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Published: August 11th 2016
Took an 8 hour train ride from Yogyakarta east to reach Malang. The city has traffic, but not nearly as much as in Jakarta or Yogyakarta. It’s a much smaller town. While the idea that pedestrians should have the right-of-way doesn’t exist here, at least there are sufficient breaks in the traffic to allow a dash across uncontrolled streets.
Finally able to walk a bit, I set off on foot. There are a few Dutch colonial buildings of note, but what was great was to happen across the city’s bird market within a few narrow paths in town. There are an amazing range of birds, cages, and other animals for sale. The sounds are incredible and it is good fun just walking around.
But, I wasn’t here for Malang. Like all other tourists here, it was simply a base to explore Mt. Bromo, one of the best known, active volcanos in Indonesia. Like most other tourists, I was bound there to catch sunrise overlooking the volcano.
The trip begins from Malang at about 1 AM by jeep. Early in the trip, you get the sense you and your jeep mates will be the only ones catching the sunrise
this particular day. That sense is quickly lost the closer to the viewpoint you get, where jeep after jeep after jeep have brought tourist after tourist after tourist to this one mountain viewpoint. It is busy with vendors peddling jackets to rent, mats to sit on to wait out the sunrise, food and, of course, Mt. Bromo t-shirts.
So we wait. The sun rises. It is beautiful, but the real adventure comes after sunrise when we, and every other jeep, crosses the “Sea of Sand” from recent eruptions, to Mt. Bromo itself. Here, everyone climbs up its steep, but not particularly high, slope to reach the rim of the volcano. It’s the kind of experience you’re not able to get in many other places where concern for safety outstrips demand for the experience itself. It really is an amazing sight.
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