*This is a guest blog entry. For more details on our guest blogger, please scroll to the end of the entry!
Itinerary for the day
Bromo Sunrise -> Bromo crater -> Lunch -> Ijen View Resort Hotel -> Massage -> Dinner
Rise and shine as we begin our second day by setting out in our four wheel jeep drive to the view point at Mt Penanjakan on the rim of the Tengger caldera, in hopes of catching the sunrise and the mythological landscape of Mt Bromo and Mt Semeru coloured in orange hues by the first rays of the sun. Mount Bromo is named after the Hindu God of Creation, Brahma, and aptly so!
The drive up to the view point is in pitch black darkness and it is amazing how the drivers, armed with just their torchlights to survey the surroundings, can figure the right path to the view point. The only things we could see were the cars moving ahead of and trailing behind us.
We reached the viewpoint at approximately 4.00 am but the area was already bustling with tourists camping at the better spots waiting for the sunrise, and vendors renting out down jackets at 10,000 IDR for those who were inadequately dressed for the weather. For us, the sunrise was at 5.36 am – our guide presented us with 2 options: (1) warm ourselves with a cuppa coffee before heading over to the viewpoint; (2) head over to the viewpoint to secure a good spot. As I was planning to take good photographs with my tripod and DSLR, I decided to head over early to find a good spot to position my tripod.
For those who are avid photographers with tripods, I would suggest heading over early as the good spots are snapped up pretty quickly. As there is comparatively (to the city) less light pollution, you can gaze at the stars, attempt to take photographs of the milky way, eavesdrop on the conversations of strangers, and even catch a glimpse of a shooting star or two (as I did :D) while waiting for the sunrise!
As the sun began to rise, we witnessed the spectacular change in the colours of Mt Bromo and Mt Semeru – from greyish brown to bright orange. We were frantically alternating between taking photographs of the sunrise to our left, and of the active volcanos to our right. The mountains looked so surreal, as through they were amidst the clouds, but in actual fact, what seemed like clouds was merely a layer of fog above the ground (which was clearly visible to us the previous evening!)
As our guide wanted to bring us to different viewpoints before the crowds started dispersing and heading towards these other viewpoints as well, we reluctantly left the first viewpoint, but the subsequent viewpoints did not disappoint, and allowed us to soak in the panoramic views of Mt Bromo and Mt Semeru basking in the morning sun rays from different angles.
Our guide then drove us to Love Hills (named as such as lovers frequented the place) for another photograph opportunity with Mt Bromo and Mt Semeru as the backdrop.
Tip: The temperature is cold (approximately 10-15 degrees) but not unbearable, as there is no wind chill.
Next, we were driven to the parking area (where the fog lies), where we would begin our trek to the base of Mt Bromo, and up 245 steps of stairs to the rim of the Mt Bromo crater.
You have the option of getting to the foot of the 245 steps of stairs by foot, or on the back of a horse. Personally, I would recommend walking but it is your choice to make.
The trek through the fog is approximately 10 minutes; the trek up the crater to the base of the staircase (where you would dismount your horse if you choose to ride one) takes approximately 15-20 mins; thereafter, the 245 steps of stairs is the last obstacle between you and your view of the volcano from the rim of the Mt Bromo crater.
Walking through the “Sea of Sand”, I felt like I was walking through a sand storm. Visibility was only approximately 5 metres!
As we started trekking from the base of the crater, the ashes started to irritate our respiratory tracts and we had to wear our surgical masks.
Finally, we reached the base of the 245 steps standing between us and our destination. Tourists had to dismount their horses here. At the base of the 245 steps, there were locals selling snacks (to recharge) and selling offerings as well! Notice how one photo appears very foggy while the other is super clear – this is how fast the surroundings change!
This is the first time I have seen the inside of an ACTIVE volcano and it was magical with endless streams of smoke billowing from its main vent.
Tip: Bring surgical masks to protect from the ashes.
Finally, we were ready to head back to our accommodation for some breakfast, to check out, and begin our 6 hour drive to Kawah Ijen area. Now is the time for you to catch some sleep! (because your next day begins at 11.30 pm on the same day)
We arrived at Ijen View Resort Hotel at 3.30 pm. As it was ‘free and easy’ time, we decided on treating ourselves to a javanese massage, to prepare our muscles for the strenuous day ahead. The massage room is a little old and musty, so it might be a better idea to request for the massage to be done in your hotel room.
Tip: Remember to have a hearty meal because it will have to last you while you are awake from 12.00am to 8.00am the next day. Bring snacks if you think you cannot withstand the hunger. Although i didn’t feel hungry until i reached the bottom of the Ijen crater because, as my friend described, it was my fight and flight response – my body was too tense and too busy concentrating on not falling off or slipping, it forgot it was hungry.
Stay tuned for my next entry, where I bring you to the legendary blue-flamed Ijen Crater! 🙂
More about our guest blogger
Yumi is a full-time lawyer who enjoys travelling to remote places and going on hikes. She is an advocate of solo travel and loves interacting with locals. To get in touch with her, email her at: bongyumi92[at]gmail.com 🙂