Solo, located on 100 km south of Semarang and 60 km east of Yogyakarta, is also well known as Surakarta. Solo, together with Yogyakarta, is the heirs of the Mataram Kingdom that was divided in 1755. However, Solo is not the capital of a province. The tourist in Solo is less than in Yogyakarta. Solo is the home place of two royal kingdoms that are the Kasunanan Kingdom and Mangkunegaran Principality. Solo can be reached by several types of transportation such as planes in Adi Sumarmo International Airport, taxi from Jogjakarta that is about 60 km, train, and car.
There are some tourism destinations, where to do in Solo, that can be visited by both local tourists and foreigner tourists. Solo is a famous city of Javanese heritage and cultural. You can find a lot of historical places, art museums, a place to learn about batik, shopping center, and others. In addition, Solo is also famous as the city that provides delicious foods. In Solo, foods are influenced by the Javanese and Dutch-style since the Dutch have colonialized Indonesia for about 350 years.
Well, overall Solo is a recommended tourism destination that should be visited by the tourist. Let’s explore the best things to do in Solo.
1. Tour in Kasunanan Surakarta Palace
If you are looking for a place to learn about the history of Solo, you can go to Kasunanan Surakarta Palace. Locals call the palace as the Kraton in Javanese. The official name of the royal palace of Surakarta is Kraton Surakarta Hadiningrat. The layout of the Kasunanan Surakarta palace is similar to the Kraton Yogyakarta. In here, you can see the old Javanese architectural that has a lot of meanings and spiritual meaning. For example, the number 7 is a sacred number for Javanese people so that there is seven gated and courtyard in the palace. You can also see the museum and art center in the complex of Kasunanan Surakarta.
2. Tour in Mangkunegaran Palace
Another place that can be visited for the historical touring is Mangkunegaran Palace. This palace was built in 1757 by Raden Mas Said as the Mangkunegara 1. Raden Mas Said is the distant relative of Pakubowono II. He did the rebellion since he didn’t agree with Pakubowono II to cooperate with the Dutch. Then, he led the local people to fight against the Dutch and Surakarta Suranate. After the Salatiga treaty, the Raden Mas Said was the ruler of Mangkunegaran. That’s the reason why Solo has two kingdom. The beauty of Mangkunegaran palace is its Pendopo or Main Hall. The Pendopo of Mangkunegaran Palace is assigned as one of the largest Pendopo in Indonesia.
3. Visit the Balekambang Park
For the people who want to spend their time with their family in a park, they can go to visit the Balekambang Park that is located in Solo city. The Balekambang Park is an urban forest with an area of about 9.2 hectares. In this park, you can see several types of animals such as deer, doves, turkeys, eagle, monkey, cassowary, and others. Almost similar to the zoo, this park also provides reptiles houses such as crocodiles, iguana, and turtle. To enter the reptile park, you need to pay the commission fee about 5 thousand per person. However, the best part is free to enter. In here, you may need to remember for not feeding the animal freely since the wrong diet can harm the animals. It’s a nice place to spend your time with family especially children. In addition, some people use this park as a place for taking their pre-wedding pictures due to its beauty.
4. Watch Wayang Puppet Show in Sriwedari Park
If you want to enjoy your time watching Wayang puppet show, you can go to the Sriwedari Park. Wayang is the traditional puppet from Java. It can also be called as the traditional theatrical dance. The story of Wayang is related to the Hindu-Budhha era in Indonesia such as Mahabharata, Ramayana, and other legends. There are several categories of Wayang such as Wayang Wong (human puppet), Wayang Gedog (masks puppet), Wayang Kulit (shadow puppet) and Wayang Golek. In Sriwedhari Park, you can watch the Wayang Wong theatre. In this show, the real person will perform theatrical acts and dances. This park is also children friendly since there is a children’s playground. If you are craving foods, you can go to some food courts that provide delicious foods. It’s a perfect place to enjoy holiday time by learning Javanese culture.
5. Tour in Museum Danar Hadi
Solo is widely known as the city of Batik that is a cultural heritage of the traditional Indonesia textile. If you want to learn more about the history of Batik, you can go to the Batik Museum Danar Hadi or House of Danar Hadi. In this place, you can also learn about how to make batik. You may also see the antique collections from various periods and locations. Well, Batik of every region will have a different pattern. The handcrafted Batik is more unique and prestigious than the printing Batik due to the meaning of the pattern and the process of the Batik making. The house of Danar Hadi provides 10000 pieces of Batik from the different regions. You will see the different patterns of Batik in every region.
6. Tour in Sangiran Museum
Do you ever imagine to see the fossil from the archeological heritage of the ancient human? Well, you can see those fossils by visiting the Sangiran Museum in Solo. The museum has a lot of the fossils collection of the ancient human such as pithecanthropus erectus and meganthropus paleojavanicus. These fossils are a proof of the human in the more than one million years ago. You can also see the fossils of various animals such as stegodonts, crocodiles, and others. You can also see the primitive tools that have been used for animal hunting in the prehistoric area. Sangiran museum consists of three main halls. The first hall is a place to see the diorama about the pre-historic men and animals that lived in the Sangiran site. Meanwhile, the second hall tells about the history site and the fossils that have been discovered. The third hall provides the impressive models of Sangiran and the replica of Sangiran sites in the pre-historic area.
7. Enjoy the Culinary Trip in Solo
As mentioned previously that Solo is a famous city with an interesting culinary. There is a lot of delicious Indonesian foods that can be eaten by the tourist with a cheap price such as nasi liwet, gudeg, pecel, srabi, timlo and others. The most recommended food that should be tried is nasi liwet. It is a food that is made from the rice dish that has been cooked by steamed banana leaf. The steamed rice dish is combined with chicken broth, boiled egg, and coconut milk. If you want to try a dessert, you can eat Serabi Solo that is made from rice flour and coconut milk. You may also try the Javanese salad that is called Selat Solo.
8. Go for Shopping at the Traditional Market
If you want to go shopping for batik and clothes, you can go to the Klewer Market that has been rebuilt in 2014. Meanwhile, if you want to buy the antique stuff such as ceramics, statues, and jewelry, you can go to the Triwindu Market. Whereas, the night market at Ngarsopuro is also ready to serve you with the delicious foods and various stuff from the stalls.
9. Visit the Loji Gandrung
You can visit the trademark of the Solo that is Loji Gandrung. It’s an ancient house of the Dutch colonels and becomes the house of the Mayor Surakarta now. The tourist can take a picture in front of the house.
10. Tour in National Press Monument
If you want to learn about the press in Indonesia, you can visit the National Press Monument, establish in 1978. Here, you can see the magazine, newspaper, and other artifacts from the press history in Indonesia.
11. Visit the Kemuning Tea
Kemuning Tea Plantation is probably one of the best things to see in Solo. It’s located at about 800 – 1500 m above the sea level. It provides the lush tea plantations with a relaxing atmosphere. The view of the tea plantation is worthy to be taken as a picture.
12. Visit the Waterfall in Solo
There are several waterfalls that can be visited such as Grojogan Sewu, Segoro Gunung, Jumog, and more. You can also do hiking and climbing in the waterfall.
13. Visit the Workshop of Culture Heritage
You can also try to join the workshop such as the Javanese dagger, leather puppet, batik, and mask. The workshop is arranged by the Royal Surakarta Heritage. It will impress you that the process is interesting.
14. Visit Sukuh and Cetho Temple
You can visit the Sukuh and Cetho temple as the Hinduist temple. The temple is located at the 1000 m above sea level.
15. Visit Fort Vastenburg
You can visit the landmark of Surakarta that is Fort Vastenburg. It is an ancient building of the Dutch. However, some parts of the fort have been demolished.
Well, that’s all about the best places to visit in Solo.