Edit Blog Post
Published: April 11th 2015
Boy, does Indonesia know how to do volcanoes. There are 127 in the whole archipelago and they form the backbone of Sumatra and Java. You can get tours from almost anywhere to Bromo and Ijen in East Java and although we took local tours once we got close it is not really necessary. We avoided the all in packages from Yogyakarta and were very glad we did.
To get to Cemoro Lawang on the edge of the Bromo caldera from Yogyakarta was very straight forward. We took the early train to Surabaya and then a metred taxi to the bus station. We waited all of ten minutes for a bus to Probolinggo. You then have to wait for a shared minibus to fill up to get up the hill to Cemoro Lawang. Unfortunately, there were not many passagers (six). In these circumstances you split the cost of the trip for the whole bus so we ended up paying 85,000INR instead of 35,000INR.
The delay on the bus also meant it was dark when we got to Cemoro Lawang. If you are repeating the trip try to avoid this. It is a good idea in any
situation to arrive in the light. In the dark you just can not get the perspective of a place and see where things are. If we had arrived in the light we would have probably done the sun rise walk starting at 3am. It is only just over the hour to the view point on foot. We weren't sure where it was so we booked a jeep (3.30am start). The jeep takes you a longer way round, across the caldera, although we did not know it at first, and up to the highest point on its North edge. These days even midweek it is a bit of a cattle run. There are many local tourists as well as foreigners.
It was a clear morning so we had a nice display (see panarama). First, your attention is drawn to the rays of sunrise appearing in the East. As the sunlight from the East increases the volcanoes to the South appear out of the gloom to create a stupendous vista. Many people do not hang around. We stayed until 6am when most had gone and the sun was up in the sky. All the colours of the volcanoes were
The jeep then drives you down to the base of Bromo, one of the three cones in the ancient Tengger culdera and the most active. It is an easy climb to the rim with steps in place. There are horses to take you to the base of the steps and back if you are so inclined.
The view from the rim is incredible. It slopes to the centre and then just disappears as a vertical cliff. You get fleeting glimpse of the very bottom when the geothermal steam is occasionally blown in one direction. The steam is constant. It billows from the abyss and evaporates in the clear blue sky. Whispers of sulphurous air tickle your nostrils occasionally.
One guy ran around the volcano rim. It looked very tempting to walk. We stopped instead at the edge of the concrete railings.
The standard procedure is then to return to the jeep and guesthouse. We opted to walk, first across the so called sand sea of the caldera base and then up its edge through lust green vegetation. The path brought you out at the top of Cemoro
Lawang with more great views. It was well worth.
The plan at this point was to take the shared minibus down to Probolinggo and stay there the night before heading by train to Banyuwangi to tackle Ijen. In the end the hotels in the city looked suspect so in a spontaneous decision we got straight on a bus to Banyuwangi. It had no air conditioning and was cool as long as it was moving. When it wasn't the temperature rose quickly. There was plenty of space most of the time, a school run briefly filled the bus, so the five hour journey was not that uncomfortable. At Banyuwangi we decided to treat ourselves to the Lonely Planet $$ top pick, the Ketapang Indah hotel. (Lonely Planet has a lot of $$ these days.)
From the out-of-town bus station we took a crowded shared minivan (bemo) the eight km to the hotel entrance. It was 6.30pm and we had been up since 3am. As we walked up the palm bordered drive with dusty backpacks and grimy clothes we weren't sure how the hotel would take to us. You could see the front desk staff blinking
Looking back to the sun rise view point
The building on the caldera is a Hindu temple only open on celebration days
as we walked into reception. We took their cheapest room (480,000INR/£30 including breakfast with a 100,000INR food voucher than covered two thirds of our dinner cost) and found it to be the largest we had stayed in for sometime. After 7 hours on three bus trips in tropical heat with no air conditioning it was easy to appreciate the luxury of our surroundings. The highlight was the pool: 18 m long in the open air surrounded by palms and turtles spouting water at the corners. I can honestly say I have not seen a better hotel pool. What's more it was empty. Many of our fellow guests were locals and I guess don't take to water. I enjoyed lapping a kilometre after breakfast in the sunshine. The restaurant was good too.
The Bromo visit had been exhilarating and it was nice to finish with a bit of heaven.
Tot: 0.465s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 13; qc: 62; dbt: 0.0143s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb