Sumatra is the second-largest island of Indonesia and just one of the 17000 that form this nation, which makes it hard to decide which one to visit and which one to give up on.
Our previous planned itinerary included also the island of Bali, but after the time in North Sumatra we decided to spend more time in Java and make Bali a destination for future travels.
We returned to Medan for a flight to Malang, in East Java, and continued with the train till Probolinggo. While in Sumatra the transportation options are poor and limited, Java is well connected by a well-maintained network of buses and trains.
Booking tickets in Java was easy. We used the mobile apps Ticket.com and Traveloka which are both great for booking almost anything, from transportation tickets to attractions, accommodation and food. After the payment, you will receive an electronic ticket with a bar-code that needs to be scanned once you arrive at the station. The process is made quite simple. You will find a bar-code scanner that will automatically print out a ticket, without needing to queue in front of a counter, which saves a lot of time and stress.
Arriving in Probolinggo
It took us approximately 4 hours by train from Malang to Probolinggo, where we rented a room for 3 nights. We decided to do so as visiting Mount Bromo is made easier from here. Of course you can travel further to Cemoro Lawang and spend the night there if you don’t wish to wake up too early.
We joined a tour organized by our hostel, together with other 4 people, and left early in the morning in order to arrive in time for the sunrise. It took us 40 minutes from the parking place to the viewpoint. It was still very dark outside and the path was narrow. We used the torch of our mobile phones to light the way. Other people used headlamps. The landscape from the viewpoint was really beautiful, but so believed also the more than a hundred people that came to see the sunrise in the same place. We recommend climbing a few meters higher and getting a place just for yourself. There are spots also on the way to the official viewpoints where you can stop for a more private experience, but climbing till the top will guarantee you a much better view… even if you’ll have to share it with more people.
Seeing Mount Bromo has been an amazing experience and although we could have continued the day by crossing the “sea of sand” that surrounds the volcano and climbing up to the crater, we felt happy just with seeing the sun rising over it.
Mount Bromo was the only attraction that brought us to East Java, but meeting other travelers on the way inspired us to use the chance and visit another one of the many volcanoes on the island. We used the last day in Probolinggo to recover our energy and to get a good sleep before our trip to Banyuwangi, the access point to Mount Ijen.
More pictures from Mount Ijen and Indonesia you will find here.