For many, Solo, or Surakarta is like the calmer and more laidback version of Yogyakarta. In the past, Solo has served as Central Java’s cradle of culture and mythology and still serves as a home for members of the ruling dynasty of central Java. Two royal palaces, the Keraton Surakarta and the Mangkunegaran Palace, remain here from this final era of regal dynasties in Indonesia. Although of course, Solo is not just about its history. We list you reasons why you should pay this city a visit every once in a while:
1. Keraton Surakarta
Unlike their counterpart in Yogyakarta, who use the title of sultan, the rulers of Surakarta use the title of sunan and its palace smaller than the Yogyakarta palace. It is still home to the Surakarta royal family. A more European-style decor was added by wealthy rulers in the late 19th century and early 20th century. The entrance to the Kraton Surakarta opens on to the Alun Alun, where its main audience hall (Pagelaran) is located.
Address: Jalan Sasonomulyo, Solo, Indonesia, ID
Tel: +62 0271 656 432
2. Kampung Batik Laweyan & Kauman
Solo, is the home of one of the most popular and beloved type of batik, Batik Solo. Two of the most popular kampung batik or batik village in Solo, where you can find original batik houses that sells original and mainstream batik designs in all possible price range, design, and types. Batik Kauman is the most pleasant to explore by foot, with its narrow roads and laid-back charm. In the old days, Kauman is where the abdi dalem (loyal servants of the royal family) that were specially appointed to make batik, lived. Whereas laweyan, is an expansive neighborhood that was assigned by the government as a batik destination for the city, also has countless batik houses though best explored by becak, bicycle, or car.
3. Alila Solo
Whatever is your reason for your Solo stopover, make sure you base your stay in Alila Solo, which height alone, a towering 27 floor, makes it visible just about from any corner of the city. This five star hotel propel’s the city’s status to a completely different level of cultural destination. It offers a 360-degree views of Central Java’s dramatic landscape of volcanoes. It is also within easy reach from Solo’s main destinations, has a five star Spa and dining outlets, for that time when you want a little bit of wine and dine during your stay.
Jl. Slamet Riyadi No.562, Jajar, Laweyan, Kota Surakarta, Jawa Tengah 57144
Phone: (0271) 6770888
4. Danar Hadi Batik Museum
This museum keeps more than 10,000 batik pieces obtained from various periods and cultural influences from all over the world. One of the most important collection, however, is a collection of batik belanda (Dutch Batik) that was made by the Dutch people during their occupation in the colonial time. Amazingly, all of the batiks are a private collection of H. Santosa Doella, owner of Batik Danar Hadi, one of the oldest and most established batik brand in the country. You can also visit their batik factory to see how large scale batik is produced.
5. Pura Mangkunegaran
Architecturally, this palace was built to resemble the Keraton or Javanese palace, although a much smaller one. The palace was built in 1757 by Raden Mas Said, when he submitted his army to Pakubuwono III in February, and swore allegiance to the rulers of Surakarta, Yogyakarta, and the Dutch East Indies Company. What’s interesting about this palace is that almost the entire parts of the palace was built using whole teak wood. This palace also has quite the collection of traditional mask from all over Indonesian and even China. It is best to explore the palace with a tour guide.
Address: Ronggowarsito, Keprabon, Solo
Hours:10AM–3PM (closed on Saturdays)