1pm (Saturday) – our flight leaves from Singapore to Surabaya, we are off to see Mount Bromo – an active volcano! It is a 2 hour flight and goes fairly smoothly. We’ve booked all of our accommodation and trip through our guesthouse so after landing we see a man holding up a sign with our names outside the airport. We had a nice air conditioned SUV so even though it took us 5 hours to the town of Probolingo (instead of the normal 3 hours) it was worth booking a car vs. taking a bus. The car ride up is a bit nerve-wrecking because you can’t really see anything in the dark when you’re going up the mountain. It really seems like you’re at the edge of a cliff driving up for hours in the darkness. We finally reach though safe and sound.
3:45am (Sunday) – the alarm goes off. Bleary eyed we are rushing to get ready to visit the famous volcano – Mount Bromo. When we get to the lobby we see lots of other travelers bundled up in jackets, hats and gloves since it is about 35 degrees Fahrenheit outside. A rare sight in SE Asia to see so many layers. And luckily for those who have forgotten or had no idea how cold it was going to be, there are a variety of vendors looking to profit off of you, selling all sorts of warm clothes and blankets.
4:00am – our Jeep leaves the hotel and since we are at the bottom of the crater, it only takes us about 10 min to reach the bottom of Mount Pananjakan. There are plenty of horses to take you up to the base of the peak but we decide to walk. It is pitch black so you have to watch where you step. A flashlight would’ve been a good idea!
4:50am – we finally make it to the top of Mount Pananjakan mostly because I needed to stop every 5 min to catch my breath. I am so out of shape and the top is at a height of about 6,000 ft. It is still pitch dark outside but at the top there are vendors selling hot drinks and snacks like corn on the cob. After a few minutes we smell oil cooking so I’m sure they are ready to start frying something! We try to find a seat and wait to see the sunrise over Mount Bromo. The wind makes it seems way colder than it really is!
5:15am – the light finally starts show! The view is incredible especially to see Mount Bromo and the smoke coming out of an active volcano. It looks like there is a river at the bottom of the volcano but really it’s all volcanic ash. They call it a “lunar landscape” since it looks like it could be something on the moon rather than earth. It’s haunting and awe-inspiring to see the magnificent landscape.
5:30am – the sun rays hit the volcano. It is really gorgeous to see the volcano in different shades of the sunlight. And the light makes it look like the smoke is actually fire! After taking many photos in different angles we head down.
6:45am – we get in our jeep and head to the actual crater! I have no idea we are going here so it’s a great surprise. We walk to the bottom past the temple with a few men following us with their horses hoping we will get tired along the way. But I am determined to not take a shortcut and we start to climb to the top. It is not very steep but more slippery because of all the sand everywhere. I almost make it to the top but decide not to go to the top of the crater to see the smoke coming out.
8:00am – feels like a whole day has passed! We get back in our jeep and head back to the hotel which is just 5 min away to have a much needed breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, fruit and tea. We then take a hot shower and pack up to leave.
9:00am – we depart Probolingo and head for the airport which only takes 3 hours this time.
1:00pm – we reach the airport for our 3pm flight and land in Singapore 2 hours later! Incredible journey!!!