Watching the Total Solar Eclipse from Palembang

Last week, the total solar eclipse made international headlines all over the world. A group of people called the ‘eclipse geeks’ even calculated and booked the best flight route to watch the eclipse 36,000 feet above the ground. Since I am not an eclipse geek, I only booked a flight to Palembang to watch the eclipse from the Ampera bridge.

Not so much out of the ordinary right?

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A little girl waiting for the total solar eclipse.

The eclipse was scheduled on the 9th of March 2016. My family and I arrived the night before with a little night drama due to a mistake made by the hotel booking website I used. If you are interested to know more, click here. Not long after the drama subsided, we rested peacefully for our adventure tomorrow.

What awaited us was indeed an adventure, even going to Ampera bridge was a struggle! After 20 minutes of a taxi ride, we were forced to walk for another 2 km since the traffic was so bad. Of course, Ampera bridge was the place where the government of Palembang told everyone to go to enjoy the total solar eclipse. On the contrary, it was not really what I would remember as an enjoyable moment.

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Everyone was raising their hands for a photo opp. Can you spot someone in the photo who didn’t enjoy the smell?

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Total solar eclipse, covered by clouds.

As you can see from these photos, the bridge was full of crowd. After a while, I was even separated from my family members. The crowd were not the kind of crowd you want to be in. They were loud and hot headed. I don’t necessarily think that Palembang citizens are hot headed. It was probably a bad morning for them since the total solar eclipse didn’t even bother to show up. It was hiding behind a cloud for most of the time until the cloud went away only for less than a minute.

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The view from Ampera bridge most of the time.

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Partial eclipse was visible only for a few seconds.

Even though short, it was meaningful to me. That point of time, I was greatly astonished by the view. The crowd stopped for a minute while the people cheered and smiled. Some would even go to the extend of praying and calling out on the name of God. Soon enough, I found my family and we headed back to the hotel for some rest.

The next few days were spent eating and sightseeing. There was not much to see in Palembang but there was definitely a lot of food to eat! I probably gained a kg or two after such short trip to Palembang.

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The famous Es Mamat! It tasted as good as its reputation.

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Mie Celor. Simply a plate of noodle served with curry like soup.

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Es Kacang Merah Vico.

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You are not in Palembang until you taste its Pempek.

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Martabak Har. It was brought to Palembang decades ago by Haji Abdul Rozak, an Indian descent.

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Pindang Patin.

I take no responsibility of causing you to be hungry after seeing all these photos. Even just writing about it is making me hungry right now. Palembang is famously known for its variety of culinary choices. They do not only come across as many, but also delicious! I will give out more details of these restaurants at my travel blog.

Other than taking culinary trips to different restaurants, I had the opportunity to explore Palembang and its popular places. Honestly, they weren’t very entertaining. Palembang doesn’t have much places to see other than a few cultural destinations. Since it is a small city, I bet a day would be enough to explore these places. Overall, a total of 2 days would be enough for visiting these places of cultural and culinary.

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Peeking inside a temple at Kemaro Island.

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Me wearing a barongsai head, posing with the kid I stole the barongsai from.

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Al Quran Al-Akbar in Palembang stands as the biggest wood carving in the world.

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Ampera bridge.

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What a friendly becak! Transportation was not that easy in Palembang.

It’s been a week since I returned to Jakarta and I am missing the food badly. Other than that, Palembang itself can be quite boring if you stayed for too long. However, I think it was a good learning lesson to me. A small city life could be boring, but it helped me slow down my pace. I found myself on bed at 8 PM every night I was there! With that kind of pace, I had a lot of reading time and inspiration. It was probably because I let my thoughts carried me away in my free time.

I was enjoying it for a few days until the urge to speed up came back again. Back in Jakarta, I am now hardly ever found at home at 9 PM. Thanks for the great food Palembang, but you’re definitely not a city I could live in.

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My last sunset view in Palembang before flying back to Jakarta.


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