Wednesday, 6 November 2013



We had organized our tour through the 'hotel' and jeeps would take us up the mountain, leaving at around 4am to watch the sunrise over Mt Bromo.  We were up and ready when the staff knocked on the door, don't forget to bring a jumper, it is bitterly cold and i was the only one wearing shorts.  

Though if need be, there are plenty of huge woolly poncho's for rent.  In our jeep we were accompanied by a young German couple who were also keen travellers and we swapped stories all the way to the summit.

  At certain points on the hillside you caught a glimpse of the town lights way down below and it gave you an idea of just how high we were.  The peak where we watched the sun come up is around 2500 meters above sea level.  

Once our jeep (and the countless others) had stopped it was about a 5-10 minute walk to the viewing area, it was here i really got an idea of how popular and well known this place was.  There were maybe 200 people there, possibly more, it's hard to know, but finding a good spot was proving difficult. 

We huddled together for warmth and waited for the sun to breach the horizon and give us a proper glimpse over this famous spectacle we had come to behold.  It was worth the effort, early start and the wait, it was a stunning display of nature and I urge any traveler to go visit. 

The valley we had ridden through yesterday was filled with an eery fog and the volcano and surrounding mountains turned on a show of colour and texture as the sun slowly gave light to the whole scene.  Seeing things like that really remind you that there is more to life than just what is in your town, your city, that there is so much wonder out there waiting for you to come and find it.

But i have a little tip for you which we only discovered after making our way back to the jeep, there is an absolute perfect spot to view the sunrise from and only a few people there.  

As you get to a hairpin corner going right and up the mountain, you will see the start of the little shops, there is a toilet block? off to your left before you go around.  Look around that area and you will see a little path that gives you the best view of the whole area and you won’t have to fight for space.

These were only taken with the Ipad, I have added a Sony Cybershot now, but really wish I had of brought my Canon DSLR, I was worried about the extra room it takes, but am missing the picture quality it provides.  It will be in the luggage soon I think.

Saturday, 2 November 2013


The journey itself just getting there nearly eclipsed the actual event, after leaving my gear at Armyn Hotel, we set off in an angkot with only our backpacks.  We changed angkots at another terminal and this one took us through to the little town of Tumpang, where we were unable to hire a scooter but got a lift on the back with 2 local ojek taxi guys.  

That took us on the most incredible ride to Cemoro Lawang, a tiny village perched on the edge of the caldera at a height of around 2200 meters and the starting point for the Mt Bromo tours, i only wished i could have done the ride myself.

We left this bustling little market square and took off on the most amazing ride I have ever done.  We wound our way through tight corners up into and over the mountains on tiny roads that sometimes disappeared leaving only paving or potholes to mark the way.  

There was farmland and beautifully landscaped crops every way we looked when we weren't surrounded by thick jungle, where it did open up we seemed to be always peering over into a massive valley.   

We passed  small villages that almost seemed lost in time, it was some tough riding and the bikes were regularly only in the first 2 gears.  The journey can be done in the comfort of jeep, but that would be too easy! You just wait at the markets in Tumpang until there are enough people to go.

The area had one more treat in store for us though, it was the reason i had chosen to go through Tumpang instead of Probolinggo, as is usually the case.  We had crossed our final mountain and were heading down the other side into a vast valley, as the jungle cleared and we hit the bottom exit out into the valley floor I was speechless.  

The view here was unlike anything I had encountered before and was literally breathtaking, the kind of beauty and tranquility that made me just pause and reflect on my life, but ultimately left me truly grateful I had chosen to come and witness nature at her finest.

  My decision to explore the world and soak in her wonders was never more affirmed than at that moment on the scooter, taking in the sights that literally surrounded me.

We were crossing what would best be described as a flat open savannah, tall dry grass interspersed with some sort of wildflower lined our path and off to my right was a huge mountainous ridge, a valley rim that seemed endless and was the most lush green, towering above us. 

In the distance to our left we could see the smoking, blackish grey volcano in the foreground, the other mountains of different colour and texture that surround it and the impressive Mt Semeru behind, towering above it all. 

 We followed the valley around, the lush ridge never leaving our side, until the grass gave way to a blackish grey desert of volcanic ash and sand, such contrasting scenery just added to the almost magical feel of the place.  It is truly a spectacle to behold.

We hadn't even arrived yet and already I was in awe of this place, after crossing this wondrous valley we were back up another mountain and booking into our very
basic accommodation for the night.  The room was basic, and that's putting it mildly, but the price tag was not.  

Expect to pay more than you are used to in Cemoro Lawang and don't stay longer than you have to, 1 night is plenty.  We went for a stroll around the area then chilled out with a cold beer or 2 as the sun went down, dinner and a hot shower saw us retire to our room for a good night's sleep before the ungodly wake-up call at 3am the next morning.