Solo is a stone's throw away from Yogyakarta with only about 65 kilometers separating these Javanese cities. Although Yogyakarta is the most visited with her Borobudur temple, Solo can actually offer you some interesting sights too.
Solo is a pleasant and relatively easy city to get around. The sidewalks are wide and non-cluttered. There are numerous Becaks rolling around the city and this mode of transport is probably the most enjoyable. If you decide to take a Becak, negotiate hard as the drivers will always start high with any tourist.
Most Javanese people will tell you that Solo is the capital of all Batik on Java and you won't be disappointed at the array of textiles found in the numerous markets around the town. If you are after batik, then head straight to Pasar Klewer. It may look quite imposing from the outside with it being a three-story block of concrete, however once inside you will be dazzled at the amount of textiles to be found. A lot of the Batik here is printed but you can easily find hand drawn batik (Batik Tulis) if you ask around inside the market. If markets are not your cup of tea, and you are looking for a more cultural atmosphere, then make a trip to nearby Laweyan village. This village has been the home of Batik artisans for centuries and proudly continues this tradition.
If you are interested in the history of Batik, then make your way to the museum of Danar Hadi. It is here where you will surely come across the most extensive collection of Batik in the world.
A must-see when you are in Solo is Kasunanan Palace, otherwise commonly known as Kraton Solo. The palace here is a little smaller than Kraton in Yogakarta although still merits a visit if in the city. The Kasunanan Palace is an enormous place that stands proud in its city. It was built in 1745 and contains some magnificent pieces from the past such as ancient weapons, majestic statues and numerous precious artifacts
Puro Munkunegaran is another palace located in the heart of Solo and is definitely worth a visit. It was built in 1757 and houses an enormous amount of Javanese treasures that are thought to date back to the Majapahit and Mataram Kingdoms. It is also a great place to see the classic wayang puppets.
16 Kilometres north of Solo, you will find the UNESCO heritage site of Sangiran. It is here where a primordial man was discovered and is said to have lived on Java over one million years ago. Over half the world's primordial fossils have been found on Java thus making Sangiran a very important heritage site.
You will undoubtedly be met by numerous guides all offering their services to guide you through the numerous sites of Solo. Although you may want to do it independently, a guide can give you so much more insight into the culture and traditions that Solo has to offer. Make sure you bargain a price before committing to a guide.
Solo is a cultural gateau, that with every slice, you will crave for more... enjoy!