Discover a world of cultural wonders and authentic things to do in Solo City, Indonesia.
Like its neighbor, Yogyakarta, Solo City (often called Surakarta) is still identical with a long history of monarchy government. Both Yogyakarta and Surakarta make their palace the center of cultural development and preservation.
Furthermore, the palace is also a symbol of the king’s power. Unlike Yogyakarta, whose Sultan is still automatically elected as the governor, Solo has another governor who runs the city. The people of Surakarta elect the Governor of Surakarta.
If you are coming to Solo, here are some suggestions you might put on your to-do list.
Why visit Solo City, Indonesia?
Solo City, Indonesia, is a captivating destination showcasing Java’s rich cultural heritage. With its historic palaces, ancient temples, and traditional arts, Solo City offers a glimpse into Javanese traditions and history. The city’s vibrant food scene, renowned for its authentic Javanese cuisine, and reputation as a hub for batik and handicrafts further add to its allure.
Surrounded by natural beauty and known for its warm hospitality, Solo City is a delightful place to explore and immerse yourself in the unique charm of Indonesian culture.
Top 10 Things to Do in Solo City
Look Up to The Palace Closer
One thing you really must see is, of course, the beauty of Keraton Kasunanan Surakarta. This palace is a complex of buildings that still function as a residence of Sri Sunan Pakubuwono and palace households that conduct royal tradition until today. Keraton Kasunanan Surakarta Is open for visitors from 09.00 AM-02.00 PM except on Friday; Keraton is closed to the public. The admission fee is only IDR 10,000 for domestic tourists and IDR 15,000 for foreigners (about USD 1.2)
Learn to Bargain at Klewer Traditional Market
It is still typical of Indonesians to haggle at a traditional market for a better price. The most wanted market is Klewer Market (Pasar Klewer), located near Keraton Kasunanan Surakarta. You can just walk on foot to get here. This market offers thousands of stores selling fabrics, batik, jewelry, trinkets, and puppet leather. FYI, Klewer Market was damaged by a massive fire back in December 2014. Though you may not be able to see what this authentic market looks like, you can still find many Javanese pieces of stuff here at the new face of Klewer Market.
Try Serabi, the original pancake in Surakarta
Serabiis may differ slightly from pancake, with its thick dough and flat shape. They combine the rice flour with coconut milk, making the pancake taste both savory and sweet. The thin, crispy crust surrounding it makes it even more tempting. The original Serabi from Notosuman is white and plain, but they also make more variants by adding toppings like chocolate sprinkles, slices of banana, and jackfruit. You can find many Serabi mongers on the side street along Jalan Slamet Riyadi, but the one with its legendary recipe since the 1920s is here in Jalan Mohammad Yamin No. 28.
Learn The History of Cetho Temple
This temple is located in the Gumeng village, Karanganyar Regency, which is 36 km from the city center of Surakarta. One of the Javanese-Hindu temples is still undamaged by years since the Cetho Temple was built around the 15th century. Pay attention to every inch of its beautiful cravings accompanied by the mild breeze from the plantation complex nearby.
Watch the shadow puppet show
If what you only know so far is just a shadow puppet show, you also have to attend this particular show, which brings the puppets alive. Wayang Orang, which means Human Puppet, will show you a group of actual human act-out characters based on various forms of drama. The story is mainly adapted from the Javanese version of Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. The Human Puppet Show runs daily from Monday until Saturday at 8 p.m. The ticket fee is only IDR 10,000. Just go to GedungWayang Wong in Sriwedari, Jln. BrigjenSlametRiyadi No. 275, Surakarta.
Getting Around The City with A Fancy Double Decker Bus
Department of Transportation Solo provides a double-decker bus that will take the passengers around the city to see the beauty of Solo City by paying IDR 20,000/person. This bus is called Werkudara Bus and is taken from a character in the Mahabharata story. Werkudara is described as a tall, brave, and undoubtedly doughty man, quite an apt name for this giant bus in bright red color. In the middle of the journey, there will be a time when passengers have to exchange their seats. If you have first chosen a seat in the upper deck, then you must come down halfway to a seat in the lower deck.
Quench your thirst with Es Dawet at Pasar Gede
Pasar Gede means Big Market. Try to find Es Dawet Telasih Bu Dermi here. Finding this place is no easy feat because it is only such a small kiosk. The stall can only accommodate six customers at the same time. Do not ask how it tastes like; just go and try it! Trust me, you would want to come back here repeatedly, lining up like all the others to taste this addictive sweetness. This Es Dawet consists of cendol (green pulpy dish of rice flour), tape ketan (fermented glutinous rice), bubur sumsum (rice flour porridge), and with the main ingredient telasih/selasih (basil seeds).
Hunting Batik in Kauman Batik Village
There are two Batik villages in Solo, Laweyan and Kauman Batik Village. The nearest one to the city center is the Kauman Batik village. Here, you can find local houses with parts of it converted into a boutique. You are also able to watch the batik-making process here. As you know, the stamped batik (batik cap) is cheaper as they are easier to make. But they are well worth the splurge if you appreciate painstakingly hand-drawn batik.
Find Cool Spots Around Post Office
When night comes, the area around Solo Post Office comes to life. People, mostly youth, gather around here just to spend their night. It is also popular to get the best angle shot of the classical buildings here or the passing by vehicles as your downtown background.
Mandarijn Cake For Your Family and Friends
The oldest bakery in town is the most famous place to have snacks and cakes. One of the tourists’ favorites is their Roti Mandarijn (Mandarijn cake), which has two layers: yellow at the top and dark brown at the bottom. Pineapple jam glues both these layers together.
Best Hotels in Solo City
Solo City, or Surakarta, is a popular destination in Central Java, Indonesia. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and beautiful landmarks. Here are some of the best hotels to consider for your stay in Solo City:
The Royal Surakarta Heritage Solo This luxurious hotel blends Javanese and colonial architecture. It features elegantly designed rooms, a swimming pool, a spa, and multiple dining options. The hotel is conveniently located near popular attractions such as Keraton Kasunanan Surakarta and Pasar Gede.
The Alana Hotel & Convention Center Solo – Situated in the heart of the city, this modern hotel offers comfortable rooms, a rooftop pool, a fitness center, and a variety of dining options. It is close to Solo Grand Mall and Klewer Market, making it a convenient choice for shopping enthusiasts.
Best Western Premier Solo Baru – Located in Solo Baru, a vibrant area in Solo City, this contemporary hotel provides spacious rooms, a rooftop pool, a fitness center, and a restaurant. It is near The Park Mall and Pandawa Water World.
The Sunan Hotel Solo – Situated near the famous Klewer Market, offers comfortable rooms with traditional Javanese touches. It features a rooftop pool, spa, and a restaurant serving Indonesian and international cuisine.
Novotel Solo – This well-known international hotel brand offers stylish rooms, a swimming pool, a fitness center, and various dining options. It is located near the iconic Manahan Stadium and Manahan Park.
Swiss-Belinn Saripetojo Solo – A budget-friendly option, this hotel provides comfortable rooms, a swimming pool, and a restaurant. It is in the city center, offering easy access to local attractions such as Sriwedari Park and Radya Pustaka Museum.
How to get to Solo City
The closest airport to Solo City is Adisumarmo International Airport (SOC), which is served by domestic flights from major Indonesian cities like Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bali. You can take a taxi or pre-arranged transportation from the airport to reach the city center, which is approximately 15 kilometers away.
Solo City has a well-connected railway network, and you can reach the city by train from various destinations in Java. Solo Balapan Station, a central railway hub, serves the city. There are regular train services to Solo City from Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, and other major cities. Trains provide a comfortable and scenic way to travel and offer different seating classes to suit your preferences.
-> We recommend booking train tickets ahead at Tiket.com *.
Solo City is well-connected by bus services from different parts of Java. Regular intercity buses operate between Solo City and major cities like Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, and Semarang. The journey duration and bus facilities may vary depending on the distance and the type of bus you choose.
-> We recommend booking your bus tickets ahead at Easybook *.
Solo City is accessible by road, and you can reach the city by private car or rental car *. The city is connected to major highways, including the Solo-Yogyakarta and Solo-Semarang. The travel time and road conditions may vary depending on your starting point and traffic conditions.
Solo City offers a diverse range of experiences that are sure to captivate any visitor. From exploring the rich cultural heritage and historic sites to indulging in authentic Javanese cuisine and witnessing traditional arts, Solo City provides a unique and immersive travel experience. With its warm hospitality, convenient location for day trips, and the natural beauty that surrounds it, Solo City is a destination that should not be missed for those seeking an enriching and memorable journey through the heart of Java.
|1. Book the best accommodations – Booking.com* or Agoda.com *|
|2. Find the cheapest flight options that suit you – Skyscanner * or 12Go.asia *|
|3. Rent a car in advance and make your trip more convenient – Rentalcars *|
|4. Make the most of the time that you have! Exciting excursions, professional guides, and more – Klook *|
|5. Book your train tickets online easily – Tiket.com * or bus tickets at Easybook.com *|
|6. Oder ahead Indonesian Rupiah with the best exchange rate – Wise Travel Card *|