Teaching English in Solo is a great way to discover Indonesia’s prestigious Royal Capital. Surakarta (often called Solo and less commonly Sala) is a city in Central Java. Solo is a historic royal capital, with several keratons (or palaces) spread out throughout the city.
Built in the 18th-century, Keraton Kasunanan housed the members of the Kasunanan royal family, heirs to the Mataram Sultanate and today is a museum where visitors can learn about the region’s rich royal history. Nearby Mangkunegaran palace was a residence for members of another royal family, that of the Mangkunegaran principality.
Solo is also a major centre for dyed batik fabric – the Danar Hadi Museum has a treasure trove of information about this prized local industry. Solo often vies for recognition as the epicentre of Javanese identity and tradition, seemingly locked in an eternal rivalry with nearby Yogyakarta. Solo is the birthplace of numerous notable luminaries, including the current President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo. It is said to be the least westernised city in Central Java.
- Population: 600,000
- Public Transport: Adisumarmo International Airport has flights to Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Saudi Arabia, as well as numerous domestic destinations. The train, becak (pedicabs), ojek (motorcycle taxis), taxis, delman/andong (horse-drawn carts), and buses are all cheap transport options to get around the city.
- Languages: Bahasa Indonesia, Javanese, Mataraman
- Climate: Consistent tropical climate with average temperatures of 30°C
- EF Flagship School: Opened in 2000
What Makes Solo Unique?
• Keraton Surakarta – The most famous palace in Solo, it still houses the Sultan and Royal family to this day! Visitors can enjoy walking around the manicured grounds or learn about royal history at the palace museum.
• Pasar Gede – The largest traditional market in Solo, well known for its unique architecture and bustling atmosphere. This is a great spot for people watching and photography.
• Batik – Nearby villages Laweyan and Kampung Batik Kauman are famed throughout Indonesia for producing high-quality Javanese Batik garments. Head to Pasar Klewer in the centre of Solo to pick up a few Batik souvenirs to take home. Visit the Museum Batik Danar Hadi to learn more about this traditional craft and view one of the largest private batik collections in Indonesia (over 10,000 pieces!)
• Candi Prambanan – The nearby Prambanan temples make for a fantastic day trip from Solo, for those looking to learn more about Indonesia’s pre-Islamic history. These ancient houses of Hindu worship offer an intriguing glimpse into Javanese culture that has otherwise faded into the past.