the venue of a National Sports Event, Palembang developed rapidly making it easy to find hotels in the City Center. You can find star-rated or ordinary hotels along Kapten A Rivai, Sudirman, R Sukamto, Veteran, and POM IX Streets.
Along the Musi River, there are several tourist sites such as Kemaro Island and the tomb of Ratu Bagus Kuning. You can ask the boat driver to take you to these sites. They certainly know these areas well.
To travel around the Musi River, you must use a motor boat. You can rent one under the Ampera bridge, in front of Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Museum, or in front of Fort Kuto Besak. There are several types of motor boats such as speed boats, Ketek, and small vessels. Their rates range between Rp20,000 to Rp100,000 (or 2 to 10 US Dollars). Don’t pay if it is more than these rates. After that, you could enjoy taking the Musi River tour.
You can visit Palembang from Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport on Tanjung Api-Api Street which is accessible from Malaysia, Singapore, China, and Thailand. To go to the Musi River, you can take a taxi or rented car from the airport. The distance between the airport and City Center is about 6 km.
In the city center, there are nine types of public transportation including seven city buses from various destinations that can take you to Ampera for only Rp1,500 to Rp5,000.
The weather in Palembang is as warm as Jakarta so we suggest that you wear thin cotton clothes. And don’t forget to bring along your hat or umbrella to protect you from the sun.