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Mount Bromo as one of the most stunning active volcanoes in Indonesia

Mount Bromo, Indonesia

There aren’t many reasons tourists take the road south from Surabaya.

To be fair, there aren’t many reasons tourists would even be in Surabaya in the first place, but let’s overlook that for now. Because the city is the staging point for the 120 kilometre journey down East Java to one of Indonesia’s most beautiful natural attractions.

I’m talking about Mount Bromo, the active volcano that lies in the middle of a large valley. With its top blown off, it appears more crater than mountain, while putrid sulphurous gas and smoke billow out from within.

One of the reasons it has become such a popular site for visitors is that Mount Bromo doesn’t exist in isolation.

The valley is actually a ‘caldera’ – an enormous cauldron-like pit created by the ground collapsing after a major eruption. And all through and around this caldera are the remnants of volcanic action of the past… and the ominous signs of more to come.

Most people start their visit well before the sun is up, in preparation for the sunrise. In a convoy of jeeps (the road is too bad for anything else, so the jeep cartel owners tell me), we head towards a nearby mountain, Mount Penanjakan.

From the end of the road, it’s a twenty minute climb to the viewing area, although dozens of locals with horses will gladly accept some money for a ride up.

I had been warned that it would be cold at the top, but I think that must have been by Indonesian standards because, although the rays are yet to reach out across the terrain, it is far from chilly.