Stunning Mt Bromo

Trip Start Jun 22, 2012
Trip End Jul 17, 2012

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Flag of Indonesia  , East Java,
Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fifteen people (12 of us, Nova the guide and 2 drivers) into 2 short wheel base jeeps simply does not work … well actually it does, but it was a tight squeeze.

The 3 am wake up call that didn’t happen ... not to worry, I had set my alarm. We were suppose to all be gathered at 3.30am, which we were, but it wasn’t till 4.30 am when we eventually left.

Apparently the jeeps were suppose to pick us up at 4 am. I don’t know why we needed all this time to get ready in light that we were to return afterwards for breakfast and a shower. Another 30 minutes sleep would have worked wonders.

Then how to pack us 12 travellers, plus Nova into these 2 small jeeps. Not easy at all. Fine if you are of a small Asian build, but the larger version like me and the Europeans made for a very cosy snug fit. Thank goodness the first part was only a 20 minute drive. Yes, a 3rd vehicle would have been appreciated by us all!

Even at this hour of the morning, the souvenir sellers were waiting for us as we piled into the vans!
Even with the later start, it was still pitch dark as we clambered our way up the path and steps to the view point at Gunung Leninakan (2,770 m) over looking the below Cemoro Lawang or crater. With our torches picking our way, we eventually got to the top in only 15 minutes. Boy, it felt much longer than that as it was a steep switch back trail going in only one direction - upwards.

Sunrise over this eerie sea of volcanoes will be an unforgettable experience. Sorry for so many photos but this is a once in a lifetime experience as I probably won’t be returning. I took so many for later HDR processing.

From the sky being jet black as we walked up to see the various hues of reds, oranges then blues fill the horizon. The planet Venus was quite evident as well. My first photo of the sunrise was taken at 5 am.

While the sunrise was not over Mt Bromo etc itself, our attention at 5.15 am soon focused on how the morning light changed over these 3 quite different shape and textile volcanoes. We even took the obligatory group photo and this will be one to remember the journey to get up here by. (Mt) Gunung Semeru even gave off several times puffs of white cloud simply to say ... ‘‘Hey, I am still active!’’

Back down and by 6.15 am we piled back into the 2 jeeps and off down into the main Tengger crater itself.

Soon we started to walk across Laotian Pasir or the 'sea of sand' to the base of Mt Bromo. In front of us faced the climb up to the lip of the crater looking into the still active cone of Mt Bromo. The walk and climb up to the bottom of the steps was not too difficult at all, just 30 mins and with no wind it was also not cold so the extra layers of clothing was not needed. I can however see it could be very cold or windy! It was like a human ant trail as we walked and then climbed up the 253 steps. Yes, I counted them to verify Lonely Planet's claim. Some impatient tourists could not simply wait their turn and would have to push their way up the ‘down’ stairs. The stairs took 15 minutes as we had a lot of waiting for those in front to move ahead.

By now at 7.20 am once at the crater rim, the sun was well and truly climbing and the shadows on the surrounding mountains and sand dunes was fast disappearing and the landscape colours were becoming flat as well. Inside the crater it was constantly letting off steaming sulphurous clouds.Since the last eruption, no repair work has been done on the stairs or concrete safety rail at the top. Not exactly safe especially with all those people jostling for a position at the top to view and take their photos.

Downwards and I followed others who followed another well worn trail by keeping to the right away from the dust kicked up by the walkers and horses still heading up. Apparently the horses have their own trail to follow.

Hint of warning for anyone coming here, bring a disposable surgical face mask as the fine grey sandy ash like dust got in everywhere. It didn’t help that besides us humans, the horses taking those who did not want to walk also kicked up a lot of the dust.

Just before the jeep park is the locked Batok and Hindu temples that is only open on auspicious days in the pilgrim’s calendar.

Soon by 9 am we were back at Yoschi’s Hotel and Restaurant and our pre-ordered breakfast the night before was ready for us. Some then made use of the luxury of the single available “VIP” hot shower room while others had a cold shower in their rooms to freshen up and wash the fine sand off the skin.

Breakfast was for me a cup of Bromo coffee (lemon grass, cinnamon, ginger, milk and coffee) 15,000 Rp, Buch-buahan Lengkap or fruit salad complete with coconut, honey, yoghurt and museli 27,000 Rp, a Jaffle Yoschi Stimewa (special - vegetarian) 20,000 Rp. My 2 meals here cost 152,000 Rp (NZ $20 or US $18).

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