From the view point of Mount Penanjakan, you can take in the magnificent sight of Mount Bromo a good 3000 meteres above sea level. What makes Bromo so special besides being an active volcano, is that surrounding this mountain are the dramatic landscapes to complete a wholesome picture, like one from a painting.
What makes it alluring?
When I decided to go ahead with this trip, there were plenty on my mind:
• Can I really climb a volcano?
• What if the volcano suddenly becomes active?
• I’ve heard Indonesia isn’t safe, especially in Java. What’s to become of my parents if anything were to happen to me *gasps*
So many questionsssssssssssssssssss.
All my worries were unfounded. Instead, what I got back from this trip surpassed my expectations.
Mount Bromo is located some 4 hours drive away from Surabaya, the capital of East Java. There are many agencies in Java Indonesia that leads tours up to Bromo. The agent I engaged drove through the night up the mountain to Ngadisari’s Yoschi’s Guest House, the accommodation I picked to stay for the night.
It was frightening to peek over the vehicle’s window as all you can see is pure darkness. The vehicle’s headlights were the only source we had, climbing up the mountain. One mistake and I’ll be plunging down the mountain.
Again, my worries proved unfounded. By the time I arrived at Yoschi’s Guest House, it was already close to 10pm. The room was adequate with hot shower facilities, the only thing I’ll need then.
Complete with a wooden planked bed, sleep was next in mind after the shower. Temperature was pretty cold due to its location at the foot of the mountain, some 2000 meters above sea level.
Waking up at 3am was surprisingly less tedious than I thought it would be. I was to assemble with the other adventure seekers on a jeep to bring us to the foot of Mount Penanjakan, where we have to begin ascending it to get a vantage point for our photos.
Overestimating myself and rejecting the offer of pony tenders to assist me in the climb upwards, I huffed and puffed my way up. Tracks were dark and unlit, so feeling your path with your foot was the way to go. Oh yes, ponies are available if you decide on that route for 20,000 rupiahs (approximately 3 SGD).
All was worth it. The climb. Waking up early. The trip expenses. When the panoramic view of Mount Bromo and its surrounding landscape was just in front of me, I couldn’t blink. Careful not to miss a step as this means plunging to your death.
Mount Bromo fronted the scenery, with another volcano Mount Semeru as its back piece. The very suaku me, as a typical Singaporean being born and bred in the concrete jungle, was in awe as I took in the sight for a while. In fact I was late by the time I descended back to the jeep parked at the foot.
This time round I took a ride on the pony down. It was harder than I thought. With the rocky path, the pony (Rocky was his name by the way) was swaying left and right, making it difficult to balance. I soon got a hang of it though – trick was to lean back : )
Back at the foot, the jeep will this time take the group to another foot – that of Mount Bromo, or thereabouts actually. There is a distance of a few kilometres for you to walk to the foot of Mount Bromo still, passing a Hindu temple along the way. According to legend, the volcano used to be a place of sacrifice. People who lived there in the past sacrificed their new born, which was subsequently substituted by vegetables, flowers, poultry and money.
250 steps separated me from the crater of Mount Bromo. Small bouquets of flower can be bought along the way up, supposedly a form of good luck if you throw it into the crater. Persistent sellers had me forking out 30,000 rupiah for one.
The climb was tiring. I remembered telling myself to at least train a little for the next volcano or mountain I would conquer. Smoke was still emitting from the crater when I found a spot for a shot of it.
At the mouth of the crater, there was this Caucasian dude who threw his pack of cigarettes down inconsiderately. One of the locals actually went in to retrieve the litter and climbed back up casually. Impressive.
Breathless from both the sight and the climb, I took yet another while before the descent.
PS: For Java tours, you may contact The Chan Brothers Fly N Stay team at 6212 9688.
For Free & Easy Indonesia, you can check out our flights page at http://www.chanbrothers.com/flights/ and hotel booking at http://www.chanbrothers.com/hotel/. For those who are feeling adventurous might want to try out Chan’s World Holidays – offering unusual destinations around the world http://www.chans-world.com/ and also check out their FB Page at http://www.facebook.com/chansworld.