By Bromo Volcano on Java

This item appears on page 51 of the December 2011 issue.

A friend and I visited Indonesia, May 5-27, 2011 (Nov. ’11, pg. 4). On Java we stayed near Borobudur temple at the gracious Lotus Guest House (Jl. Medang Kamulan No.2, Central Java, Borobudur, 56553, Indonesia; phone +62 293 788281), overlooking lush rice fields. From the roof, we enjoyed great sunset views of Borobudur.

We had a huge, and I mean megahuge, room with a private balcony. No AC; fan only. Our double cost IDR200,000 (near $24), with breakfast.

Many visitors arrive on a day trip from Jogjakarta; I recommend spending one night (or two, time allowing) here, for sure.

At Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park, in eastern Java (from Jogjakarta an 11½-hour ride away on four modes of transport), there are three smaller volcanoes inside the ancient, massive Tengger Crater (7,500 feet high at the rim). One of them, Mt. Bromo, has been erupting continuously since January 2011, so, at present, no one can climb it.

On the rim of Tengger Crater is the village of Cemoro Lawang. There are only two hotels on the rim, and we stayed at Hotel Bromo Permai I (phone +62 335 541049 or fax 541021), located on the main plaza at the end of Jalan (Road) Raya Cemorolawang Ngadisari. The small plaza has one restaurant, two tiny groceries and parking for, maybe, 30 cars.

We paid IDR250,000 for a spacious double room in a block of six with a patio that has a view of the crater. Some rooms did not have as good a view. From here, the smoking top of Mt. Bromo is almost at eye level, and since the weather changes so quickly, you would definitely want to be staying here or at the other rim property, Lava View Lodge (IDR300,000-650,000), in order to take advantage of it.

For two days of our stay, rain and black ash were coming down to the extent that facemasks and umbrellas did not keep us even mildly clean. We stayed indoors. On the third day, at sunrise, the sky was crystal clear, so we grabbed our packs and nearly sprinted toward Bromo!

We hiked down from the rim of Tengger to the “Sea of Sands” and walked to the base. It was great. There’s even a temple. Later, we grabbed a motorcycle taxi for a ride back up to the rim.

CYNTHIA (Crofoot) RIGNA­NESE, Winter Haven, FL