Historically, Solo (Surakarta) has been a centre of power in Central Java. In 1745 the Mataram court was transferred here from Kota Gede, and, since then, the city has built on its reputation as a cultural hub. From Solonese dance, wayang puppetry through to hand-crafted batik Solo remains a city that prides itself on its artistic traditions of elegance and refinement.
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The main bus terminal is Tirtonadi, which is located around four kilometres from the heart of town. This bus station mostly services economy shorter routes such as Solo-Yogyakarta buses.Â For those looking to go further, and perhaps with a bit of air-con on board, Gilingan minibus terminal is the place to catch vehicles to Jakarta, Surabaya and even on to Bali.
From Yogyakarta the trip takes around 1.5 hours by bus and the fares on local buses can range from 10,000 to 15,000 rupiah, depending on whether or not the vehicle has air-con or any leg room to speak of. Buses depart from the Tirtonadi bus terminal in Solo.
It’s possible to take air-con minibuses to Jakarta from Solo’s Gilingan bus station.Â The trip takes around 10 to 11 hours, and tickets will set you back anything from 160,000 to 200,000 rupiah per person. The bus timetables can be sketchy and some routes run less frequently during the low season, so it’s best to check.Â Homestays and hotels can usually check this for you and can sell you tickets, usually for a small premium that includes transport to the bus depot. A night bus usually leaves every evening for Jakarta at around 19:00 or 20:00.
Buses also regularly run to Surabaya from the Gilingan minibus terminal and Tirtonadi terminal, however the express trains are faster and more scenic.
Most trains to Yogyakarta depart from Solo’s Balapan station, running roughly hourly, with the first services leaving at 07:00 and 8:45 and continuing through regularly until late afternoon. Train fares to and from Yogya range between 7,000 and 20,000 rupiah for business and executive class tickets.Â Be warned â€” economy class tickets may be dirt cheap, at only 2,000 to 3,000 rupiah, but the short trip could take as long as three or four hours with frequent stops and you will have to fight for seats with the rest of the passengers.
There is the very comfortable morning Argolawu express train to Jakarta at 08:00 (executive class tickets are 220,000, duration nine hours) and an evening Argodwipungga train leaving at 20:00 from Balapan station.
Trains leave from Balapan station at 08:10, 15:00 and 16:51 and take four to five hours to reach Surabaya’s main Gubeng station.Â Business class tickets are 75,000 rupiah. Some cheaper night trains also leave from Solo after 22:00.
Solo has a large airport, the Surakarta-Adi Sumarmo Wiryokusumo International Airport, which has daily flights traveling from most major cities throughout Indonesia. International flights also fly from here to Malaysia and Singapore. AirAsia flies from Kuala Lumpur to Solo and SilkAir from Singapore.