If you imagine that Indonesia
is always hot and humid, Jason Dundas can tell you it's not! At 4am, on his way to see dawn breaking over Mt Bromo, he was freezing in the 0°C temperature, but he said it was well worth all the shivering.
He joined a Gecko's Adventures tour to Tengger in East Java to visit the 2392m-hing Mt Bromo, one of Indonesia's most famous volcanoes. To this day it continually puffs out billowing clouds of sulphur. Last November its ash clouds were responsible for interrupting flights to Bali.
Bromo actually sits within a super-volcano, which has long run out of steam. The massive, ancient caldera surrounds Bromo and its non-active sister volcano, Mt Batok, and is known as the Sand Sea. Both volcanoes are within the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park.
It's not too difficult to climb to the lip of Mt Bromo, but even easier if you go on horseback as Jason did. You can also reach it by motorbike. Crossing the Sea of Sand must be like being on the moon or earth in its primeval stage. After passing through typical Indonesian lush greenery, all of a sudden you are faced with desolate beauty.
If you take the path on the left fork from Cemoro Lawang, you will see a Hindu temple. From there, a steep 250-step path leads to the crater.
To prevent the volcano erupting, locals go up every year and throw in offerings and sacrifices to the volcano god. Five centuries ago the locals used to offer children, but thankfully, these days it's flowers, fruit, vegetables and the occasional livestock.
By the way, Jason recommends wearing warm clothing you won't mind absorbing the sulphur smell, and wear sturdy shoes.
Mt Bromo, a four-hour drive from Malang in East Java.
Gecko's Adventures has 22-day Indonesian Paradise tours from Yogyakarta. Accommodation, breakfast and transfers are included. They start at $2295 per person twin-share.
Prices correct at March 10, 2011.
For further information
Ph: 1300 854 444
Visas: Australian passports must have a minimum validity of six months from the date of arrival. Seven-day and 30-day visas are available on arrival. Requirements and fees change regularly, so check with the Indonesia Consulate for current information.
Electricity: 22V at 50Hz. Sockets are two-pin plugs and adaptors and cheap and on sale everywhere.
Time zone: GMT +8.
Currency: Indonesian rupiah.
International dialling code: +62 361.