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Sunrise at Mt. Bromo

Leg two of our journey across Java took us to the foot of Mt. Bromo, a stratovolcano that lies smoking inside the Tengger caldera. Pics.

After a long enough drive from Mt. Ijen to the mountains surrounding Mt. Bromo, we arrived in the mountain town of Sukapura to check in to the Yoschi Hotel. Nestled high up in the mountains, our perch gave us incredible views of the surrounding fog blanketed mountains, with agricultural plantations rising up on the surrounding hillsides.

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Jan and I spent the evening walking around the small farming village, and then had a quick dinner at the hotel before going to bed early. Another 3am wakeup, and we were off in our Toyota Land Cruiser towards Bromo. Notably, the mountain guides in the area have maintained an absolutely enormous fleet of old school original Toyota Land Cruisers, which are almost exclusively used on Mt. Bromo. The vehicles are in good condition, despite their age, and have fresh paint jobs. We drove through the night high up into the mountains, finally arriving pre-dawn at the Mt. Bromo overlook.

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Since it was Easter weekend, the overlook area was packed with Indonesians on holiday. Despite the crowds, I managed to work my way to the front for a perfect view of the valley below. As the sun started to rise, the beautiful valley was revealed, with the smoking Mt. Bromo crater in the distance. The changing colors as the sun rose were beautiful, and morning air was peaceful – despite the kids all around us!

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More on Mt. Bromo from Wikipedia.

Mount Bromo (Indonesian: Gunung Bromo), is an active volcano and part of the Tengger massif, in East Java, Indonesia. At 2,329 metres (7,641 ft) it is not the highest peak of the massif, but is the most well known. The massif area is one of the most visited tourist attractions in East Java, Indonesia. The volcano belongs to the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. The name of Bromo derived from Javanese pronunciation of Brahma, the Hindu creator god.

Mount Bromo sits in the middle of a vast plain called the “Sea of Sand” (Javanese: Segara Wedi or Indonesian: Lautan Pasir), a protected nature reserve since 1919. The typical way to visit Mount Bromo is from the nearby mountain village of Cemoro Lawang. From there it is possible to walk to the volcano in about 45 minutes, but it is also possible to take an organised jeep tour, which includes a stop at the viewpoint on Mount Penanjakan (2,770 m or 9,088 ft) (Indonesian: Gunung Penanjakan). The best views from Mount Bromo to the Sand Sea below and the surrounding volcanoes are at sunrise. The viewpoint on Mount Penanjakan can also be reached on foot in about two hours. From inside the caldera, sulfur is collected by workers.

Depending on the degree of volcanic activity, the Indonesian Centre for Vulcanology and Disaster Hazard Mitigation sometimes issues warnings against visiting Mount Bromo.

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After witnessing the sunrise from our viewpoint on Mt. Penanjakan, we climbed back in the Land Cruiser and journeyed down to the Sea of Sand, which rests directly at the bast of Bromo. A quick 30 minute hike across the ash field, and we had reached the grouping of Bakso vendors, horses, and pilgrims coming to offer flowers to the mountain. Jan and I stopped for a hot bowl of Bakso, a traditional javanese meatball soup, sold out of mobile kitchens mounted on motor bikes.

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At the top of the crater rim, we could see down into the smoking acid lake.

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