Palembang: Here’s Why This Indonesian City Is Your Next Destination

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One of the most amazing, random trips I had recently was that in Palembang, Indonesia. It wasn’t exactly the city that made it a top-notch destination but finding a gem hidden away in the mountains of southern Sumatra — the ancient city of Pagar Alam. Have you heard about it? Chances are, you haven’t. 

In a nutshell, here’s what to expect from a trip to Pagar Alam:

Pagar Alam is known for its waterfalls. There are thousands of them waiting to be explored.


The pre-historic megaliths found across Pagar Alam date back 2000 – 3000 years. These ancient monuments stood the test of time.


On the foot of Mount Dempo is a massive tea plantation. You can drive up to 1800 metres above sea level to enjoy a stunning panorama of Pagar Alam, surrounded with mountains.


Pagar Alam’s Mount Dempo rises up to 3,173 metres above sea level, the highest in South Sumatra. A hike up this glorious mountain is definitely a must in my next visit.


Experience the refreshing temperature as the fog sweeps across the massive tea plantation at Pagar Alam.


Thousands of years ago, ancient humans lived in this stone house.


This trip would not have happened if I didn’t accidentally spot a promo from Scoot Airline to its new route from Singapore. They were selling a one-way flight to Palembang for only $15 SGD / 9.15 EUR, so cheap that I impulsively booked it without knowing what to expect there.

Nobody could tell me about Palembang, except a friend who said that the founder of Singapore originated there. I find this surprising given that this city appears to be nearer to Singapore than Jakarta.

A few days before the trip, I discovered an interest in visiting the islands of Belitung, located 3-hours away with a ferry from Palembang, and is supposedly laced with beautiful sandy beaches. However, after a bit more research, I read something about the land of a thousand waterfalls and megaliths. This led my decision to explore the prehistoric features of the City of Pagar Alam, despite it located 300 KMs away from Palembang.

The iconic bridge in the City of Palembang, Indonesia.



Here’s how I travelled to Palembang from Singapore:

  • From Singapore CBD, I went to Harbourfront MRT and took a ferry to Batam Island, in Indonesia. I spent a night in a cheap but decent hotel there.
  • I flew with Citilink Airline to Palembang from Hang Nadim Airport in Batam on early Friday morning.
  • From Palembang’s Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Airport, I took a taxi to the city to catch the train to the town of Lahat, located halfway between Palembang and Pagar Alam, but I missed it and ended up riding a bus instead.
  • I took a bus from Palembang to Pagar Alam. I left around 10:00 AM and reached Pagar Alam around 5:00 PM. That’s a staggering 7 hours of travel, but all worth it.


There are not many choices in terms of accommodation in Pagar Alam. But I was lucky to find Safira Homestay on I can’t overstate how amazing and comfortable my stay there was, thanks to the incredible hospitality of its owners. They were attentive to my needs and ensured that I would experience the best of Pagar Alam during my trip and that I’d come back to Palembang safe and sound.

Follow Bored Expat on Facebook to reach me out if you’ve got any questions about Pagar Alam or Palembang. I’d be happy to help so you can experience what I experienced these cities!

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