The Indonesian twin sister of Venice: Palembang
Did you know Venice has a twin sister city in Indonesia? Let me introduce you to Palembang. The city is one of the biggest cities of Sumatra, one of the islands of the Indonesian archipelago. The word Palembang, created using two Malay terms “pa” and “lembang”, means “a root soaked in water for a while”. No wonder it takes us back to its connection with Venice, as Palembang literally stands for “place constantly covered by water”. Being one of the oldest cities of Indonesia it has a long history to be told, but this is something tourists should learn by walking through its streets and visiting its most important sites and locations.
If you are planning on spending some time in Palembang there are a few interesting sites you cannot miss. In fact, along the Musi river, which divides the city in two, the first landmark you can find is the Ampera Bridge connecting the two banks of the river and the two sides of the city. Right next to the bridge, you can see another attraction: the Benteng Kuto Besak, a fort inherited by one of the ancient dynasties ruling over the city in the past, which is now the site of the health office II Sriwijaya Military Command and the hospital.
Downtown you can find the old water tower draining water in the past, Kantor Ledeng, and lake Kambang Iwak, right next to a park and an arena which are always crowded, most of all during the holidays. Among the other attractions you may want to visit also the Sriwijaya Kingdom Archaeological Park, the Srivijaya Museum, the People’s Struggle Monument and the Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Museum, located near the Ampera bridge. Palembang has been an international port city for many years getting influenced by cultures and languages coming not only from the closest areas but also from abroad.
Its local cuisine, the pempek Palembang, is well known in the Indonesian area. Specific of this cuisine is the Pempek served with kuah cuko, a special sweet and sour sauce. If you are wondering of where you can stay in Palembang, wonder no more. The best hotels are found in this city. Hotels in Palembang are not expensive and the service is priceless. Among others, Favehotel Palembang is where we stayed for our short Indonesian vacation and we will definitely go back there for our next trip to Indonesia. The rooms were clean and colorful, we could also enjoy a wonderful swimming pool on our floor and people were available at every hour if we needed any kind on information or help. Not to mention, they have my favorite fruit turned into a healthy juice: the Dragon Fruit Juice. If you do not try it, you will miss something deliciously fantastic.
As a Venetian, Palembang has not broken my expectations, and it is always fascinating to realize how miles from where I was born I can still recall a hint of Venice in every place I visit.
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