A mere peek inside the crater was enough to send shivers down my spine. It was not an ordinary sight where a huge vent was seen emitting white colored fumes and a fiery sound from the bottom of the crater of Mount Bromo was adding notes to the spectacle.
It’s not everyday when you find yourself walking on the moon like landscape in the company of clouds and mist, reaching the caldera to witness the experience of a lifetime. It Indeed was one for me!
Surabaya – the base city for visiting Mount Bromo
Having read much about the type of volcanoes and where to witness those in my geography class as a child, I had a clearly defined plan to visit Mount Bromo, an active volcano in Indonesia during my trip there. Although there are multiple places to have your base to visit Mount Bromo, I decided on my base as Surabaya. Surabaya is an ancient port city and the capital of East Java. Quite a cosmopolitan city for it is, yet flooded with a rich heritage to be appreciated. Surabaya is not a popular tourist spot yet deserves to be visited for more reasons than one, more on this in another blog for sure.
A comfortable drive till Mount Bromo with a local tour operator company
I booked our trip with a tour company www.bromotour.com which conducts group tours to Mount Bromo from Surabaya. The fluent english speaking driver picked us up from our hotel POP! Hotel Diponegoro at 10 pm and we settled ourselves in a private comfortable minivan. We headed towards Probolinggo, the city which houses Mount Bromo. After a smooth drive of four hours, we reached the base village called Cemorolawang village where our sleepy selves were awakened by a hot cup of tea and some snacks. It is also the place from where hike to view sunrise against the backdrop of Mount Bromo starts. The other way to reach the view-point is by 4X4 jeep which was included in the tour we had booked.
A remarkable sunrise during the trip to Mount Bromo
We started at 3am from the village in the 4X4 jeep and enjoyed our sluggish ride on broken roads till we reached Pananjakan Peaks to indulge in the most sought after sunrise of Indonesia. All this while I was wondering if we were too early and how would we spend time at the peak for next 120-180 minutes till the sun rise. It must be quite cold too at the top was another thought which crossed my mind while I zipped my jacket up in the jeep. I was about to tell the driver that we might cozily sit in the jeep for another hour before we take the last steps to the peak. And just then, driver told us to rush towards the peak else we might not get the place to witness the perfect view. Hurriedly we got down and started racing towards the peak (I always abide by the instructions of locals. Yes, I do.)
My mind just wouldn’t believe the sight. There was not a single ray of light and the crowd had already taken the places in front with their huge cameras and tripods placed. I mean there must be more than 200 professional cameras lined up in the front with absolutely no place to barge in. We switched on the flash light of our phone and made our ways to as much front as possible. I have beheld a lot of spectacular sun rises before but looking at the crowd in thousands there, I was all charged for the drama to unfold.
The first pink strike on the pitch dark sky was alluring and then in no time the colors appeared splashed upon the huge canvas of sky. The hue proportions, the strikes and the contrasts were beyond imagination of a mortal soul like me. I couldn’t take off my eyes from be dazzling show nature had put for us. By the way, all this was happening parallel to the unveiling of the majestic Mount Bromo. I was left bewildered to appreciate the mist uncovering the sight of an active volcano or to indulge myself in the magnificent live painting taking place right in front of me. While oscillating my eyes from the mesmerizing sunrise to the mountain which was erupting fumes, I also managed to click few pictures for memories.
A walk in the sea of sand during my visit to Mount Bromo
After filling my heart with the emotions of witnessing the most beautiful sunrise, it was time to see the active volcano from close. We walked down to our jeep and then headed towards the sand sea which is around 1.5 kms from the top sunrise view-point. The drive down took us through the stunning views of the mountain amidst the clouds till the sand sea. A convoy of jeeps were already parked at the parking spot and few more were seen driving till the point. A vast land of sand till the horizon was my first impression of the place. The driver pointed us in a direction and asked us to walk towards the crater.
We started walking with absolutely nobody in sight partly because of the clouds of sand. Honestly, I felt we were lost in this beautiful landscape of sand until we came across a temple Pura Luhur Poten, an important Hindu temple made of black rocks from volcanic eruptions. We paid our quick visit there with the idea of visiting it in detail on our way back. Next was a moderate hike passing through the sand pathways, valleys and a small stretch of steep climb before reaching the last part of 250 steps till the crater. All this while, we had a lot of pit stops to photograph this unusually beautiful natural landscape. It was absolutely no less than moon like landscape and adding to the charm was the white clouds and hazy mist which only left us when we reached the foot of the crater. The only distressing thought which stayed with me throughout was the plight of the horses all of which looked invariably weak and not well fed. The horses were made to take the tourists up and down adding to the sandstorm of dust as if the already existing sand was not enough to make us cover our noses and mouths.
The indelible experience of seeing an active volcano, Mount Bromo
The 250 steps to the mouth of this giant were steep but worth the experience these lead to. As soon as we reached the top, the susurration sound overpowered which left me trembling. The sight of eruption of fumes from the most widest caldera in Indonesia is definitely not for the faint-hearted. The brim of the crater was not too wide for many people to walk around it at the same time. Everyone was extremely cautious while bending down and peeping inside the vent. We clicked a few pictures of this ethereal experience to remind us of this element of nature when we would be back home. We thought it’s best to soak in the views around and head back soon to give space to others to witness the nature’s play. We carefully got down the steps and clicked innumerable pictures as this place was definitely worth photographing.
By the time we headed back, we were covered in layers of sand but exploring one of the only two Brahma temples in the world on our way back could not be skipped. As planned, we explored the temple and walked back to the jeep. The jeep dropped us at the village where our minivan was waiting. Witnessing this memorable experience was followed by a sumptuous breakfast in Probolinggo before we headed back to Surabaya.
Facts and things to note before the trip to Mount Bromo
- At around 2400 metres from sea level, Mount Bromo is the most well known peak of East Java.
- The volcano is situated inside Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park.
- Mount Bromo derives its name from Javanese pronunciation of Brahma, the Hindu creator God.
- There are provisions of staying in Cemorolawang village where one could stay overnight and start for the treak early next day.
- Make sure to carry a handkerchief or bandhana to cover your nose and mouth as it’s literally a sea of sand there.
- Be extremely careful at the brim of the crater as the fencing around the mouth of the crater is not very tall.
- Consider not taking a horse ride as the horses there looked extremely weak and fatigued.
- The tour company costed me USD 80 for 3 people.
Having visited far and near in 2017, my most favorite memories are from the surreal experience of being a spectator of the most playful sunrise and witnessing the eruption of fumes from the most widest caldera of Indonesia.
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