Solo Things to Do

  • Mangkunegaran reception hall
    Mangkunegaran reception hall
    by theo1006
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    Signs of the zodiac
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Best Rated Things to Do in Solo

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    Candi Ceto

    by Rodan44 Written Jun 30, 2005

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    Along with nearby Candi Sukuh, Candi Ceto represents one of the last Hindu temples to be built in Java before the Javanese courts were converted to Islam in the 16th century. The temple sits high on the slopes on Gunung Lawu at an elevation of 2200m. The steep drive up the to the site offers breathtaking views of mountain slopes covered in rice fields. The day we went, clouds were covering the entire site, giving it a very surreal and mystical atmosphere. The cool mountain air also makes this a very pleasant journey.

    The temple design is very similar to those found in the mountain temples of Bali. It is built on multi-level terraces, starting at the lowest point and climbing steadily up from there. It also contains the split gates that are so common in Balinese temples. There are some relief carvings and statues to be found, but not many compared to Candi Sukuh.

    Since this site is even more remote than Candi Sukuh, it receives very few visitors. On arrival you must pay a small entrance fee and sign a guestbook.

    Candi Ceto, Mount Lawu, Central Java
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    • Archeology
    • Architecture

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    Go for a Taste of Solo

    by bpacker Written Feb 9, 2006

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    For a taste of real Solonese food try something from a Kaki Lima. They're the mobile street food vendors who ply their trade on the streets of Solo with a push cart. In case you're wondering, they're called kaki lima(5 legs) as they're named after the mobile stalls' three wheels plus the owner's two feet! The push cart serves as a mobile kitchen. They can whip a mean bowl of salad or steaming mee bakso in seconds.

    Where: Solo, Central Java, near Pasar Triwindu

    Kaki Lima Vendor whipping up a meal

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    Candi Sukuh

    by Rodan44 Updated Jun 30, 2005

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    Tucked away on the slopes of Gunung Lawu near the border of East Java province lie the ruins of the last Hindu temples to be built in Java before the Javanese courts were converted to Islam in the 16th century. The largest and most interesting of these is Candi Sukuh, which sits at an elevation of 910 meters and dates to the 15th century. The temple is dedicated to Bima, a sword maker and an incarnation of Shiva.

    The most striking aspect of Candi Sukuh is the flat-top pyramid shape of the main structure, which is unlike an other found in Indonesia. It immediately reminds one of the Mayan pyramids found in Central America. A stairway can be taken to the top of the pyramid, which was undoubtedly used a place to perform rituals. How this unique temple shape can to be and why the builders deviated from traditional Javanese temple designs is still unknown.

    The other interesting aspect of Candi Sukuh are the bas relief carvings. This temple is known as a fertility temple, and many of the carvings prominently display male genitalia. Also, the figures in the carvings have a distinctly more comical look than those found on earlier dated Javanese temples, and are more similar to characters see in Balinese folk art.

    As Candi Sukuh is quite remote, very few visitors make it there, which only adds to its allure. Upon arrival you will have to buy tickets (inexpensive) and sign the guestbook.

    Candi Sukuh, Central Java
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    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

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    Living Candi Ceto, and more

    by theo1006 Updated May 8, 2012

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    Another tip on Ceto temple? Yes, the reasons I explained in my Sukuh temple tip. If you go to see one, you should visit both. The 9 km from Candi Sukuh to Candi Ceto take you through tea plantations and past deep valleys. It feels like the road will take you into the sky.

    Candi Ceto lies much higher than Candi Sukuh, at 1500 m on a forested slope of Lawu mountain. It does not have the abundance of carvings and statues of Candi Sukuh. But while candi Sukuh is just a tourist attraction, candi Ceto is an active place of Hindu devotion.

    The truncated pyramid on the top has been restored in the 80s, but badly. Even for a layman’s eye it is evident that the parapet and altar do not fit in.

    Entrance fee is Rp 10,000 for foreigners, Rp 2,500 for residents (2007). A weathered panel explains the salient features of the temple in Indonesian and in 'Indonesian English'.

    A village has sprung up at the foot of the temple. A few losmen are waiting for the stray tourist who wants to stay over. You might do so to go hiking in the neighbourhood. A 3 to 4 hours hike along the slopes of Lawu mountain takes you to Tawangmangu, where there is ample choice of accommodation.

    While you are here, take the short walk to two recent additions of Hindu devotion, candi Kethek and puri Sarashati. What with the janur (palm leaf) decorations and white and yellow cloth, you might imagine you're in Bali.

    For more details see our travelogue Candi Ceto.

    The way you came to Ceto village Candi Ceto in Lawu forest Only a few simple relief carvings here Badly restored pyramid Altars on Candi Kethek
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    Candi Ceto, the beautiful temple in the sky

    by bpacker Updated Mar 26, 2007

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    On the slopes of Mount Lawu, rests a 700 year old Hindu temple 1470m above sea level.There are few visitors to this place as the journey here was dangerous. No guide book will mention the perilous but beautiful journey through mist-covered tea fields, deep yawning valleys and terrifying hair-pin turns. Guess there are few tourists who are willing to risk the thousand metre drop. But once you're there, you'll forget the peril you went through. The temple, hewn out of darkened stone,was beautiful and it overlooked the gorgeous green valley below. Every once in a while, a cloud blows over the temple and you'll think for a while that you're in a temple in the sky.

    What:Candi Ceto
    Where: 1470m above sea level, Mount Lawu, Java, Indonesia.
    How I got there: On a rickety ojek(motorcycle) which broke down several times on the journey from Solo to the mountain. The trip was arranged by Warung Baru guesthouse.

    Candi Ceto, beautiful temple in the sky

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    Candi Sukuh

    by trisanna Written Jun 6, 2005

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    Located one hour or so outside of Solo. This is one of the most beautiful and unique temples in Java. It almost resembles one of the Mayan temples-with the flat top and outdoor stairs. Built in the 15th century during the end of the Majapahit empire. The carvings are more comical and crude than the fine work at Borobudur or Prambanan. This is considered a fertility shrine, since there is a lot of sexual imagery.

    Candi Sukuh
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    Candi Ceto

    by trisanna Written Jun 6, 2005

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    Built around the same time as Candi Sukuh, or the 15th century this temple is located at the top of a steep hill-slopes of Gunung Lawu. The drive alone is worth the trip, since it's quite beautiful and you pass many tea plantations. This is supposed to be the most recently built Hindu temple in Java.

    Since it's difficult to get here, you may have the site to yourself. The temple has some Balinese elements as well.

    temple in the mist, Candi Ceto
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    Kraton Surakarta (Solo)

    by trisanna Written Jun 2, 2005

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    Since Solo is also a Sultanate city, like Yogyakarta, they also have a Kraton or palace. The present Sultanate's ancestors moved to this site around the mid 18th century. The Kraton is built with a lot of European detail. You will see this from Greek statues, to colonial lamps to furniture. In 1985, there was a large fire, which sadly destroyed most of the palace. The majority of what we see is somewhat of a reconstruction. The large meditation tower, known as Panggung Songgo Buwono, built in 1782 survived the fire. The Sultanate famlily still lives on site and use the grounds for meetings or events. The Kraton here looks very similiar to the one in Yogyakrata, but looks more strapped for cash. It looks like the complex needs a major renovation. On one side there is an interesting museum, but that desperately needs funds, since many of the objects look like they are feeling the strain of the tropical heat.

    The large Dutchlike meditation tower, Solo
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    • Museum Visits
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    Shopping in Pasar Gede

    by bpacker Updated Mar 21, 2007

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    No foodie's trip is complete without a trip to the local food market. Pasar Gede is such a place. You'll see all types of local produce there from thorny green durians to banana leaf packets of fried catfish served with rice and vegetables (pecel lele). While I was here, I bought hard to get items in Singapore such as "Kluwek" or the Indonesia Black Nut, Roasted Arabica Beans, Black Pepper and Spices. My excitement got the better of me and I neglected to ask if they had any Kopi Luwak ( That my dear reader, is the coffee that has been crapped out by the Asian Civet Cat ).

    Click my travelogue to see more pictures.

    Pasar Gede, Solo, Indonesia

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    Kasunanan Kraton

    by bpacker Updated Mar 26, 2007

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    If you have a thing for palaces and musty art and historical collections, do pop down to Kasunanan Kraton. Of the two palaces over here in Solo, Kasunanan Kraton is more worth a visit as the other Kraton ( Kraton Mangkunegaran) is in a sad state of disrepair. If you're here in the former royal residence of King Pakubuwono in the 17th century, do look out for this enormous rice pot, an enormous barge with an equally enormous oar and the octogonal tower called Panggung Songgobuwono where the king is rumoured to meet the Goddess of the South Seas during the anniversary of his coronation. I wonder if they exchanged cell phone numbers during the exchange. But no matter, the tower was festooned with bamboo poles when I was there as it was in the process of being restored.

    Admission is 2,500 Rupiah (0.28 USD), which includes a guide.

    Kraton Kesunanan, courtyard.

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    Taking a Ride on a Becak

    by bpacker Updated Mar 22, 2007

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    Abang beca, abang beca di tengah jalan,
    Cari muatan untuk mencari makan,
    Putar putar, putar putar kaki mengayuh,
    Pergi jauh teringat pun lalu jatuh,
    Dari pagi hingga matahari terbenam,
    Barat timur selatan serta utara,
    Hujan panas tiada melintangi nya,
    Abang beca, abang beca, abang beca,
    ca,ca,ca.

    (Indonesian song about Becak Drivers)

    Instead of taking an ojek(motorcycle taxi) and spinning in mad circles in Solo, take a leaf from the Becak drive and take life in the slow lane. This 3 wheeled human-powered cab is the most common mode of transport here and trips cost around Rp 15,000(less than 1USD).

    Becak driver at the Kraton, Solo

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    Intriguing Candi Sukuh, and more

    by theo1006 Updated Oct 5, 2007

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    Why add to the tips on Candi Sukuh and Candi Ceto? Because it is a pity the average tourist does not go to the trouble to visit these temples. They are quite different from the mainstream destinations Borobudur and Prambanan. No tourist crowds, no rows of souvenir sellers and superfluous guides. On public holidays you may have the company of some local sightsee-ers, but not very many. The buildings are not as impressive as Borobudur, but the more intriguing. And the trip over there alone, through winding steep mountain roads with terrific views, is worth your time.

    Both Hindu temples were built in the 15th century, when the Majapahit empire was crumbling and Islam conquering the coastal areas of Java. Candi Sukuh stands at an altitude of 910 m, overlooking the Solo plain. It is said to be dedicated to Bima, the warrior god of Mahabaratha epos. A headless Bima statue and a stylised womb depicting Bima’s birth may prove this. But the temple must have served other purposes, which can only be guessed. Many elements are not purely Hindu, but point to a revival of a pre-Hindu animistic cult.

    When going to see the temples leave early and make it a full day trip. Entrance fee to Candi Sukuh for foreigners is Rp. 10,000 payable at an office at the other side of the road. Residents pay only Rp 2,500. A weathered panel explains the salient features of the temple in Indonesian and in 'Indonesian English'.

    Near the parking space is a sign pointing to another temple, candi Planggatan. The 2 km mountain road to this site in Tambak village is breathtaking. But of the temple itself only some stone rubble remains.

    More details in our travelogue Candi Sukuh.

    Birth of Bima Remains of candi Planggatan Overview of site from top of pyramid Typical wayang-puppet style relief Many animals are depicted
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    • Hiking and Walking

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    Prambanan Temple

    by meiyergani Updated Oct 9, 2006

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    It was the Temple of The King'Pikatan', built in 8th Century.also known as LORO JONGGRANG temple. According to the LEGend, the temple was built in one night by Prince Bandung Bondowoso in meet the request of the daughter of King Boko, a beautiful lady called LORO JONGGrang, Jonggrang is Java language which means Tall and Loro Jonggrang is one of statue at Prambanan Temple

    Prambanan Temple Between Yogya and Solo
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    • Architecture

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    Pasar(market)KLEWER

    by meiyergani Written Oct 4, 2006

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    PasarKlewer is a very popular market in Solo, but also welknown throughout Indonesia, it was a market where peoples can find Indonesian wellknown Batik shirts with very competitive price. Located just the left side of Keraton Solo, you can buy Batik clothes with bargaining

    PasarKlewer and Batik Shop
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    • Castles and Palaces

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    Puri Mangkunegaran

    by IreneMcKay Updated Jun 23, 2012

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    Solo has two palaces. Puri Mangkunegaran is the smaller one, but it is supposedly better kept. You have to go round on a tour which I don't normally like doing, but our guide was really interesting and funny and told us lots about the objects in the palace which we would never have known without him.

    The royal family still live in part of this palace and I'm pretty sure we saw a princess or two wandering around. It's possible to book dinner with the royal family apparently though we did not try this.

    Buy your entrance ticket at main palace entrance and take the tour. It is open Monday - Saturday 8.30am - 2pm and Sunday 8.30am -1pm.

    My husband in front of the palace My husband with our very entertaining guide
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    • Castles and Palaces
    • Historical Travel

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