THE CITY OF SURAKARTA (SOLO)
The eastern edge of Central Java is home to the city of Surakarta, also known as Solo. It is the older twin sister of Yogyakarta, the second heir of the former Mataram Kingdom and the cultural and artistic extension to the royal city of Yogyakarta.
Solo is said to be less westernised and touristy with well-preserved traditions. Already at arrival Solo will greet the visitors with refined beauty and sheer sophistication, boosting fine arts and extraordinary ambience. Royal Palaces, absorbing museums, dazzling batik markets and remarkable Javanese cuisine are the must-experiences in Solo that offer an insight into the history and culture of Solo.
7 THINGS TO DO & SEE IN SOLO
1.Kasunanan Palace – Solo`s largest and most important royal palace, a special place for the residents
2.Puro Mangkunegoro – the second royal palace is not less beautiful, and it has a great museum as well
3.Radya Pustaka Museum – built by the Dutch in the 19th century, it is the oldest and largest museum in Java with Javanese library, a big collection of traditional puppets and kris
4.Museum Batik Danar Had & Batik Markets at Pasar Klewer – learn more about the traditional textile art, fabrics and Javanese batik and choose one of the thousands different colours and patterns
5.Sriwedari Park – absolutely a must-visit in Solo, this Javanese art and culture centre offers amazing Wayang Kulit puppet performances, various shows, theatrical night dance and excellent dining options
6.Gunung Lawu Volcano (3264 m) – a bit out of the city, right at the border with East Java, the region offers one of the favourite hikes in the province (a full day hike, access from Cemoro Sewu via Sarangan), the journey features ruins of the unique Sukuh Temple and Cetho Temple
7.Sangiran Early Man Site – this significant archaeological site was recognised by UNESCO World Heritage for its prehistoric fossils and remnants as well as the skeleton of the “Java Man” – a predecessor of the modern human
WHEN TO TRAVEL
The dry season generally goes from June till September which is also the peak season – temples get extremely crowded.
Between December and February, it rains abundantly and the chances of taking a good photograph decrease – however, it is more enjoyable to walk around as there will be not as many visitors.
Perhaps the middle season (Oct-Nov, March-May could be a good option, excluding weekends and the Indonesian public holidays when the locals often travel)
HOW TO GET THERE
Fly to Yogyakarta (via Jakarta/Java or Denpasar/Bali). Hire a car or scooter and drive to Surakarta or use a shuttle bus/minivan (1 hour)
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