Volcano tour to Mount Bromo, reunion with Yola

Java is home to more than half of Indonesia's population. The capital Jakarta, which we deliberately do not visit, has 9.6 million inhabitants.  

Malang (Batu) - Reunion with Yola


Our flight goes from Medan via Jakarta to Malang. Malang is the eighth largest city in Java with 750,000 inhabitants. It is located in the eastern part of the island. The traffic is a bit more moderate than in Medan but still so that I don't want to drive myself here. We set up our quarters in the neighboring town of Batu, which has already merged with Malang. The transition can only be seen on the town sign. We stay in the eco-boutique hotel "Kampung Lumpung", a simple but original complex on a steep slope with quaint cottages, surrounded by ponds and streams and a swimming pond, which Sabine and Thomas also use. Our cottage has two rooms, a terrace and a balcony. The staff is very friendly, the breakfast is plentiful and very tasty.

Here we want to meet Yolanda (Yola) Aprilia. She teaches German in a school in Sumatra, was in Germany for 3 weeks 2 years ago, stayed with us then and is in Batu with a group of students for a week on a workshop. On the arrival evening we are immediately invited to a Javanese restaurant and introduced to some friends.

We stay for 4 days, visiting the extremely Muslim city, mostly accompanied by Yudho, a friend of Yola's who lives here. He also organizes a day trip to the sea, where we visit a mangrove sanctuary as well as the beach. At the end of the day he invites us to a "Beerhouse", which we would never have found without him. At any rate, the sign of the pub does not indicate that beer is offered here. There we also meet two of his friends, with whom he plans to open a larger restaurant in July. One earns his money with a service app that offers online shopping with delivery service in addition to 800 motorcycle cabs, the other has planned the restaurant. He has the laptop with the plans with him.

We spend our "day off" with a round of golf at the "Araya Golf Resort". We had been wondering where the rich people of the city live. After the drive to the golf course, this question was settled. Actually, golf was not on our agenda this time; a sign in town first gave us the idea. The green fee and caddy prices are moderate and rental clubs for left-handers (Thomas) are also available. We buy another 10 balls and then we're off. The course is very well maintained and quite challenging on the first 9 holes. At hole 12 the tee goes over some rice terraces. A great picture! Here we also saw the first living snake crawling across the fairway. Although only a 40 cm long young animal but according to the caddy girls "definitely poisonous". The following beer in the clubhouse was by far the most expensive so far.

Mt. Bromo - Dance on the volcano

The highlight of our Java stay should be the sunrise excursion at Mount Bromo, a still active volcano. The drive from Malang to the mountains takes about 3 hours. Yola and Yudho have organized everything and so we leave at 11 am with two cars together with the students in Batu.

The first stop is right after a few minutes at a mosque. The men have to go to Friday prayers. Yudho and the students disappear for 30 minutes and we watch the approaching scooters from the car. Then we first go to a recreation area whose main attraction is a famous waterfall. A number of "selfie attractions" have been set up in the area so that even the young Indonesians will take on the relatively steep climb. For those lazy about walking, a thriving moped shuttle service has already been established. We walk, of course! The children take advantage of the "amusements" and before we can make our way to the waterfall together, a tropical thunderstorm surprises us. We have to retreat to a café for 3 hours and skip the waterfall. In the only slightly pouring rain we let ourselves be shuttled back to the cars by mopeds. It is already dark and the temple visit is cancelled. So that the time to Bromo is not too long, Yodho has organized a stopover with his mother and sister. We eat together with the family traditional dishes in the living room, drink tea or coffee and spend the time until 2 o'clock in the morning with telling stories, showing photos, playing cards and napping on the couch.

To Mount Bromo we climb steep switchbacks and in a relatively short time we arrive in the village below the volcano at 2500m. Here a flourishing "volcano industry" has established itself. Besides warm drinks and toilet visits at double the price, woolen hats and gloves are sold, winter jackets can be rented. The students and teachers shop diligently, we unpack our down jackets. The main occupation of the villagers is to drive visitors to the volcano in land cruisers, some of them antique. We count around 250 cars. The crowd at 4 o'clock in the morning is unimaginable. We fear not to get to the volcano but Yudho has made a deal with one of his many acquaintances so that an actually closed path is opened for us. The view is breathtaking and we feel sorry for the approximately 1500 other visitors who push their way up the official path to the viewing platform.

In the sparse light of the rising sun the volcano presents itself with smoking vent. The bare plain of black volcanic ash is shrouded by a dense layer of billowing fog. As soon as the sun is higher, the fog dissipates and we drive through the plain to the volcano. There we have to walk about 2 km to the crater rim. Those who are lazy about walking can cover the distance up to the last ascent on horseback. Via a staircase with several hundred steps we reach the crater rim. A look into the maw confirms the activity of the volcano, a gray mass is bubbling in sight.

Around 10 o'clock we get back into the Landcruiser towards the village and the car. Yudho is already waiting for us with a cup of tea. Now it is time to say goodbye to Yola and her students. We drive towards Surabaya and Yola makes her way back to Malang.