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Java is the powerhouse of Indonesia so even before I visited it I knew I should avoid the cities. All Javanese cities are big due to the concentration of people looking for job opportunities. Its nature though is far from forgettable.

Arriving in Java from Gilimanuk in Bali, I had the luck to meet a gentleman that was taking the same train as me. By that time I did not know I was taking that train but having company helped form my decision. My first stop was Probolinggo and the train travel was my first taste of train transport in Indonesia (very sociable indeed). Also in Probolinggo I had my first experience of a becek (a tricycle taxi). Cemero Lawang was to be reached the next day – the village near the Bromo volcano.

Gunung Bromo

Gunung Bromo

Both the village, the walks around it and Bromo volcano has been great! There I had the luck to meet two French guys who were to be my companions for the next trek, Francis and Mathieu. With Francis we start 02:30 so to reach the viewpoint on sunrise. By myself I walk until the lips of Bromo volcano and back. Great stuff and my first active volcano visit! Next was Bondowoso – my thought was to continue West but unexpectedly in the same hotel we find Mathieu that has already gone a day before! The guys are talking about the Ijen volcano; hold on… I did not know it even existed – so I change my plans; I will go back to the East with them to climb it. Such is the beauty of independent travel…



To arrive to Ijen, we have to go through Senpol, a village in the area of Blawan, famous for its Javanese coffee variety. Too bad I have stopped drinking coffee a long time ago – the tea is equally nice though. In Senpol we stay in Katimore Homestay and after having walked a bit near the village we are to climb Ijen starting very early (again) in the morning. At 3:45 we commence the climb (3 km to the top). When reaching it, a rainbow is formed – a reward for our efforts? Ijen is a major sulfur extraction point. The people carry 75-kilo burdens on their shoulders – the climb up and down the volcano, then down the mountain to where we started. What a job! I try to lift one of them and it is impossible!!! On the way back we begin to walk to Blawan (a 17 km distance). Somewhere halfway we will be picked up by a cabbage track. After this it’s back to Bondowoso – the main hub to continue travelling. I do Bondowoso – Jember – Surabaya – Yogyakarta in one go and the guys continue to Bali. Safe travels to them!

Yogyakarta, Malioboro Street

Yogyakarta, Malioboro Street

Yogyakarta is the biggest city I have visited in Indonesia – not big at all compared with the other cities. I like it very much here and I walk a lot through the small streets that somehow remind me of Beijing and its “hutongs”. From here I will visit Borobudur and Prambanan and feel the hottest weather Indonesia has to offer with 38-39 degrees Celcius. I make up the rest of my trip – four days in Singapore and of to the Malaysian Borneo for a good twenty days. Sounds good to me!

My final stop is to be Cianjur at which I arrive through Bandung, changing trains. The reason of my visit to this completely non-touristic town is Yudi’s Homestay programme. But for this a special mention is worth it on the next post. Until then, be good!


Written by csm2mk

May 9, 2009 at 11:16 AM

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