Route details for Denpasar to Probolinggo
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We had a bit of a dilemma before embarking on this route as we had the choice between a public bus and the private minivan. In the end we settled for the private minivan after we were convinced by the hotel receptionist that it was the best option to get into Java where we were heading to Cemoro Lawang for Mount Bromo. In all honesty I think he thought it was a good deal, maybe that’s because all he ever saw was the brand new air conditioned minibus which pulled up at the hotel.
We had not been keen to do the trip through the night but that seemed to be the only option on the table. When we shopped around all the local agents all the minivans in our part of town were also doing the trip at night.
So at 6pm we were picked up. We had the misfortune of being the first pick up which meant that we had over an hours drive around Denpasar to pick up the other passengers. Well at least we got to see the entire city! Once the minibus was full instead of heading off towards the Java ferry everyone had to get off on the outskirts of Dempasar. It was now dark and they kept us hanging around for well over an hour before they produce another bus, this one has seen better days, cramped, wobbly chairs no headrests, the stereotypical S.E. Asian minivan!
Finally we were on our way and our driver did his upmost to make up time regularly using the invisible middle lane to overtake slower vehicles. At 11pm we stopped for dinner at a local restaurant. The meal was a free one as part of our bus ticket!
Back on the road and we got to the ferry at about 12.30am. Part of me was glad it was dark as it meant that we could not see what a poor condition the ferry was in! We were the last vehicle on the ferry; conveniently they left the tail gate down so they could fit us on! At this point we made sure to exit the minivan although everyone else stayed where they were. We went in search of lifejackets; we got to the top deck and found none so sat next to a box which apparently held an inflatable raft! It was fairly dark on the whole ferry so we were glad when we docked, not quite sure how long the crossing was but seemed to be less than an hour.
Once on the other side we tried to get some sleep in the minivan but the wobbly seat and lack of a head rest made it difficult. At about 4am I perfected my dozing technique only to be woken by the driver opening the door next to me and telling me this was our stop! It was still dark and I was not quite sure what was going on. The next thing I knew was that my bag was being carried off my some random guy. I jump up a chased after my backpack, as did my wife after hers! In a flash the driver of the minivan was back in his seat and took off, leaving us in a dark dusty town. Gone were our new friends and the safety of the minivan.
It turned out that the two guys carrying our bags worked for a local travel agent called Mr Tony and we were in a town called Probolinggo.