This morning was once in a lifetime.
Exhausted to the bones but at the same time immensely proud that we managed to complete the Ijen hike and lived to tell the tale!!
More updates when I'm feeling more coherent. Gotta pack up and leave for Mount Bromo now!
Drafting this post while we're on our 5 hour car journey from Banyuwangi to Probolinggo, where our Mount Bromo hike is starting from.
Me and L are so ill prepared for this trip. LOL.
Packing was haphazardly done the night before, I only got 2 hours of sleep before the flight and we didn't arrange for any airport transfer, book any tour packages and figure out how to get from town to town. I also didn't realise that it would be THAT cold during the hike and packed along clothes that couldn't brave the temperatures.
Only thing we managed to settle was the accommodation. Hahaha.
The first 48 hours of our trip were spent on the road, eating and sleeping and eating and sleeping some more.
It was uneventful at best. Hahaha.
Is it #slothlife???
We checked into Ketapang Indah Hotel at Bayuwangi after a butt-numbing 8 hour car ride once we touched down.
It was the nicest we found after scouring the Agoda website. Lol. And it costs us about $20+ each per day! LIKE CHEAP ONLY. Wanted to go around taking photos but it was raining the entire two days we stayed there.
But anyway, I was telling L that the hotels are totally not a point of interest for this trip. The main point is…
We were going to hike Ijen and Bromo!!!!
These were the few photos I took with my phone…
They had a nice pool area which I failed to check out because I was busy sleeping my days away. Tried really hard to recover from my cold before we were due for the hike!
It was a nice place. Not overly fanciful but quite pleasant.
The important thing was, they had hot showers, a decent hairdryer (upon request) and fluffy pillows!
For a mere $40+ per night, exceed expectations already la.
The only thing is… The wifi was shoddy and reception from my SIM card in that area was super minimal. Don't say I didn't warn ya. Bearable for me only cause I brought my kindle with me and was asleep for more hours than I was awake. LOL.
On the midnight of 13 Feb, we began our Ijen hike! It's an active volcano crater which breathes sulphuric fumes.
Sounds intimidating to hike and was indeed so. We opted for the blue flames tour and so our adventure started at midnight.
The car ride from our hotel took about an hour or so. It was practically pitch dark when we started our journey towards the crater.
The first portion of the hike was totally manageable even though I wasn't feeling my best with a runny nose. Was having a cold the past few days and only managed to keep it down with panadols, water and lots of sleep.
The slopes were very slight, kinda like the ones at Macritchie reservoir..?
After 20 minutes or so, that was when the steep slopes came in.
We panted and gasped for air every few hundred metres or so, and stopped for numerous breaks because the sense of breathlessness seemed to intensify the higher in altitude we went. Our quads, hamstrings and calves felt so sore.
Both L and I actually visit the gym on a regular basis and I would say that our level of fitness is pretty decent.
But this hike was beyond what we expected.
I kept asking our guide how long more it would take. Hahaha. The hike up to the crater took a total of 2 excruciating hours.
I swear it felt like forever okay. 😂
L was playing some songs off her phone while we hiked, and when The Scientist from Coldplay came on, we burst out laughing just because the lyrics were so apt.
Nobody said it was easy… No one ever said it would be so hard…
We thought it was the end to our tribulations when we spotted the crater upon reaching the peak!
BUT NOPE. We signed up for the blue flames tour so our guide made us scale the rocks all the way downwards into the bottom of the crater.
Ugh it's getting hard to continue with updates cause we just arrived at our mountain accom and there's zero reception on our SIM cards + no wifi in rooms. Meh.
This was the most daunting part of all.
Not only was it physically tiring, it was mentally draining as well because we had only a small torchlight to light up our path in front as we tried to make our way down the extremely rocky terrain.
It was freezing cold, we had to wear uncomfortable gas masks to not inhale the sulphur fumes, we were already exhausted from the 2 hour of hiking up continuous steep slopes, and when we finally reached the crater, we had to climb downwards and try our best to not to fall to our deaths. ☠️
I sound like a brat but really, we were being pushed to our limits. Lol. Is tired one omg.
See these treacherous rocks? Not kidding one leh.
We had to walk every step with every ounce of concentration that we could muster. One step amiss and we'll go tumbling down.
The blue flames were totally not worth it lor. Zzz. Hahaha. Not majestic or breathtaking at all. Should have saved ourselves the 1.5 hours of going down and having to climb back up.
YES YOU HEARD ME RIGHT.
We had to climb back up. 😭😭😭😭😭 Really 一边爬一边 whine. Hahaha.
"Omg so tired leh" "I want to die" "holy mama why so cold wtf" "我不可以了" "can't move anymore omg" "we're gonna need a massage so bad after this"
But YAAAAS we strong girls managed to make it up by 4.30am and sat there for 30 intolerable minutes in the piercing cold to wait for the sun to come up so that we could take these photos.
'Snap snap snap' goes the camera and the gorgeous view made it all worth it.
It paid off and we were rewarded with a view damn fine. 🙌🏻
It was freezing but I remembered to snap a photo just to annoy my boyfriend who doesn't understand why girls take selfies. LOLOL. 😂
Soon it was time for our descend.
Descending was a different kind of pain. At first we thought "aiya going down only what, should be a whole lot easier". Yes it was easier on the lungs. But our kneecaps and toes started protesting after a while. There were a few times we almost slipped and fell too. Super close shaves!
Didn't wanna tear ourselves away from this beautiful sight but it was too damn cold to be staying there for long.
So so so so so happy when we ended the hike and landed our feet on solid, flat dependable ground.
We reached back to our car at 7.30am and got back to the hotel at 8.30am.
Our trip was not very well planned because right on the same day we finish our hike, we had to check out from Ketapang Indah Hotel and take a 5 hour car ride (which I'm currently on while writing this post) to our next accom, then rest in for a bit before beginning our Bromo hike at 2am. DAMN AMBITIOUS. It was a complete oversight on our part when we planned la.
We didn't expect the Ijen hike to be so crazy physically and mentally challenging.
Words of advice from me – it's gonna be hell if you're not physically VERY active. Please train up if you're thinking of making this trip! And also, pack appropriately. Hahaha. I think it would have been less painful if I were in proper attire. 😂
If you're extremely unfit but die also wanna visit the crater, they actually have "taxis" which are actually trolleys whereby you can pay someone to wheel you up and down the mountain slopes. LOLOL.
Except that you won't get to descend into the crater to see the blue flames up close up. Cause so rocky how to wheel the trolley.
They charge by "per kg". Each kg of you costs 1000 rupiah. So if you're 50kg, it's 50,000 rupiah which is like what? $5? Damn cheap omg. And super hilarious this business idea!! I wonder who came up with it. Hahaha. But erm from what we observed, no hikers went for the "taxis". 😂
I'll let you guys know how Bromo goes later. 👌🏻 Wish me luck. Now I'm gonna snooze and recharge while I can!