Solo the short name for Surakarta, is a major city in Central Java, Indonesia. Together with Yogyakarta, these two great cultural centres are heirs of the Mataram kingdom that was split in 1755 and good bases for trips to nearby UNESCO World Heritage sites like the temple complexes of Borobudur and Prambanan.
Solo lies some 100 km south of Semarang and some 60 kilometers east of Yogyakarta. As the 'twin' sister of Yogyakarta, this city looks much like the latter. But because Solo is not a provincial capital, this city has preserved much of its Javanese character. This also means that Solo is less touristy than Yogyakarta. The town is a centre of art and education and offers some good shopping. It is said to be the least westernised city in Central Java.
Historically, the Kasunanan Kingdom was the true heir of the Mataram Sultanate which ruled the whole Java from the 16th century to the late 17th century. In 1745 the Sultanate moved its court to Solo; however, by the end 18th century it had suffered from internal court intrigues, rebellions and foreign manipulation by the VOC (the Dutch East India Company). In 1755 the Sultanate was split, with the Kasunanan Kingdom, ruled by the reigning sovereign (Pakubuwono II) based in Solo and the Yogyakarta Sultanate, led by the rebel prince Mangkubumi (later Sultan Hamengkubuwono I) in Yogyakarta. Later in 1757, another rebel prince named Raden Mas Said formed the Mangkunegaran Principality, motivated by disappointment with the king, who had collaborated with the VOC. During the following Dutch colonial rule, the kingdoms, termed as Vorstenlanden in Dutch (Land of the Princes), enjoyed a certain degree of autonomy and were recognized as vassal states of the Dutch empire. After independence, however, unlike Jogja, the two kingdoms lost their autonomy and rule over the city because their rulers had supported the Dutch during the Indonesian war of independence.
Today's Solo is a bustling economic centre of some 550,000 (800,000 including suburbs).
Solo is a traditional centre of Central Javanese culture, famous for performances of Wayang Kulit (shadow puppet plays) and Wayang Orang (theatre with actors onstage), both of which are accompanied by gamelan (traditional musical ensemble).
The weather during July-August is hot and humid. The temperature ranges from 21-33 degree Celsius. Humidity level is normally between 75% and 100%. Wear light clothing and if necessary wear hat and sunglasses.
The languages primarily spoken in Surakarta are Javanese and Indonesian. Public signs are written in Indonesian, occasionally with English, and occasionally with Javanese script. English is not widely spoken. That being said, hotel and airline staff generally speak an acceptable level of English.
Surakarta has its own international airport which which serves flights from/to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, as well as multiple domestic destinations. If you plan to arrive by plane, then you could take a direct flight from Jakarta (1-hour trip, 8 flights per day), Kuala Lumpur (2-hour trip, daily), or Singapore (2-hour trip every Tuesday, Thursday, and twice on Saturday).
Travel cost estimates
- Transfer at Jakarta
|San Fransisco||1399||China Airlines|
|Melbourne||1035||China Southern Airlines|
Connecting flight from Jakarta to Surakarta costs around Rp 500.000 (about $60), there are 8 flights per day (Garuda Indonesia 4 flights, Sriwijaya Air 3 flights, Lion Air 2 flights, Batavia Air 1 flight)
- Transfer at Kuala Lumpur
From KL to Surakarta choose AirAsia for the best price
- Transfer at Singapore
From Singapore you can go directly to Surakarta (Silk Air, every Tuesday, Thurday and twice on Saturday), or you can go to Yogyakarta first (AirAsia), then take the train to Surakarta (every hour, about $1, beautiful scenery). The transfer from plane to train in Yogyakarta is very convenient as the airport (Adi Sucipto/Adisucipto) and the train station (Maguwo) are located next to each other, so you only need to walk via the underpass to reach the train station and board the Prambanan Express (Pramex) train to Solo.
Alternatively, you can also take a straight flight from Singapore to Surakarta using Silk Air, but the schedule is not as often as AirAsia, and the total money spent would be much lower if you go via Yogyakarta.
- From other hub
Recently Surabaya-Surakarta and Bandung-Surakarta route is opened (Sky Aviation). Hitherto, there's no connecting flight to/from Bali.
By train or bus
First you have to arrive at Java island, either Jakarta (largest city, west hub) or Surabaya (second largest city, east hub). Surakarta is almost in the middle of those two cities. Then you can either take train (6-8 hours) or bus (up to 12 hours) to Surakarta. Surakarta is landlocked, so there's no water transportation option. Express trains from Jakarta take around 8 hours, while from Surabaya take around 6 hours. Express trains serving Solo include Argo Lawu, Argo Dwipangga, Bima and Gajayana expresses (to/from Jakarta, all AC), Argo Wilis,Turangga and Lodaya (to/from Bandung), Argo Wilis,Turangga and Sancaka (to/from Surabaya).
If you arrive at Yogyakarta (south hub), you can then take the train to Surakarta (leaves every hour or so, cost about $1, beautiful scenery of paddy fields along the track), or taking a bus. (approx. 2 hours, cost about $1), or taking taxi.
If you arrive at Semarang (north hub), you can then take the bus or taking taxi to Surakarta. (approx. 6 hours). There's no train that connects Semarang-Solo
If you take the train, then you should stop at Stasiun Balapan (Balapan Station), also called Solobalapan.
If you take the bus, then you should stop at Terminal Tirtonadi (Tirtonadi Terminal). The Balapan Station and the Tirtonadi Bus Terminal located within the same vicinity, although not on adjacent to each other. The main bus station is actually not in Solo city itself, but in Kartasura, some 12 km west of the centre. There are regular services throughout the island, including Jakarta (10 hours) and Surabaya (5 hr).
How to speak like a Solonese
The everyday speech of the Javanese are mixed of Indonesian and Javanese.
A short glossary of common Javanese expressions and its Indonesian equivalent:
The city's main avenue, Jl. Slamet Riyadi has paved pedestrian paths (citywalk) located along its sides courtesy to Mayor Jokowi. On Sundays, this avenue is closed for traffic and becomes a Car Free Day (6am to 9am) for various kind of sports activities for Solo's citizens. Many hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and tourist attractions (Museum Batik Danar Hadi, Sriwedari Park, Museum Radya Pustaka) are located alongside the avenue. At the end of the avenue is the entrance (gapura) to the alun-alun (city square) and the royal palace complex (Keraton Kasunanan).
Because of it's small size (44 km2 or 17 mile2), travelling is easy within the city. Other than private cars or motorcycles, local people also travels with angkots (minibuses), ojeks (motorcycles "taxis"), bicycles, becaks (Indonesian rickshaws, tourist friendly), and some horse-drawn carts can still be seen roaming in the city. Public transportation includes taxis (include SUV-taxis), foreigner-friendly bus (currently serves from airport to the downtown and vica-versa), all of them for a very reasonable price (bus from airport to downtown are Rp 7.000 or less than US$ 1, with air conditioner and scheduled stops, taxi's minimum charge is Rp 15.000 or less than US$ 2). Car or motorcycles (or even bicycles) rental can also be arranged, as some hotels are also renting their own bicycles, albeit limited in number. Antique horse-drawn carts or a retro double-decker bus or an antique two-freights steam train can also be rented for group tours, with or without tour guides and/or onboard live entertainment (for bus and train).
- Jalan means street. Often abbreviated "Jl.". Bis means "bus". Mobil (/mo-beel/) means "car". Ribu (/ree-boo/) means thousand rupiahs. Kanan (/ka-naan/) means "right", kiri (/kee-ree/) means "left".
- Rent a car
- To drive a car yourself, an International Driver Permit is required in addition to your home country issued drivers license. Consider renting a car with a driver, the additional cost is quite low and the Indonesian driving habits are not the best in the world. Traffic is required to move on the left in Indonesia.
- Citra Persada. Jl Pagelaran 69-B. ☎ +62 271 780433.
- Riz. Jl Dr Rajiman 354.☎ +62 271 742926.
- Solo. Jl Yosodipuro 38. ☎ +62 271 7076610.
- Yan. Jl Sriwijaya 11 RT 002/03. ☎ +62 271 717541.
- By becak
- Becak ("BEH-chuck") is a tricycle (pedicab) transportation mode for short distances such as residential areas in Solo. The driver is sitting at the back of the passenger and pedaling the becak. It is one of the remaining human powered public transportation in Indonesia. Good communication skills is integral to prevent getting overcharged on these rides. Often, sly drivers try to get some more money out of you after you've reached your destination, so be sure that you know how much it costs beforehand. Overall, becak's fares are reasonably low, and the experience is comparable to none. As is everything in Solo, you should haggle for the best price. (Expect Becak drivers to quote prices inflated to at least 3 times for the average tourist.)
- By taxi
- Taxi is the easiest way to go around. It is cheap, and you can even book it for the whole trip. You can negotiate for the price. Ask in your hotel reception if they can arrange one for you. Or they may also have a car to rent (mostly including the driver). Taxis are available on the airport and train stations. If you need a taxi from any other place, you can call their phone numbers:
- Kosti Solo ☎ +62 271 856300
- Solo Sentral (or Central) ☎ +62 271 728728
- Bengawan ☎ +62 271 734666
- Gelora ☎ +62 271 7004999
- Sakura ☎ +62 271 644194
- Angkasa ☎ +62 271 781315
- Mahkota Ratu ☎ +62 271 655666
- Aravia. Jl Kratonan. ☎ +62 271 636468.
The must-see attraction in Solo (especially for first timers) is Sunan Pakubowono's palace, better known as Kraton Kasunanan.
- Keraton Kasunanan. Palace of the Pakubuwono Kings. A large and beautiful palace built in 1675 that combines traditional Javanese and classical European styles. Facility: museum, art and cultural centre.
- Alun-Alun or the King's ground.
- Museum Keraton or Palace's museum.
- Puro Mangkunegaran. Palace of the Mangkunegara Princes. A beautiful palace built in 1757 with an awe-inspiring main audience hall. Facility: museum, art and cultural centre. Entry fee: Rp 15,000, photo fee Rp 3,500.
- Pamedan Mangkunegaran, or the Mangkunegara's ground.
- Museum Batik Danar Hadi (House of Danar Hadi). Jl Slamet Riyadi 261, Surakarta 57141. Houses the 10,000 piece private batik collection of batik magnate Santosa Doellah, the owner of Batik Danar Hadi. It is reputedly the biggest in Indonesia. The museum displays a wide variety of batik from different cultural influences and periods - Javanese, Chinese, Indian and even colonial Dutch. An interesting piece is the dutch-influenced "Snow White" and "Little Red Riding Hood" batik, which depict scenes from the namesake fairytale stories. Adjacent to the museum is a batik shop as well as a restaurant (Soga Cafe) offering traditional javanese and dutch colonial menus. Behind the museum is a workshop which allows visitors to see the process of traditional batik making from start to finish. The building itself is an architectural gem; a former 19th century mansion of a Javanese noble family named Ndalem Wuryaningratan with an architectural style that combines traditional javanese and classical european styles. Entry fee: Rp. 25,000. Entry fee to the museum includes a guided tour of the collection conducted in English.
- Museum Radya Pustaka, holds various cultural and historical artifacts.
- Pers (Press) Museum of Indonesia
- Chinese temple in Chinatown, near Pasar Gede.
- Masjid Agung Surakarta (Solo Grand Mosque)
- Sahasra Adhi Pura. A new Hindu temple under construction 5 km east of Solo, it is a Kundalini yoga centre that has 50 miniatures of sacred sites from around the world.
- Jurug Zoo. Facility: zoo, aquarium.
- Taman Balekambang (Balekambang Park)
- Sriwedari Park. Javanese art and cultural centre with a wayang kulit puppet show and wayang wong Javanese dance at night, childrens playground, and a food court with traditional Javanese restaurants).
- Wayang Orang. Javanese theater, stories from classic Hindunese Mahabharata and Ramayana. Located in Sriwedari Park.
Solo has many events year round. Below is the Calendar of Cultural Events for Surakarta in 2014 (most dates vary each year, due to being aligned to Javanese and Islamic Calendrical difference from the western )
|Sekaten||January 2014 (30 days event)||Alun-Alun Keraton|
|Grebeg Mulud||at the end of Sekaten month-long event|
|Grebeg Sudiro||Lunar New Year||Pasar Gede|
|Ketoprak Festival, 14-15 February 2014||Gedung Kesenian, Balekambang Park Solo|
|Solo Carnival||15 February 2014||Jl. Slamet Riyadi, Solo, commemorating the city's anniversary|
|Gunungan Charity Boat Race||23 February 2014||Bengawan Solo River|
|Solo 24 Hour Dance||27 April 2014||Jalan Slamet Riyadi Solo|
|Mangkunegaran Performing Arts Festival||9-10 May 2014||Pura Mangkunegaran Palace|
|Royal Palace Art Festival||11-12 June 2014||Keraton Kasunanan Surakarta|
|Solo Batik Carnival||28 June 2014||Jalan Slamet Riyadi Solo|
|Solo Batik Fashion event||11-13 July 2014||Surakarta City Hall (Balaikota)|
|Wayang Orang Gabungan Festival||17-20 July 2014||GWO Sriwedari Park Solo|
|Solo Keroncong Festival||12-13 September 2014||Ngarsopuro / Sriwedari Park Solo|
|Solo City Jazz Festival||19-20 September 2014||Ngarsopuro / Sriwedari Park Solo|
|Solo International Performing Arts (SIPA)||26-28 September 2014||Ngarsopuro Solo|
|Solo Culinary Festival||12-14 October 2014||Venue Galabo. Pulabo Solo|
|Kirab Malam 1 Suro||24 October 2014||Around the walls of the Kasunanan Royal Palace, Around the walls of the Pura Mangkunegaran, Jamasan Pusaka|
|Bengawan Solo Gethek Festival||10 November 2014||Bengawan Solo River|
- See a performance of Wayang Kulit (shadow play) or Wayang Orang (drama acted live on stage), both of which have live musical accompaniment by a gamelan (traditional Central Javanese musical ensemble, based on a core of gongs and metallophones). Both Wayang Kulit and Wayang Orang are traditionally based on tales from Hindu epics: The Ramayana and Mahabharata, respectively. Solo is famous for both.
- Mandi lulur A traditional skin-care done by rubbing special spices to the skin to exfoliate it. Very relaxing. Many hotels offer this service. Or ask your hotel reception for a reputable place.
- Sepoor Kluthuk Ride in an old train, with stops at Loji Gandrung and Kampung Batik Kauman, costs about Rp 100,000.
- Masangin (masuk antara dua beringin = passing two ficus trees). This simple and fun game is held at South Alun-alun (Sultan's square). The participant is blindfolded and he/she must walk straight to pass two ancient ficus trees. Even though it sounds like an easy task, most participants usually fail. After that, you can go to the food stalls around the corner, relax a bit and have a sip of warm Wedang Ronde (ginger drink).
- Sunday Morning at Solo Car Free Day (or Solo CFD), every Sunday, the wide main boulevard of Slamet Riyadi in Solo is crowded with thousands of people doing all sort of things. Wake up early at 5-7AM and head to the Slamet Riyadi to do a bit of exercise. After that, you can taste many kind of foods sold by stalls there. The menu includes Liwet Rice, Bubur Ayam (Chicken Porridge), and Soto. Don't forget to check the batik stalls nearby.
- Becak or Andong ride, take a short trip around the town using Becak or Andong cart.
- Old Train ride, ride steam train in the main road. Check its schedule at the Tourist Information Center.
- Shop at Traditional Market, witness local habits by visiting Solo's traditional market such as Pasar Gede and Pasar Klewer.
- Reflexology, achieve soothing experience by having a short reflexology massage.
The currency used in Indonesia is the IDR - Indonesian Rupiah (Rp). There are currency changing offices in Airport, banks, and authorized money exchange counters near the venue. Stores accept credit cards such as Visa and Master Card.
US dollars will be accepted, but are typically used as an investment and for larger purchases, not for buying a bowl of noodles on the street. Many hotels quote rates in dollars, but all accept payment in rupiah. If you pay any bill in Indonesia with a credit card it will be charged to your account in rupiah, regardless of the currency you were quoted. (See also Indonesia#Changing_money)
Most stores have the largest visitors in Sunday (and national holidays) and shopping malls often become VERY crowded on Sunday. So if you plan to go to Indonesian malls and shopping centres, weekdays (Monday to Friday) is the best time to visit. Shopping malls and commercials open at around 10 am, and street shops (and traditional markets) open as early as 6 am, and close at around 8 to 9 pm. There are a couple of twenty-four hours convenience stores in Solo.
Batik, Indonesia's national fabric is synonymous with the culture of Java itself. Batik making in Java is an ancient tradition that has been passed down through generations. Traditional batik making is characterized by the wax-resist dying technique, in which melted wax is applied to the fabric using the Canting a kind of utensil that has a metal cup to hold the melted wax and a tiny spout to drip it. It is held like a stylus and used to cover the predrawn pattern lines to allow it to be dyed afterwards. The process requires painstaking precision as Batik patterns are sometimes extremely complex, this method is called batik tulis, the word tulis literally means to write and refers to the canting tool which resembles a writing tool. The varieties of batik patterns are also rich in meaning and philosophy; such as the Sidomukti pattern, which symbolizes prosperity and happiness and worn during weddings. Some batik patterns used to signify social status and hierarchy such as the Parang pattern which used to be exclusive to the nobility. Nowadays, the traditional method is threatened by conventional mass printed batik, especially cheap imitations spawned from Chinese factories. In 2009, UNESCO, a UN agency dedicated to the world cultures designated the Indonesian Batik as a "Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity", the declaration is of course aimed to help save the traditional method of Batik making. Solo is one of the main centres of production for Batik, with renowned areas such as Kampung Kauman or Laweyan that are home to traditional Batik merchants. Three of Indonesia's biggest batik manufacturers; Batik Danar Hadi, Batik Keris and Semar are also based in Solo.
- Batik. You can buy anything made with batik in Solo. The fabrics range from silk to normal cotton. The ones made by hand (batik tulis) is of course more expensive than the ones made using the 'stamp' (batik cap). Beware though that most of batik will lose some color during first few washes -- washing with similar color is highly recommended.
- Danar Hadi, Jl Dr Rajiman 164. ☎ +62 271 644126.
- Keris, Desa Cemani Selatan Laweyan. ☎ +62 271 721217.
- Semar, Jl Laksda Adisucipto 101. ☎ +62 271 722937
- Kampung Batik Laweyan, Jl. Dr. Rajiman Laweyan.
- Kampung Batik Kauman, Nearby Kraton Kasunanan. The batik products of Kauman village are made from natural silk and weaving silk materials, and premmisima cotton.
- Pasar Klewer, a traditional market for textile, mostly batik. Located off the west gate of Keraton's North Square. As in any other traditional markets in Indonesia, you will have to bargain.
- Pusat Grosir Solo 5-story tall wholesale centre of clothing items located nearby Keraton Solo and Pasar Klewer (Klewer market) where you can find many shops selling batik with competitive price. Great for a one-stop shopping centre.
Mall and shopping centres
- Solo Square, Jl Slamet Riyadi No 451.
- Solo Grand Mall, Jl Slamet Riyadi No. 313
- Solo Paragon Mall, Jl Yosodipuro 133. including Hotel and Apartement
- Hartono Mall, Jl Raya Solo Baru
- Solo Center Point, Jl Slamet Riyadi 373. Computer Market with Condotel by Aston
- Singosaren Plaza, Jl Gatot Subroto
- Luwes Mall, Jl Veteran
- Ratu Luwes, Jl S. Parman
- Sami Luwes, Jl Honggowongso
- Gading Luwes, Jl Veteran
- Batik Semar, Jl Laksda. Adi Sucipto 101 Surakarta
- Batik Semar (Bale Sattwika), Jl Raden Mas Said 148 Surakarta
- Batik Semar (Pasar Klewer), Los Baru no 4-5 Pasar Klewer
- Pusat Grosir Solo (Solo Wholesale Center), Jl Mayor Kusmanto Surakarta
- Beteng Trade Center, it located just next to Pusat Grosir Solo
- Windujenar. A popular antique market in Solo, along with Triwindu, beware of counterfeits but if you look carefully you might find a royal item from the palace.
- Ngarsopuro Saturday Night Market, Jl Slamet Riyadi. Night Market with beautiful lamps. Located at the same place with Windujenar above. (Only open every Saturday night)
- Soga Restaurant & Lounge, ☎ . Jl. Slamet Riyadi 261., located within the House of Danar Hadi complex. This is a proper casual dining restaurant, the cuisine offered is a blend of traditional Javanese as well as some western/dutch colonial cuisine. Dishes are presented elegantly and the atmosphere is grand and cozy, with colonial antiques and batik decorating the interior as well as TVs. Live piano and music every night. A nice alternative to the street food culture that is prevalent in Solo. The food is moderately priced and delicious, Approx. US$5-10/person
- Kentucky Fried Chicken, ☎ . Jl Jend A Yani 234. American style fastfood. Approx. US$4/person.
- McDonald, ☎ . Jl Dr Rajiman 152. American style fastfood.
- Pizza Hut, ☎ . Jl Brigjen Slamet Riyadi 380. American style fastfood. Approx. US$5/person.
- Diamond, ☎ . Jl Brigjen Slamet Riyadi 392.
- Orient, ☎ . Jl Brigjen Slamet Riyadi 397.
- Oishi Bento. Jl Slamet Riyadi 273 Solo Grand Mall Kav 11 Bl B-2 Lt 3. ☎ +62 271 718459.
- Galabo Night Food Court, ☎ . Street of food vendors in Solo, Indonesia. Hundreds of tables under a beach umbrella at night. Closed at rainy night.
Orders are placed at the food vendor and they bring it to you at your table. Sop Buntut Sapi and Rawon Penjara was good.
Located near Beteng Trade Center / Pusat Grosir Solo.
- Kusuma Sari, ☎ . Jl Yos Sudarso 81. Good food and reasonable price. Try the Pink Guava juice.
- Wong Solo, ☎ . Jl Brigjen Slamet Riyadi 299.
- Ayam Tim Goreng Bu Better, ☎ . East Cross railway Jl Raya Palur 229 Palur Kulon.
Soto is a sort-of clear soup made from vegetables, spices, chicken or beef. You can find various kinds of soto in Solo:
- Bangkong, ☎ . Jl Dr Rajiman 536 RT 002/05.
- Gading, ☎ . Jl Brigjen Katamso 75.
- Kendit, ☎ . Jl RM Said 227 RT 001/06.
- Kuali, ☎ . Jl Beteng Bl D/6.
- Prawit, ☎ . Jl Kapt P Tendean 172.
Timlo Solo is a famous soup made from seasoned chicken liver, eggs and fried pastry with meat filling (Sosis Jawa).
- Timlo Solo, ☎ . Jl Jend Urip Sumoharjo 94. Approx US$5/person.
- Timlo Sastro, ☎ . Jl Kapt Mulyadi 28.
- Tirai Bamboe, ☎ . Jl Ronggowarsito62. Go early for dinner. It was full by 7pm when we were there.
Gudeg is also worth a try. Even though people say that gudeg originally comes from Jogja, Gudeg Solo is quite different from the one from Jogja. Gudeg Jogja is dried and sweet, while Gudeg Solo is saltier in flavor with more gravy. Gudeg Margoyudan is a famous example. Its specialty are chicken feet (thus the moniker 'Gudeg Ceker'). The other unique feature is, it opens at 1AM and closes by 5AM. Most of the time, you have to wait on a long line before being served.
- Adem Ayem, ☎ . Jl. Slamet Riyadi 342.
- Gudeg Cakar, Margoyudan Jl. Monginsidi
- Nini Thowong, Widuran
Nasi Liwet is almost similar to "Nasi Uduk" which is very famous in Jakarta or west Java. It is rice, which is cooked with santan (coconut milk). The vendors for traditional nasi liwet easily be found in Keprabon street. The most famous vendor is Bu Lemu, but along the Keprabon you can find many of the vendors add the name Lemu after their own name.
- Serabi Notosuman, is a popular traditional pancake made from coconut milk, flour,sugar and other ingredients (often sprinkled with chocolate as a variation). They taste sweet. You may notice that in certain holiday periods they are often sold out quick, also often taken as a gift (oleh-oleh). Such is the popularity of this dish that one may endure a wait of 2 hr. You can find them in Notosuman street (most Solonese knows Serabi Notosuman) and several their other outlets.
Other than Serabi, Solo offers a rich varities of snack, ranged from dry snack, (onde-onde ceplus, kripik cakar, kripik paru, kerak nasi goreng) to keleman (fresh snack) (solo, wajik, jadah, kue ku, lapis, cara bikang). Sosis Solo has been identified as the specialty snack from Solo, is made of chopped beef combined with spices wrapped in a thin egg pancake. You can find many varieties of traditional fresh snacks once you walk into Pasar Gede.
About Solo's cuisine
In general, the cuisine of Solo is a combination of fried, coconut-milk based, and sweet-savory. Many of the dishes caters to vegan, and especially for Moslems (i.e. halal foods). Solo's culinary life is 24 hours, with some foodstalls starting to open at 2 a.m. and already closed at 5 a.m.
- Solo's beverages mostly sweet and combines the richness of natural tropical fruits with coconut water or coconut milk, and other local ingredients. Because of Islamic dietary laws, most dining place do not offer alcoholic beverages, and only few licensed hotels and restaurants carry them. Other than national and international brand of beers, alcoholic beverage native to Solo is called ciu, which is a local adaptation of Chinese wine.
- Solo's markets abound with many types of tropical fruit.
Tap water is not drinkable in Indonesia. Water or ice served to you in restaurants may have been purified and/or boiled, but do ask. Bottled water, usually known as Aqua after the best-known brand, is cheap and available everywhere, but check that the seal is intact. Most hotels do provide free bottled water. Also beware of ice which may not have been prepared with potable water or kept in hygienic conditions. If you have weak stomach, better not order beverages with ice cubes from not very visibly popular establishments.
Dawet or called 'cendol' in west java/Jakarta tastes good and cools you down during the hot days in Solo. This drink is made with coconut milk and brown-javanese sugar and sort-of gelatine. Thus it is sweet and usually served with ice-cubes. Gempol plered is made from coconut milk with rice balls and a looks like some kind of 'pangsit'. Sometimes it served with rock ice. The taste is mix between sweet and little bit salty.
- Arini, ☎ +62 271 716525, +62 271 739214. Approx US$15/night.
- Kusuma, l. Rajiman 374, ☎ 62 271 712740, +62 271 726153. Approx US$18/night.
- Mulia Keprabon, Jl. Ahmad Dahlan 7, ☎ . Approx US$10/night.
- Istana Griya, Jl. KH. Dahlan No 22, ☎ , e-mail: rudi_istanagriya.tripod.com. 18 room homestay minutes from the public bus station. Standard, deluxe and suite in Solonese architectural style. Very friendly staff.
- Mandala Wisata, Jl. Perintis Kemerdekaan no. 12, ☎ . Near the entrance to Solo city, a few min from the airport. A/C, TV, hot/cold water, and free wifi. Approx US$20/night.
- Omah Gading Guest house, Cluster Gading Regency D2, ☎ . CableTV, kitchen with cook appliances and family rooms. Approx US$45/night for house with 2-3 A/C bedrooms.
- Rumah Turi Eco-Hotel, Srigading II no. 12 Turisari, ☎ . The region's first green boutique hotel steeped in modern minimalist style.
- Sahid Kusuma, Jl. Sugiopranoto 20, ☎ . 4 star
- Sahid Raya, Jl. Gajah Mada 82, ☎ . 4 star. Next to Solo Palace.
- Novotel, Jl Slamet Riyadi 272, ☎ , fax: +62 271/724666, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 4 star. 141 spacious and contemporary rooms. Business centre, meeting rooms and a ballroom. Outdoor swimming pool and fitness centre, massage therapy and a restaurant and bar. Close to shopping centres, traditional markets, buses and trains close by.
- Sunan Hotel Solo (previously the Quality Inn Solo), Jl. Ahmad Yani 40, ☎ , fax: +62 271 738677, e-mail: email@example.com. 4 star with coffee shop, meeting room, music room, fitness centre, and Japanese restaurant. 5 km from the Pasar Klewer, 15 min from Adi Sumarmo International Airport and 6 min from Balapan Train Station by Taxi. Business facilities, conference and bangueting service. 127 rooms including 1 president suite, 2 suite, 8 junior suites, 14 executive business rooms and 102 deluxe rooms.
- Riyadi Palace, Jl Gajah Mada 23, ☎ +62 271 713300, +62 271 717181. 3 star.
- Ibis, Jl. Slamet Riyadi (Next to Novotel), ☎ , fax: +62 271 724666. 3 star.
- De Solo Boutique Hotel, Jl. Dr. Sutomo 8-10, ☎ . 19 chic rooms and suites. Adisumarmo International Airport (20 min), Balapan Railway Station and Tertonadi Bus Station (15 minutes). From USD$50.
- Lor-in Solo, Jl. Adisucipto 47, ☎ , fax: +62 271 724400, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A 5-star hotel located close to the airport. Offers several spa programs US$90-1,000.
- Baron Indah Hotel, Jl. Dr. Radjiman no. 392 Laweyan (Behind Solo Grand mall), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org. 27 standard and 10 deluxe room, free airport transfer, in-house spa, free wi-fi internet connection at lobby and restaurant, business centre, meeting room, in-house and outside laundry. Rp 462.000 nett/room/night for std, Rp 558.000 nett/room/night for deluxe.
- Yogyakarta (old spelling: Jogjakarta) is a more tourist city located close to Solo. The easiest is by car, or charter a taxi (approx. 90 - 120 min)depend of traffic. Taking the train can also be an option, Prambanan Express (Prameks) leaves frequently during the day (usually catering for the commuter workers) from Solo Balapan and Purwosari Station. Ticket costs Rp 10,000 (US$1) one way. Train ride is about one hour and the last stop will be Tugu Station in Yogyakarta right in the northwestern side of Malioboro, and Maguwo station close to Adisucipto airport.
- Borobudur Temple Compounds is a series of three Buddhist temples, most famous of them is Borobudur Temple, which is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist monument comprise six square platforms topped by three circular platforms, and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. A main dome, located at the center of the top platform, is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside perforated stupa. A particularly scenic route would be to travel through the Selo and Ketep Pass in Boyolali, located between Mount Merapi and Merbabu with breathtaking views of both mountains and directly to Magelang, without going through Yogya. The whole journey should take around 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours with a rented or private car.
- Prambanan temple complex is the largest Hindu temple complex in Indonesia. The three largest temple is dedicated to Shiva in the centre, Brahma on the left, and Vishnu on the right. On the front of each temples are the temples of vahanas (vehicle of gods). There is originally hundreds of prevara temples. The temple is located 50km away. It is easy to stop off at the temples on the way to Yogya and service to Prambanan just only Rp 5,000 if using local bus to Yogyakarta from Terminal Tirtonadi.
- Sukuh temple is a Hindu temple located at the foot of Mount Lawu. Its altitude causes the mist (cloud) to cover it at certain times of the day.
- Ceto (or Cetho) temple. Sukuh and Cetho temples are Hindu temples located at the foot of Mount Lawu. Their altitude causes the mist (cloud) to cover them at certain times of the day.
- Sangiran Early Man Site Museum is a newly (December 15, 2011) renovated museum, 16 kilometers north of Solo. The museum is very clean, luxurious, modern, air-conditioned, and professionally built. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an archeological treasure trove of fossils and remnants from the prehistoric era. The most important discovery however was the skeleton of the Java Man (Pithecanthropus erectus) an important predecessor of the modern human. The site contains a museum housing the archeological finds as well as an archaeological park.
- Tawangmangu, a hill station located on the slopes of Mount Lawu, a dormant volcano which straddles the border between Central Java and East Java. It is an hour drive from Solo, and is a popular weekend getaway for the Solonese. Nearby are the ruins of the Sukuh Temple, a Hindu temple built at the end of the period of Hinduism in Java. The temple is famous for its unique shape, which resembles Mayan pyramids and erotic iconographies. Tawangmangu is also famous for its natural scenery, with waterfalls (Grojogan Sewu and Jumog Waterfall) and breathtaking views. For those who are not faint-hearted, it is also possible to climb to the top of Mount Lawu (3,265 m) from Tawangmangu, which is a 7 hours hike to the peak.
- Mount Merapi, an active volcano looming over the city.
The international country code for Indonesia is 62. The local area code for Solo is 271. There are three main telecommunication providers in Indonesia: Telkom Indonesia, Indosat and Excelcomindo. Coin operated public phones are limited in Solo. However there are many official telephone kiosks called Wartel.
To make an IDD call from Indonesia, dial the access code 001 (for Indosat) and 007 (for Telkom), followed by the country code, area code and party's number.
also available cheaper IDD call via VoIP Technologies, IDD Prefix is 01016 (for Indosat user) and 01017 (for Wartel, Telkom, and Telkomsel user), and 01000 (for XL -excelcom- user)
Mobile Phones are carried by almost everyone in Indonesia. Prepaid SIM cards are widely available from many telecommunication providers, such as, Telkomsel, XL, Indosat, 3, and Axis, just bring your own GSM 900 or GSM 1800 phone. The pre-paid SIM card costs around Rp 10,000 up to Rp 30.000. A local phone call costs between Rp 500-Rp 2,000/minute. Local text message (SMS) costs about Rp 200-350, while international SMS cost about Rp 300-500.
Also available for CDMA users, Telkom Flexi, StarOne, Esia, And Mobile-8 which are cheaper, but you must have a RUIM CDMA phone.
There are many internet cafes in Solo which offer speedy access to the internet. Several hotels provide Wi-Fi on the lobby. Ask the front desk about internet access. The Slamet Riyadi street, offers a free wireless internet service for any wifi compatible device.
The 24 hour Indomart and Alfamart sometime offers free wireless access as well as wall sockets, but can be a little noisy.
Tourism information centre (TIC) in Solo:
- Museum Radya Pustaka complex. Ask your taxi driver to drive you to Radya Pustaka Museum if he doesn't know where the TIC located.
- Ambulance ☎ 118.
- Police ☎ 110.
- Solo Police HQ. Jl. Adisucipto 2, Manahan. ☎ +62 271 712600.
- Surakarta Police station. Jalan Slamet Riyadi 376. ☎ +62 271 740683, +62 271 713003.
Hospitals with 24 hr emergency room (Ruang Darurat)
- RSUD Moewardi. Jl. Kol. Sutarto 132. Jebres. ☎ +62 271 634634.
- RS Dr. Oen I. Jl. Brig Katamso No 55. ☎ +62 271 643139, (Fax +62 271 642026).
- RS Dr. Oen II. Komplek Perum Solo Baru. ☎ +62 271 620220, (Fax +62 271 622555).
- RS Kasih Ibu. Jl. Slamet Riyadi no, 354. ☎ +62 271 714422, (Fax +62 271 717722).
- RS Panti Waluyo. Jl A. Yani No. 1. ☎ +62 271 712077.
- RS Brayat Minulyo, Jl Dr Setiabudi 106. ☎ +62 271 716646, (Fax +62 271 727309).
Services for handicapped people
Solo has a long history of supporting handicapped people, and was designated as the host of ASEAN Paralympic Games 2011. It has handicap-friendly bus stops and walkways, something rare in Indonesia, and is home to the Dr. Soeharso Hospital, a centre for Training on Rehabilitation for Physically Handicapped Persons, which shares information with other developing countries.
Smoking in government buildings is banned in Solo.