misty morning at Bromo

misty morning at Bromo, originally uploaded by Rafy Sugiri.

(video: denharto)

Mount Bromo is a convenient stop for travellers between Bali and Surabaya, and the most popular of all of East Java's travel destinations, this active 2,392-metre- (7,85 foot-) high volcano lies 112 kilometres (70 miles), about three hours, southeast of Surabaya. Enclosed by perpendicular walls 350 metres (1,150 feet) high, Bromo's awesome 2,200-metre- (7,220-foot-) high 'sand sea' caldera has three mountains within it, craters within one huge crater, the Bromo Semeru Massif. There are also three small crater lakes inside the larger crater, with waterfowl and excellent hiking. The ideal time to visit is in the dry season (April-November) when you have a better chance of seeing a blood-red sunrise in the wet season, you might as well sleep late and stroll across the sand sea during the warmer part of the day, after the heavy fog has blown away. The temperature on top of Bromo is around 5°C (40°F); in July, it could drop to 0°C (32°F), so dress warmly. Three times a year, the site is overrun by tourists in February when an annual festival takes place, over Christmas, and during July and August. So plan your visit for another time if you don't like crowds. From Bromo's peak are stunning views of active Gunung Semeru, Java's highest mountain.

Although Bromo can still vent steam and ash, smoke profusely and occasionally boom from the central crater, lava has not been ejected in recent history. Many local and foreign travellers make the trek for the mystical experience of watching the sunrise from the crest of the Bromo volcano. A pony ride from the village of Ngadisari takes you over a sea of sand to the foot of the volcano. Ascend the 50 steps to reach the rim. On the vast expanse of sands formerly a caldera, there are two volcanoes: the extinct Batok, which is a perfect cone and Bromo. Volcanic sulphur fumes and smoke still emanate from the depths, and when the God of Bromo begins to rumble, the surrounding population quickly bring their offerings. The annual offering ceremony of Kasada is held on the 14th day of Kasada, the twelfth month in the Tenggerese calendar year. It is a dazzling event where villagers from the surrounding areas bring their humble offerings to the holy volcano. No matter how much you have heard about it, you won't be prepared for this unforgettable spectacle.

Mount Bromo may be reached via Malang and Surabaya. From Surabaya's Joyoboyo Bus Station, take a bus or minibus for two-and-a half to three hours to Probolinggo (93 kilometres, or 58 miles). Leave Surabaya early so that you can make it to Ngadisari, below Bromo, the same day go to Ngadisari it is two hours by minibus, leaving every hour or The turn off to Ngadisari is four kilometres (2.5 miles) west of in the main highway between Surabaya and Banyuwangi. In April-November, this road is passable all the way to Ngadisari. From Ngadisari to sing, walk or take a horse. The ascent to the Bromo crater from Cemoro is about two hours by foot or one-and-a-half hours on horseback.

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