3:15 AM, we heard our 'wake-up knock'. We dressed as warm as possible, I had three layers of clothes on. The viewpoint we're heading to first is atop Mt. Penanjakan (2,770m), located north of the caldera.
Temperatures can drop to zero in the summer, so after breakfast we rented down jackets at the reception for 20,000 Rp a piece. Shervin got a jacket with faux fur on the hood, and I got a colorful 80s-style one.
Six of us were squeezed in the jeep. Initially, we wanted the tour which will only take us to the jump off trail to Gunung Bromo. The travel agent convinced us to join the jeep ride up the viewpoint, then down the trail to the volcano for an extra 100,000 Rp each. We're glad we did because the view was breathtaking at sunrise.
At 6:00 AM, we walked back to the jeep and drove down to the jump-off trail. From there, the walk to the crater only takes about twenty minutes. You may also hire a horse for 20,000 (price depends on which area/point you ride the horse).
It was eerie to walk in the fog. You won't see anything within a two-meter radius. Tourists, horses will take you aback as they suddenly emerge from every direction.
As you hike higher and higher, you will get an awesome view of the Hindu temple looming through the sea of fog.
But your excitement might die straight away once you see the last part of the ascent, which is the 250-step stairs that will lead you to the crater.
Wikitravel's warning: "Mount Bromo really is a live volcano that erupts with disturbing regularity: in 2004, two tourists were killed and five injured when the mountain spit out molten rock as far as the temple. Keep your distance if the mountain is acting up. Pay attention to the geologists who can normally accurately predict the state of the volcano and the associated danger level."
[This blog is part of the South East Asia in Six Weeks series which took place May-June 2009. Price of goods, transportation and so forth may already be different.]
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