The city of Solo, formally addressed as Surakarta, is an off-shoot of the Mataram Sultanate and was founded almost three hundred years ago. It is small in scale but big in culture and heritage, ideal for a relaxing getaway.
Read on to find out why Solo should be on your travel itinerary!
1. Aristocratic history
Solo is rich in aristocratic history, which travellers can learn at Kraton Kasunanan Surakarta (Surakarta Hadiningrat Palace), built in 1745 and exhibits artefacts and relics belonging to the Surakarta royal family like golden horse-drawn carriage, palanquins, weaponry, sculptures and artworks. Another palace worth visiting is Mangkunegaran Palace.
2. Nostalgic Jaladara heritage train ride
Solo transports travellers back in time when they take the nostalgic Jaladara heritage train ride on Dutch 1920s carriages powered by a German steam locomotive made in 1896 from Purwosari station to Solokota and back, cutting right through the middle of Solo at the speed of 20 kilometres an hour. This ride comes highly recommended for all travellers, especially groups of up to 30 people. Contact the Surakarta City Government Communications Department at +62 85 4200 5156 for more info.
3. Learn the history of sugar production
Solo teaches you about history of sugar production and cultivation process, including its contribution of to the Indonesian economy at De Tjolomadoe, formerly a sugarcane mill founded in 1861, located in Karanganyar, 20 minutes’ drive from Solo city centre, now a well curated museum and venue for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) purposes.
4. The street foods
Solo’s street food is full of delicious offerings that foodies love like gudeg Solo (sweet stew made from young unripe jackfruit mixed with palm sugar, coconut milk, herbs and spices) eaten with rice alongside krecek (cattle skin spicy stew dish) and telur pindang (eggs boiled in spices, salt and soy sauce); selat segar Solo (braised beef tenderloin served in sweet watery sauce accompanied by vegetables); tengkleng (aromatic mutton bones and ribs simmered with herbs and spices) and mutton satay; ronde (glutinous rice balls with crushed peanuts in warm ginger soup); dawet telasih (sweet cold dessert containing droplets of green rice flour jelly, coconut milk and palm sugar syrup with the addition of basil); lenjongan (sweet chewy local snack drizzled with palm sugar); and serabi (a sweet and soft delicacy made of flour and sugar topped with different kinds of toppings).
5. Traditional performances
Solo comes alive with live traditional performances like keroncong (folk music performed by an ensemble comprising ukulele, cello, guitar, bass, violin and flute), wayang (traditional Javanese play composed of dancing, vocals and characters from Mahabharata and Ramayana epics) and ketoprak (stage performance involving drama, music and literature based on history or legend) during weekends and holidays, making it a haven for art and entertainment lovers.
6. Heritage products and crafts
Solo is popular among shoppers seeking products and crafts that are rich in heritage, especially batik. Among the top shopping places are Pusat Grosir Solo (Solo Wholesale Centre), Klewer Market, and Triwindu Antique Market.
7. Village for batik
Solo is where an internationally renowned village for batik called Laweyan is located, which has many palatial homes inhabited by batik merchants and traders for generations. One example is Ndalem Gondosuli, an elegantly conserved two-storey Art Deco building built in 1921 that now serves as a place to conserve and promote Laweyan batik.
8. Largest batik museum
Solo is home to the largest batik museum in South East Asia, Danar Hadi Batik Museum, located inside the House of Danar Hadi (http://houseofdanarhadi.co.id/index.php), where travellers can witness over 1,000 resplendent batik pieces procured from Indonesia and around the world.
9. Keris Museum
Solo is also home to the Keris Museum, where you can observe the interesting process of how a keris is made and what makes it different than the other hand-wielding weapons. You will learn that not all keris are alike and there are different types and features for different needs, for instance the keris made for women is usually shorter than those made for men.
Refer to https://www.gayatravel.com.my/going-solo-surakarta/ for more information regarding Solo.
Gaya Travel Magazine expresses our heartfelt gratitude to the Surakarta City Government for making the writer’s trip to Surakarta a reality.