Solo, an enchanting old city in Central Java, Indonesia

Solo Travel Blog

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Again, it is just what i can remember from my previous visit to Solo end of April (28-29) 2007. Didnt really have much time either, so the priority was to visit some interesting places within walking or becak distance only, from where I stayed in Keprabon  -- where most backpackers usually stay while they're in Solo. Plenty of cheap, basic hotels/hostels/losmen/guesthouse are available there, should you someday go to Solo.

Main purpose was to attend Gambyong Dance Festival, where Gambyong dance is performed en masse with hundred of students as dancers, the event being a part of Solo Dance Festival whereby several dances performances (of different genres, ranging from traditional to comtemporary) were held in different venues.

Solo is a small city, full of old buildings from the era of Dutch colonialism. And it is one of two big cultural cities in Java, alongside of Jogjakarta. It's so small, quite, and pleasant. Some places of interests within the city ( I did manage to visit some of them during my so-short visit):

+ Keraton Kasunanan Solo (Solo Royal Palace) dating from around 17-18 century, with its predominantly bluish color, as opposed to greenish color used by Keraton Jogjakarta. Check if there's dance or music performance being held. Guides are available.

+ Puri Mangkunegaran, also from 17-18 century. An example of mix European & Javanese architectural building.
There's a museum inside, showcasing the vintage jewels used by the Royals back in the heydays. Guides are available.

+ Pasar Triwindu, an antique market, (it's been undergoing renovation at the time I'm writing this), so near to Puri Mangkunegaran. Just take a walk. Bargaining is a must.

+ Pasar Klewer (Klewer Market) near Keraton Kasunanan, the place where you can shop like local, with Batiks being the major item (available in every form: sarongs, clothing, bed cover, fabric, interior materials for your home, etc etc all at bargain prices. Master your bargaining skills!)

+ Pasar Gede, the central market built during the dutch colonialisme era. Still function as the major market in Solo, and the building still retain its original architecture.

+ Taking a becak to go sightseeing in the city in the morning -- breakfast would be eating Timlo (a Solo specialty) in Pasar Gede.

+ Kampung Batik Laweyan, where the centuries-old Batik makers are still making high quality fine batiks (Batik Tulis) from generation to generation. You can visit some of the Batiks workshop & showrooms here. This is also an ideal spot to explore by walking as you need to go into narrow alleys with beautiful old houses lined on either side. You can learn how to make batik too here :-)

+ Museum Batik Danar Hadi, a Batik museum built by Danar Hadi, one of the finest Batik purveyors in Indonesia, showcasing the high quality & beautiful, and some rare/vintage batik tulis.

Food??? So plenty! Solo is famous for its culinary tradition, and this is where many delicious Javanese cooking can be enjoyed without worrying about price tag. Try Nasi Liwet Keprabon (sold only in the evening till late), Sate Buntel, Tengkleng (both good for lunch as their portion is usually big enough) or Gudeg Ceker which opens at 02.
00 AM. Delicious. (note: Now there's a special Night Food Market located in the main street Jl Slamet Riyadi, where lots of traditional food hawkers/stalls are gathered, so people dont have to go far to enjoy these fabulous cookings)

Accomodation? Yes, from 5 star to guesthouse, or Losmen, thats what we call it.

Best transportation for sightseeing in the city? definitely a becak :-D How to get there? Solo is so easily accessible, most people come by train from Jakarta or by plane.

more photos, check out
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photo by: yuness