Is it safe to travel Bromo and Ijen?
Lately there are several kinds of disaster which has happened in Indonesia. However, the most shaking disaster that has interested public intention is the eruptions of Rinjani mountain and suddenly caused the 7,0 Scala Richter earthquake in Lombok. There was also the earthquake in Palu, Celebes, and tsunami in West Java. All of these accidentshave left the fear and traumatic sense for tourists who want to visit Indonesia.
There are a lot of questions that inquired by our clients related to the safe of tracking Ijen and Bromo despite of the disasters. Bromo and Ijen mountain are located in East Java and its far from the accident place. It was not affected by the earthquake, nor the tsunami. In the other hand, there will be warning information from USGN when the radar satellite detects the warning sign of eruption several weeks before it is erupted. Then the location of Bromo and Ijen tourism attraction will be closed till the situation safe.
However, there are some security issues you’d like to consider before tracking to Bromo and ijen.
- Use appropriate Transportation and skilled driver
To reach Bromo and Ijen, you can use public transportation by bus or train to the nearest city, then take a smaller van to reach Bromo and Ijen. In those bus terminals, always buy your ticket in the official locket and avoid scammers who offer you the same ticket for cheaper price. And keep all of your precious belongings close to you, there are a lot of reports for pickpockets. Train is considered a safer choice, though the time is more limited.
A much easier way is to hire a private car and driver. There are a lot of rent cars offering their service to Bromo and Ijen. But avoid driving on your own, as the road is curvy and uphill. And if you are not used to it, the main roads can be even more dangerous as its crowded by busses, trucks, and motorcycles. You need some experience and skill to be able to drive in Indonesia.
- Volcanic activity
Bromo is one of the most beautiful Vulcanic mountain in Indonesia which still active till nowadays. There are several places traveler will visit in Bromo. First is the viewpoint, where you will see the crater from a higher hill called Penanjakan. This place is safe and wide enough to handle travelers. Second one is the crater itself. You can hike all the way up to the mouth of the crater. You’ll want to walk slowly and carefully here as the track is small with not-very-high-railing. You can see the crater unclose from here. Sometime this beautiful tourism attraction can emit a plume of scorching gas from the crater. So, don’t forget to bring mask and eyeglasses.
The track to Ijen is clear and quite steep. You can hike peacefully until the mouth of the crater. But if you want to see the blue fire, you will track down to inside the crater, through steeper and smaller track. Be extra careful on the way down. Gas mask is a must as the gas in Ijen crater is thicker and could be dangerous. If you don’t have yours, you can rent in the local guide post in Paltuding, starting point of Ijen hike. Don’t forget to bring appropriate shoes for hiking cause the trail is rocky and slippery.
- Hotel facility
Before you book the hotel to stay in Bromo or ijen, make sure you have checked the reviews. A lot of the hotels are quite old and most are not supported by heater and AC. You dont really need AC as the weather is cool, but at night it will be a lot colder, so consider bringing extra socks and warm jacket. Hot shower is available in most hotel. Also check the location of the hotels. There are several starting points to Bromo, they are: Cemoro Lawang village from Probolinggo route, Tosari village from Pasuruan route, and Poncokusumo from Malang route. Each of them is separate by the vast sand of sea, and regular car cannot pass by. You have to use 4-WD or the available jeeps to cross the sand of sea. So, after booking your hotel, make sure you go through the correct route, or you will have to leave the car in one village and use jeep every time to go to your hotel in the other village. Check it on google maps and remember that your car cannot pass through the national park area.
- The weather conditions
Indonesia only have 2 seasons: dry and rainy season. Dry season is considered the best time to visit, from April to November. During rainy season, sometime Ijen is closed for night hike because the smoke will get too thick to visit. You can hike in the morning but then miss the blue fire. It’s not during the whole wet season, so you can check on the status first. For Bromo you just need to prepare the raincoat and the chance for it to be foggy is more likely. But the savanna is more beautiful and greener during rainy season.
- Safety for children
Bromo is still friendly for children. You can miss the last stairs to the mouth of the crater if you are bringing small children. Rent the jeep and you can just enjoy the ride and the view.
You can also skip the sunrise and start later, so your children do not have to wake up so early and be cranky the whole day. You will enjoy the same thing, only skipping the sunrise.
Ijen will be more tough for children. Unless your children are used to hiking, maybe Ijen is not the best place for children.
These security issues are precautious so you can enjoy your journey better. Be cautious but don’t let it stop you from exploring and experiencing the beauty of Bromo and Ijen. Have an adventurous journey, trippers!