Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Plain Palembang

Before we begin, let's spend a second on mini mini part on the history of Sumatera province, Palembang, its Prince Parameswara and its connection with Malaysian state Malacca and its sultanate's.
It is said that around 1290's when the Singhasari Empire brought down Srivijaya to its knees, the King of Palembang and his Prince(believed to be Parameswara), both of Srivijayan Empire fled to Temasek (Singapore). There he killed the ruler of Temasek and ruled for 5 years. This angered Siam as Temasek was under Siam and they attacked Parameswara. Parameswara then fled to Malacca and built an empire there. In the 15thcentury Malacca became the regional maritime power and strongest sultanate in Malaya. In Summary, the last Srivijayan King is the first to form Malay Sultanate.
Deciphered from Wikipedia.

Here are some tips if you plan to visit Palembang: accept the fact that there are no mountains/beaches/farms/petting zoo or any nature attractions within Palembang or even less than 6 hours journey out of Palembang. Nothing at all! So, you can do what the Palembangers do best - hit the malls to escape the scorching heat.

If you have the time to spend 6-8 hours (one way) journeys , then you should go to any of this 3 places:

1. Gunung Dempo in Pagaralam

2. Danau Ranau in Lampung

3. Pulau Bangka & Belitung

Since we were always tiring ourselves during holidays, we thought lets just have a relaxing holiday by lazing in the hotel.
Of course, we still did push ourselves to check out nearby attractions which proved why there is so little info about them on the net. Because the attractions are plain. Nothing much, really.

First day, check in to Aryaduta Hotel. Birthday boy gets a suite retreat where he can laze around in comfort. 

Although 5 Star, the suite is a little outdated, but definitely 5 stars for their service. They exceed your expectation with their services. Suite comes with basic amenities, bathtub, mini bar, dolce gusto for coffee lovers...mmm. They have swimming pool for adults, for kids and a jacuzzi too. 
Breakfast spread was good with mixture of local and western with egg corner and fruits and salads too. 
This hotel is just beside Palembang Square, a big shopping complex with Carrefour as its anchor, very much like our Summit in Subang. 

Hotel Aryaduta's Convention Center on the left and the rest is PS Mall.

Anyway, there are plenty of malls all around Palembang u can spend your days in. For more upscale shopping, there is Palembang indah Mall with a HUGE play area for kids at 3rd floor. 

In the evening, we tried taking a walk around Ampera Bridge. It's a place for people watching, but when you are the only foreigner there, you become the 'watched' ones ... Lol. It seems like they just assume their tourists are from US and so they think we are from there too. When we speak Bahasa Indonesia, their jaw drops. 
Oh well, still better than Bali and Jogja where people, usually school children want take pics with me saying that I look like a Bolly Actress. LOL don wanna say her name, she will puke blood. Haha or maybe people there only know that one actress.

These are the pics taken around Ampera Bridge:
Clockwise from Right: Pancuran Bundaran, Jambatan Ampera, Colourful Trishaws, Monpera & Benteng Kuto Besak. All within walking distance around Ampera.

We had our dinner at Riverside with view of Ampera. Food was good here, priced like Malaysian Seafood Restaurant, definitely recommended if you are looking for good seafood at Palembang with view.
Children tired after having fun in the water...i soooo love our stroller.....they can continue to sleep (as they are really very tired) while we enjoy our food

Next day, we tried to visit at least 2 of their attractions. One was Punti Kayu a forest of Pine trees. They also have outbound activities like flying fox and children playground, but nothing much to shout about. You get to be with nature, with monkeys walking around in their own wilderness. They won't disturb you for food coz afterall they are at home. Only if you start feeding them, then they will start to expect the tourist to be giving them food, and this is how we disturb nature. 
I love nature, but no, this place did not fulfil anything. I would tell you to just laze in the hotel or go to the mall.

Then, we still tried to see if there is anything interesting at Museum BalaPuteraDewa. Afterall, this is where Malaysian history starts. There are lots of artefact here, nicely preserved. They even allocated an area for Malacca History. 

Traditional Rumah Limas at Backyard

Entrance of BalaputraDewa

This place is nicely maintained, its just sad that there are no visitors even on Saturday. The only problem we faced was it was difficult to get taxi from here. We depended on bluebird for all our rides, but someone has to make the call to bluebird. So usually the hotel will call to pick us up from hotel and we just flag down a blue bird for the road to go back. But there were no empty bluebird travelling on the road near the museum so it was a long wait. So its best to have bluebirds number and call them from to pick up after the museum visit.

After that, we decided, forget about places of attractions and lets just relax and enjoy a tireless vacation. 

We also managed a reflexology at Kapri Refleksi, 4 mins away from hotel (by car). It is recommended - only 75,000 rupiah for 1.5 hours of reflexology. They also massage the head, shoulders and back and also with a hot pack. 
haha.. pic taken by D2 of hubby as we were busy being massaged.

And complimentary red beans porridge with tea/coffee. A good retreat. Kids kept themselves occupied in their wonderful stroller so we got a peaceful 1.5 hours of massage. 

There is another place that is worth a visit with kids during weekend, the Kambang Iwak Park. There are so many activities for kids. They even have bicycle for 4, which means parents and kids can cycle together around the park. So many park activities for kids other than the slides and see saw.
Kambang Iwak Park

We ate at a restaurant nearby . Restaurants here have some view of the park. 
View from restaurants in front of Kambang Iwak Park

Since there are no info on the net as to where to eat with good food and nice view, the only two options would be around Kambang Iwak (view as above) or around Ampera(Riverside resto or Kapitan). There are another two places with views inside their restaurants, which are Pondok Kelapo and Rumah Makan Seri Melayu. 

Pondok Kelapo

So, my advice would be if you go to Palembang, just laze around and spend time retreating yourself and enjoy good food instead of traveling to places of interest as there is not much to see around here. The malls are a good place to escape the heat.

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