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BROMO-TENGGER-SEMERU NATIONAL PARK > Sunrise at Penanjakan
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LOCATION:
Gunung Penanjakan can be accessed from the village of Tosari or Wonokitri. I rented a 4WD (jeep) from my hotel Bromo Cottages for Rp275.000 ($30) for round trip travel to Penanjakan (and then later to Bromo Crater before back to Tosari village for the complete journey). The journey usually starts at 0330 hrs from Tosari and the climb takes about 1 hour. The last portion of the journey should be done on walking for 15 minutes because of the narrow roads and lack of parking space at the top.

There are also trips conducted from either Pasuruan, Surabaya, Malang or Probolinggo, but the journey will start much earlier (you will spend a portion of your sleeping time in the car).

DESCRIPTION:

At an altitude of 2,770m, the viewing deck at Mt Penanjakan is considered a must-visit for every travel itinerary to the national park. Travelers sometimes travel as early as midnight and as far as from Surabaya to get here by 0500 hrs when the golden shimmering sun hits the mountain peaks.

When I arrived at the viewing platform, it was already crowded. Everyone was rather quiet. In the far eastern horizon, a magical hue of dark blue, red, yellow and orange started to appear. Everyone started to see the dark silhouette of the eastern volcano peaks like Mt Argopuro (3,088m) and Mt Raung (3,332m).

I managed to secure a prime spot in the already crowded deck. Reason being everyone was so enthralled with the sunrise view, that they forgot the main reason we were all here in that bitterly cold morning. Yes, the sunrise was, to some extent, beautiful, but people will fight tooth and nails to say what day and which place has the better sunrise. I was at Mt Penanjakan to see the spectacular caldera which view is famous the world over. Perhaps the rest of the visitors wasn't aware of that, until it was too late.

As the glistening ray of sun started to grow stronger, I spotted the first glimpse of Mt Semeru far in the distance. Soon enough, in between adjusting my camera position and fighting the frost bite, the magic began. Mt Bromo started to appear in the frame, along with the furrowed slopes of Mt Batok and Mt Kursi. As the angle of sunlight changed, so were the hues of these majestic volcanoes. At that point, I sat back and relaxed, while enjoying every moment of it.

The magic didn't stop there. Mt Semeru, the tallest peak in Java, began to do her routine act - by spewing a handsome amount of hot gases, ashes and volcanic rocks to the air. Everyone was awestruck. The resulting mesh of earthly objects eventually mushroomed into a large dark cloud. Amazing!

MY VERDICT:
Watching the sunrise from Mt Penanjakan is a MUST for visitors. The view is simply magical!

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