One of my favorite mountains, Mount Bromo, Indonesia

In 2009, I was fortunate to be assigned to Jakarta, Indonesia, for 5 months. During this period, I was able to travel to more than 10 cities in Indonesia for free over the weekends (and four weekends in Bali, but I’ll post about that later….) One of the places I loved is Mount Bromo, near Surabaya. It is really breathtaking, but it was very challenging for me to get there.

Upon arrival in Surabaya, I took a local bus for 4 hours to reach a bus station in the middle of nowhere. I was told to wait here for 10 minutes for a “van” to take me up the mountain.

Hmm... hopefully this is really a bus station :P

Hmm… hopefully this is really a bus station 😛

After 30 minutes, I asked around how long it would take, as I was previously told it was 10 minutes. A local told me, “Yes, 10 minutes… Indonesia time!!!” Hmm, I was wondering if Indonesian time would beat Filipino time 🙂

After 1 hour, I was finally onboard! Guess what the van looked like?

It was cozy! Too bad I didnt take a picture of the chickens on top of the jeep! But here we go! I was on my way.

It was cozy! Too bad I didnt take a picture of the chickens on top of the jeep! But here we go! I was on my way.

I also booked a private 4 wheel drive to take me up the mountains to view the sunrise. I was told I will be picked up at 3am. Guess what, the van never showed up. Since I was only staying overnight, and after I had so much hassle getting there, I was really desperate to get on. My hostel was near the road going up the mountain, so all the four wheel drives were passing by me. Lo and behold, I hitchhiked with a group of friendly Malaysian Chinese tourists, and they kindly “adopted” me to be their younger sister on the tour and shared their breakfast with me.

Then finally, sunrise!

A glimpse of the sun

A glimpse of the sun

I see a little bit of the mountain!

After seeing this, all the traveling was worth it!

After seeing this, all the traveling was worth it!

My adopted brothers for the day! I dedicate this post to these kind-hearted people who let me tag along for free!

My adopted brothers for the day! I dedicate this post to these kind-hearted people who let me tag along for free!

After the sunrise, the next thing to do is to hire a horse to take me up the crater. These guys have already been the day before. But do you know what they did? They offered to wait for me at the foot of the mountain for an hour! So sweet of them!

I'm on my way!

I’m on my way!

It was a pleasant and scenic ride.

Didn't know it was so high up!

Didn’t know it was so high up!

Finally! I see the crater! Hmm... too bad I didn't bring marshmallows to roast!

Finally! I see the crater! Hmm… too bad I didn’t bring marshmallows to roast!

A final wave goodbye to the beautiful place and kind people I met.

After I arrived back at the hostel, I was cringing at the idea that I had to do the whole ritual all the way back to Surabaya. So thick-skinned me approached a couple who were going to the airport to let me hitch with them. Yes, this trip broke a record. I hitchhiked two times! I made it safely to the Surabaya airport in a record 3.5 hours and flew back safely to Jakarta. My boss was glad I survived when he saw me on Monday!

 What I learned from this adventure is that the kindness of people makes the trip so much more memorable. I may go back in a couple of years. March is not yet summer, so there were a lot of clouds. I want to take a picture with Mount Bromo against a clear, blue sky. Hope that will be soon!

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