Surakarta -- or as the Indonesian people fondly call it, Solo -- is located in Central Java, just a short train ride away from Yogyakarta. Although definitely not as popular as Yogyakarta, Solo is on its way to becoming an attractive stopover for a day or two with tourists traveling towards Bromo and Malang. And even if it is still far away from being the cultural capital of Java, it definitely boasts some impressive sights.
Once in Surakarta, you should definitely pay a visit to the Kraton, the Sultan's Palace. Even though the building itself is not so special, the exhibition inside will let you take a glimpse into how the upper classes of Indonesia lived throughout the centuries. From here, you can head on to the Triwindu Market, the antique bazaar right in the centre of Solo. When walking through the colourful rows of this market, you can get stumble upon some really interesting objects, like the wayang puppets or topeng masks traditional to Javanese culture.
When in Solo, it would be a big mistake to miss out on a visit to a batik shop, manufacturer, or museum. Also known as the "City of Batik," Solo is famous for this unique Indonesian textile-decoration technique and once you enter a market full of these meticulously decorated pieces of art, you will also be tempted to take some home with you.
If you are done sightseeing in the centre of Solo, you still have the reason to stay a bit longer in the area, as the most striking attractions are further up towards Mount Lawu. This picturesque mountain, more than two thousand metres high, is full of mystery and culture. The Cetho Temple is a must if you want to experience the real solitude required for Javanese-Hindu religious practices and Sukuh Temple a few kilometres from here will tell you how people hundreds of years ago worshipped on the altar of fertility.
Around this area in Indonesia, home-stays are the most popular forms of accommodation; however, if you want to pamper yourself with something more luxurious, you might consider staying at one of the beautiful and atmospheric hotels that are still extremely cheap for a Westerner's budget as there are unfortunately no hostels around Solo. As your choices for a Solo, Sulawesi, Indonesia hostel are extremely limited, another possibility is to pick one of the many hostels available in Yogyakarta and take the train to Solo for a daytrip.
Hi, I'm JudyM,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Solo hostels. Welcome.