Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 13 February 2013 • Itinerary
Solo, this relatively small city in Central Java, is timid with things to do and see, may it be cultural, culinary, historical, or something new. That’s probably why I’ve been to Solo several times in our mission to travel the whole Indonesia, even though there are still many places I’ve never been. This time, my visit to Solo was prompted by a major performance called Matah Ati, followed by activities that only added my fondness and wanting to know more about this city.
In July 2012 we were in Solo city for the Solo Batik Carnival, Only 2 months after that I was back in the city for Matah Ati performance. And these are just to name 2 of the many events held to elevate the appreciation toward arts and culture as well as to boost up the tourism.
Matah Ati was an epic – and I’m not saying this in the manner of 9 Gag – turned into an artistic performance consisted of dance, music, lighting, and everything you would expect from a stage performance, not to mention fire and gigantic shadow puppet! Click these words for my take on the performance.
Enjoying Javanese music much? Have you ever wondered how the musical instruments are made? 10 men in a dusty workshop, working with bronze, fire and welding equipment, and that’s just a the tip of the iceberg. Or must I say, the flare of the fire.
Taufiq and Yusuf from ExploreSolo.com took us to Supoyo’s workshop at Wirun village, where they make gongs and the rest of instruments for gamelan, the Javanese traditional orchestra. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had in traveling Indonesia! Here’s the complete story of my visit.
Thanks to Natgeo Adventure’s Market Value program, I was encouraged to get to know Indonesia better through the markets, the traditional markets. Aside from its well maintenance, there’s another reason why Pasar Gede Hardjonagoro is now my favorite Indonesian traditional market: they have the best Javanese sweet beverage I’ve ever tasted, the Dawet Selasih Bu Watik. Slurp! The details are here.
If there’s anything better than sleeping in a hotel for free, it’s sleeping in a satisfying 4-star hotel for free. I was lucky to spend a night at Solo Paragon Hotel as it’s got a strategic location, helpful staff and complete facilities. Check out my review about the hotel.
It’s a heritage hotel and restaurant located exactly across the Mangkunegaran kraton (palace). I didn’t stay at the hotel but I did have lunch there. My verdict? Well, let’s just stay that I will go there again when I have a chance to be back in Solo city again J Here’s how my lunch went at Omah Sinten Restaurant.
One of the eateries I would recommend when you’re traveling in Solo would be Es Masuk restaurant. Food like selat (Solo’s version of salad), nasi pecel (veggie salad with peanut sauce over rice) and various juices from fruits like avocado, durian, and many more, are all listed in the menu. And why is it named ‘Es Masuk’, which literally means ‘Enter Ice’? Find out here.
The two kinds of transportation between Jakarta and Solo of my choice would be the train or the plane (hey it sorta rhymes!). I would normally choose the train because it’s cheaper. But I’ve been on weekend trips with train before and on Monday I would walk like a zombie to the office. Nah, I’m choosing the plane this time.
I flew with Lion Air. This airline is notorious with its delay habit but it has so many flight and routes, and the ticket often cost less than others. Fortunately for me, the flight from Jakarta to Solo this time was on time. It cost me IDR 470,000.
The flight back from Solo to Jakarta was with Batavia Air. It cost me IDR 500,400 and departed about an hour late. In general, Batavia Air was in my ‘alright airline’ list as I rarely experienced mishaps flying with them. Too bad it stopped operating on January 31, 2013.
Solo’s airport is the Adi Soemarmo International Airport. It’s located in Ngemplak, the outskirts of Solo, about 30 minutes car ride from the city center. But if you take the Batik Solo Trans bus like I did, it takes about an hour just to get to Solo Grand Mall on Jalan Slamet Riyadi. From there, I still needed to take a short becak ride to Solo Paragon hotel.
The bus route also goes around the city, not only from the airport. Each ride costs IDR 3,000 / pax, but IDR 10,000 / pax if you’re going from or to the airport.
Kandi was lucky to have more flexible time for traveling. She took the ….bus from Bandung to Solo, costing IDR 95,000 / pax. It leaves Bandung at 7 pm and arrives in Solo about 12 hours later.
Going home to Bandung, Kandi took the executive train, ranging from IDR 200,000 – 300,000 / pax.
The train tickets can also be booked here.