On Saturday, 26 October 2013, the car was pick me from the hotel at Batu at 00.23 am. We arrived at meeting point in Ancala Inn Bromo at 02.30 am, where we changed car to a jeep, because only jeeps allow to go up to the mountain. Started climbing to Pananjakan around 03.00 am, the favorite place to see sunrise. It still dark when arrived in Pananjakan, don’t want to waste time, I was looking for a good spot to waiting for the sun comes out with my camera. This is my second trip to Bromo, but still hold breath when saw the first light swept the sky, the orange colors began to shine the sky and after that what I see was like a big beautiful amazing painting by God’s hand himself. Can’t describe by words, until you see it by your own eyes. A month before I went to Bromo, I had chance also to see sunrise at Mount Nemrut in Turkey ( one of the spectacular sunrise in the world ), and I can say if the Goddess in Nemrut know how beautiful sunrise in Bromo, they will move here, hahahaha…, it just my own opinion, so feel free to disagree.
After the sunrise, I continued went to Bromo Crater by jeep, after came to the parking area, still need to walk about 2 km in the sand desert. A lot of local rent a horse to help going to the crater without getting tired, but I think I better walk, not a pleasant experience walking on the sand when the wind bring dust to your face and smell of the horse shit 😉
Walk for 2 km was not bring me to the crater yet, I still need to step up 253 stairs to the top where can see the crater. You can skip this part, because for myself, with all the effort, it’s not really worth it.
09.00 am leaving Bromo and begin a long journey to the next destination, Ijen Crater. We go through Pasuruan, Probolinggo, Paiton, Situbondo, Bondowoso. The road is not smooth at some parts and the traffic was heavy, we arrived at Arabica Homestay at 15.40 pm. Get shower and resting then at 01.15 am in Sunday 27 October 2013 with a car go to Paltuding where we park the car and start walk at 02.00 am. I have to walk for 3 km to reach the top of Ijen, and…, honestly, it’s not easy. The first 1 km is not a problem because the track is flat, but the second km is a tough one, I need to walk on the steep and slope track with 45 degree incline. And the last km is combined of both, some flat with a little hike. When I started to walk, I met one of the workers, his name is Pak Harianto, but people call him Luki. He is 35 years old and already works as a sulfur miners for 15 years. He walked along with me, gave some support when my step getting slower 😉
And when the track became heavy, we stop for a while and take a rest ( I am the one who need to rest, not him, lol.. ), I asked him : how many kg sulfur he can carry each time ? He said around 90 – 100 kg. Hmm…, I have an idea, I am just 50 kg, so you will be able to carry me inside your basket and bring me to the top of Ijen, so I don’t have to walk, hahahahaha…..
I realize, his job is a hard job, usually every day he can make 2 trips to collect the sulfur, and only get paid 780 IDR for each kg. ( 1 USD = 11,175 IDR based on today currency ).There are 350 workers here, they work with their own time from dawn to afternoon, and depend on them too how many trip they can do.
Finally, with his encourage, I conquer the Ijen at 03.30 am, not a bad record 🙂 still dark, it’s about 7 Celcius, but I don’t feel cold, just sweating.. He offer me to go down inside the crater to see the famous blue flames. need to step down around 300 m, a little danger because in the dark I barely see nothing, it’s also rocky and slope. Took 30 minutes for me to reach the crater, when the wind not blow to my side, I can see the blue flames very clear. It was a stunning view, so wonderful. All of my hard walk pay off. I can sense the sulfur smell very strong and make me heavy to breath. Can’t stay down here very long time, after took some pictures, I went back to the top again.
The light already came out when I reach the top of Ijen and what I saw is really a fascinating landscape, with the mountain, valley, sky, cloud, all together looks so beautiful. And all my way down to the parking area is totally stunning view around.
This is one of journey you have to experience for lifetime. So, let’s plan the trip and come to see by yourself. It really worth it, I guarantee you won’t regret. Tips : bring flashlight, scarf or mask to cover your face, comfort shoes, jacket, and ..of course, camera.
JAKARTA, 04 NOVEMBER 2013