Before starting to post my travelling experiences in Thailand during my employment in Bangkok, I think it is better to start with something closer to my hometown of Malang. I was born and raised in Malang, a hillside city resort in East Java province in Indonesia. The city is surrounded by mountains and it is the second largest city in the province after Surabaya, the province’s capital. Malang is famous for the apel malang (local green apples variety) and bakso malang (Indonesian meatball). I might post some reviews on those later on. A famous tourism city of Batu is only 15 to 30 minutes away from Malang, further up the mountain. Meanwhile, another famous tourist destinations which is not far too from Malang is the widely renown Mount Bromo.
Mount Bromo is located around 3 hours from Malang and it is located in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. There are several volcanoes in the complex, including Mount Bromo, which stands at 2,329 meters above sea level, and Mount Semeru, which is the highest peak in Java at 3,676 meters. Both Mount Bromo and Mount Semeru are quite active and the ash clouds ejected from both volcanoes had caused aviation disruption and airports closures several times already. Yet the beauty of the area is so captivating that so many tourists from all over the nation and abroad visit the area every year.
The best time to witness the majestic sight of the mountain complex is at sunrise. Therefore, you need to be up the Mount Penanjakan (the main observation platform to view the volcanoes) at least an hour or two before sunrise. During my last visit, I rent the 4×4 jeep and arrived at the viewpoint by 3 am but there were already so many tourist there. And I must remind you to bring your jacket and warm clothes ! Yes, this is Java, Indonesia and yes, this is a tropic region but the temperature at the viewpoint before dawn can reach 4 degrees celsius, and the strong wind will make it feel like even colder. I just could not stop shaking !
As the sun rose, the beauty evolved. From the east, a bright streak of gold lighted up the horizon above the thick layer of mists. We started to take photos as the sun climbed higher and shone the light on Mount Bromo. The view was eerie yet breathtaking. I guess it was exactly what we came for. From the greenish Mount Batok at the front to the grey wide crater of Mount Bromo and the highest peak of Mount Semeru at the background, each are illuminated in different shades, shapes and colours.
Next, the jeep took us to the middle of the Tengger caldera famously known as Lautan Pasir or the Sea of Sands, a vast plain of sands that surrounds Mount Bromo. Here, tourists can walk or rent a horse to wander around the area and go the foot of Mount Bromo to continue the journey up to the crater by climbing the 200+ stairs. Also in the plain, we can find the Pura Luhur Poten temple, an important Hindu temple which hold sacred rituals for many Tenggerese around the area. In the ritual of Kasada, Tenggerese will climb up the mountain to throw offerings to the crater.
It was in this place that I remember some wise words which a colleague once shared with me. It was some kind of a code that nature lovers and mountain climbers in Indonesia are aware of. It goes something like : (1) Do not take anything but pictures (2) Do not kill anything but time and (3) Do not leave anything but footprints. And I think it is very deep, guys. I mean if every tourist everywhere follow this code, nature will be preserved and not be littered, meanwhile ancient sites will not be ruined or vandalized. Don’t you just hated when your sightseeing is ruined by garbage or vandals ? I remember snorkeling once and the sea current brought a huge series of garbage and plastic wrappings passing all around me. Worst experience ever ! So, just a reminder to be responsible where ever we are as there is no point of keeping our home clean if we still litter someone else’s.