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I had just taken an enjoyable tour through Surabaya’s heritage buildings and this followed an astounding scenic drive through some dramatic countryside to my next destination not too far away from the city.


Around 4 hours drive from E. Java’s capitol Surabaya, the capital Mount Bromo towers through sky and cloud. Bromo sits atop the massive 10-kilometre diameter Tengger caldera. Mt Bromo is surrounded by a desert like area of fine volcanic deposits known as the Sea of Sand. Bromo Sunrise Tour was my guide for this trip, recommended to me for its spectacularly powerful visuals of nature in the raw.

Mount Bromo is centred in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park covering a massive 800 square kilometers. The volcano is easily identified as the entire top blew off in a major eruption many years ago. Bromo is an active volcano and as such its creator regularly belches white sulphurous smoke. At 2,392 meters, Bromo may not be among the highest mountains in Indonesia but its surroundings make up an area of impressively stark beauty. The national park is named after two mountains, Bromo being the most visited and Semeru, Java’s highest mountain. Tengger relates to the people that inhabit the area.

The journey starts from Ngadisari, the closest village to Mount Bromo. From here it is advisable to take a jeep tour up a steep and winding through mud and sand to the Mt Bromo view point on Mount Penanjakan. To walk this trek would take about 2 hours.

After reaching the end of the road, one is met with a 15-minute step climb to reach the viewing terrace. It is best to ascend Mount Penanjakan so that one arrives at the top at about 5.30 a.m. just before the sun rises up from the horizon. The light and shade effect over the dramatic eastern landscape is an action packed show of changing colours and depth. It’s cold up there at 5.30 in the morning so warm cloths are advised but any discomfort is forgotten during sunrise’s amazing picture show. Shortly after this spectacle one is ushered through a walk across the Sea of Sand to Mt. Bromo itself. Ponies are available for visitors who prefer not to walk up to the crater.

I’m always amazed by nature’s raw power and the disruptive consequences of its turbulence. There is however something really compelling about nature’s lack of apology, for its beauty as well as its brutality. Get to Bromo – feel the heat!



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