Tengger Sand Sea

Posted by mae on Saturday Oct 15, 2011 Under General, Travels

East Java, Indonesia.
15 – 18 September 2011.

This is Volcano #3. (#1 and #2)
*the pics, unless otherwise stated, belong to my bro Nas. I did not bring my camera this time.

We set out at dawn and landed in Surabaya via a direct flight from KLIA to Juanda International Airport. And as always, thanks to AirAsia.

Our favorite in-flight meal, Pak Nasser’s Nasi Lemak. With a spork no less. 😀

We are then picked up by a couple of guys from Surabaya Transport in this cute van.

About 100km to the south-east of Surabaya is the well-known Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, the home to two volcanic complexes with the highest peak in Java, Mount Semeru. Our accommodation, Bromo Permai, lies in Ngadisari, one of many villages scattered around the Tengger Caldera. Obviously, the fertile volcanic soil provides a source of living for the locals and the volcanoes the source of spiritual beliefs.

The entrance fees to the National Park – Rp25000 is converted to around RM9.

A sign reminding visitors of the administrative details of the National Park.

And this is the view right in front of Bromo Permai – the smoking Mount Bromo on the left and the dormant Mount Batok on the other side.

Another shot of the duo later in the evening.

Then we take a (short) walk around the place – it is fairly cold for a high hill village.

It isn’t long before we are approached by local vendors selling t-shirts, knit hats and gloves. The temperature can drop to well below 10°C.

You see, even the authority is very apologetic. 😆

Thick volcanic ash covering the path, probably as the consequence of the recent eruptions.

…and a random cat.

And that’s all for the day. The next day we get up even earlier, at 4.30am we are all ready for a 20-minute “jeep” ride to the foot of Mount Penanjakan.

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Then we get off the jeeps and start climbing up in the dark. The exhausting physical activity is made worse by the cold temperature and the high altitude – some visitors decide to hire the local horses to the top. Among the visitors, there is no doubt that the French are the most significant and make up the majority of them. I can hear them uttering semi-comprehensible words all the time! 😆

We arrive before dawn and wait for the glorious show to commence 😀

Here the locals set up mini stalls, preparing and selling hot beverages and foods for the climbers. The dim and distant lights on the rim of the Tengger Caldera are the village from which we came from.

Turn slightly to the right and you’ll see the trio of volcanoes.

A closer look of the volcanoes. Both Mt Bromo and Mt Semeru are highly active and has been erupting continuously.

The sunrise.

The volcanoes in the daylight.

Another view of the volcanoes while we’re descending Mt Penanjakan…

…and the rim of the Tengger Caldera.

In the same jeeps we proceed back to the village and descend into the Tengger Sand Sea in the direction of Mount Bromo. After a rough and rocky ride we’re dropped off quite far away from Mt Bromo.

Between us and Mt Bromo is a Hindu temple that plays an important role in the culture and beliefs of the Tenggerese people.

The face mask proves to be essential during the climb – the surrounding is very dusty thanks to the fine volcanic ash.

There are also horses for hire too, for those who don’t fancy trudging across the dusty sand plain under the sun.

And there are lots of them.

The walk is kinda exasperating, but  I believe it is nothing compared to Mt Marapi.

The steps of stairs are the final hurdle.

And finally! At the end of the stairs, we’re welcomed by this huge crater of Mt Bromo. We gape for a while, and realise that this volcano is still very active and has been erupting regularly, with latest major eruptions in January this year.

And the fact that there is not much space at the mouth of the volcano does not help either – one can easily stumble and fall into the crater, a definite one-way journey.

Oh, and not forgetting the sleeping Mt Batok. 🙂

Satisfied and pleased with what we have seen today, we start to descend all the way back to the jeeps.

Later that day we leave the village and return to Surabaya before taking our flight home on the 18th September. So that’s it, Volcano #3 done. I’m looking forward to another exciting journey of volcano-hunting or mountain-climbing, and I’ll definitely continue doing this for a long time to come. 😀

Cheers!

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