Ijen | Mount Bromo | Madakaripura Waterfall Trip 2017

// T O U C H D O W N //

What | Bromo Trip
When | 13th - 16th April 2017
Where | Surabaya, Indonesia

Thanks to Shy Bey for arranging everything, and all we need to do was buy the flight tickets, pay deposit and wait for the day to come. :D Everyone contributed to the pictures posted in this blog. So, it's all a mixture of pictures from our phones, GoPro and DSLR.

Price | ~220$
Inclusive | Tour, accommodation, transportation, entrance fees, breakfast
Flight | 222$ via JetStar from SGP to Surabaya 
Other expenses | ~100$ for food and shopping

Overall, I think each of us used around 500$ per person for the whole trip. It's quite a good vacation trip but need to exert a little extra energy. The view provided by mother nature is amazing, and there's none other like it. I highly recommend it if you're into nature and scenery. 
Like anyone who is going there for the first time, we were fretting a lot about what we should bring and wear. Since I've already been there, this is my advice to anyone reading this. It can get very hot and it can get very cold too. Yes, both! So, be sure to bring clothes that you can layer as the difference of temperature of the same place can change drastically during the day and night time. It was predicted that the temperature would be around 10 degree Celcius for both Ijen and Bromo in the middle of the night. It's bearable but if it's windy then it can get quite cold. Invest in a windbreaker if you can. I almost froze to death on the second night. Mask and raincoat is also advisable as you will need it at Ijen and the waterfall respectively. Some chocolate snacks would be good too to keep your body energized during your hike but not necessary. Be sure to change enough money because money exchange services are very scarce there! If you must, change at the airport as we found that the rate given outside was very very bad. Maybe it was our luck too, as the bank exchange service was closed and it was a holiday that particular day when we wanted to change some money. 

Our flight were scheduled on Thursday morning and by the time we reached there, it was already a little bit after noon. There, we met our driver who chaperoned us for the 4 days. His name was Pak Iman. Overall, I think he was okay, but I didn't like it when he deliberately drove us to some restaurant which cater to foreigners.. and also charge us the "foreigner price" too. When we see there was an English menu, we knew what was happening. There's this dinner place that charged us 25,000 IDR (2.60$/RM8) for a meager plate of rice with a pathetic excuse for a chicken drumstick and 3 pieces of blanch (or dying) cooked leaves. When we stood on our ground and asked him to find us a place where local eats and making sure there was no English menu, we found a place that sells a plate of food for only 5000 - 6000 IDR (0.60$/RM2). That's a very big difference folks! He was making this kind of creepy and nervous laugh at some point.. We suspected something before but.. it's not nice to allege accuse him for something publicly. So, I'll just leave it at that.  

Anyway, TLDR version; Be careful not to get scammed and stand your ground.

In our private van.
Not the most comfortable van but we endured. Our first journey was from Surabaya Airport to Ijen View Hotel & Resort which took 5-6 hours. Before heading off on our journey we had to take our lunch first. We ate at IBC and also made a little pit stop at the local mini-mart called Indomart to stock up on some water and snacks. 

Food was very very good at IBC restaurant but it was kind of expensive for Indonesia standard. Either way, we enjoyed it and there was plenty of food. Loved the fried fish.

Time traveled and reached our first hotel in the evening.
We arrived around 9pm, there was some problem with our rooms but luckily they finally showed us to our rooms. The lobby looks amazing but the room was crap. Air cond wasn't working in most of the rooms but we didn't really slept for long anyway. We had to move out at 12.30am so we only got like a few hours to rest. 

// K A W A H . I J E N // 

The reason why we had to depart at 12.30am is to see the "Blue Fire". It is only visible during ungodly hours. Unfortunately for us, we didn't make it because of some lorry accident during our journey there. Normally it will take 1 hour and a half to reach there but we took around 3 hours. We only barely caught a glimpse of the blue fire. There's definitely fire all right, but when the sun came up, it's very hard to see. Well, I guess we'll have to settle for Google images then. 

We were led by a local tour guide up the summit. It took us around 1 hour from the main entrance to our destination. It's not very difficult but still a bit tough for people who doesn't really exercise much (like me), especially the slopes. The road is paved nicely I have to say, so it's an easy walk to the top. There are quite a number of tourists and feels quite pack at the summit. There's also man-powered "taxi" services if you need one. Basically they'll put you in a push-trolley and pull you up or pull you down the hill for like 60 whopping SGD.  No kidding. We saw a young man being pulled up, I thought it was silly because it's really not a very difficult hike. How weak can you be dude? Maybe some people has too much money. 

Ijen is a place where the local sulfur miners work. At the beginning of our tour, our local guide told us to not donate any money to the miners. This is because the miners are there to mine sulfur and work for money. It is a tradition that must be kept. They do not earn much from the sulfur but it is what must be done. He said there's been a few foreigners who donated money to the locals, and this made them think that it is okay to just sit there and beg for money without working. So, it will some how disrupt the "ecosystem". However, buying their merchandises is okay. 

When the sun rises, it became beautiful

Just very awestruck by the view in front of me at that very moment.  

Just had to, I thought he was quite photogenic. 


Prof pic

Somehow, it looks like dooms day in this picture.

sulphur fart

cannot see nice background. *Cry*


I'm just gonna overload this posts with loads of photos. Did I warn you about it earlier? 
No? Well, too bad then, it's too late.

Photographer: XM

Some really photogenic trees.
Photographer: Me.

Support each other. lol

Sexy sap

// B R O M O //

After Ijen, we went back to the hotel to take a quick shower and then on to some local stalls for lunch. Sorry, no picture taken. I think I was too hungry to take any pictures. Once the food was on the table, everyone started gulping everything. 

*French accent* 
5 hourz layter...
if you get the reference to Spongebob

Reach the Hotel near Bromo. 

This looks a bit like China though. HAH.

Dinner place just near our hotel. Yet again, no pictures of the food. Nothing fancy but quite nice. Cheap too.
Not what we expected since it's near a tourist attraction. 

Sun sets earlier here

Eat, drink, talk

Spending the night up there wasn't easy for me. The room is fairly simple and not much to brag about. Overall I don't feel comfortable because everything I touched felt damp and cold. There's no fan (you wouldn't need one since it's already very cold) and unfortunately no heater too. I had to wear a few layers of clothes to sleep and tuck myself into a ball. Once asleep, I felt reluctant to move when the alarm rang at 2.45am because it's just too cold. 

We waited for our jeep at the hotel entrance. Even though the jeep was very small, 7 of us (including the driver) could fit in it. 4 of us sat behind, and 3 in front. 

// M T . P E N A N J A K A N . V I E W . P O I N T //

Thank god somebody made a bonfire else I would freeze to death. I am intolerable towards the cold. Even though I am chubby, I don't know what my body fats are good for. Plenty of jeeps were already parked at the viewing point, and it was already quite crowded. All the good spots for taking pictures and videos of the sunrise were taken. So, we had to settle for a further view point. There were also two small stalls selling hot beverages (at a high price) and also fried bananas (which were hot, crunchy on the outside, and delicious on the inside). We waited for a good 1 hour I think. 

As you can see, the place is crowded with people. And this is only at one end. 

Instead of the sunrise view, we had the Mount Bromo view. Which is also breath-taking

And we made it our territory for picture taking. 

Pro photographer. Hahaha

Mount Bromo is the one puking smoke. He is high af

I don't know why I am the only one who looked sullen here. Hah.

// S E A . O F . S A N D //

On to the sea of sand which we must walk on foot to reach Mount Bromo crater up close. 

it seriously looked like a black/grey sand desert 

Dono what mountain this is

There's horses for rent to bring you all the way to where the stairs are at. Not sure how much it was to go up, but to go down it was relatively cheap. 

Even though it looks quite harsh, the walk is not that hard, it only will take like 15-20 mins or so if you walk non-stop and without stopping to take pictures. We took an hour to reach the stairs because we kept stopping here and there to soak up the sceneries. 

// M T . B R O M O . C R A T E R //

Active volcano. They say it will have mini eruption every 45 mins? We don't know how it looks or sounds like if it's erupting though.

The walkway is very small, and there's just too much people walking up, therefore, the top of the stairs is always very crowded. If you are brave, you could walk around the crater. I couldn't because my legs were shaking when I tried to move. There wasn't anything to hold on to beyond a few steps from the center. You'll only have to rely wholly on your balance. It's just too scary for me, I kept thinking that I will slip and fall into the volcano. That would be the end of it if it that was the case. LOL. 

Lazy and tired of walking. We were also in a rush to go back, so we rented the horse to walk back. Tips: Ask you local guide how much it is instead of asking the horse tamer, as they will hike up the original price if you are not local. We haggled since we knew how much the base price was and there were 6 of us.

// W H I S P E R I N G . S A V A N N A H //

On to our next stop. Honestly speaking, there isn't much there. It's nice to see but we were in a rush that day, so we felt it wasn't really worth our time. If we had a few more hours to spare then maybe we would appreciate it more. 

The view on the way was ravishing though. 

Courtesy to my friend, Thum who surprised us with his PS skills. LOL. Jurassic Park much

When the tour guide told us it looks like Teletubbies hills, this isn't really what I was expecting. There's only 5% resemblance. That 5% being the existence of grass. Maybe if there wasn't any expectation, I wouldn't be so disappointed. But anyway, I do enjoy the view and it would even be better if we had the time to walk around the area. 

// M A D A K A R I P U R A . W A T E R F A L L //

We were already behind schedule when we went back to our hotel. We missed our breakfast (which ended at 10am), all the food was finished. So, Pak Iman helped us to order takeaway for us from the hotel so that we can eat on the way to our next destination. Then we started our 5 hours long journey to the waterfall. 

We were in a daze when we reached the place. When we came out from the van, we were bombarded by a horde of locals who are selling raincoats and phone covers. I was quite annoyed to be honest, because I was half awake and cranky. They were noisy and sprang up suddenly. We thought we wouldn't need them since it doesn't look like it will rain. But we did ask for Pak Iman's advice, he said it's needed because we would get wet if we didn't. We doubted him but then we ended up buying the raincoats anyway. 

Well, turns out we really needed the raincoat, because we would be walking under the waterfall later. Felt a bit guilty for doubting Pak Iman. 

Actually the situation was quite funny. We were all asleep in the van, and when we were woken up, we have take a motorcycle ride first then walk to the waterfall. I was wondering why there is a bunch of local kids stopping in front of us with their noisy bikes. All the hoo-hahs you know. We were told to get on, and the moment I sat on the motorocycle, the kid fetching me went full-throttle. Remember, I was half awake, but by then, not anymore. What's worse? I was wearing a dress. 

When we were reached the entrance of the walkway, a local tour guide accompanied us. We followed him for a few mins, and keep guessing if the waterfall would be just behind this turn.. or this.. or this? But it never came after 10 mins of walking. So we asked him "Pak cik, ini nak jalan berapa lama lagi?" and he said "ia 30 minit lagi". I accidentally let out a moan. Everyone of us didn't know it would take that long. We were tired from lack of sleep and the experience of Ijen and Bromo have drained us out. 

But the waterfall was not to be missed. 

The place looks like paradise. It's a shame we didn't bring an extra piece of clothing. 

We were told that we could not stay too long, because it was going to rain and when it is raining, the waterfall can be quite dangerous. Our local tour guide warned us and he was also very worried when it was raining a little bit when we finally reached the end point.

// S U R A B A Y A //

Our last long journey was 3-4 hours, back to Surabaya. We would spend the night here before catching our flight the day after. Nearby our hotel is a mall, so we did some shopping and had dinner there. 

And that's that. Not sure how to end this post but I'll do it abruptly then. 

Ciao! Till the next trip. 

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