One of the reasons I wanted to do another Java trip was to visit Gunung Bromo, the mighty mountain located in East-Java. The Bromo Mountain is a younger volcano formed within the Tengger massif. It sits within the caldera of a much more ancient volcano. Basically this means it is a volcano inside a much larger and older volcano.
This has always been a place I wanted to see and I can say that the location did not disappoint at all. Gunung Bromo truly has epic and stunning natural landscapes and going there is giant adventure filled with memorable moments.
We departed to Bromo Mountain from Malang. I ordered a sunrise tour through a company called Bromo Travel Indo. This company basically arranged the whole tour for us. Since we wanted to see the sunrise at Bromo Mountain on Saturday morning, we had to leave the Kampong Tourist Hostel on Friday evening. At 9 o’clock in the evening we were picked up by a driver from the company along with a few other people, and brought to the assembly point at the base of the mountain. The ride from Malang to the assembly point took around 3 hours. It was quite a long ride in the dark night.
Once we arrived at the assembly point we had to wait for all the other people to get there. It was quite crowded as it also was a long weekend and a national holiday. When everyone was finally accounted for, our groups were split up and designated into jeeps. You really need a four-wheel-drive car to traverse the mountainous parts of the national park. Around 2 o’clock at night we departed from the assembly point to the first stop on the tour, the Sunrise Penanjakan point and Bukit Cinta, a prime location to watch the sunrise.
After about a half-hour drive we had to get out and we were told to find the Penanjakan viewing point. This was easier said then done, because it was pitch dark in the middle of the night, insanely crowded due to the national holiday weekend, and the severe lack of any signage (or at least visible signage). We just followed a huge crowd up on a hill and this turned out to be the wrong spot. We actually went to Penanjakan 2. Apparently there are two Penanjakan (1 & 2). Penanjakan 1 is supposedly the best one, but no one told us this nor gave us directions, so we were kind of bummed about that. But regardless, the night sky did look amazing on top of that mountain. (At these moments I wish I was more experienced in astrophotography.) We had a perfectly clear night sky, so the galaxy and all it’s beauty was superbly visible.
Despite being in the “wrong” location, the sunrise above the crater of the Bromo Mountain was a spectacular sight. The light looked amazingly beautiful and the transition from the dark night sky to the morning was an experience that is totally worth the hard trip. I think the sun came up around 04:30am and within an hour or so the sky was pretty much filled with daylight.
Prepare accordingly before making this trip and dress warm. The Bromo Mountain is located on a high altitude and it can get quite chilly over there at night. Bring a good warm sweater, a jacket, and gloves and a hat. Gloves and hats can also be bought over there in case you forget yours. Also, do some more research into finding Penanjakan 1 in the dark. Ask a guide to take you there or make use of a map. I think these two tips could help you with your enjoyment of the area.
All in all, despite being in the wrong place, we still very much enjoyed the sunrise. It’s just a unique experience that I did not have before in Indonesia. And as someone who is often asked about what shouldn’t one miss while traveling in Indonesia, I can now answer the sunrise at Bromo Mountain. Going here will not disappoint you.