South Sumatra is made up of the provinces of Lampung, Bengulu, Jambi and Riau archipelago. South Sumatra is famous for one of the greatest kingdoms in Indonesian history, the Buddhist Empire of Sriwijaya, which prospered and grew along the bank of the Musi River in South Sumatra over a thousand years ago. Located in the southern-most rim of the South China Sea, close to one of the world's busiest shipping lanes linking the Far East with Europe, the region's historical background is rich and colourful. The Sriwijaya Kingdom practiced a active and profitable trade with ancient China. However, only few relics of this memorable era remain. The province of Jambi located on the east coast of Central Sumatra faces the Straits of Malacca sharing borders with four other provinces in Sumatra and has long been a melting pot for different ethnic groups. The earliest inhabitants were the Kubus, who were among the first wave of Malays to migrate to Sumatra. The ancient kingdom of Melayu developed and grew in Jambi and maintained relations with the mighty kingdoms of Sriwijaya, Majapahit and Singasari, but was eventually attacked and annexed by Sriwijaya in the middle of the 17th century. This area is home to a large variety of fauna and flora and an exhilarating place for active and adventurous visitors. The Way Kambas nature reserve is a perfect place to see Sumatran elephants being trained to work in thick tropical jungles as well as hundreds of species of exotic birds. Tigers still roam this land although they are rare. The largest flower in the world, Rafflesia, can be seen at the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park. The 3,000 islands of the Riau province straddle the Straits of Malacca, one of the oldest and business trading routes in the world. For centuries the islands have provided a safe haven to traders and sailors from Europe, India and China and as a result they have strong foreign historical links. Riau, which includes a large part of East Sumatra, is the heartland of the Malays and the source of Indonesia's Malay-based national language.
PLACES OF INTEREST
The city of Jambi, the site of ancient Islamic Melayu Kingdom, today is a modern city of approximately 250,000 inhabitants of mixed heritage. The surrounding forests are home to the Kubu people, the original inhabitants of the area. Worth visiting is the Hindu temple complex of Candi Muara.
Palembang is the second-largest city in Sumatra, located on the banks of Musi River. Up until 13th century, Palembang was the major focus of trade in Indonesia. It was also the spiritual centre where Mahayana Buddhist monks studied and translated texts. An interesting item to see is the Limas house which are still found scattered over the province, most of them built on riversides, however, not facing the waterfront. One explanation could be that daily household activities can be done in full privacy, out of sight of passers-by. These very ornate wooden houses built on stilts have rather sizable measurements: from 15 to 20 m in width and from 30 to 60 m in length. A good part of the house has hand carved columns, door and window frames and cross ventilation between the rooms by placing wooden panels with flow-through carvings just below the ceilings. Indeed, it would almost be a must to observe the architecture and style of these Limas houses, some of them open to the public.
The seaport town of Bengkulu was founed in 1685 by the British. As a British colonialist heritage, Fort Marlborough locates in the main street of Bengkulu. Inside the building, there is a subway connected to the outside. It was established by East Indian Company (EIC) in 1713- 1919 under Joseph Callet Governor General and as the second strongest fort built by British in the east after Fort George in Madras, India.
Bandar Lampung, the capital of Lampung province, has several interesting places such as the Museum and the Monument of the Krakatau Eruption. An uninhabited island Krakatau is located on the southern part of the Bay of Lampung.
Way Kambas National Park
Way Kambas is 130,000 hectares of area on Lampung's East coast. Way Kambas is the best place to watch wild Sumatran elephants, tigers and many species of birds. Way Kambas Elephant Training is an international project which is partly funded by the World Wildlife Fund. The aim of training them is to make the captured elephant be useful to mankind. Most visitors come to Way Kambas to see the training centre and to have an opportunity to ride on an elephant.
Between the shores of Sumatra and Malay Peninsula lies a chain of more than 3,000 small islands. Pekanbaru, the provincial capital and the largest city in mainland Riau, is the prosperous oil-production centre. Pekanbaru has a number of buildings in the traditional style of the area, among them the Balai sang Merdu, the Balai Adat and Taman Budaya Riau.
Inland areas of Bintan are mostly poor quality farming areas and a denuded scrub forest because of long history of farming and forest clearing on poor soils. North and east coast remain attractive with coral reefs, palm lines shorelines, excellent sandy beaches, a few areas of secondary jungle, and attractive little off-shore islands. There are some places of interest in Bintan such as Senggarang Buddhist Temple, Snake River Buddhist Temple ( an isolated temple up a mangrove river opposite the harbour in Tanjung Pinang ), Pulau Penyengat ( used to be the cultural capital of the Malay world during the 19th century ), Gunung Bintan, covered by some of the primary forest on Bintan, Pulau Terkulai, which is fringed by a sandy beach.
The island has untouched natural beauty, designated as a centre of not only industry, but also tourism and trade. It is one among Indonesia's key locations of industrial growth. Places of interest include Tiara Indah Handicraft Centre, which has a huge selection of handicrafts from all over Indonesia; Dapur Dua Belas, which offer a glimpse of way if life that has vanished from the rest of Batam, Nongsa Beach, a beautiful stretch of sand, Pulau Buluh, a traditional village with houses built over the water.