Spectacular Sunrise at Mt. Penanjakan
Once we arrived at Mt. Penanjakan, we had to walk about 15 minutes up the steep steps of the mountain steps to reach the platform of Viewpoint 1. A sea of people was already there when we arrived, nonetheless my sister and I managed to slip under the railings and secured a good spot to watch the much anticipated sunrise in peace. The sky was littered with millions of twinkling stars for us to enjoy while the illuminated Cemoro Lawang village in front of us, as well as Mt. Bromo, Mt. Batok, and Mt. Semeru in the background stood silence in time.
An hour or so later, the sun began to rise, and the moment the first ray of light hits the ground, a spectacular sight was unveiled! No words could simply describe the beauty and glory of Mother Nature before us. My sister and I were mesmerised and stood still in much awe and delight! Everyone did not waste time to capture and preserve that special moment in photographs. 😀
We then steadfastly made our way back to the jeep and headed straight for the caldera of Mt. Bromo. Along the way, we passed by several stalls selling a wide variety of items by the sidewalk, lush vegetations and enjoyed the misty, calm and crisp, cool atmosphere.
Horseback Riding at Mt. Bromo
For your info, the jeeps will only drop visitors off at the designated parking area near Mt. Bromo. From there onwards, we had a choice to either walk or hop on a horse to get across the vast and majestic Sea of Sands a.k.a the Whispering Sands. Do bear in mind that the journey will take you across a sandy plain covered in thick ash. Those who are unfit, feeling tired or have any mobility issues should opt for a horse ride to save time and energy.
Feeling adventurous but not too adventurous, my sister and I opted to ride on the back of a horse. 😀 Our driver bargained and got us a return horse ride journey for only Rp. 100,000 per person. Do bargain for the price before you ride the horse and pay the owner after you arrive at your destination, especially if you take a return ride because the horse owners are known to leave you behind at the foot of the volcano and disappear if you make the payment before the ride, leaving you stranded and feeling cheated. 🙁
We rode our horses on the dusty, ashy trail, bypassing Pura Luhur Poten (a Hindu temple) along the way and reached the steps of stairs at the foot of the crater – a journey that took us about 15-20 minutes. Certain areas of the journey were quite steep and I had to hold on tightly to the reins of my horse to keep me from losing my balance and falling off, however both my sister and I arrived safely at the foot of the active crater, in front of the intimidating flight of stairs.
Suffocating Smoking Caldera & An Extraterrestrial Terrain
It was a steep climb up the narrow, fully ashy and sandy covered steps towards the smoking mouth of Mt. Bromo crater. After surviving the dreaded flight of stairs, I stood proudly at the mouth of the crater and felt on top of the world! Mr. Erwin told us that the locals would come here to pray, make offerings and make a wish. He encouraged us to do the same, which we did. 🙂
The view in the crater and up from above was astounding! Its unique extraterrestrial-like terrain was indescribable. From one angle, it looks as if we were on Martian soil or some other planet. My sister and I took many photos for memories. It was not long before white clouds of suffocating gas and vapour overwhelmed our lungs and eyes, signalling us to leave the place immediately. The experience was akin to having dozens of freshly cut onions smeared onto our faces! My sister and I went into a coughing frenzy and left teary-eyed from the experience.
We then hopped on our jeep and made our way to the famous Savannah and Teletubbies Hill for photographs. That additional journey costs Rp. 200,000 for three people. If at any point of time one has the urge to answer nature’s call, a trip to the toilet costs Rp.2000 per person, per entry. Fret not, for the toilets are clean and well maintained. 🙂
Up next: PATAS Bus Ride Back to Surabaya @ Bungurasih Bus Terminal – Of Buskers, Pengamens & Street Sellers