Indonesia: Surabaya

[Recent Trip] See Sunrise at Mountain Penanjakan over Mount Bromo

Friday, May 13, 2016

2016 April 27th to 28th

To many, the desire for travel is a basic human impulse. For me, it is giving the freedom to do what I want and I would undoubtedly choose to explore the world whenever I have the opportunity and I never hesitate. I like trekking and trekking to volcanic mountain is one of my bucket lists in 2016.

Many people say trekking to a living volcano is a very dangerous outdoor activity because the magma eruption and ash flying can be happen in anytime and possibly endangering your life. As long as you have an early preparation about the updated news such as the weather condition, the volcano activity, terrain topography and temperature change, it is advised to be safe on travelling abroad to adventure yourself in a volcano trekking path.

My destination was East Java in Indonesia to visit this magnificent volcanic mountain and its famous sulphur mining area. When you are travelling to East Java, you should not miss to go to Mount Bromo and the whole trip will not be complete if you have not visited Mount Bromo because this place is very good for destination of travelling besides other places in East Java and it is perfect for sightseeing unwind and cool the mind of the problems of the world.

Unwind sightseeing view from Mount Penanjakan over Mount Bromo. 

On 27th April 2016, I took a direct flight of Tiger Air from Singapore to Surabaya where it was booked for a return ticket at a price of SGD 158.11 including base fare, security fee, airport tax, GST and card service charge. After a 2 hours and 30 minute flight taking, bypassing the great ocean of Java Sea, I finally landed in Surabaya Juanda International Airport surrounded with humid and hot weather at 0940 Indonesia time.  

Taxi is one of the expensive traveller transport in any country can also be easily accessible around this Surabaya Juanda International Airport.


After I have checked out the airport screening custom, I looked around the airport shuttle bus counter going to Bungurasih local bus terminal. The counter was located near to the arrival gate and I took a DAMRI airport shuttle bus in front of the arrival gate. The price is IDR 25,000 for one way ticket. Some people offers you a cab with the same price with DAMRI bus but you must believe me it is a good choice in which the bus is managed by the local government and far away from scams probably did by the cab driver.

DAMRI is airport shuttle bus in Surabaya that will take you go to local bus terminal Bungurasih to make a transit.

After 30 minutes arriving the Bungurasih local bus terminal, you can see a lot of taxi driver were standing outside the arrival point and trying to approach you for business and some offering fare might not following the distance rate and be careful for the overpaying of taxi fare. I was ignored them and proceeded to internal hall to look for the right bus going to Malang to meet up my couch surfing friends.

Terminal Bungurasih located in the outside of Surabaya is the busiest bus terminal in Indonesia in which it picks up to 120,000 passengers a day locally and inter-island route.

I paid IDR 25,000 (SGD 2.60) to the bus attendant and settled in for the 2 hours ride to Malang. On the way, there were few times of stopping to let the guitar-paying buskers and snack touts where the ride took me through absolutely stunning countryside and only made minimal stops.

In this poor and not equalized developing country, you still able to see a lot of snack touts go into the bus to promote the food to you to earn income and some guitar playing buskers will display a song to passengers.

In Malang city here, there are many public van transports named “angkot” from the abbreviation of "Angkutan Kota" means city carrier with light blue colour. To see the route of destination, you have to check the initial printed on the front mirror of the car. For example, "AT" stands for Arjosari Tidar, so the angkot serves the route of Arjosari Bus Terminal and Tidar place. This van does not have the listed stops so of you get to your destination, you can just ask the driver to stop and let you get off then pay it directly to the driver in cash. They do not take the card at all and so be ready with your money in hand.

Malang is the second largest city in East Java with a rapidly growing population of about 1.2 million. Its famous bus interchange names Ajorsari play the important transportation center for tourism.

If you need to go somewhere with angkot, you do not have to go to the bus shelter to get it, just stand and stop it by waiving your hand anywhere along its route. At busy hours, you might not be lucky to get the vacant seat, some people then walk further to the quiet spot. It looks easy and practical but it can cause chaos on the road especially for the people who drive behind this van. They always have to be alert that this van can stop anywhere they want.

Blue colour Angkot (city carrier) are everywhere in this Malang city and it is very cheap.

On arrival in Malang, it was afternoon around 2pm. I was asking around the local people where to get the angkot going to my accommodation to check in my stay. I was waiting for about 20 minutes and finally got ADL (Arjosari-Ladungsari route) angkot coming to my stop. I was staying in Malang accommodation despite the room being small a bit but there was a beautiful garden outside our rooms and tables arranged for us to chill. It had a shared toilet of two cubicles with intermittent hot water.

After I took shower in the late afternoon, I went to meet up with couch surfers beside the hostel cafe to discuss on how to share a jeep to Mount Bromo at the midnight. Before we went to the Mount Penanjakan, we took a local food dinner and short snap inside the hostel to recharge our body spirit.

Located inside the Living World Mall at Alam Sutera, just the opposite of the Supermarket, it is very easy to find this ‘My Kopi O’ cafe with unique design and shades of white colour and looks more interesting as the service is fast and friendly where originated from Surabaya and already famous and crowded with peoples.

Try this delicious, crispy and crunchy fried chicken cutlet in ‘My Kopi O’ cafe and they also provide Malay Singaporean, Asian and Western menu that is sure no to disappoint you.


It was a drive up to Mt Penanjakan where we would catch the sunrise over Mt Bromo, an active volcano in East Java. It sits in “the sand of sea” and is part of a national park when the last eruption was happen in 2011. The hike was a short one, basically up to as far as the car could go.  We were told this was a hotspot for mountain sunrise view as it was more of a drive up than walk up, so almost everyone could make it.

We left about 12 midnight from the hostel in Malang city and there were five of us travelling in a vintage Toyota 4 wheels jeep under the blanket of darkness across a portion of the sand sea where the jeep will bring us up to catch the sunrise. As our jeep went through the desert-like area under darkness, you could only see the lights from the jeeps in front and behind before we went to foot of Mount Penanjakan that could make you get lost.

Where the jeep could not longer went up and stopped at the peak entrance of Mount Penanjakan then we alighted by foot walking. We reached at 3.30am early morning in Mount Penanjakan and it was definitely colder than other mountain when its temperature was 11 degree Celsius at this midnight time, perhaps we had less exercise in which there were no hiking needed.

A vintage Toyota 4 wheels jeep that we stopped it at this Mount Penanjakan peak entrance.

We ordered cup noodles and hot milo to keep our body warm. After the meal, we were ready to walk up to the peak of Mount Penanjakan which is just over 2,700 meter high above sea level where we stopped to stand and stared at the shooting stars and cloud drifts like currents below us. There were barely light pollutions and they looked fantastic.

Catching this sunrise views came with a price since this viewing area was pretty packed. To get a great view of Mount Bromo and its smouldering crater, we had to fight off ‘aunties’ who squeezed their way in as too many tourists like us had gathered to get a glimpse of the sunrise. 
I was proud of us that we stood our grounds, fighting the cold and remained at out spot in the dark for more than one hour before the sun rose up at 5.30am, waiting for our sunrise shot.

After an hour later, we could see the sun rays breaking the horizon and the riot of colours lighting up the sky. It was worth however early we travelled and however tired we were. As the orange ball breached the horizon, it filled us with warmth and amazing moment.

Yes it came, the perfect sun rays that peeked out from the clouds in the distance.  

The temperature was still hovering around 20 degrees in morning, but everyone could not resist selfies with Mount Bromo. In case you were not aware, the smoking crater was Mount Bromo. Watching the sun rise and seeing the scenery slowly appear was a fantastic experience. We got the shot that looked almost surreal.  It was so beautiful with Mount Bromo but all set in a sea of fog.  It did keep me wondering how the view would change once the fog cleared out.   

The smoking crater far from distance is Mount Bromo.

I was going to another area where I could have this beautiful view from a slightly different angle, away from the thick fog. 

Behind my selfie is a beautiful Mount Bromo that set in a sea of fog.

Antenna from viewpoint on this Mount Penanjakan is a basic two ways communication device that converts electric power into radio wave through receiver and transmitter in which vital to make it work.

After finished shooting all the wonderful photos at about 6.30am, we had to take the jeep down from this Mount Penanjakan and up to Mount Bromo summit through crossing a part of the sea sand.
We walked back to our jeep parking area and trekked down to Mount Bromo.

For those who are trekkers, from here you can trek down and then walked across the 3km sand of sea and then upwards to summit caldera of Mount Bromo. It takes about one to two hours again depending on your fitness level. So do not forget to get to the beautiful scenery of Mount Bromo.  

Please continue to read my next travel blog and check out my shared experience on the Exploration to Mount Bromo.

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