Friday 8 May 2015

Ranu Pani, Indonesia: Mt Semeru

After our Mt Penanjakan and Mt Bromo tour, we took a jeep and headed to Ranu Pani village, the nearest village to Mt Semeru. It was SUCH a bumpy ride, I was jolted left right center and bumped my head a few times.

It was even colder at Ranu Pani since it's located higher above sea level. We took a walk around the small village and visited a misty lake. Then we found our homestay and was welcomed warmly by the host, Thomas and his mother. It was near dinner time when we arrived so we went food hunting but there aren't too much food options around the small village so we had fried rice at the homestay. We played cards and then went out to the lake to star gaze and freeze ourselves. We managed to spot one or two shooting stars! It was my first time seeing shooting stars so you can imagine my excitement.

We really wanted to do the 2D1N hike up Mt Semeru but realised that we didn't have enough time so we opted for a hike to the Ranu Pani lake and then turn back. We began pretty early the next day and it was absolutely FREEZING when we woke up, the alarm rang and rang but nobody budged haha. My friend had half the mind to not join us but I managed to get her to come along and she did not regret it. :)

A part of the forest was burned. :( As we hiked, the sun came up and it got hot so we started stripping haha. And after about 4 hours, we finally saw the Ranu Pani lake. :)

We had our breakfast beside the lake which was sadly a bit polluted with rubbish left behind by the campers? :( Nonetheless, it was a view worth hiking 4 hours for. If we had done the 2D1N hike, this would have been the camping site. It would be a beautiful place to camp and spend a night, though I imagine it would be seriously cold during the night.

After we got back to our homestay, it was time to pack up and head back to Surabaya. We spent one night there and our host at Surabaya brought us out to eat. We didn't see much of Surabaya but we saw the "Singapore of Surabaya" and why you ask? Go and find out haha. We also passed by a super wealthy estate full of mansions. We asked our host if he has a house there, he was like, "No house, just a piece of land." Pff.

Then it was goodbye to the cold and hello sunny home!

Friday 1 May 2015

Cemoro Lewang, Indonesia: Mt Penajakan & Mt Bromo Tour

To continue our journey from Batu, we took a bus to Probolinggo then a taxi-van up the hills to our accommodation in Cemoro Lewang, the nearest town to Mt Bromo. By the time we reached, it was pretty late at night and we couldn't see much but an overpowering smell of sulphur engulfed us. We had this crazy idea to trek up to Mt Penajakan in the middle of the night to catch the sunrise (ok maybe not so crazy since we did see people along the way doing it) but our driver persuaded us not to. It's dark, cold and it's a really long hike. So we turned in and got 3-4 hours of sleep before waking up to catch the sunrise at Mt Penajakan. We were wrapped from head to toe, it was really cold! Thank goodness we brought enough clothes. And once we stepped out of our room, we could hardly breathe due to the sulphur. I guess it was a good thing we decided not to hike. The drive up was pretty daunting (for the driver at least), there are no street lamps and you could hardly see 1m in front of you even with the headlights. I have no idea how he managed to navigate around with such low visibility, I'm guessing years of experience.

We reached the viewing point of Mt Penajakan when it was still pitch dark and gazillions of stars greeted us. It was beautiful. My neck hurt from looking up but I was mesmerized by the galaxy of stars. You have to be quick to claim your spot or else you will be have to crane your neck from behind a sea of people. We witnessed the sky slowly changing colour from a deep blue to a gorgeous orange. It was beautiful. I can't stress enough how much I love sunrises/sunsets.

I LOVE this picture taken by my friend! It's so magical. Look at the twinkling stars above the mountain!!

And then the sun was up. Don't you just love the sea of clouds? We were super reluctant to leave but Mt Bromo was waiting for us so we went down to find our driver.

We got some barbequed corn along the way, it was really sweet! It's always good to have something hot when you're cold. Then our driver drove us to Mt Bromo. It was really dusty/cloudy so we felt as if we stopped in the middle of nowhere. We were immediately approached by men with horses asking if we wanted a ride to the base of Mt Bromo. It wasn't that long a walk but we decided to take a joy ride. I would suggest you bring a mask along because sand was flying all around.

We reached the base of Mt Bromo where we had to walk up a flight of stairs. I spotted a white horse and wanted to take a photo with it but while I was posing, it bit/licked me! Leaving a wet spot of horse saliva on my jacket T_T It didn't look guilty/sorry at all!

The fog cleared up after a while and we didn't know we walked past a temple!

On top of Mt Bromo. The view kind of reminded me of Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand. Interestingly, the smell of sulphur wasn't that strong even though we were right next to Mt Bromo. I wonder why it was stronger early in the morning...

We reached one edge of Mt Bromo where there was nobody around and took some photos. It was a really beautiful spot, with the gorgeous blue sky above us and a volcano behind us. Then we walked back to our driver and went back to our accommodation to wash up and leave for our next destination.

Goodbye Mt Bromo! You were amazing :)