Happy Thursdays, lovelies. This week seems to have flown by though not sure what I’ve been doing – does that happen to you? Hehe Anyway, after our trek up to the top of Ijen Crater, my body was feeling pretty beat up and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to trek up Mount Bromo. Luckily Li Ling took pity on me and told me that we could always change our plans and go up in the Jeep. So I decided to be lazy and thought that was a fantastic idea. We spoke to Sam, our driver, and he made the necessary arrangements.
As we were now taking the Jeep, we were told our driver would come pick us up at 3am. The thought of an extra 2 hours of sleep was music to my ears! But damn, the hotel we were at was super cute from the outside, but the rooms were suuuper basic. To be honest, we weren’t sure how clean it was and it was an icebox inside the room. We went to bed around 8 or 9pm and it was so cold inside the bed, I don’t think I moved that whole time. But 2:30am came way too soon and the alarm rang. We quickly got dressed and headed out to meet our driver.
The drive was about 45 minutes long and it was quite bumpy as you’re driving across the Sea of Sand. It’s a vast expanse of flat terrain but the sand is what makes it unique – it’s volcanic sand! – and you almost feel like you’re in outer space or something. We had watched the Jeeps drive through when we had initially arrived to Bromo and we were watching the sunset. Mount Bromo is an active volcano and is part of the Tengger Massif in East Java, Indonesia. It’s one of the most famous of volcanoes in Indonesia and is super touristy. Its 2329 meters (7,641 ft). They say that if Mount Merapi erupts, Mount Bromo will erupt afterwards. Weirdly, Mount Merapi did erupt on the Friday we arrived in Surabaya and there was definitely a smoke plume coming from Mount Bromo, but luckily it did not erupt while we were there!
The local Tengger people believe that the Mount Bromo is of important significance. It’s where their beloved Prince sacrificed his life for his family. So each year during the Kasada festival, the Tengger people will throw food and money into the crater as an offering to the Gods. Read more about the Kasada festival here.
Our Jeep driver was not the friendliest. I’m not sure he spoke English, so maybe that was part of the reason. And well, I don’t speak Bahasa Indonesian other then some random words. So as we weren’t hiking up to Mount Bromo, the Jeep tours take you to the top of Mount Penanjakan to watch the sunrise over Mount Bromo. When we arrived as far as we could, he gestured for us to get out of the car. He then pointed into a direction and told us to walk. Li Ling and I were a bit confused, but we did as we were told. There are a lot of stalls lining the road, where food and drinks are being sold. Cup of Noodles were quite popular!
We finally figured out that path we were meant to walk and followed that up to a lookout point. Even at 4am-ish, the lookout point was heaving with people. We were all jostling trying to find a good view point. But then we got bored and we decided to go down another path and we came upon another lookout point and that’s where we ended up parking ourselves. There were still less people there at that point, but with time, it was pretty jam packed.
Looking up at the sky, you see the stars shining so brightly and they seem so close to you. You could actually see the Milky Way that evening and it was so beautiful to see it with your naked eye. Sadly, my photography skills are not that advanced, so I have no photographic evidence. You’ll just have to take my word for it! We were told the sun would rise around 4:45am. And well, there’s not much to do up there other then wait. And mind you, it was pretty cold up there just standing around and waiting. So we killed some time by trying to take some selfies, as you do!! And this was one that cracked us up. The flash blinded us and oh boy, we look so pretty! 😉 You can also see that the sun was beginning to rise with the orange and yellows.
Once the sun began to rise, that’s when the magic happened. I’ll let the pictures speak for itself!
You would think that Mount Bromo is the middle volcano, but actually it’s to the left and the one spewing smoke. The top of Mount Bromo got blown off, so it’s a somewhat flat volcano. It was then fun to see that Mount Semeru in the distance started smoking up as well! Mount Semeru is actually the highest summit in Java and the most challenging to summit. Maybe one day! 😉
Ha. Honestly, it was jam packed with tourists all vying for the perfect spot to take pictures.
And well, as the sun went higher up the sky, that orange glow was now just a memory and so we started the journey back to find our Jeep and driver. We asked someone to take a picture of us and we got massively photo bombed. HAHA
Who knows who these guys were, but they’re in our pictures. The best part was, each guy then asked for individual pictures for themselves with us. So we were there for a good 15 minutes having our pictures taken. Ahh, gotta love Asia! 😉
We walked back and found our Jeep. The drive down Mount Penanjakan was so scenic!! Here! Take a look!
Next up on our little tour was the Sea of Sand. Since when we drove by earlier and it was pitch black, we obviously couldn’t see much but this time around we were able to get out and stretch our feet. You can opt to hire a horse and walk across the Sea of Sand but we opted not to. The horses looks quite small – definitely not the kind of horses I’m used to – but I later found out these are quarter horses. So they won’t be as big/tall as the horses we think of. But nevertheless, I had read that these horses are not well kept after and I’m all for ethical animal tours and I wasn’t convinced this was. In the picture above, you can see Mount Bromo directly behind it. We were lazy, so we didn’t walk closer to it. We just hung out for a bit and played around.
We were driven back to our hotel and went for breakfast. After that, we went to take a nap before we were on the road again back to Surabaya and the airport.
What did you think? Would you want to hike up Mount Bromo or just catch the sunrise from Mount Penanjakan?