We fumbled our way out of the warm comfort of the room right into the chill air of Bromo at four in the morning and hopped groggily on a waiting jeep. We shared the jeep with five others including the driver. Then we joined dozens other jeeps to dash across the sea of sand towards Mount Pananjakan where we’d watch the sun rising over Bromo.
The ride was exhilarating. The road was a zig-zag and mostly uphill and it was like being in an army convoy or something where there are dozens other jeeps moving along in front and behind us. It was not particularly chilly but I was glad I had my jacket on.
We arrived at the viewing point as they call it in about half an hour later. A lot of jeeps were already there and a lot more were coming in. I joined the crowds to walk up a few sets of stairs where a beautiful gate was waiting to usher us into the unforgettable experience of watching one of the most spectacular views that the island of Java could offer.
Everybody was waiting in eagerness as the clock ticked. Of course, the kiasu of me mounted the safety fence without the slightest dot of shame, hoping to get the best view of the mountains and free from the craning heads of other spectators.
And then, it came, first a tiny golden dot that illuminated shyly through the dark clouds and then it got bigger and bigger as it rose, casting its golden rays over Bromo.
The view that followed was spectacular. The whole valley is shrouded in thick cotton-like mist with the beautiful Mount Bromo jotting out somewhere in the middle.
Mount Semeru gave its own share of the beauty with its towering figure further away at the back and I couldn’t help but feeling a tinge of frustration thinking that I should be up there instead of looking at it from afar. Uhuks!
But I’m sure Mount Semeru is not going to go anywhere anyway – not anytime soon. LOL.
After spending some time taking in the view, we returned to the jeep which then took us back to the sea of sand. We didn’t go to the crater right away like most people would do.
Instead, after discussing among ourselves, we agreed to the driver’s suggestion to pay an additional fee of 50 rupiah per person to be taken to a place called Safana and later a Pasir Besisik – two places in Bromo that I had surprisingly never heard nor read about before.
And we did not regret it at all. The experience of riding on a jeep in a vast grassy land was simply amazing and unforgettable. The beautiful sight of horses galloping rhythmically along to catch up with us and the exhilarating sound of their thumping hooves would stay in my head forever. It felt like being in a movie set for some kind of cowboy story or something. He.
We first went to Safana. It is the kind of places that you wouldn’t even believe the existence of, not in Indonesia or even South East Asia for that matter. The volcano might have done much damage to the surrounding but it also left Bromo with such a spectacular contour transformation.
I really wished I could say there longer, probably doing a little bit of trekking up the hills and enjoy the view more. The mist was just about to lift up so it really was a majestic view.
We turned back towards the crater and stopped at Pasir Besisik on the way. Pasir Besisik is actually part of the volcano itself. The series of eruptions in the past had resulted in heavy outpouring of ashes from the crater which over time has consolidated to form such a very rare earth surface.
The jeep wouldn’t take you right to foothill of the mountain. Instead, it would stop a few kilometers from the foothill (2-3 kilometers) so you have to walk your way over to the crater.
Of course it has all been done so that the people in Bromo can do a little bit of businesses out of the volcano. They’d be there offering you a horse ride with some negotiable fee but of course you can always say no to them.
Since we already went to the crater the day before, we decided to do something that is probably rarely done by other visitors to Bromo and that was to take on the other mountain – Gunung Batok.
It wasn’t as easy to conquer as it looked. It was a little bit of struggle especially when we had to return to the jeep before the rest did so that we wouldn’t leave them waiting under the now sweltering sun.
There was no absolute trail so we had to find our own way up to the peak. Every now and then we’d stop to catch our breath and looked at each other as if asking without really asking whether to press on or just give up. None of us would give up our balls by doing the later. LOL.
After so much struggle against gravity and time, we finally managed to reach the peak. Apparently, the peak was a flat area of rock, probably wide enough to do a futsal match or something.
The view from there was beyond words. It might be good to see the crater up close but looking DOWN at it from another mountain is simply OMG. You can see the whole stretch of the valley and the rim of the crater and the smoke that continuously billows out from it.
After taking some photos, we ran back to the jeep where the other passengers were already waiting. Of course I always knew how to look apologetic and they all seemed to buy it. “It’s OK”, they all said almost unanimously and I pulled on my sheepish look. LOL
We returned to the hotel just in time to catch the free breakfast. After packing up, we had to say good bye to Cemara Indah Hotel and the spectacular view of Bromo from its veranda. Uhuks!
After waiting for almost one and half hours, the minivan finally started down the mountain towards Probolinggo, bringing in it us and all the beautiful memories of Bromo that would stay in us forever.