Mount Bromo is one of the most popular active volcanoes in Indonesia. Located in East Java, it offers a spectacular view of sunrise highlighting rows of adjacent mountains and “the sea of sand” around it. This entire volcanic complex is officially named as Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park and is located 50 km east of Malang. To enter the park, it is very recommended to rent a Jeep with an experienced driver (for about USD30/car) available in abundance at the entrance. The driver will take visitors through the curvy and narrow paths with steep ravines to reach Mount Penanjakan, the prime area to capture the beautiful panorama of the surroundings.
Aside from a fully-charged camera, strong will and a functioning alarm clock will be necessary to greet the sunrise in Mount Bromo. To get the best spot for sunrise viewing, people usually start to gather in the veranda of Mount Penanjakan before 4AM, regardless the cold and freezing pre-dawn temperature. Nevertheless, when the sun starts to rise and beam its light upon these landscape, all of the adrenaline poured during the Jeep tour and facing the chills will certainly be paid off.
From the veranda of Mount Penanjakan, the mountains are beautifully presented across the sea of sand in the caldera of ancient Tengger volcano. This unique feature is declared as the only desert-like area in Indonesia and thus has been protected since the early 1900s. Among its significant numbers of mountain, the scene covers Mount Bromo, Mount Batok —the only mountain that is no longer active— and Mount Semeru —the highest peak in Java Island. Seeing this group of mountains covered in mist under the clear blue sky is an exotic package that is rare to find.
After the sunrise, the Jeep tour usually takes visitors to Bromo foothills where people can walk or ride horses to climb the mountain and view the caldera of Mount Bromo. These horses are rented out by Tengger people, the remaining indigenous Hindu communities of Majapahit era that inhabit the area, both in and around the park. This community still strongly performs their religious duties including to respect Mount Bromo as a sacred place. Once a year, Tengger people hold Kasada Festival in the modest temple located in front of Mount Batok. They then climb up the mountain to deliver offerings of foods, flowers and other sacrifices by throwing them to the caldera of Mount Bromo.