I recommend you to visit Solo City, Indonesia if you spend at least 5 days in Yogyakarta. Solo, or you can call it with its official name: Surakarta lies about 1 hour in the east side of Yogyakarta special region. It’s a place where you can see the culture flourished well, a bucket of great food, even better than Yogyakarta and so many festival held there.
With the jargon: The Spirit of Java, Solo develop into one of good tourist destination in Indonesia. The government prepare the increase of tourist visit with so many destination and festival here. Solo is still being a nice average city with so many spot where you can get relaxation with cheap price.
How to Go?
It will be very easy to reach Solo city from another city in Java, Indonesia. If you start from Jakarta or Bandung, Solo can be reached by flight and train. From Yogyakarta, just buy Prambanan Express Train ticket worth for 9000 IDR for 45 minutes train. We also can go by bus. It will cost 11.000 IDR from Yogyakarta to Solo. But it need longer time, about 2 hours if we choose bus.
From Semarang, they have Joglosemar Travel bus to reach Solo. You can buy ticket in the ticket office (please refers to this article) and it will cost about 40.000 IDR.
From Surabaya, it will spend 3.5 hours if we go by train and 7 hours by bus. It will cost about 58.000 IDR if you go by bus, complete with meal and drink. You can also travel by train for 4 hours and it will cost 30.000 – 290.000 IDR depend on your train class choice. Solo also have direct flight from Singapore provide by SilkAir and Kuala Lumpur (AirAsia).
For supporting the tourism, Solo has an old train that operating in the City area. It called Jaladara train. The train will start at Purwosari and will operate by request.
They also have Werkudoro Double Decker Hop on Hop off bus:
Where to Go?
As seen in Yogyakarta, Solo also has two major palaces: Keraton Kasunanan Pakubuwono which is the main palace in Solo and also Puro Mangkunegaran as biggest family house in Solo. The Pakubowono dinasty rules in Solo since it separated with Yogyakarta after the Giyanti Treaty in 1776 a.d.
The royal palace has little difference with Yogyakarta, especially in ornament and dress. Human statues are found either as the main decoration and ornamentation in the carving on wood and iron in the Solo palace buildings.
Beside of the main palace, Solo also has Puro (big house) Mangkunegaran. The Mangkunegaran Palace belong to biggest and richest family after Pakubuwono but doesn’t have power as strong as Pakubuwono family.
Solo famous for it’s Batik Clothes. The pattern origin from Indonesia and easily can find in Solo. They have Laweyan, a batik village where the Batik Clothes produces in mass quantity. We can buy batik in Klewer Market (Pasar Klewer) just in the right side of Pakubuwono Palace and also in Benteng trade Center. In Benteng trade center we will find amazingly cheap price for batik. It will sell from 20.000 IDR till milion IDR for highest quality silk Batik.
The tremendous festival that show batik as a beautiful haute couture will find in Solo Batik Carnival. This annual event that held in Solo always overcrowd by hundred thousand visitor every year. In 2013, Solo Batik Carnival will held at June, 29.
So many event held annually in Solo. The city is very happening for carnival, festival and street performance. For annual event complete schedule, we can refer to www.http://tentangsolo.web.id/calender-of-cultural-event-solo-2013
What to Eat?
Solo has special cuisine, for me, its cuisine even much better than Yogyakarta cuisine. The sweet food dominate cuisine flavor in Solo as we meet in Yogyakarta. Some menus in Solo are influenced and mixed well with colonial’s recipes as we can meet in ‘bistik’ (from the original cuisine: beefsteak), ‘selat’ Solo, and another original food such Garangasem (sour chicken steamed with egg), tengkleng Solo (lamb-bone soup) etc.
Solo has several impressive spot where we can enjoy the street food surround by strong cultural atmosphere. For example, Gladak Langen Boga (Gladak Foodcourt) is the biggest place where the food collected in a bucket.
You can find the following cuisine in Gladak Langen Boga Solo:
1. Bistik Solo (Beef, served with stewed vegetable and sweet soup)
2. Selat Solo (The difference of Selat and Bestik, in Selat you will see boiled egg, cucumber and fried potatoes)
3. Garangasem (Chicken, steamed with tomatoes and egg, wrapped with banana leaves)
4. Tengkleng (lamb-bone in spicy curry soup)
5. Sosis Solo (Minced beef wrapped with egg)