The capital of Indonesia in Jakarta. The city is a mixture of cultures, so even though it isn’t particularly touristy, you don’t feel as though you ‘stick out like a sore thumb’ because everyone here is from somewhere else. It is just the huge backpack that makes you stand out. The people are very friendly but also in a rush, so try not to take much of their time.
The sunrise at Mount Bromo
In the early hours of the morning, hundreds of jeeps arrive at King Kong Hill, Mount Bromo full of excited people to watch the legendary sunrise over Mount Bromo. The drive up will begin at around 3 am and it takes 1 hour to get to the drop off point. From here, it takes a few minutes to walk up the hill in the pitch black to some stalls that sell coffee, tea, snacks, magnets, coats and various other things. Most people grab a warm drink and continue walking up the hill to the viewing point.
Note: the earlier you get there, the better spot you will get. We got there 30 minutes before the time that was recommended, and luckily we got a place right at the front. A short time later, it was packed with people and their massive camera lenses.
The temperature will be anywhere from 0-8 degrees depending on the time of year that you are there. Be sure to wrap up extra warm.
The sun will rise about 5.30am, and once the sun is up the layers will come off quickly as the temperature rises fast.
Climbing up Mount Bromo
After watching the sunrise the jeep will drop you off at the foot of the volcano. You will then have to walk about 10-15 minutes towards the volcano before you reach the steps. There are horses available but please DO NOT take a horse, as they are not treated well.
It took my friend and I about 20 minutes to reach the top. As you get to the top, the stairs become very narrow, so it becomes hard to negotiate the people coming down, as well as the people going up the stairs. Once at the top, it is very impressive. A little scary as there are no barriers, so if you slip you will be falling into an active volcano. When walking around to the top, you must be very careful, but the walk is like nothing you will ever do anywhere else. As you tread around the rim, you can hear the crackling of the volcano and occasionally see a shot of lava that the volcano spits out.
One of the days my friend and I hired a moped to take us around the countryside. We were both able to hire mopeds for the day with drivers. It took us an hour to get out of the city, which was an experience. I am scared of mopeds anyway, so to be on the back of one going through the centre of Java was something I’ll never forget. The traffic is mental here.
Nevertheless, once we made it out of the centre, it became a lot more pleasant. The long windy roads in-between the lush green fields. We were first taken to a strawberry farm to pick strawberry’s which was nice. We spent about 30 mins here and got some lovely juicy strawberries.
We visited the sulphur lake, otherwise known as the Acid lake, in the crater of The Kaweah Ljen Volcano. The lake has a PH of 0.3 on a scale of 0- 14 (7 is neutral), so it is very acidic. However, lethal as it may be, it looks very inviting. It is a beautiful turquoise blue with a gentle mist hovering over the top. The only thing is, the smell as you get closer to the lake can take your breath away a little. Definitely worth a visit though.
After seeing the acid lake we were then taken up the mountain on motorbikes to the natural pools. As we were going up the mountain me and the driver fell off our motorcycle and let’s just say if we had dropped to the right and not the left, I would not be here today, so if you do go up the mountain on a bike, be careful.
Anyway, besides that hair-raising moment, it was terrific. We got to the pools which were warm and yellow, with steam rising off the surface of the water.
To our surprise it was filled with locals. It was refreshing not to see a European face and exciting to think we had found a local treasure. We wore our swimming costume and bathed with the locals in the natural pools which were terrific.
Things to know
Around 9.5 million people
A city that’s, not a city
Jakarta is known as the Capital City of Indonesia but it’s actually not a City, its a Province.
Patting someone on the head is considered very offensive. My dad still pats me on the head to this day as a sign of affection, but don’t do this in Jakarta
Get a meter.
If you fly to Jakarta, as in every airport, there are taxis lined up outside. Do not get in a taxi without a meter. My friend and I did and when we arrived at our destination, he insisted on us paying a price that was a lot more than we should have paid. He locked the car doors and it was very intimidating, so annoyingly we paid it. Make sure you get a meter!
Jakarta is a brilliant place. It is very different from its neighbouring countries which is all the more reason to visit.