Indonesia is an archipelago blessed with a plethora of natural wonders that make fantastic destinations. This time, I’ll take you through a hike to Mount Bromo, the most popular mountain in Java island.
Our group moved at 2.30 AM in order to catch the sunrise. It was totally dark outside, and felt incredibly cold. I briefly checked my smartphone and it showed a temperature of 2 Celsius. We hopped on a jeep to take us to the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. Traffic was slow. Obviously it was not only our idea to watch a sunrise. It took 40 minutes or so till we got off the jeep at the base of the mountain. Our guide recommended going to toilet immediately because there wouldn’t be any on the top. The so-called toilet was a row of 4 simple wooden cubicles with a squat toilet inside, with one out of order. And oh boy, did I mention the long queue? There were like ten people in front of each cubicle. I’d skip it but since some people on the team needed to go I figured it’d be better than waiting. When it’s finally my turn, the toilet floor was flooded due to a broken flowing tap. Fortunately the toilet itself was situated on a stage so it was safe to take a pee. I’d be really annoyed if my shoes got wet on such a cold day.
When everybody’s ready we started on the trail with flashlights on. We followed the guide climbing up the raw soil. It was quite steep with no man-made stairs but some visible trail by millions of footsteps before ours. Occasionally there’s a need to actually climb by touching the ground to balance myself. Although in comparison with a previous hike to the Ijen Crater, this trail was a lot easier and less time consuming. We reached Viewpoint #2 before 4 AM, which surprisingly was paved with concrete and there was even a bright lamppost, reminded me of a basketball court. Apart from it and visitors’ flashlights, the surrounding area was dark. Down there was a line of moving red and yellow dots. Traffic. At a distance there were another line of twinkling dots that must be visitors with their flashlights climbing up another view point. Stars shined brightly over our heads though sometimes obstructed by passing clouds. I of course attempted to take a decent ‘starry night’ photo but all I got with a smartphone was unappealing white dots over a black background.
Gradually, the sky began to lighten up. The crowd was excited. People moved from their waiting spot towards the edge of the mountain. Sadly the long awaited glorious red sun did not show itself due to cloudy weather. Still, the fresh morning sky was beautiful.
The highest mountain on this photo above is Mount Semeru, belching out clouds of steam like an old chain smoker. Fun fact, it is the tallest mountain in Java, and the most active volcano in Indonesia – it is known to erupt periodically as often as every 20 minutes.
In front of Semeru with an odd shape is Mount Bromo. The top has been blown off, revealing a crater that blows out white smoke, which we will get up close with on the next post.
This smaller mountain is called Mount Batok. We’ll visit too on the next post. At the time being, let’s enjoy a lovely walk.
As the sun rose higher, the temperature got warmer. It was fresh and cool and nice. Truth be told, all this lush scenery was unusual to a local city girl like me so it felt like I was teleported to a pretty little countryside in some foreign country.
This picture above is my favourite shot in the whole trip. Picturesque mountain view and a romantic couple (my friends) hand in hand. #relationshipgoal
On a side note, Bromo has a jazz music festival held every summer. If you are a jazz lover, it is a great idea to combine your mountain sight-seeing with the festival. Check out the dates in advance, as they do change from year to year. For 2016, it will be held on Aug 19 – Aug 20. More info on Jazz Gunung Official Website.
The adventure is not finished yet! I will take you through the rest of the hike where we visited the Teletubbies Field, the Whispering Sands, and then finally got up close with the mouth of Mount Bromo.
See you then!