After Ijen, we made our way back to Bondowoso, took breakfast and showered (to get rid the sulphur smell, being in the fumes on and off while in the Ijen crater (see previous post)). Then, we were off to Cemoro Lawang, a village at the edge of the caldera where Mt Bromo sits … (hotel we stayed at, Cemara Indah, has a superb view of Bromo from right inside its compound as it is just literally at the caldera edge; indeed, to walk on your own down to the Sea of Sand which I did last year, look for the dirt trail just outside the hotel security guard post)
The wonderful sunrise views that my girl and I managed to have a “front row” unobstructed look in spite of the crazily huge numbers of people at the Penanjakan viewpoint at 4 am (this is a high mountain lookout with seating platform, where all three volcanoes can be seen):
- the viewpoint can be reached by foot – about 2 hours hike starting from road leading uphill just by the two large antennae near Cemara Indah hotel. If not, take a jeep (which is what most people do, costs about 200 000 IDR per pax for shared jeep, I think) which brings you down into the sea of sand, before heading up to the viewpoint, taking about 45 min in rather exciting driving conditions (imagine poor visibility due to the mist, and many other jeeps travelling at speed in the Sea of Sand in darkness, except for their headlights).
- There are lots of jeeps and people at the top viewpoint (Viewpoint 1 Mt Penanjakan 2700 m) even at 4 am when we reached the viewing platform (we left at 3 am sharp from hotel, on jeep this time) … the later you catch the jeep, the more you will have to hike up to get to the platform area, as the narrow mountain road is packed with jeeps filling up the parking spaces along the road side, and motorbike taxis (ojeks) offering to take you up from your parking spot…
- How to get a good view of sunrise – when you arrive at the platform, DO NOT sit on the benches provided and wait there … your view will almost certainly be blocked later on by people who will crowd along the railings from where the sunrise can be seen. Walk towards the railings instead and ignore the crowd already settled down onto the wooden benches on the platform.
You can position near the pillars linking the railings, as it makes for a good camera stand!! which is what we did, or hang your legs out and use the railing for support to steady the camera for shots in low lighting. Just make sure the view is clear of any bushes that may block a good shot ..
We were pleasantly surprise to find a stretch of railing which was not occupied when we wandered around and immediately decided this was the place to wait … SY could even set up her camera to take these star trails while waiting ..
(next: Bromo marathon!)