Fresh from the sunrise and climb of ever-active Mt. Bromo, we were only given enough time to take a quick shower to rid ourselves of sand and ash before hopping in the van that will take us to Bondowoso, the gateway to Ijen – another active volcano. This is the most adventurous I’ve been in my entire life, two active volcanoes in a span of two days… Hahaha!
According to the forums I read, the only way to get to Ijen is by hiring a private car, which can be very costly. Still part of the 1.25 Million Tour Package, it was expedient not having to look for a service to Ijen and, not to mention, haggling for a lower rate.
During our stop for lunch, we encountered other tourists, likely to have also availed of a packaged tour. We noticed that they were in bigger groups and their vehicle is a worn down non-air-conditioned minibus. They looked like they were having fun though, their guide is very chatty. :)
The travel from Bromo to Ijen took about five hours. Like the train travel from Jakarta to Yogyakarta, I slept though most of it. Haha! Although, even the heaviest of sleepers will find it hard to sleep through the last couple of hours into the journey. The roads are rough, to say the least. It was quite impressive how our small Suzuki van held up. Good thing there were only five of us in that vehicle, otherwise, it would have been an uncomfortable ride.
We took another short stopover to view the acres upon acres of coffee plantation in Bondowoso. The several truck loads of coffee workers we encountered on the road is an indication of just how big the plantation is.
Unlike the accommodations we had at Yoschi’s Hotel during the Bromo leg of our trip, our room at Arabika Homestay is small and basic. Two single beds, a drawer and hot shower. That’s it. The room could also use a little bit of tidying up.
There’s free flowing coffee all day. Complimentary breakfast is also part of the package. Of the entire trip in Indonesia, we had the worst and only bad meal at Arabika Homestay. The pricey IDR 50,000 set meal consisted of instant noodles and bland tasting food.
Arriving late at Bondowoso, we had very little time to go around the area. Arabika Homestay is situated atop a hill and below it is a small village. We ventured into the village to buy credits for our Indonesian SIM card. We wanted to explore more of the village, unfortunately, there are no street lights and it was really dark that night.
We headed back to the restaurant for another cup of free coffee and decided to call it a night. We wanted to be well-rested; after all, we will be climbing another active volcano the following morning.