Ring of Fire or Circle of Hell? Crossing Dante’s Inferno on Mount Bromo


All hope abandon, ye who enter here! (Dante Alighieri, Inferno)

Limbo: forgive me for I am a pagan

Mount Bromo is located at about 4 hours drive from Surabaya, the capital of East Java, in Indonesia and it is part of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. It is considered one of the top bucket list destinations in Indonesia, one of the places to visit in Indonesia. I suppose it deserves to be one of them.

Read more about Indonesia on my post “Fantastic things to do in Indonesia.”

But despite my best efforts and almost complete lack of expectations, I could not warm to it. In fact, I doubt I will ever want to give it a second chance, not until I know for a fact that things over there have changed, that this attraction is managed differently and in what to me is a more enjoyable way.

Don’t get me wrong, Mount Bromo is a site of amazing natural beauty and I think in the right conditions it would be quite enjoyable, but as things stand at the moment, and based on my experience, I did not enjoy it one bit.

visit Mount Bromo

This pretty picture is pretty much the only good memory I have of Mount Bromo

What I faced in Mount Bromo was the biggest cultural and personal clash I have ever experienced in my many years of living abroad and traveling to countries near and far (actually, very far) from home. I do believe that traveling is much more about self discovery than about the actual discovery of a destination. Sure enough, I understood many things about myself when I visited Mount Bromo.

It has been an enlightening experience as it made me come to terms with some aspects of myself that I did not know where so deeply rooted, and it made me realize that I am much more sensible than I perhaps like to show. It made me understand that different people will see the same thing differently. It also made me understand how important responsible tourism is to me and that it is the only way I want to travel, and that I want to become an advocate for it. And it finally made me decide that I can’t and won’t ever tolerate animal cruelty, no matter what, no matter where, no matter the excuse.

You see, I am an atheist and hardly a believer that heaven and hell exist. Yet, if I have to describe my experience in Mount Bromo, the first thing that comes to my mind are the Nine Circles of Hell of Dante’s Inferno. Much like Dante’s journey through hell, accompanied by his guide Virgil, I felt that I was also going through the nine circles, although in my case there was no real guide in sight but just other members of the tour group.

Each step that took me closer to the crater of Mount Bromo was a step into one of the nine circles, each nastier, scarier and more painful and sorrowful and than the previous one. My first circle was Limbo, the one that pagans, non-believers, deserve – for a pagan I was, as (shame on me!) I had close to zero knowledge of Mount Bromo before visiting. But that was soon to change, as I made my way through the other circles.

Lust: or, rise and (don’t) shine

My visit to Mount Bromo was included in a guided group tour of Indonesia to which I took part. I was glad it was one of the included destinations on the tour, because I really do enjoy volcanoes and generally they are the highlight of any of my trips. Little did I know that this time it would be the other way around. The night before visiting the trip organisers gave us instructions to wake up at 2:00 am and told us that, as this was a popular attraction among Indonesians, there would be even more people on a Sunday. I had no idea what to expect – but I soon learned that my definition of “a lot of people” surely isn’t the same as that of Indonesians.

Read why I like taking guided tours on this post.

I didn’t mind having to wake up so early though. In fact, I remembered the many early rises during my long term travels, to see amazing places, and I was greateful I’d get to experience this. There is a special light at sunrise. There is the feeling of exclusivity, of being one of a few that has the chance to enjoy something special; that of being close to nature as the day starts and the first rays of light come through the sky, finally making the surroundings visible and glowing.

It was pitch dark when at 2:30 am I met the rest of the group and left to reach Mount Bromo so that we could admire the sunrise. I was sleepy and a bit lost – most of us were – but eager to go. As soon as I got to the meeting point, together with other 4 persons I got wisked on a jeep, although we eventually only left at 2:50 – not bad given the relaxed standards of Indonesia that are so hard to deal with for us Europeans. The minute we left, I knew that this would be a long day. I kept my thoughts to myself and tagged along, trying to push any negativity away. 

Gluttony: it’s so slushy out there

The mayhem began immediately afterwards. A rather silent driver joined a race we didn’t know we were taking part in, against any other jeep also going to Mount Bromo. It felt like being on the Paris-Dakar, with the difference that we were not in the desert, breathing just dust and clean air. We were somewhere in the middle of Indonesia and the dust was mixed to the exhaust fumes, making it hard to breathe. The jeeps sped like mad in the foggy and pitch black night, passing each other on all sides, making many of us think that at each turn we’d actually go on a straight line and that would be the end of our visit to the country.

Then, our jeep stopped. In a broken English the driver told us he would not go any further and we’d have to just walk our way to the entrance of the site. There was too much traffic for him to keep going and he’d be unable to park. He told us he’d wait for us, no indication of an exact time (not that it would matter). So we started making walking.

What I happened next was so intensely scary, so frustrating, so thoroughly annoying that at the end of that misadventure I was ready to leave the country for good, never to return again.   Masks on our noses and mouth in a failed attempt to protect ourselves from the thick fumes, we started walking up, trying to keep an eye on each other so as to not get lost in that madness (there was no way we’d find each other again, in the dark, among thousands of other people); not sure which direction to go but relying on the flow which was only going one way.

Mount Bromo

Is the view of Mount Bromo really worth going through all that trouble?

It was pitch dark. It was noisy. It was frightening. Traffic was mad. In what could be best described as a scene of Apocalypse Now, oblivious to the traffic and the pedestrians, jeeps kept making their way to the top, dropping people off and then coming down again. They were everywhere. They completely disregarded the pedestrians who had to jump on the side of the road, in the very limited space (and remember, it was dark!) to avoid being hit.

To add to this already burning hell, a multitude of motorbikes kept zipping their way up and down the hill, again hardly bothered by the presence of pedestrians unless it was for stopping them to offer a ride for as cheap as 10000 Rupiahs, no helmets involved, no guarantee of survival, no strings attached. So unbothered were they by the people that in fact a few times they just about hit us, and we had to scream from the top of our lungs to be heard above the loud noise so that they would avoid us.

I felt hopeless. I could not understand why human beings could be so careless and uncivil to the environment; so disrespectful of human life. I was angry at them, for killing every little bit of positive energy I had when I woke up. Energy that I had to use in order to stay alive, to yell at them to move away, to scream to please leave me alone, to please not hit me with their motorbikes. I could only see unsensible, unreasonable people that, for the sake of (actually very little) money, were ruining the environment and what was meant to be one of the most beautiful natural sights in Indonesia. And they were doing it with the tacit consent of the authorities.

Greed and anger: because after going through the slush, I really really wanted to see that volcano and not just more slush

Then, we finally made it to the pedestrians only area. What literally were hordes of people were all going up, to the view point, to see the seeminly amazing sunrise on Mount Bromo. We eventually made it to the top to just find out that the actual smart ones had taken all the best front row “seats” – they had camped there the night before. Selfie sticks out, these multitudes all waited cheerfully (and noisily, so as to kill any magic left in the air) as we on the other hand tried to find a spot were we could stand and brace ourselves against the bitter cold (now, being cold is actually as unique an experience as one gets in Indonesia!) till the sun would come out and showed us Mount Bromo in all its mighty beauty.

Visit Mount Bromo

Bracing ourselves against the cold during our visit of Mount Bromo

So we waited. And waited. And waited. And theoretically the sun came out, but some thick clouds covered Mount Bromo so we did not get to see it. There is nothing one can do when nature rebels against his or her wishes, so we just decided to leave, cameras safely stored again and eyes unsatisfied as any hope of getting a view of the sunrise on Mount Bromo had now gone.

The mayhem started again. The crowds that a couple of hours earlier were all trying to reach the viewpoint now all moved towards the improvised parking lot, aka the road where the jeeps had casually dropped us off. Once again, we had to put our best efforts to avoid the jeeps and motorbikes that risked hitting us; we had to stop and jump for our lives to the side of the street, in the little space that was left among the parked jeeps. The noise was deafening, the exhaust fumes once more thick. The only difference was that now we were at least able to see where we were going.

Heresy: I should have seen this coming

After miraculously finding our jeep and silent driver among what seemed to be like a million jeeps, we started making our (much too fast) way down towards the desert, from where we were meant to ride horses up to the crater of Bromo. However, a quick turn and the view opened up for us. There stood Mount Bromo, in front of our eyes, mighty and spiteful and making fun of us and of all our efforts – the early wake up call, the walk through “the slush”, the risking our lives, the screaming, the anger, the fright, the tripod placing, the hopeless waiting.

There was our opportunity to shoot a good photo, to have proper proof that yes, we had been to Mount Bromo. We could not miss it. We jumped off the jeep, and, used to the noise, the traffic, the pollution, the cars and motorbikes’ careless driving, we crossed the road to fight our way among the (actually lesser) crowd, to get to a good spot where we could finally catch on camera the spectacular view and hope that nobody else but us and Mount Bromo would be in the picture. It took quite a bit of effort, but I must admit that it worked. Mount Bromo looked pretty. I almost bought it. Almost.

Mount Bromo

Signs of distress are already showing on my face after I had to go through a lot of trouble to get to Mount Bromo

Violence, Fraud and Treachery: if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t

My love affair with Mount Bromo was not meant to be. I should have known it, since our relationship got off on a really bad start and it did all it could to put me off. And I felt a bit cheated. I soon learned that what I thought was Mount Bromo was in fact Mount Batok. Mount Bromo was right behind, having a good smoke.

Getting back on the jeep once again, we finally set off to cross the sand desert. I was baffled. I could not fully grasp what I was seeing. Among the jeeps that sped their way through the sand, lifting a great deal of dust to mix in with the exhaust fumes, the last thing I expected to see were motorbikes. Not cross country motorbikes, though. Not the kind that can go on any sort of terrain. Proper, small city motorbikes. And each of them carried two and even three persons, in proper Indonesian style. None of the passengers wore helmets but “bravely” fought the forces of nature, sliding in the sand, lifting more dust as they tried to push the motorbike (which unsurprisingly silted) forward.

At this point, I did not let the dust, the noise and the once again almost apocalyptic scene bother me. I was just amused by it, and at most puzzled. I suppose I got it figured out then: people in Indonesia have an idea of fun which consists in challenging life as often as possible, that involves motorbikes and which implies having as many people around as are available. Talk about cultural differences.

Mount Bromo

Our jeep crew. There were many more around, all set to visit Mount Bromo – photo courtesy of Kuan Ju

Despite the mask, the thick sand got in my throat, causing me to cough strongly. By then, my throat was hurting. But the pain in my throat, the difficulty to breathe were soon going to be the least of my problems. According to the program, we were meant to ride horses to the top of Mount Bromo, so that we’d be able to see the crater and the thick sulfuric smoke coming out of it. Horses had already been arranged for the group. On paper, this sounded like an amazing experience.

Pity is that the minute we got off the jeep, in the middle of the sand desert, I saw the horses that we had been provided. I immediately felt that what had so far been a challenging day was taking a turn for the worst. To anybody that has an even minimum interest in animal welfare, it was easily visible that those horses were not exactly cared for. There was no mistake that those animals were malnourished; there was little question that they were distressed. They showed all signs: ribs painfully sticking out of the thin bodies; foam at the mouth; chewing the bridels; stamping nervously.

visit Mount Bromo

I was supposed to ride this horse to the crater of Mount Bromo – I refused

I had tears in my eyes; my throat tightened; my stomach tensed. It took me about a split second to decide that I would not contribute to their suffering and that I would not ride any of those horses. Only 3 others refused to ride the horses. The rest of the group, on the other hand, went on the ride on those very same horses that were unfit to carry heavy weights, and although they did notice that the horses didn’t look too well, they didn’t make much of it and joyfully rode them (to then realize that the poor animals could not carry them all the way to the top and that, when they summoned the owner to get down and just walk, this whipped the poor animal harder so that it kept moving).

Don’t get me wrong though. I don’t blame the others for not behaving like I did. In fact, in a way I envy them for being able to toughen up, block any negative emotions, put up a brave face (something that I was completely unable to do – in fact, I cried for about one hour) and manage to appreciate the beauty of Mount Bromo and understand the cultural differences between their country and this one.

I couldn’t and my experience was pretty much ruined, as now whenever I think of Mount Bromo all I can see are the images of those poor horses, whipped and starved; of the immense crowds, selfie sticks out, oblivious to the pollution and the damage to the environment they were contributing to. And all I can remember was hiking up to the crater, seeing the poor horses around me, pushing my way through the crowd, tears rolling down my cheeks.

Mount Bromo

The smokey crater of Mount Bromo – I got to see it even without riding a horse: the walk is perfectly doable.

I know I am perhaps overly sensible to animal welfare issues. I have been since I was a child, since that time my elementary teacher took my class to the circus and I thought it wasn’t really that much fun watching lions in cages being forced to act unnaturally. As I got to my room that night after visiting Mount Bromo, and for the following days (actually, for the following weeks and even now, as I write), I have tried to make sense of what I saw and of why I have felt that way. The words “culture” and “poverty” have come up often in conversations, with people telling me that some countries don’t have such a great culture in caring for animals, or it is their culture to behave in a certain way.

But I don’t think that culture should be used as an alibi for the mistreatment of animals or for the fearceless exploitation of the environment. You see, I have spent most of my previous working life researching and writing on topics such as culture and cultural identity. While I have been an advocate for the protection of the right to cultural identity and the right of people to live their lives according to their (more or less) traditions, I can’t in any way use the cultural argument to justify cruelty and suffering, whether it is referred to human beings or to animals. I refuse to label an activity as cultural and then just accept it as it is, if the results are hurtful. I find it unethical. And I know through years and years of studies that culture is not a fixed, never changing concept.

Indeed, culture changes with time, it evolves, and that doesn’t in any way make it “less cultural”. Traditional activities and occupations remain traditional even when they are practiced through modern means. One good example is that of people whose traditional occupation is in sheep-farming. Nobody expects them to still milk the sheep by hand for the activity to remain traditional. Not even the United Nations Human Rights Council, which has taken a clear stand in saying that culture is not static and it may actually develop without losing its protected character. So really, there is no way that I will ever justify the mistreatment of animals by saying that “it is the culture of the country”. I won’t just close my eyes, shut my mouth and pretend that all is good and move on with my life, because my conscience won’t allow me to and I feel I have a duty to inform, for as small as my voice is, and to contribute to change.

The road to redemption: a few tips for visitors and management

I would like to stress that the way each one of us experiences a place is always a matter of his or her own personality, and many other factors are involved. I have indeed said on another post of mine that what may be hell to some of us, may well be heaven to others – and the fact that some of the others on my group truly enjoyed their experience on Mount Bromo, taken on the exact same day and exact same means, is proof of this. All in all, I think that each experience we have as we travel is enriching, even the ones we consider bad – because in a way they lead us to understand more about ourselves, to question ourselves, to test our limits.

I don’t want to entirely rule out Mount Bromo from the list of places to visit in Indonesia. And But I would like to see changes before I recommend it to other travelers, and before I ever give it a second chance. Many things can be done to make sure that tourism in the area becomes more responsible and sustainable and some of them are fairly easily enforceable. Mount Bromo, indeed, although at the moment is so mismanaged that it makes various travelers end up holding horrible memories of it, has the potential of becoming an iconic attraction of Indonesia, and of South East Asia as well.

visit Mount Bromo

This pretty picture is pretty much the only good memory I have of Mount Bromo

If things stay as they are, my recommendation for anybody who is keen on visiting Mount Bromo is to make sure not to go during the weekend and to take alternative tours that don’t go to the viewpoint at sunrise, as this is what most people do. This is an extremely popular attraction among the locals, and they crowd the place in such a way that it completely loses its wild character and charme. Going during the week may be a better option, as it is bound to be at least less crowded.

Picking a good tour operator to organize the guided tour is also a key factor. It is important to have a good guide that speaks English (or whatever other language one may understand); that fully explains how the activities will evolve throughout the day; that will follow the group at all times and guide it through the crowds so that it doesn’t get lost and that can provide meaningful insights on the attraction, on its significance in natural and cultural or religious terms.

When picking the operator that will provide the services, it is important to make sure that the cars used are properly kept and equipped, and that if riding horses is an option, they outsource to locals who do feed their horses well and properly provide for them and don’t abuse them.

Ask questions, such as: Are we going to have a guide with us at all times? How does the day develop, and what does the tour include? Is there a meeting point in case we get lost? Who should I contact in case of emergency? Are the horses we are going to ride well fed? Where are they kept? How many hours per day do they work? Try to make sure that the answers are not evasive, because that may well be a sign that the operator isn’t reliable and that it is outsourcing its services to the cheapest provider, which will keep the costs down at the expenses of the environment and the animals.

Mount Bromo

If horses on Mount Bromo look like this, refuse to ride them.

A more sustainable and responsible approach to tourism in Mount Bromo may imply limiting the number of daily visitors, something that has been done to several key attractions around the world, in order to protect their cultural, natural and historic relevance and uniqueness. It may be necessary to implement a system of online reservations to access the attraction, but nowadays setting up a website and a reservations system is easy and the benefits for the preservation of the natural beauty of Mount Bromo would be countless: cleaner environment including cleaner air; less people and thus less cars meaning less pollution and traffic; and the fewer visitors could count on a more thorough, enjoyable and all encompassing experience.

Another advice would be that of closely monitoring the horse dealers at the feet of Mount Bromo, and require that before providing their services of renting horses they meet at least some minimum standards in terms of animal welfare. Horses need to be properly fed and must have plenty of water when working; the number of working hours should be limited and even the amount of weight they can carry should be based on their own size.

The main point here is trying to ensure that Mount Bromo is not completely exploited and consequentially ruined by mass tourism for the sake of easy and short term money, but that it becomes the avant-guarde in terms of careful management of a natural attraction, one that should be proudly protected and that will eventually lead to a more steady, durable revenue. The authorities of Indonesia have proved on other occasions, in other places (such as on Komodo National Park) that if they want they can take responsible tourism and protection of the environment and the wildlife of the country quite seriously. It would be good to see that the same is being done on Mount Bromo. It would be great to see its real beauty blossom.

Read more about Komodo National Park on my post “How to find Heaven on Earth.”

Legal Disclaimer: This article was written in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia as part of the #WonderfulIndonesia campaign. All the views and opinions expressed are my own and based on my personal experience. The views expressed are honest and factual without any bias.

 


 


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108 Comments

  • Emily
    10 November 2015 at 21:50

    I really, genuinely appreciate this article Claudia. I too am desperately concerned about animal welfare and have too many times in Latin America seen horses and other animals treated with utter disdain. Your decision to ride the horse was absolutely the correct one, I just hope that more people can make that choice and not simply, as you say, block out the suffering and focus on their own experience. When the world catches up with us, it will be a better place.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      10 November 2015 at 21:56

      Reading your comment is much of a relief for me. I am not sure many will appreciate my honesty, but I have to be true to myself. Mount Bromo was a nightmare of a tour for me and the overall trip to Indonesia has been more than anything else an enriching experience in the sense that never again I want to be the cause for animals suffering. I appreciate the use of horses for work, for pet therapy, etc. I am all in favor of it and even more so if it is part of the culture of a country and its people. But mistreating them? No. That I can’t and won’t ever accept.

  • Michael Huxley
    10 November 2015 at 22:55

    Excellent article and I totally agree with you. Yes Bromo is a spectacular destination with amazing vistas, but it has been ruined by uncontrolled mass tourism and ridiculous management. It wasn’t a particularly pleasant experience for me either, even though I thought looking into the crater was awesome. And the horses should never be ridden in that state, you are absolutely right. There is so much evidence now that states ethical and responsible options make as much if not more profit than unethical ones like this, so they can’t even use the excuse that locals need to make money off tourism. They can, in a much better way. Fantastic article! Keep up the amazing work!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      10 November 2015 at 23:36

      Yes, the views were stunning (when we finally got them) but I still can’t shake off the bad experience. And I am shocked that not many seemed to realize it. There are definitely better ways to manage places like Mount Bromo, and those better ways are bound to be more profitable!

      I owe you, Mike. It was a hard day for me, and I could not have done it with your support.

  • Jennifer
    11 November 2015 at 14:51

    That sounds like a hellish day. I think the best thing you can do, as a tourist, particularly when you encounter something like the horse situation there, is to refuse to participate. Alternately, see if you can find someone who actually cares for their animals. For a lot of people they either don’t think about it or just don’t know better. And for others, they are just animal-hating bad people. 😛

    When I lived in San Pedro, there were one or two caballeros who took care of their horses, and several more who fed them plenty but didn’t keep up with worming or other maintenance. Unfortunately, people visiting for only a day or two would have no idea which was which, until an exhausted, bony, wormy horse showed up. Things have gotten better in recent years.

    People can claim it is culture to abuse animals, and that’s lovely, but in the “West” it was also the culture until very recently. Cultures can change. And part of that requires showing people in tourist-related animal businesses that mistreated and neglected animals are less likely to be hired, and that healthy, well-cared-for animals earn more money longer. Unfortunately, these are long-term lessons.

    Responsible, enjoyable tourism is a lot more work than the “Don’t Care, I’m Drunk” method, but over time it can effect real change. Lots and lots of time. Hope your next bit of trip goes better. Otherwise, you can come play in India and Nepal with me.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      11 November 2015 at 18:07

      Well, we visited Mount Bromo for a few hours and it took me less than a second to see that the horses were not well kept. That’s how bad it was!

      You are completely right – it was “culture” in the West to treat animals badly till not long ago. And we got there somehow. I did my bit. I refused to ride that horse and took the consequences of it (no reason to explain what happened here).

  • Dawn Kealing
    11 November 2015 at 21:27

    Unfortunately, things aren’t always what we imagined they would be. I haven’t been to Mt. Bromo, Indonesia, though I really hope to one day; I had almost the same experience in Egypt. It was really tough, I wanted to immerse myself in the culture, I wanted to enjoy my time there; though, the people just wouldn’t stop harassing me, the women would glare and not say a word to me. It was extremely frustrating and the first time I had experienced anything like it while traveling. Saying that though, visiting the historical sites throughout the country made the whole experience for me, it’s what I look back on and the memories I cherish. I wish there was some sort of light at the end of the tunnel for you on this journey; I guess, at least you did get to see Mt. Bromo in the end!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      13 November 2015 at 12:37

      There was no culture involved in Mount Bromo, unless we want to call the exploitation of the environment and the mistreatment of horses “culture”. I did get to see Bromo, sure. And the experience was enriching – but purely on a personal level!

  • George
    11 November 2015 at 21:37

    I don’t even know where to start. Exploitation of the environment and poor managemente go hand to hand, and unfortunately is not limited to Mount Bromo. I have sadly witnessed similar ocurrences here in my lovely México.

    Abuse? You bet. Less the government get involved, people will -almost- always go for profit. What they care, its not like its their national treasure….? Oh snap, it actually is. But you hit the mark, short term earnings, some people go for that. Is it sustainable? heck no, like most things, it is merely a matter of time. More people complaining (awareness) is actually a good start.

    Some peple can detach a bit from reality, I used to find this quite intriguing. See, once you realize something is wrong (at least in my case), you can’t really advert your eyes from it anymore. I personally wouldn’t have ridden the horses either. Why? empathy, its that simple (again, at least for me). I am not against ridding horses by the way, quite the opposite, as I did the cowboy thing when I was teen, and perhaps that adds to why I would be pist if I saw a horse in a bad shape, its a beautiful and graceful creature.

    Putting feelings aside, its bad business actually. Is it expensive to maintain a horse in good shape? a bit. Is it way more expensive getting a new one? yes, way more.

    I won’t get in to that whole cultural argument. Things -can- change., it’s been proven. The lack of empathy doesn’t surprise me, but it does remind me of how poverty in some cases, trumps love & respect for nature and our fellow creatures.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. Mount Batok seems quite nice as well. I would like to visit there, walking all the way to the top of a mount as a nice appeal to it. Cheers!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      13 November 2015 at 12:39

      I have witnessed exploitation and mismanagement in many places. But the extent to which this happened on Mount Bromo was shocking.

      I am also not against riding horses. There are millions of researches showing the benefits of it – for both the humans and the animals. I am against riding exploited horses!

  • yara coelho
    11 November 2015 at 21:51

    Awesome post Claudia! Really honest, really heartfelt. I’m glad you shared your experience with us and warned us about the unethical practices that could ruin a lot of people’s visit.

    I don’t ride horses, elephants or any other (non human) animals no matter how well or bad taken care they are, but i have to say these photos are disturbing and you can see how much these animals are suffering just by looking at their eyes.

    “I don’t blame the others for not behaving like I did. In fact, in a way I envy them for being able to toughen up,” Well, I do. And I wouldn’t even be able to look again at those bloggers with the same eyes to be honest. We have a responsibility.We’re recommending experiences and locations, if people are completely insensitive and oblivious of what’s right in front of their eyes…. then I’m worried. No wonder I feel the generalist blogging world is not my place.

    I’m sharing this article too 😉 Thanks!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      13 November 2015 at 12:40

      You do blame them, huh? I think you can read between the lines, Yara 🙂

  • Karyn Jane
    12 November 2015 at 4:16

    This is such a brilliant post Claudia. You write so vividly and really paint a picture, and your complete honesty is so admirable. And I’m actually pagan so I loved your inclusion of the Dante quotes, lol. 😀

    Because I’m vegan I do not agree with riding horses ever, so thank you so much for choosing not to hurt that beautiful animal. You are right – culture and tradition are no excuse for cruelty. This is true for anything that hurts anybody anywhere, human or nonhuman. Cultural evolution exists and is constantly moving us forward to what we believe is a better place. There is beauty in a culture deciding to better itself.

    Also, don’t envy the other bloggers for being able to toughen up and block negative emotions. They should envy you for having the ability to feel such deep empathy. Identifying with another Earthling is not a sign of weakness: it is a sign of strength. Compassion is a virtue held only by the strong.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      13 November 2015 at 12:41

      I wish my camera was good enough to take pictures at night, and then I should have taken a proper picture or perhaps even a video of what it was like to get to the peak. The SLUSH. Then you’d get why I thought of Dante’s Inferno!! 🙂

  • Prianka | Map Halves
    12 November 2015 at 13:40

    I really like how you structured this article, and I am so appreciate of your openness and honesty. Sometimes travel bloggers don’t want to shatter the myth and tell the truth about a location, especially when they are being hosted by someone else (or in this case the national tourism board) but I think it is so important to be forthright about what you have seen and experienced. You are helping other travelers make an informed decision about whether or not to go and what to do while they are here. The pictures are absolutely stunning though, I can see why getting to this place was important to you!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      13 November 2015 at 12:44

      There is no way I am ever losing my integrity for the sake of money, or travel even. It makes me sad that, against this post of mine, there are about 30 others going around painting the usual, sugar coated version of what we saw. Either they did not notice what it was really like (and it makes me sad), or they do not care to show it (and it makes me sad) or they have lost integrity down the road (and this also makes me sad). I describe what I see. No more, no less.

  • Laura @Travelocafe
    12 November 2015 at 15:18

    I haven’t been to Mount Bromo. But what a great post featuring all that there is to see and experience while there. You have me convinced to visit it in the near future. Such an inspiring post reminds me why I am reading travel blogs.
    Love the photos too, especially the closeups of the horse.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      13 November 2015 at 12:47

      You can’t be serious? You like the photo of the EXPLOITED horses? I made you want to go to Mount Bromo and live the HELL I have lived? WOW, you are brave.

  • Carol Colborn
    12 November 2015 at 15:27

    I think horses are the most beautiful animals in the world and your photos revalidated that for me. But what a concern the most avid travelers get to experience time and again. Thanks for raising it brilliantly in this post.

  • Sabine
    12 November 2015 at 17:52

    Wow, what a read, this is some story that makes one think. Many years ago I visited Indonesia and due to circumstances we were not able to visit Mount Bromo. I always wanted to go back to Java to see the sunrise. But you made me think. When I was in Indonesia there were hardly any other visitors (just after 9/11) but it seems to be different nowadays. It is just so sad to read how people behave so badly and so inconsiderate to others and to nature. And the poor horses…it just makes me so angry! This posts deserves to be read by many people!!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      13 November 2015 at 12:56

      Thank you for your comment Sabine, and I will appreciate any share, for sure. The overall experience was very sad and I still shake in anger when I think of it!

  • CABRIO
    12 November 2015 at 20:24

    AMAZING article, especially its initial part, which looks like a movie script, kind of Indiana Jones! I was glued to my chair…
    The rest seems to come really from your guts and I could “see” your tears.
    Whatever one’s ideas on the subject are, the way you tell the story is simply great!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      13 November 2015 at 12:58

      Thank you Marco. I felt like I was in a movie, for sure! It was so bad that I kept thinking it could not be real. Sadly though, it was.

  • Lexi
    13 November 2015 at 4:58

    That sounded like a very hard day. I also get quite upset when I see animals suffering so I would have been crying there right beside you. I think there would have been the added pressure of being on a press trip and feeling like you had to do these activities, despite wanting to turn away.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      13 November 2015 at 12:59

      I didn’t. I voiced my concern and attracted a lot of anger for my “negative attitude” and for being unwilling to participate, and for well… for voicing my concern. I should have just shut up and suck it in apparently. Not my style.

  • Dean
    13 November 2015 at 7:10

    I am certainly not overly precious about animal welfare and often have scoffed at how hypersensitive and even unrealistic activists can be sometimes. However even I can see that the horses were badly mistreated in your article and it made me feel quite sick.
    On a more positive note, you really need to try to get to Mt Yasur Volcano in Vanuatu one day. It is an amazing experience without the animal cruelty.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      13 November 2015 at 13:01

      Thank you Dean. It is refreshing to know that even people that are not animal activists could see what I saw. The best part of it is that when I said I would not ride the horses because they looked mistreated, I was yelled at: “How do you know?” And then, other participants who after coming back said “yes, the horses didn’t look too well” – why did they ride them, then?

  • Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru
    13 November 2015 at 12:43

    Great analogous treatment if this horrific situation with Dante’s circles. This may be a popular attraction but knowing what I now know from your description, I’d avoid it like the plague. I appreciate your efforts in conveying this compelling story. Don’t doubt this post will be very influential.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      13 November 2015 at 13:04

      I hope it will serve the purpose – reconsider the whole management of the attraction, raise the issue of animal and environmental exploitation. I poured my heart and soul into writing it. It was a hurtful process, as I had to relive the day over and over again. I am just sad I don’t have any picture of the hike up, amid the jeeps, motorbikes, etc.

  • Damien
    14 November 2015 at 2:53

    Great post. I think sometimes its easy to think travel is this fantasy land where everything is perfect so it’s good to see articles like this where that was not necessarily the case

  • Kathrin
    14 November 2015 at 12:40

    I really appreciate all the thoughts you put into this article. It’s unbelievable how uncontrolled mass tourism is destroying a lot of beautiful places on our earth. And somehow nobody seems to care. It’s devastating. I hope your article will be a wake-up-call for some!

  • Lauren
    14 November 2015 at 13:19

    Claudia, what a fantastic article. It is so refreshing reading about peoples experiences including ones they didn’t like as much as they were expecting. I have spent a lot of time in Lombok, Indonesia and the way the horses are treated is certainly not kind. The photo you show above with the horse foaming at the mouth is all too common and all too distressing. To this day I have never used one for transport and I never plan to. It is so sad.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      14 November 2015 at 19:50

      I think as travel blogger I have a duty to write as honestly as I can, underline the positives and the negatives and give constructive criticism if I manage. I am trying hard. I hope it shows 🙂

  • Paula McInerney
    14 November 2015 at 13:40

    The maltreatment of the horses is wrong on every level no matter where you are in the world. However, your journey was less than ideal and your marrying it up with Dante was smart. Not everything goes according to plans and we all accept this. I guess where things go wrong and they do and I am thinking Battambang in Cambodia here, after I have cooled off, I think – what did I learn about myself from this and the way I reacted to it. What positives if any can I take away from it. Ok, Gordon certainly calms me by saying, it is all about serendipity and you know what, it is.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      14 November 2015 at 19:51

      I could not agree more with you, Paula. I can’t stand mistreatment of animals, no matter where. I would have done the same anywhere else in the world.

  • Emily
    14 November 2015 at 14:12

    I get upset seeing horses being trotted around cities as a tourist means of transportation. They are overworked and not well taken care of. Not to mention, this summer in Rome, multiple horses fell over and died on the street from exhaustion. I can’t even imagine how I’d feel if I experienced what you did. Kudos for pointing out the obvious truth in a sponsored post.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      14 November 2015 at 19:52

      Don’t even get me started on Rome! I really do not get what the fun is on going on a horse buggy in a town that is heavily congested in traffic, yet there are tourists who do that. I find it cruel and the only thing tourists can do to stop this is by not using the service.

  • Howard @ Backroad Planet
    14 November 2015 at 16:01

    Claudia, the honest telling of your story is so refreshing! You have given me courage not to shy away from negative aspects in my own writing. I was familiar with your name, but this was my first visit to your site and my first time to read your work. I truly “enjoyed” the way you infused your personality into the narrative. Sometimes the best stories are not the most pleasant stories. You proved it with your honesty, and now your readers, myself included, will be better prepared if and when we decide to venture out to Mount Bromo. I am a fan!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      14 November 2015 at 20:01

      Thanks Howard! Please don’t shy away from saying the negatives too. I think you owe it to your readers and… if anything, you owe it to yourself. I just can’t lie and if I did I would completely lose respect for myself.

      The thing is this. I don’t expect to say THE truth. But I will say MY truth. I will recollect MY experience. That is why I usually write in the first person!

  • Laura
    14 November 2015 at 20:00

    Wow that experience does truly sound like hell. I can’t stand going places where there’s chaos and mayhem — to many people are never a good thing, and I would rather skip a major attraction than go through that. It just sounds awful.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      14 November 2015 at 20:03

      It really goes to show that it is not just the attraction but even the way it is managed that makes it attractive. I have been to crowded places but never in my life I felt the need to get away as soon as possible.

  • Traveling Rockhopper
    14 November 2015 at 20:48

    I love Mt. Bromo, I remember how extra cold was there when we’re waiting for sunrise… it’s so beautiful!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      14 November 2015 at 20:54

      It was extra cold, extra crowded, extra polluted, extra mistreated horses, extra hellish for me. I am glad you found it beautiful. It certainly is. But the poor management of the attraction was too bad for me to be able to enjoy it.

  • Fiona @ London-Unattached
    14 November 2015 at 20:55

    What a difficult situation. I like to think I’d also refuse to ride th horse

  • Andrea Leblang
    14 November 2015 at 22:16

    What a horrific experience! Thank you so much for sharing. I really appreciate your honesty in describing the truth about this misadventure. I’m sure that, as you said, Mount Bromo is a beautiful sight, but definitely not worth it under these circumstances. I wouldn’t have been able to stomach riding the horses either 🙁 How sad!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      15 November 2015 at 11:18

      Yes, the sights were pretty. But what was going on behind the scene… horror!

  • Diana LaGlobetrotter
    14 November 2015 at 23:29

    Great article Claudia and thanks for your honesty in telling us your misadventure!, I also think that travelling is about self discovery and probably you had to do this hard experience to understand yourself and your wishes.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      15 November 2015 at 11:19

      You know me – I just can’t put up with all the fuss!

  • Bethany Dickey
    15 November 2015 at 0:06

    My least favourite thing about traveling is seeing animals mistreated….so sad!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      15 November 2015 at 11:19

      I know. That is why we have to stick up for them!

  • Monica
    15 November 2015 at 0:33

    Such a shocking and sad story about the horses! I think you did the right think deciding not to ride.
    There are so many places that tourists should walk and not abuse animals instead!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      15 November 2015 at 11:20

      Had I done that ride, it would have felt like giving my approval and saying it was ok to mistreat those animals

  • Jen
    15 November 2015 at 5:16

    So sorry that you had such a poor experience. Hopefully your post will raise awareness to the problems in the area. So sad to see the horses in the state that you found them. Very sad.

  • Ynah ca
    15 November 2015 at 8:52

    Such an amazing article,and alot of transparency too! I understand your concern about the wild life, they also have a soft spot in my heart being a geneticst/biplogist myself. It can be very sad, that some people juat dont care!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      15 November 2015 at 11:22

      Thank you! To me, it is all about being fair. 🙂

  • Elizabeth
    15 November 2015 at 12:10

    It is not just the environment and animals that get exploited. How the people are treated in some place is also appalling. As tourists we do a have a choice to travel responsibly and ethically. Well done to share your experience and take the walking route.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      15 November 2015 at 20:15

      That is a key factor in responsible tourism – making sure that the money we spent actually stays local.

  • Mar
    15 November 2015 at 13:26

    It is very sad and very saddening. I have witnessed too many of these situations in Asia, unfortunately, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand and filled with such situations. exploitation of animals, of the environment, of people even. I have chosen not to visit some of the very well known destination like this or the orang utan feeding platforms in Malaysia or other well known beaches in Thailand because I know that I will see similar situations and feel really really saddened. But the reality is that, only by writing and by raising awareness about such situations can we tell authorities they must change and take care of the surroundings. Sadly, Indonesia government has larger issues, like the burning fires, they should urgently take care of. It is across the country. I hope they will change their efforts and concentrate on conservation rather than on increasing numbers of tourists. What is lost may often never be recovered

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      15 November 2015 at 20:16

      There are a lot of issues that need to be solved in that part of the world and raising awareness is one thing that I feel we all need to do!

  • TravelGretl
    15 November 2015 at 14:23

    Great you share experiences like this too! It is good to know this before visiting, not just to hear great stories! Appreciate that!

  • Sonal of Drifter Planet
    15 November 2015 at 16:53

    It’s so sad but all over the world there are many countries where animals are mistreated. I don;t know if my dream of a perfect world where there’s no mistreatment – for animals and humans – is realistic.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      15 November 2015 at 20:16

      It probably isn’t, but we should try anyways!

  • evan kristine
    15 November 2015 at 19:22

    sorry you didn’t fully enjoy your trek. I too would feel sorry for the animals being mistreated. On a different note, based on your photo’s seems like the place looks beautiful.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      15 November 2015 at 20:17

      I mostly reported on the behind the scenes!

      • evan kristine
        17 November 2015 at 13:26

        I had the same issue actually when I was in Philippines I visited the smallest volcano in the world which is the Taal Volcano. In order to get ther you have to take a small boat to the foot of the crater and then ride donkey’s to the crater… I actually did not felt bad for the animals because they looked healthy and in absolutely great shape – however, the people who are taking care of them are… Well, unfotunate should I say. The boy who guided me up to the crater was telling me that he gets paid depending on how many trips he take. Each trip per person cost about 100php (roughly about 2usd) and they get, if I remember correctly, 10php per trip. He said most of the money they get from the tourists goes back to the horse farm. My heart broke and gave him all the small change I have and bought him food and drinks which he refused because he said he’ll feel tired on the way down. It is a sad issue to see these popular tourist places get hunted by tourism. Asolutely sad. People will try to make lots of money from just about everything even its costs involves ruining the place itself.

        • Claudia Tavani
          Claudia Tavani
          18 November 2015 at 10:17

          You story goes to show that we really do need to take steps towards more responsible tourism. It is about time that the tourism industry becomes fully sustainable for the environment, the animals, the attractions and anybody who works in it. Thanks for your lovely comment!

  • Nic from Roaming Renegades
    15 November 2015 at 21:43

    It’s such a shame that what should be a wonderful experience has been ruined by over tourism and other issues. I did have this on our list of places to visit and those views do look stunning but I will be very cautious about how and whether we do it. Hate it when animals are used for humans pleasures in these ways, awful.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      15 November 2015 at 22:02

      I don’t even get why anybody would find it pleasurable to ride a horse that is so sick!! Yes, make sure you do consider your options carefully and by all means, make sure you don’t go at the weekend or during a national holiday!

  • Mel @ Footsteps on the Globe
    15 November 2015 at 23:33

    I’m so heart broken about those horses, I can’t believe that only 3 of the group refused to ride the horses to the top when they seemed obviously sick :'( It raises a lot of questions about ethical tourism. It’s a horrible feeling knowing that people are exploiting animals for tourism dollars. People need to know about this though so thank you for writing this post so that we’re aware, as sad as it is 🙁

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      15 November 2015 at 23:35

      It was actually four, including myself. And yes, it is sad that most did not care, did not notice…

  • Alli
    16 November 2015 at 3:23

    Fantastic post, Claudia! Again, I really enjoy reading your heartfelt posts – they are always so engaging. I nodded along in agreement with your words as I read this

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      16 November 2015 at 14:46

      Ha! It would have been nice to see that live 🙂

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      16 November 2015 at 14:47

      Ha! I would have loved to see that live 🙂

  • Holly
    16 November 2015 at 5:17

    This was a very interesting read. I appreciate the straight forwardness of it all.

  • RaW | Ramble and Wander
    16 November 2015 at 6:54

    I haven’t been to Mt Bromo although it’s a place I’d love to see one day. This is my first time reading about bad things that surround it – although I’ve read about traffic, no. of people, etc. I didn’t really give it much thought – and I really appreciate it. Something for me to bear in mind when I finally decided to visit it, whenever that is.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      16 November 2015 at 14:50

      I really hope things change by the time you make it there – as soon as possible!

  • Natasha
    16 November 2015 at 6:56

    Wow, sounds like a rough trip. You made the best decision to not ride. When I was sixteen I went on a horse-back riding trip in Jamacia and rode these horses that were just skin and bones. It was horrible and I felt SO bad afterwards even though they weren’t distressed- I just felt like I had supported a bad organization and I vowed never to do it again. It’s nice to see someone else who is honest about their opinions of a place!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      16 November 2015 at 14:52

      You bet – I don’t think I would ever be able to hide my opinion!

  • Bobbi Gould
    16 November 2015 at 10:38

    There is NO WAY I would have rode those horses! That makes me so terribly sad!

  • Joe Ankenbauer
    16 November 2015 at 10:44

    Beautiful pictures of Mount Bromo! Unfortunately you had to deal with the abused horses. I feel
    So sorry for them and wish there was something more we could do than just not ride them. It’s pitiful what’s been done to them.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      13 December 2015 at 19:57

      We can just decide not to ride them, and then make it a point to tell the people WHY we are not riding them!

  • Travelwith2ofus
    16 November 2015 at 11:02

    What an interesting post and even more interesting journey to Mount Bromo. Self discovery is sometimes one of the benefits of travel.

  • Sophie
    16 November 2015 at 11:34

    The photos of the horses make me feel so sad. It’s so sad how exploited they are for our enjoyment.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      13 December 2015 at 19:59

      Totally sad. But it is good to raise awareness

  • Meg Jerrard
    16 November 2015 at 12:05

    Holy crap Claudia, thankyou for writing such an honest post. I applaud you for not having ridden the horses, I feel so shocked to see those photos!!!!! I don’t think I would have been able to do it either. Sometimes when we travel it’s not all sunshine and roses and we don’t always have a great day. Thats the reality of travel. There will be some good days and some bad, and I’m sorry that you had to rise at 2.30am for one of the bad ones 🙁

    Thanks for the tips on how to do Mt Bromo for those who still do want to visit though. I found this a very well rounded article despite your obviously bad experience personally. X

  • christine
    16 November 2015 at 14:53

    What an amazing experience!!! 🙂

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      16 November 2015 at 14:55

      not sure how to take your comment on my post? Is going through hell an amazing experience?

      • christine
        16 November 2015 at 15:00

        I meant to put amazing view at least haha sorry about that!

  • Alexis
    16 November 2015 at 15:28

    Wow, what a crazy adventure! Love your honest and creative take:)

  • Mary Charie | Two Monkeys Travel
    16 November 2015 at 20:10

    Great article! That’s pretty interesting way of featuring a place! This places looks very peaceful and relax. And thank you so much for not riding a horse! More love babe!

  • Katharina
    16 November 2015 at 23:22

    I am so sorry you and to go through that and that you had such an awful experience. I completely sympathise and I know where you are coming from. It is very difficult for us to understand why these people act in such a way. I wouldn’t put it down to culture, as much as I would Education and Poverty. Unfortunately there is a lack of education as well as money. A whole family might be surviving on the income brought in by one horse. I times are hard there just isn’t enough money to feed that horse. These people also often just don’t recognise when a horse is sick. It is very sad but a harsh reality.
    When we were young we travelled to the Dominican Republic. Here we met an absolutely incredible couple who tried to explain the situation to us. They had given up their life in the Netherlands and set up a ranch in the Dominican Republic. Here they took in sick horses from the locals, fattened them up, treated them for disease and taught the locals how to take proper care of their horses. Most of this was done with their saving. A meagre amount of money trickled in back then from tourist such as us. They weren’t that well known. I wish there were more of these types of initiatives. An understanding of the situation but leading to way forth to a better future.
    It seems the ranch was passed on to the locals who are now running it in their honour with the same values. The couple wasn’t the youngest when we visited them quite a while back. I m not sure they are still around.
    We also need to think a lot more about the environment. About our future generations. But it is difficult to combine travel with sustainability. Not everyone knows how to go about it. I or one would love some advice on ecotourism. It would be great to see more of that on your blog Thank you for sharing x Kat

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      17 November 2015 at 9:36

      I only wish there were more people like that couple to pursue such projects. If a whole family survives on the income brought by that one (mistreated) horse, they should know better. If the horse isn’t fed and well kept, the horse dies and there also dies the income!

  • Dan
    13 December 2015 at 18:41

    A very interesting read and I imagine a similar experience for many that visit. I was lucky to go without a tour, to walk to a viewing spot shared with a few people but the horse thing made me sick. Especially given how it was mainly western tourists riding them. The tragic thing is that the more visitors that go and ride them, the more that will be bred to fuel the tourism needs. I struggle with this as I don’t think we can ever tell those who may be in/close to poverty to change their views in the way we have through money and education but it is essential for us as visitors to communicate our disdain and as a result the local communities to find other ways to care for and use these animals which creates a sustainable solution for both the animals and those living there. The tragic thing is this is going to take a lot of education, but before tourists arrive. The over glamorization of animal attractions is what leads to this, so articles like this are the best form of education

    Regardless of any ones opinion in riding horses or how they are cared for, spending day in day out breathing in sulphur, sand and other harmful material is a key to the issue here – highlighted by the crazy extent of masks people will put on before getting on them. The long term health risks for these animals and offspring I imagine is highly damaging.

    I am sorry you had to go through such a hellish experience in order to hopefully change the opinion of others before they get there.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      13 December 2015 at 20:03

      Thank you for such a thoughtful comment, Dan. I completely agree with you. The thing is: these people need to understand that if they don’t treat the animals properly, their means of subsistence won’t last very long and in the end, they will never get out of the poverty cycle. It takes a lot of education, but someone has to get started. And standing my grounds and not riding that horse was a good way to tell them they were doing it all wrong.

      • Dan
        13 December 2015 at 23:18

        100% – I did exactly the same when I was there and explained, to multiple different people, why I was not going to ride the horses. Both those offering the services and others in the cafe who were thinking about it. Education is the key and finding alternative sustainable ways that we as tourists can help the transition. Good on you!

        • Claudia Tavani
          Claudia Tavani
          14 December 2015 at 9:16

          Bless! At least a few of us got the point. We’re on a mission!

  • Dee
    10 February 2016 at 4:47

    We decided to cancel our visit to Mt.Bromo as parts of it we closed due to being active. But in other parts of Indonesia, have also witnessed horses foaming at their mouths and over stressed. My heart hurts for them and I absolutely refused to be on them. Thanks for the post, if we decide to visit Mt. Bromo in future, I’ll take note of this post!

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      10 February 2016 at 9:37

      You are most welcome. I am sure that there are better options to go that don’t involve having to deal with hordes of people, jeeps, motorbikes and pollution. I wasn’t given the opportunity to pick how to get there, but if you are traveling independently you may want to explore that. As for the horses: you can definitely walk up the crater, it is easy – and this way you don’t have to ride those poor horses. The only issue is that you still see the horses than, and it is heartbreaking. If you do find any other alternative, let me know. I will be glad to know! Thanks for reading my post 🙂

  • Ra
    10 March 2016 at 21:28

    I thought Ring of Fire is just the same with Circle of Hell, Indonesia sits between the Pacific Ring of Fire, it caused a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions happen quite often, and it’s just like a hell for me. Unpredictable natural disaster awaits. I also experienced bad thing in Bromo, I got sexual harassment when I wanted to climb my horse and one of the guy who offers us horse ride squeezed my butt when he helped me to sit on my back horse.. that’s very disappointing from a beautiful place like Bromo. I was just too lazy to write my bad experience on my blog, I forgot that moment already until I read this.
    Hmm, I think the horse can’t hike to the crater, we need to climb by ourselves through the stairs step by step.

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      15 March 2016 at 10:46

      Oh that is SO BAD! You should have said it there and then, screamed and complained! I am so sorry to hear about your bad experience!

  • Charoen
    2 April 2016 at 12:21

    Bromo is a volcano , with crater and sand dessert around there. The bad things u said are some “accompliments” around bromo, but it makes bromo essentially a volcano becomes bad too. If u talk about sad horse, how about matador in spain ? Rodeo in usa, are they better ? U said mass tourism, many places in this world mass toursim too, let say bali, bangkok, paris, rome. U dont like slush, in dessert certainly there much slushes, so dont go to dessert, u dont like wake up at dawn, so dont see the sunrise. So for me it is so exeggeration n the beauty of bromo essentially a volcano just lost easily coz bad accompliments which it happens so many in other places i ve mentioned. But u totally hate bromo in a whole

    • Claudia Tavani
      Claudia Tavani
      2 April 2016 at 21:43

      You are right in one thing here: Bromo could really be a great attraction, if it wasn’t so mismanaged. And yes, I won’t ever attend a corrida in Spain, or a rodeo in the USA. And I agree with you that lots of destinations have been ruined by mass tourism, Bali is certainly one of them. You are, however, wrong in that I don’t like waking up to see the sunrise. It actually is one of my favorite things to do when I travel. Some of the best memories I have are from seeing the sunrise on Machu Picchu, in Borobudur, in Angkor Wat…

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