There are plenty of interesting things to do in Solo (or Surakarta), which is famous for its artsy ‘batik’ style clothes with flower motifs. Like many other international tourists, you may go to Solo to purchase high quality batik, and while in the city you may also go to see the palace of the living Mangkunegaran Kingdom, and try different Javanese dishes. However, if you are done with all of those, don’t go home yet, as further east is where Mount Lawu is located. It’s one of the most popular spots for mountain hiking, but other than just a hiking spot, you’ll find several attractions worth visiting located on the mountain’s slope. Along with Mount Lawu, you should also visit a beautiful waterfall named Grojogan Sewu (literally meaning a thousand showers), located in Tawangmangu village, about a 1-hour drive from Solo.
The towering waterfall
There are several waterfalls in the mountain area (e.g. Parang Ijo and Jumog Waterfall), but this 81-meter (265.74 feet) tall ‘Grojogan Sewu’ waterfall, located 100 meters (328 feet) above sea level, is the tallest and most popular waterfall. The falling water spreads tiny water droplets that can reach you from a far distance, so it’s better if you keep your camera dry (unless it’s waterproof), as well as bring a raincoat or spare clothes, even if you don’t plan to play in the water.
Along the way to Grojogan Sewu
You may wonder what kind of fun you will have at the waterfall, but the fun actually starts from the road trip from Solo. It’s an hour journey to Grojogan Sewu, and as you get closer to the spot you will pass a long, winding, steep road to the hill, and along the way you will see the paddy fields, the mountains, trees, and even monkeys!
Ride a horse
As you arrive at the parking lot area, you need to walk several hundred meters to the locket. Alternatively, you or your kids can choose to ride a pony for 15,000 IDR (1.14 USD). Outside the area (between the locket and the parking lot), there are many stalls selling souvenirs like t-shirts with the picture and the word “Grojogan sewu’ printed on it, along with Javanese sculptures.
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Monkeys along the way
After paying the entrance ticket (160,000 IDR/12.17 USD per person, and free for children under 5), you need to walk down more than 600 stairs through the entrance route before reaching the waterfall. From the parking area to the entrance and all the way to the waterfall, not only will you be able to see the greeneries (there are lots of pine trees), but you can also see monkeys (the ‘macaque’ type of species, like those found in many places in Bali). You may feed the monkeys, but it’s going to be on your own expense. Make sure to keep an eye on your food and valuables, such as your camera and a phone as these monkeys aren’t shy. Once they take hold of your belonging, it’s not likely to be returned to you.
After getting enough of the waterfall, you must be hungry. Near the area, you will see many hawkers selling satay, one of Indonesia’s top delicacies! It’s skewered chicken (and rabbit too), barbecued on a small charcoal grill and fanned for several minutes before being served with peanut gravy. Not only will you love the sweet, savory taste, but you will also be fascinated with the fragrant aroma. It costs you only 10,000 IDR (0.77 USD) per 10 pieces including ‘lontong’, the rice cake, so you can always easily have another portion of it if your appetite isn’t satisfied.
Visit on weekdays
After all of that, you need to hike through the exit route, different from the entrance route, where you’ll need to climb about the same amount of stairs, which will make the total about 1250 stairs. It takes you around 10 minutes to get to the waterfall, but can take up to 20 minutes to reach the top. The ground is very slippery, so it is better if you can wear boots as the closer you are from the waterfall, the more slippery the stairs become. It’s prohibited to get too close to the waterfall as the very strong current makes it dangerous for someone to be underneath. Around the waterfall, you can also do adventurous activities, like flying fox (flying while hanging on a rope) and rafting. There is also a swimming pool, but since they are not heated it tends to be very cold!. It’s better to come on weekdays as on weekends the place is overwhelmed with visitors, and you have to queue for quite a long time to receive your ticket.
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