Mt. Bromo

Trip Start May 20, 2010
Trip End May 24, 2010

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Where I stayed
Hotel Helios

Flag of Indonesia  , Java,
Saturday, May 22, 2010

We started our day very early in the morning. We were kindly waken up by a hotel staff member at 1:30 a.m., because we had booked the Bromo sunrise tour of the hotel. The participants were just two of us, Idrus, our Indonesian guide speaking English, and a driver took us to the foot of Mt. Pananjakan, where the observation deck for the sunrise was located. We transferred to a jeep there and headed for the top of the mountain at 2,770 meters high. It was very uncomfortable trip on a winding and bumpy road.

 After we got off the jeep, we walked up to a cafe and had hot milk there. We were able to borrow heavy jackets for Rp. 10,000 each. The observation deck was almost there. There had already been some tourists standing along the fence, but its number got larger and larger after that. Unfortunately, we couldn't see a sunrise on the day, because it was cloudy, but we didn't care so much about it. Just the scenery up there was breathtaking enough. It was so spectacular that it was hard for us to leave there for a while. Mt. Pananjakan is not as famous as Mt. Bromo, but it has an incredibly great whole view of Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park. When we went down, we dropped by the cafe to return our jackets and to have simple breakfast. Then we headed for the foot of Mt. Bromo. The base of trekking in Mt. Bromo was located in a highland savannah and even the savannah crossing to the base was so exciting. A lot of jeeps were parked around there and some Tenggers waited for us to rent a horse. My guide haggled with a horseman in Javanese for us and then I paid Rp.125,000 for a rental horse. My mom definitely needed a horse to climb the mountain, although I was fit enough to climb up to the top. The horse trail was different from the self-climber trail.On my way up, I got worried about my mom, because she was not used to riding a horse. (Besides, we didn't have health insurance.) So once I climbed up to the middle of the trail, I went down to the foot on the horse trail to look for her. I couldn't see her on my way down, but that was because she was far ahead of me. Anyway, we met each other under the steps leading to the crater. The number of steps was 249 and it looked quite demanding. So my mom gave up on the crater and took a rest with Idrus until I came down. On my way up to the rim, I took a rest to catch my breath a couple of times, but considering the smoking crater and a view from up there, the steps were really rewarding. Actually, the crater was quite small, although it looked very large when I saw it at the top of Mt. Pananjakan. Anyway, it was my second time to see a volcano next to Mt. Eden of Auckland. Mt Eden crater was not active, so the scenery was completely different. After I descended the mountain, we headed back to Malang. On our way back, we stopped by a local restaurant for early lunch and I had Mie Goreng, which was what I had expected to eat at least once in Indonesia. Mie Goreng was just fried noodle, but it was a memorable Indonesian dish to me, because I had Mie Goreng almost everyday while I was in Australia. We also dropped by a small temple called Candi Singosari. It was one of the tourism spots in Malang, but after Mt. Bromo, nothing was impressive. 

We were back at Helios Hotel at 12:40. We had nothing to do after that. We booked a minibus for Denpasar and we thought about the way to kill time. Then, the local festival Tempoe Doeloe happened to take place in JL. Ijen, so we decided to try it. We caught a becak (or the driver found us) just in front of the hotel and headed for the festival. I negotiated the fare with the driver beforehand and it was Rp. 2,000, because he was a poor English speaker. Of course, he complained when I tried to hand him Rp. 2,000 and asked for Rp. 20.000. I was a bit mad, but paid Rp. 8,000 and left him. (When we went back to our hotel, I haggled with two different becak drivers, but their fares were also Rp. 20,000. So the fare for tourists seemed fixed at Rp. 20,000.) The venue was filled with locals, food stalls, dance stages, and horse carts. We found a few monkey shows as well. However, it was a local festival and it seemed to be a festival for the locals, not for tourists. So we hung around there only half an hour and that was enough. We felt like going back to our hotel, although we had no other plan. In the hotel, I lay on the bed for a while, reading my LP guide.and my next action was going to Pasar Burung, the bird market. I walked 10 minutes up to the market, but 5 minutes was enough for the bird market. On my way back, I found an interesting spot called Taman Rekreasi Senaputra in which the gamelan orchestra was practised. It was not my intention, but a lady at the gate didn't speak English and so she kindly invited me to the park for free. According to the LP guide, the park seemed famous for a traditional East Javanese dance performed on Sunday morning. After I went back to my hotel, I laid on my bed for a while. Then someone knocked the door. It was the hotel manager. He told us to prepare for departure, because the minibus schedule had changed. It was very sudden, but it happens in Indonesia, because the lack of passengers made the bus number fewer.
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