View of Mount Bromo at sunrise.
At the base of the hills
Mariah on her horse. Too tired to walk back to the car?
Locals packing up their green products.
Based on the dodgy experience getting on 15-hour train in Vietnam, we were prepared for anything, but were surprised by the fact that the train was well maintained and clean. They even had a massaging service throughout the ride at a very reasonable price, for you to kill the hours on the train. The ride itself was quite scenic – you’ll pass endless paddy fields and villages, set around beautiful green hills.
We got to Surabaya quite late, and had to take a drive for about 3 hours to the base of Mount Bromo, a small village called . A little note that when Travelpedia says it’s chilly, for the love of God please believe it. I didn’t take this warning seriously, and was only prepared with a thin pashmina. As I woke up from that long drive, after being awakened occasionally by the dying cough of the van’s engine, I found myself shivering so bad that my teeth were clattering. We were greeted by the homestay’s staff wrapped up in thick jackets, and that when I knew I was screwed. Thankfully they provided jackets for guests, and although their version of stylish was a bit 1980s Beijing, with sparkly furry white parkas, I was glad I was no longer freezing.
We had to wake up as early as 3 am to catch the sunrise, and as I woke up groggily, froze my butt on the toilet seat and climbed onto the back of a four-wheel drive, we drove up to the view point of Mount Bromo. We stood there in the dark, shivering and waiting for the sun to rise, and when it finally did, it really was a sight to behold. The initially dark horizon emerged to be a vast horizon of volcanic hills, some with craters that was vivid and spewing with sulphuric smoke. Behind the lonely deserted mountains was a fine long horizon of orange sunrise, emerging and enlightening the panorama. A thin layer of clouds covered the floor of the base of the mountains, and I swear to you it reminded me of one of the places you see in fantasy movies, the volcanoes being a place where the dragons and mystical creatures reside.
As the morning got brighter, we drove down to the base of the mountains. It is a large volcanic ash desert, with locals parading around dragging their horses for tourists to use in case they were too tired to walk. You can choose to either walk around and enjoy the scenic volcanic mountain ranges or take the challenge and climb up the mountains to see the crater. We chose the latter, and thus started my climb, wearing skinny jeans and feeling like my hip bone was getting detached. The view on top was worthwhile though. You get to see the crater up close, a large hole that seemed to not end beneath the earth.
We drove about to get a better look around, and this is highly recommended as the place was huge, and you’d better explore as much as you can away from the center of tourists and horses. If I were alone, I would take off my shoes and run like a crazy person across the fields, but I was not. The open, beautiful scene was liberating. Although I was nowhere close to ending my travel in this region, I could easily tell that this was going to be one of the highlights of it.
More photos here.
Where to Eat: There’s not much to choose from, really. The locals seemed to not have many eateries open for outsiders, so we stuck to the food at the homestay, which was not too bad. The village is a center for agriculture, with a vast amount of broccolis, spring onions and oranges being harvested. If you have more time, which we sadly didn’t, you should try venturing out and finding local places to try out these fresh veggies.