THE COMBINATION of the warmth of the residents and the coldness of nature in the Bromo, Tengger, Semeru areas beautifies the natural and cultural beauty of the national park.

The cool city of Malang has terrorized our bodies, which are used to the heat of Surabaya and Jakarta. That night, we gathered our curiosity while waiting for an invitation to catch the sunrise at the National Park, Bromo, Tengger, Semeru (BTS).

Right in the morning, our vehicle drove through the Pasuruan route, then continued to Lumajang which took about four hours. City streets quickly replaced with narrow asphalt roads that were uphill. Up and down following the contours of the hills. The dense forest of BTS National Park covered in dew seemed to stare coldly at our group. Our car roars with all its power every time it meets a steep incline or descent.

Of the many spots to enjoy the sunrise and sunset areas in BTS National Park, spot B29 in Argosari Village, Lumajang Regency, is the most popular. At this point, travelers call it the land above the clouds. B29 means hill at an altitude of 2,900 meters above sea level. This place is popular among tourists as a land above the clouds.

When the dawn rises or sets, rolls of mist cover the roofs of the residents’ houses. Leaving the lamps from electric lamps, the purple color combined with the black silhouettes of people’s houses and the dots of the lamps creates a magical scene, a land above the clouds. Capturing this sight, of course, need to work hard. At least you have to stay at a homestay owned by residents for IDR 50,000 a night – excluding eating and drinking. About the right time, it can also be said to be gambling with the weather.

As a result, the most appropriate way to enjoy the country above the clouds, a traveler must stay for two or three nights. Or camp on hill B29. Above the hill the sky is filled with stars which is just right for photography enthusiasts.

To reach the top of B29, there is an ojek service in Argosari which charges a fare of IDR 75,000 round-trip. With that fare, motorcycle taxis are willing to wait for you to be satisfied at the top. They generally use clutch motorcycles, made in the 2000s which are still tough. Some of them also use the latest motorcycles. Hours of work according to order. But routinely if no one orders something like going up at 04.00, we work from morning until noon. It is sufficient for daily life.

The view to the top of B29 is amazing. The ridges of the hills with a slope of 70 to 80 degrees, green with onions and beans, as well as various vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. We are still thinking hard about how the Tenggerese can grow vegetables on such a steep slope. However, our questions seemed to evaporate between the blue clouds and the mute beautiful scenery.

At the top of B29, the wind played against our skin. The cold weather became inhospitable because of the strong winds. The activity of taking pictures is indeed disturbed because the fingers are stiff. The temperature is in the range of 10 to 15 degrees Celsius. This is a challenge for travelers who can live in big cities in Indonesia. All the hard work paid off perfectly, seeing the natural beauty at the top of B29. Although that day we failed to catch the dawn that was about to rise, also the weather was very clear over the sands of Mount Batok and Tengger.

That morning Semeru and Mount Raung were also clearly visible, there was no collection of clouds or billowing smoke due to volcanic activity that always appears in the photos taken by professional and amateur photographers. We really missed that legendary scene. After all, BTS is not about sunrise and sunset. In BTS there are Tengger tribes who have a unique Hindu tradition – which makes the Tengger tribe environment like a village in Bali.

It takes at least a week to explore people’s lives in BTS National Park. That’s what makes us feel like coming back, to not just enjoy the heights of Semeru or the beauty of the mist in the Bromo area. Because, BTS also keeps the beauty of culture as well as the friendliness of the residents. [sources/photo special]