Kemaro Island, Chinese Ethnic History and Culture in Palembang

For local ethnic Chinese who live in Palembang, Kemaro Island itself is a very special place. That is because on this island there are pagodas and temples which serve as historical evidence of the existence of ethnic Chinese in the area. - It's not complete if your visit to Palembang, South Sumatra Province, Indonesia, doesn't visit Kemaro Island. Besides being beautiful, this historic island in the city is located not far from the Ampera Bridge, an icon of Palembang City.

The name Kemaro Island itself is given by the locals because this place is always dry and never watery. In fact, when the tide, the island looks like an island floating on the water.

For local ethnic Chinese who live in Palembang, Kemaro Island itself is a very special place. That is because on this island there are pagodas and temples which serve as historical evidence of the existence of ethnic Chinese in the area of ​​the former Kingdom of Srivijaya and Palembang Darussalam Sultanate.

In addition, the existence of this island is also very closely related to a legend that says that this place emerged as evidence of the love of Princess Siti Fatimah (daughter of King Sriwijaya) with her lover.

The Legend of Kemaro Island

The legend of Kemaro Island began in the late 14th century when a prince from China, Tan Bu An, came to Palembang to study. After living here for some time, he fell in love with a daughter named Siti Fatimah.

Her love for the princess in Palembang rounded her determination to come to the palace to propose to her. Siti Fatimah's parents gave her consent, but on one condition Tan Bu An had to give a gift.

Tan Bu An then sent his subordinates to return to China and asked for some kind of gift from his father to give to the King. Soon after, the messenger returned with vegetables and fruits. Tan Bu An was shocked and angry because he hoped his father would give Chinese jars, ceramics and money.

Annoyed, Tan Bu An threw the ship's cargo into the Musi River. He did not know that his father actually put money in these vegetables and fruits.

Because he was ashamed after learning about his mistakes, he collected what he had thrown into the river and Tan Bu An never returned. Because, he drowned along with vegetables and fruits.

When Siti Fatimah heard about the tragedy, she ran to the river and drowned herself to follow her lover. Before that, he left a message: "If you see a tree growing on a plot of land where I sink, this will be our love tree".

The princess sank and a plot of land appeared on the surface of the river. Local people believe that this is the tomb of these lovers. Therefore, they call it "Kemaro Island" which means that even though the tide is in the Musi River, this island will always be dry.

Local ethnic Chinese believe that their ancestor, Tan Bun An, lived on this island. Therefore, this area is always crowded during the Chinese New Year. In 2006, the pagoda was built as a place of worship and for other events. This pagoda has 9 levels.

By the local community Pulao Kemaro is a tourism destination that is quite unique and exists especially among local youth. This is because the existence of a tree that is believed to make the relationship lasting. The tree was given by the local community the name 'Love Tree'.

Facilities on Kemaro Island

In this Musi Delta island tourist area, there are several facilities, including a 9-story Pagoda. This 9-story pagoda was built in 2006 and is a part of the temple.

In addition, there is a Hok Tjing Rio Temple building which is very old. This temple was built in 1962 and the Chinese temple is often called the Kuan Im Temple.

In front of the temple, there is a tomb of a Chinese prince named Tan Bun An and the tomb of the king's daughter named Siti Fatimah. These two people whose names are embedded as the legend of the island.

Heading to Kemaro Island

If you go to Palembang, you can take a flight to Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II international airport, which is located on Tanjung Api-Api Street. This airport can even be accessed from various countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, China and Thailand. The distance between the airport and the Musi River is about 6 kilometers. You can take a taxi or rental car from the airport.

In the center of Palembang, there are at least 9 public transportation facilities including city buses or public transportation from various destinations that can take you to Ampera at a cost of only Rp. 5,000. For angkot travel routes you can see so you don't get lost.

From Market 16 or Kuto Besak Fortress, you can use a boat or rent a speedboat or 'ketek' (local language) which will take about 30 minutes from the Ampera Bridge to Kemaro Island. The rental price of the motorboat is around Rp150 thousand round trip.

For this price, it can change at any time. Because, there are also some tourists who can get a cheaper boat rental price. All depends on your intelligence in bidding prices. One motorboat can carry about 10 people.

Nothing wrong while waiting for departure, you can enjoy the culinary delicacies along the Musi River that tastes good and varied, or can shop first. During the trip you can enjoy the scenery. Don't forget to capture your memories in this place. Have a nice trip! (ip)
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