Saturday, June 23, 2012

We woke up at 6, got packed and checked out. We left the hotel at 6:45 for an 8:45 flight, knowing the drive was minimum of an hour - sort of the exact opposite of when we left Jakarta. We were a bit nervous the whole time. There was a fair amount of traffic (including people texting on their cell phones, which is not just an American thing), perhaps because it was a Saturday. We were able to follow along on Google Maps on our iPhone, so at least we had some idea of where we were and how much time there was left. We stopped at an ATM at 8. Thankfully, the airport was less than five minutes away.

We went into an executive VIP area - hopefully this didn't cost us anything extra, nice as it was. For $160, actually it doesn't matter if it cost extra. They had breakfast there, plus juice, coffee, and sodas - way better than a 12 hour drive. The flight was a little late to board, but we still took off on time. As with the flight to Yogyakarta, there were volcanoes out the window, perhaps the ones we were going to be visiting. The Surabaya airport was a zoo, with people waiting everywhere. We met our driver Norly again, albeit in a different vehicle. Getting out of Surabaya took awhile - there were tons of motorbikes. Once outside of Surabaya, we got lunch, by ourselves again. The place was very nice, with a cool breeze and lots of local dishes. After getting back on the road, we headed by the coast a bit, hitting a couple of towns, then headed straight up the hillside towards Bromo. We got to the hotel area around 3, but went past the hotel to a lookout spot.

Everyone calls the area Mount Bromo, but in fact there are several volcanoes in addition to Mount Bromo, and the whole collective area is called the Tengger Caldera. The volcanic complex of Tengger was created by new volcanoes forming inside a larger, older caldera. There are five volcanoes inside the current Tengger Caldera: Mount Bromo (2,329 m) (front left in the picture above), Mount Batok (2,470 m) (front right), Mount Kursi (2,581 m), Mount Watangan (2,661 m), and Mount Widodaren (2,650 m). Mount Batok is the only peak that is no longer active, and is covered in trees. The five volcanoes within the caldera are surrounded by a vast area of sand called the Tengger Sand Sea, which in turn is surrounded by a steep crater wall of the larger Tengger Caldera with height differences of about 200–600 meters.


Other mountains around the Tengger caldera are: Mount Pananjakan (2,770 m) Mount Cemorolawang (2,227 m), Mount Lingker (2,278 m), Mount Pundak Lembu (2,635 m), Mount Jantur (2,705 m), Mount Ider-ider (2,527 m) and Mount Mungal (2,480 m). Mount Pananjakan is where we'd be going the next day, as it is by far the most popular place to watch sunrise over the entire volcanic complex of Tengger. Further south in the national park, there is another volcanic complex called the Semeru Group or Jambangan Group. This area contains the highest peak of Java, Mount Semeru (3,676 m), which is also visible from Mount Pananjakan. Other mountains within this Semeru area are Mount Lanang (2,313 m), Mount Ayek-ayek (2,819 m), Mount Pangonan Cilik (2,833 m), Mount Keduwung (2,334 m), Mount Jambangan (3,020 m), Mount Gentong (1,951 m), Mount Kepolo (3,035 m), and Mount Malang (2,401 m). Presumably we'd seen a bunch of these flying into Surabaya, but then again, with all the volcanoes in Indonesia, maybe not.

Our hotel (Java Banana) was nice, better than the reviews. Not that the reviews were bad, but we were expecting something more akin to what we experienced in Anjer - the nicest of some decent, but not great, hotels. As it was, the whole place was very clean, with nice amenities and meticulously manicured grounds. The only issue was that the rooms were not remotely soundproof, and our neighbors were coming and going constantly (for who knows what). Also, as we found out at night, the bed was hard as a rock (but not as hard as the bed in Pattaya, Thailand). We were both very tired - hopefully not from malaria - and went to sleep around 7.