Mount Bromo – 2,392m mountain is an active volcano located in East Java, Indonesia. With Mount Semeru, Mount Batok and Segara Wedi (Sea of Sands), Mount Bromo is part of Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park.
No matter if you are staying in Jakarta or in Bali, if you are within a couple of hours away either by road or by plane you are most likely to be recommended to do Mount Bromo Sunrise Tour. There is a reason why. This once in a lifetime sunrise walk opportunity is just like waking up in dreamland.
It starts with meeting with our driver that has been organised by Turrima Ticket Tour in Malang. They are Indonesian speaking tour company (my native language). Indonesian company are trained to deal with English speaker so do not hesitate to contact them. They were flexible and able to accommodate to our last minute request for a sunrise tour. The booking we did was all through emails and they will guide you through the process.
It was after midnight pick up for us as our company would like to get us there early – I will explain why. Even though the sunrise is not due until 5.30AM and the trip to Mount Penanjakan (sunrise viewing point) is only 2 1/2 hours away which means we would get there at 3AM and wait for at least a couple of hours.
We continued our sleep in the comfortable van. We didn’t forget our jacket as this is a 2,770m climb and just in case of windy road, we took some ginger tablet with us. We arrived very early around 3.30AM and our driver told us to stay put to rest before our hike. He told us that we have plenty of time until the sunrise but if we would like to get a good spot we should start walking at 4AM.
We waited until our phone watch said that it’s 4AM. We hop out of our car, not quiet sure where we needed to walk or how far. Apart from lights coming out from street food stalls, the surrounds is pitch dark. Luckily, we were given torch by our driver. The temperature is around 10 or 15 degree then. Yes, for Indonesia, it really is a cold place.
The hike is basically walking up sealed path that is shared with cars. It was quiet an uphill walk and a tight space walk, cars people, food stalls are all on the same road. We followed the mass of people. The further we go up, the more people we see, the further we realised how busy this platform might be. We didn’t even know how big the viewing point is. So we started to power on and walked faster.
The viewing point is extremely popular. When I said extremely, it’s extreme. There were hardly any space to stand without touching shoulders. We sneaked into the front row and found an empty spot – standing on the fence. That we did. We held onto the fence posts for as long as we could to be one of the first people in the group to experience the sunrise without distraction.
The sun light coming through slowly and we started seeing shapes in front of us. Mountains.
We saw many pictures of the national park in many colours and shapes but to see it in real life is one of the best experience we have ever had. We watched the sun rays hitting the mountains region slowly and steady. The light seeping through were exposing something magical in front of us. We understood why everyone is here and why this place is something that is worth to visit once in a lifetime.
The row of mountains are painting like. The smokes coming out from Mount Bromo adds some dramatic atmosphere. The combinations of different shapes and heights of the mountains, how they sits in the large middle of mysterious dark sands are dream like. The incredible scenery are one of the most memorable thing we have ever captured. It’s not everyday that we get to spend our time up close with such magnificent natural phenomenon. You have to see it to believe it.
Next we were transferred to a jeep (with grilled corn fresh from Mount Penanjakan for our breakfast). We were going down to the crater to see the mounts up close. It was 7AM, the trucks carrying rocks for building materials are already set in motion. Jeep is the only transport used for tourist to climb down the unsealed road, it’s rocky and very sandy.
All Jeeps parked on the foot of Bromo crater, but it was quiet a distance to walk to the actual mount itself (approx. 2km). There are horse ride waiting for every single new arrivals. Our jeep driver encouraged us to get on the horse. We hesitated, we started walking but the horseman followed us politely whilst telling us that it will get harder as it’s closer to the crater. We negotiated the horse ride price along the way. Half heartedly we agreed on an amount and got on the horse. At the end, we were glad we did. The black sandy ground got much harder to walk on, there are lot’s of uneven ground, at one point, our legs went too deep into the sand and resulted to our pants to be very dusty. It was hard to breath and see with so much dust around us. It was getting a lot hotter as the sun rise up higher. Horse ride is the way to go.
The horse ride stopped right underneath the crater. From there we walked up numbers of concrete stairs. At the top, we could view the inside of the crater and seeing the smokes up close. There are path along the edges of the mountain, if we choose to, we could do a loop. It was a magnificent feel to be on top one of Java’s icon landmark.
Next (also by jeep) we were taken to ‘Sea of Sands’, this is basically all around the crater. There are mountains of black sands to take a walk and a great photo opportunity. This location were used in 2001 Indonesian movie Pasir Berbisik or Whispering Sands.
Apart from Mount Penanjakan, Mount Bromo and Sea of Sands the next closest sightseeing place is called Savana Hills or Teletubbies Hills. From dark dusty sandy foot to walking on peaceful and lush green hills – it’s a wonder how this location is come about right next to an active volcanic mountain.
From Savana Hills we hopped back into our jeep and back to our initial van then to the motel. We drank lots and lots of water to wash the dust we must have breath in. Our clothing were black, we carried sands everywhere, on our backs, shoes, hair. But we could only think about dreaming of going back again one day.
WHERE ELSE TO BE EXPLORED
How bout a 4 days 3 nights hike to Mount Semeru. The climb is 3,676m high. To do this, it’s recommended to book 6 months in advance and best to do it as a group. The bigger your group is, the cheaper your guides and porters will be. Most tour agency in Indonesia will be able to organise all equipment including foods, tent etc, all you will need is your own warm clothing. If you are on budget and are self equipped traveller, by all means, you can definitely do this independently.