Java’s Most Surreal Experience: A Bromo Sunrise

Last updated: August 8th, 2014 | in Beyond Thailand

Everytime I get asked what has been my favorite experience in Java I don’t have to think much about it: Without any doubt visiting Mount Bromo. Watching the sunrise over East-Java’s famous volcanic terrain was almost a surreal experience, out of this world with the scenery that gave me the feeling of rather being on the moon than in the tropics.

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There are two gateways cities to Mount Bromo: Surabaya (4 hours) and Manang (3 hours). I started my trip in Manang. It doesn’t really matter as tours are offered in both cities. And yes, you need to book a tour unless you have your own 4WD jeep and feel confident driving on mostly one-line bumpy rural roads on the way to the volcano.

We left Manang at midnight. We, that means me, my couchsurfing host, two of his Indonesian friends and a Dutch backpacker. We all shared one jeep and paid 100,000 rupees each, plus 30,000 rupees national park entrance fee (for foreigners). We didn’t sleep before getting on the jeep and since the drive was not smooth at all (and due to my excitement as well) I had a nap for maybe half an hour or so before we reached the sunrise point on Mount Penanjakan at 4am in the morning.

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At around 5-10 degrees Celsius it was pretty chilling there and since no one of us had more than a normal sweater we borrowed a warm jacket for just 10,000 rupees (1 USD) from some local guy’s store. We had a couple of hot teas to warm up and some fried chicken rice for an early breakfast before heading up the stairs to the viewpoint at 5am, waiting for the sunrise.

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We couldn’t have been more lucky as it was a super-clear day with only a few clouds in the sky and the views over Bromo (2,329m), Semeru (3,676m) and Batok (2,470m) were simply stunning and breathtaking.

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After sunset we drove down to the valley and to the foot of Bromo where lots of local guys and their horses anticipated our arrival. They offered “return-rides” to the crater for 10,000 rupees but we decided to go for the one-to-two-hour hike by ourselves.

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There were amazing views not just from the crater but also on the way up. At some point we took a rest and enjoyed the view of green Mount Batok right next to Bromo.

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As we reached the crater of Bromo we decided not to just take our photos there and go back down but to continue the walk all the way to the opposite side.

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It was around 11am and I’ve still only had like 30 minutes sleep on our drive to Bromo but what I experienced this morning simply outweighed my desire to close my eyes.

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Only few visitors went for this walk all around the crater but we were glad we did it, the views to the other side of Bromo over this huge valley were different and equally stunning.

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It was around 2pm when as we returned from our hike and had lunch at the jeep before making our way back to Manang. I slept very well that afternoon.

Have you been traveling Java already? What were your favorite experiences there? Let us know in the comments.

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