Solo (also known as Surakarta) is a chilled, Javanese city in Indonesia. Far from being a bustling, big-time metropolis, this is a place for relaxation, beautiful scenery, friendly locals and the richest of historical gems. ... Read more »
Unlike many Asian cities, there’s nothing artificial about Solo. Instead, you’re able to indulge yourself at your own pace – and you’ll come away feeling sooo much better for the experience. Climb Mount Lawu to inhale the smog-free air (another rarity where Asian cities are concerned), then take a revitalising dip in the (very) cool waters of the Grojogan Sewu waterfall. To find plenty of bargain goodies, there’s no better place in Solo than Pasar Klewer, a market packed with traditional batiks in the brightest of colours, and the place to put those haggling skills to good use.
Solo’s Top 10
10. Sriwedari This entertainment park is the place for kitschy souvenirs and nightly puppet shows.
5. Jurug Zoo Plenty of cheeky monkeys and some very prancy peacocks. The camel ride is fun for the kids.
9. Yogyakarta A short drive from Surakarta, this town is brimming with temples, museums, palaces and… shopping!
4. Pasar Triwindu This antique market has beautiful ornate pieces at rock-bottom prices. Yes!
8. Sahasra Adhi Pura Come and get your Eat, Pray, Love on at this Javanese Hindu temple and yoga centre. Om…
3. Tawangmangu Explore the forest and waterfalls of this recreational resort.
7. Pasar Gede A big ol’ market featuring the mouth-watering aromas of Javanese street food!
2. Museum Radya Pustaka Javanese culture, history and art all in one place.
6. House of Danar Hadi Watch women create batik masterpieces and check out the museum housing a huge assortment of antique batiks. There’s a gift shop, too! We all love a good gift shop…
1. Karaton Surakarta Once the royal residence, but now open for inspection.
- Istana Mangkunegaran – This palace was founded after the fall of Pakubuwono and offers tours as well.
- Kraton Surakarta – Once a majestic palace, most of this building was lost in a fire, but you can still visit to get a sense of its previous grandeur.
- Candi Sukuh – This temple was built in the 15th century, marking the end of the city’s building of Hindu temples.
- Sangiran Museum and Early Man Site – An archaeological excavation site, it features prehistoric fossils.
- Kampoeng Batik Laweyan – One of Solo’s oldest cities, having been around since the 14th century, was originally a textile trade centre.
Solo Art & Culture
- Street Food – An outdoor eating tradition where roaming food sellers ring cowbells and clatter cutlery to get attention and sell their dishes.
- Radya Pustaka Museum – This small museum displays gamelan instruments, wayang puppets and jeweled kris.
- Danar Hadi – A museum that displays various textiles, antique and royal, from China and Java.
- Sriwedari Theatre – This theatre sits at the back of the Sriwedari Amusement Park and features masked dance drama.
- Mama Homestay – Offers a one-day course in which you can learn how to batik.
- Jl Dr Rajiman – A goldsmith shop in which you are able to purchase gold in bulk from several vendors.
- Street Vendors – Located near Kraton Surakarta, this is a group of gem sellers who offer a variety of semiprecious stones.
- Matahari Department Store – A shopping mall where you can find clothing, shoes and household goods.
- Hypermarket – This modern supermarket lets you purchase a variety of local foods.
- Pasar Klewer – The largest batik and textile store in the city and the perfect place to purchase batik.
Solo Gay & Lesbian
- Legenda Discotheque – A mixed club featuring lots of dancing and disco music.
- Hotel Sahid Jaya Solo – A five-star, gay-friendly hotel.
- Heaven Club – Located in Jakarta, this is a primarily male nightclub with nightly themes.
- Apollo – Another Jakarta nightclub with an island bar, sofa and a dance floor.
- Villa Semana – This is an all-male resort and spa located in Ubud.
- Bicycle Tours – Full-day bike tours that take you around the Solo countryside, where you can watch locals make tofu, gamelan and batik.
- Sriwedari Amusement Park – An outdoor fair with rides and sideshows, it also features nightly cultural performances.
- Miki Tours – This is a guided tour around Solo and neighbouring cities via automobile.
- Meditation Centre – Learn how to breathe to relax your mind with classes at this facility. Private classes are available as well.
- Hiking Trails – There are three mountains surrounding Solo great for walking around and getting some exercise.
- Watch a soccer game at the Manahan Stadium.
- Catch a basketball game at the Bhinneka Basketball Stadium.
- Go white-water rafting during the wet season.
- Go horseback riding.
- Play 18 holes of golf at the Adi Sumarmo Golf Course.
Chinese New Year is celebrated with gusto during Rebeg Sudiro in late-January. Watch the dragon-filled parade, catch a traditional Chinese performance and fill up on yummy noodles!
Kick back and enjoy a good dose of Javanese culture and art at the Festival Tirtonadi in March. The big pull is the massive art installation featuring water fountains.
Sekaten Fair celebrates the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad in April. Yummy munchies are on offer, plus a market filled with handmade crafts and other bits and bobs.
If you wanna shake your booty, head to April’s Solo Menari, celebrating the best of traditional and contemporary Javanese music and dance.
The Batik Carnival in June is a big one. Miss Indonesia, women in traditional, batik-style garb and Solo soldiers all appear. Plus, they have nasi goreng. Lots of nasi goreng.
When To Go
With a tropical monsoon climate, Solo’s temperature sticks around the 30°C (86°F) mark all year.
There’s plenty of rain from December to early May as the wet season kicks in. So if you want to experience Solo in the dry, go from late June to early October.
Hiring a car is a good idea, but hiring a bike/scooter is not. The roads are rough and even experienced riders can get in a pickle.
Want a fun albeit slightly slow tour of Solo? Jump into a becak (cycle rickshaw) and off you go!
The city is packed with taxis, but negotiate a fair price before heading off.
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