My hands were starting to get cold. The wind on the top of the hill was cutting through my clothing. I wanted to go back down the slope into the little food stall and get another cup of tea to warm myself up, but I didn’t want to miss sunrise over Bromo. Looking up I could see that the stars had already faded from the sky; it would only be a few more minutes before first light.
Just as the sun started to rise, a mist rolled over the viewing platform. Everything disappeared under a layer of condensed water vapor. The moment that I had been waiting for all evening was about to pass me by. A midnight flight from Jakarta, a two hour car ride from Surabaya and then a final trek up the hill and all for this.
Bromo (which is a volcano) is probably the most famous tourist attraction around Surabaya. I’d seen the photos before, so I knew what I should be expecting. Straight ahead of me, dropping away from the hill I was standing on, I should be seeing a vast flat plain that stretches for thousands of meters. Rising out of this I should be seeing Bromo and Semeru, the largest mountain on the whole of Java (you can find more information about the Bromo Tour in this guide).
Luckily my disappointment didn’t last long. As the sun started to rise up over the horizon the mist evaporated revealing a breathtaking view. It was a special view shared with hundreds of other tourists who had come to share this view. The evening was not wasted after all.
I didn’t stay on the hill for more than an hour. Despite the sun, the temperature on the top of the hill was still too cold, we returned to the jeep we had rented for the day to explore the area. The squat jeep would take us up and down steep hills and along potholed roads.
We followed the classic tourist route, visiting the volcano and climbing to the top of the crater. Here you get a great view of the smoking center as well as a strong smell of sulfur.
In a sign that old traditions are very much alive, you can find locals selling flowers and grass to throw into the center of the volcano.
After climbing Bromo we explored Indonesia’s Hobbit land, which looks like a landscape straight out of New Zealand. It was a great morning and definitely worth the hassles of the journey.