Friday, 26 February 2010

Picture Perfect Views from Mt Penanjakan

I was still groggy when the alarm rang at 2.30am. But it was time for the highlight of this trip - the climb up Mt Bromo.

After brushing my teeth, washing my face and putting on lots of sunblock, I slipped on a pair of jeans over my leggings, as well as 5 layers of clothing. Heard that the temperature can drop to zero degrees up there.

We then headed to the restaurant of Yoschi's where we were staying. The kitchen fellas had prepared breakfast for us: 2 slices bread, butter, jam, plastic butter knife, a banana and mineral water - all neatly packed into a nice box each.

Since we didn't want to carry the packs to the top of the mountain, we opened our packs and wolfed everything down. 

At 3.30am, the jeep arrived to take us up to the Viewpoint (also known as Mount Penanjakan) and then to the foot of Mt Bromo so that we can torture ourselves while climbing to the peak.

Our hotel had helped us book the tour for IDR100,000 per person. But we paid the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park entrance fee of IDR25,000 each to the driver before we started the journey.

Our mode of transportation to Mt Penanjakan and Mt Bromo. Maximum number of passengers is 6 pax.

After we passed the town of Cemoro Lawang, the fog became so thick I could only see 1 metre in front of me. I was thinking the driver would slow down, but he continued driving like he was born to drive up Mt Penanjakan!

I was saying my prayers that we won't plunge down a ravine or something. At one juncture the jeep lights went out for a second or two and we were in complete darkness. I could hear myself and the American lady behind me gasp when that happened.

After 45 minutes of driving in darkness through fog, rocky roads, broken roads and winding roads up the mountain, we arrived at Mt Penanjakan.

When we got down from the jeep, few people walked up to us offering coats for rental at IDR5,000 a coat. Rentals at Yoschi's is IDR20,000 a coat. So you know where to rent if you need to.

I thought my 5 layers of clothing, beanie and woollen gloves were enough, and it was.

The lane leading to the Viewpoint is paved with shops selling snacks, hot drinks, winter clothing and souvenirs.

If you need a snack, try the roast corn. I didn't, but just snapped this pic cause I thought the guys looked cool all sitting in a row roasting corn :-)

After the rows of shops, the Viewpoint approaches. It was pitch black and we had to feel our way up the steps. At this point I regretted leaving my cellphone with torchlight feature back at the hotel.

The main area in the Viewpoint.

Since we were one of the early birds, we quickly surveyed the place (in the dark!) and booked our spots before the crowds arrived.

This is the crowd during the low season. Imagine if it's during the high season. I think there won't be enough space to move around.

Crowd waiting for the sun to rise so that they can snap and snap and snap lots of pics ...

After waiting and watching, the sun soon peeked over the horizon. The crowd started snapping non-stop to capture breathtaking views like these:

The highest mountain at the back is Mt Semeru, the one with the crater is Mt Bromo, and the one right in front is Mt Batur.

Most of the shots I took were unclear because of the mist that covered the mountains. What to do ... we went in February which is considered the rainy season.

So now you know where those picture perfect photos of Mt Bromo were taken - from Mt Penanjakan. The locals call it "Viewpoint".

The weather was cooling and perfect. I could stay there for hours watching the mountains light up in all its glory. But it was time to head back to the jeep for the next part of our journey - the climb up Mt Bromo.

Click here for Part 2.

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