Well hi!!! Have you heard about Solo before? The same as Yogyakarta, Solo used to be a Sultanate “Kingdom” before Indonesia got its freedom in 1945. But today, Solo has a different government system compare to Yogyakarta which is still a semi monarch region “the one and only in Indonesia”. Yap, not like its old brother Yogyakarta whose king “Sultan” is still automatically elected as a governor, Solo which is well known as Surakarta is governed by the governor which is elected democratically every four years by the people of Solo, so the governor is not from the Royal Family. Just like Bali, the Royal Families in Solo are still respected and they have many roles in carrying customs, cultures, and religions that are still thick in Solo. Located in Central Java, Solo is a city that is well known as a business center but waits, Solo also has a lot of amazing tourist attractions and places to visit just like Its old brother Yogyakarta, and here are the 11 amazing places that you should visit in Solo:
The first impression that I got when I went to this place during the Solo Fam Trip that is held by The Tourism Office of Surakarta is, this place has nothing special, and I was like “Nah, there is nothing but old building in the middle of the city”. But wait until you get into this museum.
Even until now, Lokanata has many collections of traditional music from all over Indoenesia and old pop songs, also including keroncong songs. It was built in 1965 as the first and only state-owned music record company, and they are still running the recording production even until now, if you have band or have talent in singing, why don’t you try to record your song in here, who knows it’ll be a turning point for you in becoming a Big Star!!!
Address: Jl. Ahmad Yani, No. 379, Kota Surakarta, Jawa Tengah;
Phone Number: (0271) 714230
Open Daily: Monday – Friday (08.00 – 16.00)
A place where you can taste all of the traditional food that the city has and one of the famous warung “small restaurant” in Solo. The city is not only owns many amazing tourist attractions but also blessed with a lot of traditional foods and beverages, as you arrive in Solo, you will be spoiled by the diversity of foods spread in every corners of the city with special and exotic flavors that cannot be found in other cities. I recommend you to try the traditional foods at Warung Mbak Lies,they have bunch of traditional menus and the price is so cheap. How about the taste? Since it is one of the favorite small restaurant for the tourists, the taste won’t disappoint you.
One of my favorite food in Solo is Selat Segar Solo, it is adapted from the western salad, of course with the local taste. It contains slice of meats, bailed beans, potatoes, carrots, boiled egg and mayonnaise which are served in light soya sauce. This food has two flavors which are sweet and slightly salty, you can chose which flavor that you like.
Address: Jl. Veteran Gg. 2, No. 42,Serengan, Kota Surakarta – Jawa Tengah;
Open: Everyday (08.00 – 18.00)
Phone Number: (0271) 653332
The next day in solo, we went to Pasar Gede to try some traditional foods and beverages. Pasar Gede is a huge traditional market built during the Dutch colonial period, so that’s why the building has strong European architecture. In Bahasa, Pasar means Market and Gede means Huge, so it’s a huge market located in the middle of the city. In this market you will find a lot of traditional food sellers who sell various kinds of foods, not only food, they also sell vegetables and fruits. Wew, a right place for you food lovers. I tried one, they called it Dawed Ayu. Dawed Ayu is a kind of traditional beverage, it is different than common dawed sold anywhere. It contains of rice flour or onggok, black glutinous rice and selasih. Dawed Ayu is served with light coconut milk and palm sugar in a small bowl. This kind of beverage is President Jokowi’s favorite drink when he served as the Major of Solo City, even until now. After visiting the market, we rented a Becak to explore more amazing places around the city.
Hey dude, could you tell me what Becak is?
Well, Becak is traditional transportation, it has three wheels, two at the cart in the front and one at the back, like a combination from by bicycle and a wagon. Well, it’s actually a pedicab. If you visit the market don’t forget to rent a becak, and the pedicab driver will take you around the city. It will be an amazing experience for you.
After a short visit to Pasar Gede, we went to Bunker Balai Kota Surakarta. There are no many things that can be seen in here, except the old bunker itself. The old bunker was found in the Surakarta city hall complex in 2012. It was predicted built during the colonial era.
So, who was the builder then?
Hmm surely he’s a Dutch because they were here in Indonesia for about 300 hundred years, It’s not a surprise if they built many stuff like fortress and bunker only for themselves.
Where did they get the money to build those many things?
Hmm, they got it from the Indonesian, especially from the farmers who worked for them as slaves. Yeah, they got money from exporting Indonesian Spices to Europe and surrounding countries. What a cheeky boy. Now, this old building can be visited for free after the restoration in 2017. Come visit the bunker, and get your instagramable photos in here.
My next destination after visited the small old bunker was Puro Mangkunegaraan or Mangkunegaraan Palace. It’s a prince’s residence built in 1757, the name of the prince is Gusti Pangeran Adipati Arya Mangkunegara. His ancestors were also served as a general for the Sultanate of Solo, they had great and professional cavalry force trained by Napoleon Bonaparte himself, well, that’s what was told by the guide during my visit in this palace.
Pura Mangkunegaraan has a unique architecture in classical Javanese and European style, with a big joglo which its pillars made from teak woods. The palace also has many old collections of historical stuff like old gambelan “traditional music instrument”, traditional masks,golek puppet, ancient books from Majapahit and Mataram kingdom, they also have a traditional penis protector that only could be used by the king or royal families during his task in the other region outside the kingdom. The penis protector was used to prevent the king did not look for other women so that he could focus on his duties. Wew, they got amazing technology huh, modern women, you should find this kind of stuff for your husband, lol.
Open for the public:
Monday – Saturday: 9 am – 2 pm
Sunday: 9am – 1pm
Phone: (0271) 644946
Do you know batik? Yeah it is Indonesia’s traditional fabric, made in a very traditional way, if batik is sewn into clothing then it will also become awesome clothing that is usually worn during the formal event like a wedding or any other formal meetings. This museum is located in Jl. Slamet Riadi 261, they have a lot of kinds of batik from all over Indonesia. Not just from Indonesia, they also have a collection of batik from Holland and China, of course, the motifs are not like the common motifs of batik that are made by Indonesian. If you want to buy original batik clothes, this is the right place for you to grab yours. Well, what’s amazing is, you can also learn how to make batik in a traditional way. I didn’t try that because it’s so hard and requires concentration to make it. I hate hard and complicated stuff, so that’s why, but I do really love wearing batik for sure.
I was so lucky because I have the opportunity to watch Karnaval Budaya JKPI or Cultural Carnival of Indonesian Heritage City Network in Solo. Yap this carnival usually will be held every year in the Regencies & Cities member of the Indonesian Heritage City Network. So that’s why I said I was so lucky because next year Solo will not have this carnival again, the carnival will be held in the other area.
Thousands of people watched the carnival along Slamet Riyadi street, they looked so happy and enthusiastic. Why? Because there were a lot of participants from 50 IHCN member regions, they walked with various traditional costumes, as well as creative design costumes that had their own characteristic, besides that, this carnival was also enlivened by many dance performances from the regions that were members of IHCN.
The purpose of this carnival is to spread enthusiasm to the people so that they want to protect their heritage, in this case, the heritages are not only historical objects like weapons and old buildings, but also a regional cultures that must be preserved like Traditional Dances and the traditional method of life as a characteristic of the Indonesian nation that is rich in cultures. If you come to Solo, don’t be afraid because you can’t watch this carnival, yap they have more than one carnivals that will be held every year with different purposes and concepts, you just need to make sure the schedule of the carnivals, so you won’t miss them, and these are the most famous events in solo that you don’t wanna miss: Solo Menari Carnival, Grebeg Sudiro,Solo Culinary Indoesia Festival,Solo Batik Karnival,Solo Keroncong Vestival,Solo City Jazz, and International Mask Festival.
Your trip is not going to be complete before watching this traditional show. Wayang Orang Sriwedari or Sriwdari Human Puppet is one of the hundreds of cultures that is still preserved in Indonesia, especially in Solo. Wayang Orang is different from Wayang Kulit “A common traditional puppet show in Indonesia”. Wayang Kulit will be played with puppets that are made from cow leather, but Wayang Orang will be played by the real human or artists whose costumes will be almost similar to the costumes that the puppet usually has. That’s the major difference.
Wayang Orang usually will tell stories about the famous Hindu Myths, Ramayana and Mahabarata which are combined with elements of Javanese Culture. You only have to pay about Rp.10.000 to watch the show, the theater is already equipped with air conditioners and comfortable chairs, what are you waiting for? If you want to watch the show, make sure you don’t come here on Sunday, because there will be no show on Sunday, but on the other days, just stop by so you can enjoy this traditional experience.
On the next day, we went to Musium Keris Nusantara or Keris Nusantara Museum to see the most famous Indonesia Traditional Weapon called Keris. This museum was officially opened by The President of The Republic of Indonesia, Mr. President Jokowidodo on August 9, 2017. In this museum, they have more than 400 keris and some traditional weapons from several places in Indonesia. There was also signage near the front desk that explains about weapons which were used by the crusades army in the past time during the dark age in Europe or middle age in the middle east and weapons that were used by the Asian kingdoms like China and Mongol Empire.
I thought there would not be a guide to guide us, but I was wrong because actually every visitors who come here will have a guide. Wew what a good service!!! The guide was so professional like he knew everything about Keris, we were taught how to use and hold Keris correctly, one fun fact that I learned from him was, actually Keris was not often used to kill people, because usually Keris was used only to finish opponents at the end of the war or to protect the holder if he got threatened by the enemy. One last amazing fact, the people in the past time believed that if Keris was used to kill people and it was already covered with blood then Keris will be cursed and no longer blessed with good power from their ancestors.
You won’t see such a beautiful tea house like this in Bali, we don’t even have tea gardens over there, but if you go to Solo, you will find a lot of tea gardens lined up together upon the side of the hill. Ndoro Dongker Tea House is located in Jenawi,Karanganya, just one a half hours drive from Solo. Karanganyar is located in the highland so that’s why if you come to this region you will feel a different atmosphere, it is way greener and the air is so fresh. This tea house has become a favorite place for tourists and local people to hang around, usually during holidays this region will be crowded, because people from cities nearby will come here to relax and escape from the hustle-bustle. At Ndoro Dongker you can try the famous White and Black Tea, you can also go to the tea gardens and take some good shots right over there to feed your Instagram,uwehehe. I recommend you not to come to this place during the holiday, It will be better if you come here during the weekdays. You know the reason why.
After having lunch and tried the white and black tea, we continued our journey to Candi Cetho or Cetho Temple. The location of this temple is not so far from the tea house, along the way you can also enjoy the beauty of the tea gardens. It took about 30 minutes to get me here, and when we arrived, the view from the bottom of the temple surprised me, yap the atmosphere just like in Bali, my home, because the structure and shape of the temple are just like the temples in Bali, but we have more detailed carving stuff for the buildings.
Cetho Temple was built at the end of the 15th century, it was the period of the end of the Majapahit Kingdom’s glory. Just for your information, the kingdom was the biggest Hindu Kingdom in South East Asia and It was ended by the internal conflicts between the successors of the Empire and also the influences of Islam that were brought by the traders from the Middle East and the Invasion of Demak Sultanate. Since the temple is still used for praying, we should wear Sarung to come in, just like any other sacred places in Bali. We are not allowed to shoot video from camera or drone if we don’t have permission from the local authorities. How do we get permission then? Well, the guide told me that we need to send a letter to the local tourism office a week before we go to the temple, and after that, they will call you and give you the permission letter.
During the trip, I Stayed at Swiss-Bellinn Saripetojo,Solo. My recent stay was superb!!! I had such a good time right there, even though my days were a bit busy because we got to visit a lot of tourist attractions at once in four days. But thanks to Tourism Office of Surakarta and Swiss-Belinn Saripetojo for providing a comfortable Deluxe Twin Room for me and other travel bloggers who joined up with the trip. I experienced a good service from the staff, warm greeting every morning, tasty food for breakfast and dinner, room amenities that exceeded my expectation especially for the Wi-fi internet access which had a good speed for browsing, really helpful for me to get my tasks done in creating content for my travel blog during the trip. Are you looking for a good 3 Stars hotel in Solo? Then Swiss-Belinn Saripetojo will be the answer. This hotel is strategically located on Jl. Selamet Riyadi, the main avenue in the city and is only minutes to a lot of tourist attractions in Solo like Keraton Kasunanan, Kampung Batik Kauman,Pasar Klewer and Puro Mangkunegaraan.
Since the city is recognized as one of the business centers in Central Java and also it has a lot of tourist attractions, many hotels have decided to build their properties in Surakarta, so It won’t be so hard for you to find accommodations in here. Just click HERE to see accommodations from the cheapest to the most expensive and luxurious 5 stars hotels in Solo.
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