Solo the short name for Surakarta, is a major city in Central Java, Indonesia. Together with Yogyakarta, these two great cultural centres are heirs of the Mataram kingdom that was split in 1755. Both centres are good bases for trips to nearby UNESCO World Heritage sites like the temple complexes of Borobudur and Prambanan.


Solo lies some 100 km south of Semarang and some 60 km east of Yogyakarta. As the 'twin' sister of Yogyakarta, this city looks much like the latter. But because Solo is not a provincial capital, this city has preserved much of its Javanese character. This also means that Solo is less touristy than Yogyakarta. The town is a centre of art and education and offers some good shopping. It is said to be the least westernised city in Central Java.


Historically, the Kasunanan Kingdom was the true heir of the Mataram Sultanate which ruled the whole Java from the 16th century to the late 17th century. In 1745 the Sultanate moved its court to Solo; however, by the end 18th century it had suffered from internal court intrigues, rebellions and foreign manipulation by the VOC (the Dutch East India Company). In 1755 the Sultanate was split, with the Kasunanan Kingdom, ruled by the reigning sovereign (Pakubuwono II) based in Solo and the Yogyakarta Sultanate, led by the rebel prince Mangkubumi (later Sultan Hamengkubuwono I) in Yogyakarta. Later in 1757, another rebel prince named Raden Mas Said formed the Mangkunegaran Principality, motivated by disappointment with the king, who had collaborated with the VOC. During the following Dutch colonial rule, the kingdoms, termed as Vorstenlanden in Dutch (Land of the Princes), enjoyed a certain degree of autonomy and were recognized as vassal states of the Dutch empire.

Surakarta lost its autonomy because their rulers had supported the Dutch during the Indonesian war of independence. Yogyakarta had supported the independence movement and became a special province, which it remains.


Today's Solo is a bustling economic centre of around 550,000 people, with 800,000 including suburbs.


Solo is a traditional centre of Central Javanese culture, notable for performances of Wayang Kulit (shadow puppet plays) and Wayang Orang (theatre with actors onstage), both of which are accompanied by gamelan (traditional musical ensemble).

Wayang, or shadow puppet


The weather during July–August is hot and humid. The temperature ranges from 21-33 degree Celsius. Humidity level is normally between 75% and 100%. Wear light clothing and if necessary wear hat and sunglasses.


The languages primarily spoken in Surakarta are Javanese and Indonesian. Public signs are written in Indonesian, occasionally with English, and occasionally with Javanese script. English is not widely spoken although hotel and airline staff generally speak an acceptable level of English.

Get in

By plane

Solo International Airport Exterior
Solo International Airport Interior

Surakarta has its own international airport which serves flights from/to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, as well as multiple domestic destinations. If you plan to arrive by plane, then you could take a direct flight from Jakarta (1-hour trip, 8 flights per day), Kuala Lumpur (2-hour trip, daily), or Singapore (2-hour trip every Tuesday, Thursday, and twice on Saturday).

Connecting flight from Jakarta to Surakarta costs around Rp 500.000 (about $60), there are 8 flights per day (Garuda Indonesia 4 flights, Sriwijaya Air 3 flights, Lion Air 2 flights, Batavia Air 1 flight)

Transfer at Kuala Lumpur

From KL to Surakarta choose AirAsia for the best price

Transfer at Singapore

From Singapore you can go directly to Surakarta (Silk Air, every Tuesday, Thursday and twice on Saturday), or you can go to Yogyakarta first (AirAsia), then take the train to Surakarta (every hour, about $1, beautiful scenery). The transfer from plane to train in Yogyakarta is very convenient as the airport (Adi Sucipto/Adisucipto) and the train station (Maguwo) are located next to each other, so you only need to walk via the underpass to reach the train station and board the Prambanan Express (Pramex) train to Solo.

Alternatively, you can also take a straight flight from Singapore to Surakarta using Silk Air, but the schedule is not as often as AirAsia, and the total money spent would be much lower if you go via Yogyakarta.

From other hub

Recently Surabaya-Surakarta and Bandung-Surakarta route is opened (Sky Aviation). Hitherto, there's no connecting flight to/from Bali.

By train or bus

Stasiun Solo Balapan

First you have to arrive at Java island, either Jakarta (largest city, west hub) or Surabaya (second largest city, east hub). Surakarta is almost in the middle of those two cities. Then you can either take train (6-8 hours) or bus (up to 12 hours) to Surakarta. Surakarta is landlocked, so there's no water transportation option. Express trains from Jakarta take around 8 hours, while from Surabaya take around 6 hours. Express trains serving Solo include Argo Lawu, Argo Dwipangga, Bima and Gajayana expresses (to/from Jakarta, all AC), Argo Wilis,Turangga and Lodaya (to/from Bandung), Argo Wilis,Turangga and Sancaka (to/from Surabaya).

If you arrive at Yogyakarta (south hub), you can then take the train to Surakarta (leaves every hour or so, cost about $1, beautiful scenery of paddy fields along the track), or taking a bus. (approx. 2 hours, cost about $1), or taking taxi.

If you arrive at Semarang (north hub), you can then take the bus or taking taxi to Surakarta. (approx. 6 hours). There's no train that connects Semarang-Solo

If you take the train, then you should stop at Stasiun Balapan (Balapan Station), also called Solobalapan.

If you take the bus, then you should stop at Terminal Tirtonadi (Tirtonadi Terminal). The Balapan Station and the Tirtonadi Bus Terminal located within the same vicinity, although not on adjacent to each other. The main bus station is actually not in Solo city itself, but in Kartasura, some 12 km west of the centre. There are regular services throughout the island, including Jakarta (10 hours) and Surabaya (5 hr).

Get around

How to speak like a Solonese

The everyday speech of the Javanese are mixed of Indonesian and Javanese.

A short glossary of common Javanese expressions and its Indonesian equivalent:

ora, mboten (tidak)
kula (aku, saya)
kowe, sampeyan, njenengan (kamu, situ, Anda)
sori, maap
thank you 
(matur) suwun, (matur) nuwun
to come up 
munggah (naik)
to look 
liat (lihat)

The city's main avenue, Jl. Slamet Riyadi has paved pedestrian paths (citywalk) located along its sides courtesy to Mayor Jokowi. On Sundays, this avenue is closed for traffic and becomes a Car Free Day (6AM to 9AM) for various kind of sports activities for Solo's citizens. Many hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and tourist attractions (Museum Batik Danar Hadi, Sriwedari Park, Museum Radya Pustaka) are located alongside the avenue. At the end of the avenue is the entrance (gapura) to the alun-alun (city square) and the royal palace complex (Keraton Kasunanan).

Blue coloured Batik Solo Trans, the only scheduled bus that serves the inner city. It goes to and from the airport and travels along the Slamet Riyadi street, where the main conference will be held.

Because of its small size (44 km2 or 17 mile2), travelling is easy within the city. Other than private cars or motorcycles, local people also travels with angkots (minibuses), ojeks (motorcycles "taxis"), bicycles, becaks (Indonesian rickshaws, tourist friendly), and some horse-drawn carts can still be seen roaming in the city. Public transportation includes taxis (include SUV-taxis), foreigner-friendly bus (currently serves from airport to the downtown and vice versa), all of them for a very reasonable price (bus from airport to downtown are Rp 7.000 or less than US$ 1, with air conditioner and scheduled stops. Car or motorcycles (or even bicycles) rental can also be arranged, as some hotels are also renting their own bicycles, albeit limited in number. Antique horse-drawn carts or a retro double-decker bus or an antique two-freights steam train can also be rented for group tours, with or without tour guides and/or onboard live entertainment (for bus and train).

Jalan means street. Often abbreviated "Jl.". Bis means "bus". Mobil (/mo-beel/) means "car". Ribu (/ree-boo/) means thousand rupiahs. Kanan (/ka-naan/) means "right", kiri (/kee-ree/) means "left".

Rent a car

To drive a car yourself, an International Driver Permit is required in addition to your home country issued drivers license. Consider renting a car with a driver, the additional cost is quite low and the Indonesian driving habits are not the best in the world. Traffic is required to move on the left in Indonesia.

By becak

Becak drivers in front of Pasar Gede

Becak ("BEH-chuck") is a tricycle (pedicab) transportation mode for short distances such as residential areas in Solo. The driver is sitting at the back of the passenger and pedaling the becak. It is one of the remaining human powered public transportation in Indonesia. Becak is the most expensive means of transit, and is mainly used by old people and tourists. Good communication skills are vital to prevent getting overcharged on these rides. Often, sly drivers try to get some more money out of you after you've reached your destination, so be sure that you know how much it costs beforehand. Overall, becak fares are reasonably low, and the experience is comparable to none. As with everything in Solo, you should haggle for the best price. (Expect Becak drivers to quote prices inflated by at least 3 times for the average tourist.)

By Batik Solo Trans

Batik Solo Trans (BST) is similar to TransJakarta and is subsidized by the local government, so it is the cheapest means of transport in town, Rp 3500. BST has planned 8 corridors, but as of early 2015, only has 2 corridors, both west to east. These are Corridor-1 Kartasura-Palur through Slamet Riyadi street and Corridor-2 Kartasura-Palur through Balapan Train Station. Corridor-3 will be operated starting in mid-2015 from north to south, Solo Baru-Kadipiro through Semanggi and Mojosongo.

By taxi

Taxi is the easiest way to go around. It is cheap, and you can even book it for the whole trip. You can negotiate for the price. Ask in your hotel reception if they can arrange one for you. Or they may also have a car to rent (mostly including the driver). Taxis are available on the airport and train stations.

After November 2014 subsidized gasoline price increase, almost all taxis have relatively same tariff. Flagfall for the first kilometer Rp 5,500, the next kilometer Rp 375/100 meters, waiting time (including trap in traffic jam) Rp 37,500, minimum payment Rp 20,000, order by phone minimum payment Rp 25,000.

Their phone numbers are:


The must-see attraction in Solo (especially for first timers) is Sunan Pakubowono's palace, better known as Kraton Kasunanan.

Kraton complex

Keraton (Palace of) Surakarta. Also called Keraton Kasunanan (Sunan = King). the clock tower on the background is called Panggung Songgobuwono
Mangkunegaran Palace. Also called Pura Mangkunegara


Religious buildings

Chinese temple in Solo


Wayang Orang Sriwedari Solo

Calendar events

Solo has many events year round. Below is the Calendar of Cultural Events for Surakarta in 2014 (most dates vary each year, due to being aligned to Javanese and Islamic Calendrical difference from the western )

Chinese New Year Celebration
Solo Batik Carnival, an annual summer carnaval
Solo Batik Fashion, an annual open air fashion show
Sekaten January 2014 (30 days event) Alun-Alun Keraton
Grebeg Mulud at the end of Sekaten month-long event
Grebeg Sudiro Lunar New Year Pasar Gede
Ketoprak Festival, 14–15 February 2014 Gedung Kesenian, Balekambang Park Solo
Solo Carnival 15 February 2014 Jl. Slamet Riyadi, Solo, commemorating the city's anniversary
Gunungan Charity Boat Race 23 February 2014 Bengawan Solo River
Solo 24 Hour Dance 27 April 2014 Jalan Slamet Riyadi Solo
Mangkunegaran Performing Arts Festival 9–10 May 2014 Pura Mangkunegaran Palace
Royal Palace Art Festival 11–12 June 2014 Keraton Kasunanan Surakarta
Solo Batik Carnival 28 June 2014 Jalan Slamet Riyadi Solo
Solo Batik Fashion event 11–13 July 2014 Surakarta City Hall (Balaikota)
Wayang Orang Gabungan Festival 17–20 July 2014 GWO Sriwedari Park Solo
Solo Keroncong Festival 12–13 September 2014 Ngarsopuro / Sriwedari Park Solo
Solo City Jazz Festival 19–20 September 2014 Ngarsopuro / Sriwedari Park Solo
Solo International Performing Arts (SIPA) 26–28 September 2014 Ngarsopuro Solo
Solo Culinary Festival 12–14 October 2014 Venue Galabo. Pulabo Solo
Kirab Malam 1 Suro 24 October 2014 Around the walls of the Kasunanan Royal Palace, Around the walls of the Pura Mangkunegaran, Jamasan Pusaka
Bengawan Solo Gethek Festival 10 November 2014 Bengawan Solo River



The currency used in Indonesia is the IDR - Indonesian Rupiah (Rp). There are currency changing offices in Airport, banks, and authorized money exchange counters near the venue. Stores accept credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard.

US dollars will be accepted, but are typically used as an investment and for larger purchases, not for buying a bowl of noodles on the street. Many hotels quote rates in dollars, but all accept payment in rupiah. If you pay any bill in Indonesia with a credit card it will be charged to your account in rupiah, regardless of the currency you were quoted. (See also Indonesia#Changing money)

Most stores have the largest visitors in Sunday (and national holidays) and shopping malls often become VERY crowded on Sunday. So if you plan to go to Indonesian malls and shopping centres, weekdays (Monday to Friday) is the best time to visit. Shopping malls and commercials open at around 10AM, and street shops (and traditional markets) open as early as 6AM, and close at around 8 to 9PM. There are a couple of twenty-four hours convenience stores in Solo.


Batik, Indonesia's national fabric is synonymous with the culture of Java itself. Batik making in Java is an ancient tradition that has been passed down through generations. Traditional batik making is characterized by the wax-resist dying technique, in which melted wax is applied to the fabric using the Canting a kind of utensil that has a metal cup to hold the melted wax and a tiny spout to drip it. It is held like a stylus and used to cover the predrawn pattern lines to allow it to be dyed afterwards. The process requires painstaking precision as Batik patterns are sometimes extremely complex, this method is called batik tulis, the word tulis literally means to write and refers to the canting tool which resembles a writing tool. The varieties of batik patterns are also rich in meaning and philosophy; such as the Sidomukti pattern, which symbolizes prosperity and happiness and worn during weddings. Some batik patterns used to signify social status and hierarchy such as the Parang pattern which used to be exclusive to the nobility. Nowadays, the traditional method is threatened by conventional mass printed batik, especially cheap imitations spawned from Chinese factories. In 2009, UNESCO, a UN agency dedicated to the world cultures designated the Indonesian Batik as a "Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity", the declaration is of course aimed to help save the traditional method of Batik making. Solo is one of the main centres of production for Batik, with renowned areas such as Kampung Kauman or Laweyan that are home to traditional Batik merchants. Three of Indonesia's biggest batik manufacturers; Batik Danar Hadi, Batik Keris and Semar are also based in Solo.

  • Danar Hadi, Jl Dr Rajiman 164. ☎ +62 271 644126.
  • Keris, Desa Cemani Selatan Laweyan. ☎ +62 271 721217.
  • Semar, Jl Laksda Adisucipto 101. ☎ +62 271 722937
  • Kampung Batik Laweyan, Jl. Dr. Rajiman Laweyan.
  • Kampung Batik Kauman, Nearby Kraton Kasunanan. The batik products of Kauman village are made from natural silk and weaving silk materials, and premmisima cotton.
Gate of Pasar Klewer
  • Pasar Klewer, a traditional market for textile, mostly batik. Located off the west gate of Keraton's North Square. As in any other traditional markets in Indonesia, you will have to bargain.
  • Pusat Grosir Solo 5-story tall wholesale centre of clothing items located nearby Keraton Solo and Pasar Klewer (Klewer market) where you can find many shops selling batik with competitive price. Great for a one-stop shopping centre.

Mall and shopping centres


Galabo, a night open-air food court (open after 6PM near Beteng Trade Center / Pusat Grosir Solo)

Casual dining:





Orders are placed at the food vendor and they bring it to you at your table. Sop Buntut Sapi and Rawon Penjara was good.

Located near Beteng Trade Center / Pusat Grosir Solo.

Soto is a sort-of clear soup made from vegetables, spices, chicken or beef. You can find various kinds of soto in Solo:

Bakmi Jawa is a popular traditional noodle from solo. cooked by anglo ( stove ) different taste with natural seasoning. Try Java Tea with special sugar ( shape like rock ) with strong tea flavour. The food is moderately priced and delicious,

Timlo Solo is a famous soup made from seasoned chicken liver, eggs and fried pastry with meat filling (Sosis Jawa).


Gudeg is also worth a try. Even though people say that gudeg originally comes from Jogja, Gudeg Solo is quite different from the one from Jogja. Gudeg Jogja is dried and sweet, while Gudeg Solo is saltier in flavor with more gravy. Gudeg Margoyudan is a famous example. Its specialty are chicken feet (thus the moniker 'Gudeg Ceker'). The other unique feature is, it opens at 1AM and closes by 5AM. Most of the time, you have to wait on a long line before being served.

Nasi Liwet is almost similar to "Nasi Uduk" which is very famous in Jakarta or west Java. It is rice, which is cooked with santan (coconut milk). The vendors for traditional nasi liwet easily be found in Keprabon street. The most famous vendor is Bu Lemu, but along the Keprabon you can find many of the vendors add the name Lemu after their own name.

Other than Serabi, Solo offers a rich varieties of snack, ranged from dry snack, (onde-onde ceplus, kripik cakar, kripik paru, kerak nasi goreng) to keleman (fresh snack) (solo, wajik, jadah, kue ku, lapis, cara bikang). Sosis Solo has been identified as the specialty snack from Solo, is made of chopped beef combined with spices wrapped in a thin egg pancake. You can find many varieties of traditional fresh snacks once you walk into Pasar Gede.

About Solo's cuisine

In general, the cuisine of Solo is a combination of fried, coconut-milk based, and sweet-savory. Many of the dishes caters to vegan, and especially for Moslems (i.e. halal foods). Solo's culinary life is 24 hours, with some foodstalls starting to open at 2AM and already closed at 5AM

Solo's beverages mostly sweet and combines the richness of natural tropical fruits with coconut water or coconut milk, and other local ingredients. Because of Islamic dietary laws, most dining place do not offer alcoholic beverages, and only few licensed hotels and restaurants carry them. Other than national and international brand of beers, alcoholic beverage native to Solo is called ciu, which is a local adaptation of Chinese wine.
Solo's markets abound with many types of tropical fruit.


Tap water is not drinkable in Indonesia. Water or ice served to you in restaurants may have been purified and/or boiled, but do ask. Bottled water, usually known as Aqua after the best-known brand, is cheap and available everywhere, but check that the seal is intact. Most hotels do provide free bottled water. Also beware of ice which may not have been prepared with potable water or kept in hygienic conditions. If you have weak stomach, it is better not to order beverages with ice cubes.

Dawet or called 'cendol' in west java/Jakarta tastes good and cools you down during the hot days in Solo. This drink is made with coconut milk and brown-Javanese sugar and sort-of gelatine. Thus it is sweet and usually served with ice-cubes. Gempol plered is made from coconut milk with rice balls and a looks like some kind of 'pangsit'. Sometimes it is served with rock ice. The taste is mix between sweet and little bit salty.






The international country code for Indonesia is 62. The local area code for Solo is 271. There are three main telecommunication providers in Indonesia: Telkom Indonesia, Indosat and Excelcomindo. Coin operated public phones are limited in Solo. However there are many official telephone kiosks called Wartel.

International dialing

To make an IDD call from Indonesia, dial the access code 001 (for Indosat) and 007 (for Telkom), followed by the country code, area code and party's number.

also available cheaper IDD call via VoIP Technologies, IDD Prefix is 01016 (for Indosat user) and 01017 (for Wartel, Telkom, and Telkomsel user), and 01000 (for XL -excelcom- user)

Mobile phones

Mobile Phones are carried by almost everyone in Indonesia. Prepaid SIM cards are widely available from many telecommunication providers, such as, Telkomsel, XL, Indosat, 3, and Axis, just bring your own GSM 900 or GSM 1800 phone. The pre-paid SIM card costs around Rp 10,000 up to Rp 30.000. A local phone call costs between Rp 500-Rp 2,000/minute. Local text message (SMS) costs about Rp 200-350, while international SMS cost about Rp 300-500.

Also available for CDMA users, Telkom Flexi, StarOne, Esia, And Mobile-8 which are cheaper, but you must have a RUIM CDMA phone.


There are many internet cafes in Solo which offer speedy access to the internet. Several hotels provide Wi-Fi on the lobby. Ask the front desk about internet access. The Slamet Riyadi street, offers a free wireless internet service for any wifi compatible device.

The 24 hour Indomart and Alfamart sometime offers free wireless access as well as wall sockets, but can be a little noisy.


Tourism information centre (TIC) in Solo:



Hospitals with 24 hr emergency room (Ruang Darurat)

Services for handicapped people

Solo has a long history of supporting handicapped people, and was designated as the host of ASEAN Paralympic Games 2011. It has handicap-friendly bus stops and walkways, something rare in Indonesia, and is home to the Dr. Soeharso Hospital, a centre for Training on Rehabilitation for Physically Handicapped Persons, which shares information with other developing countries.


Smoking in government buildings is banned in Solo.

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