A few days ago, I saw a meme about some random solo traveler who took a picture of her in the Pyramid with her uber driver. This meme inspired me to write about this ojek (English: motorbike taxi) rider I traveled with when I came to Bromo.
As an occasional solo traveler, the classic problem that I have often encountered is the fact that I rarely get a nice picture of myself in the place that I visited during my solo travel. So what happened if I got a serendipity behind the ojek rider in Mount Bromo?
When I decided to go to Mount Bromo alone, a lot of my friends asked me what’s the fun of visiting Bromo alone as it would be better to go there with a group of friends so you could chip in for a rented jeep to take you around the mountainous area.
I was too broke to rent a jeep for myself
and I am single as fuck, so once I touched down to the homestay, the first thing I did was asking my host about the motorbike taxi that I could rent for a tour in Bromo the next day.
At first, my host told me that the price to rent a motorbike taxi for half a day would be IDR 200,000 but I refused and told him that it would be better off for me to find another way to explore Bromo as it was too expensive for me.
So after some bargaining here and there, the host agreed to give me the price of IDR 125,000 (roughly around USD 9) for half a day.
The next day, I got picked up at 3.30 AM by the ojek rider. He introduced himself as Zainul, and he told me that he is actually the host’s nephew.
I called him Mas Zainul, the common nickname Indonesian use for older brother figure. Think of it like kuya in Tagalog or agabey/abi in Turkish. 🙂
He told me that our first destination, as most people visiting Bromo, would be Penanjakan to watch the sunset.
The good thing about Mas Zainul is that he was super friendly as I tend to be shy around new people, and it was really great that his icebreaking skill could help me to crack myself open to someone I called a stranger.
As a local, Mas Zainul took me to a really nice spot to watch sunset so I could take some really nice pictures from our spot. While watching it, Mas Zainul who was quite chatty by nature told me that he used to live in Bali and work as a tour guide before finally deciding to come back home to Bromo and ride his motorbike as ojek.
He also showed me some videos and pictures of his previous guests. From his experience working in Bali, he said that it helped his English to improve so he had no problem liaising foreigners too.
The longer I spent my time with Mas Zainul, the more I thought that having him as my ojek rider that day was the best decision I took in Bromo. Because he surprised me with his photography skills!
As the basic traveler, I always travel with my phone and my camera. And with Mas Zainul, I could trust him holding one of them so he could take my picture when I got bored taking pictures of the surrounding view. And to my surprise, I found a lot of nice candid pictures taken whenever he held my phone to take my pictures.
So I asked him how he could take a lot of nice pictures, to which he replied that he used to learn some basic photography technique from the professional photographers he has encountered throughout his life. And I felt really lucky as I knew by then that I would have a lot of pictures to show off. :p
And even better, because Mas Zainul would voluntarily tell me to pose whenever he found a good spot to take a picture too. Not only his photography skills, but his friendly attitude also helped me to not only connect with nature but also to other people around.
One of them is Mas Zainul’s friend who owns a food stall near Mount Bromo. I stayed at his stall for half an hour, and I couldn’t stop laughing just to listen to their jokes about some random stuff like physical mockery to each other or even some jokes about how life could be that hard.
Because of Mas Zainul, Bromo not only offered me an exquisite view for me to enjoy the nature but I could also feel the friendly vibes it had for a stranger like me. If I could explain it in one word, I think there’s something about the mountainous area and the people around it. Here, the colder the weather, the warmer its people are.
The positive vibes around Bromo and the friendliness of people there made it a pleasant experience for me. With some cool pictures taken by Mas Zainul, everything there was just on point! 😀
I came back to my homestay at around 9.30 AM and even then, Mas Zainul asked me whether I would mind to visit another spot to get some view from the other side. So of course I said yes.
Are you planning to go to Bromo alone? Fear not, my friends!
If you’re up for some private adventure and the budget is right, feel free to contact Mas Zainul directly. And as I mentioned before, he speaks basic English too so there should be no problem. And according to Mas Zainul, if you contact him directly, you could even get more competitive price! 😉
Mas Zainul – +62 823 305 37423
If you’re a solo traveler like me who’s up for taking some nice pictures and good chat, I’m sure you’ll get along with Mas Zainul just fine. And believe me, he will make sure that you have a nice and safe trip around Bromo. It’s really worth the money, the adventure and the friendship.
Thank you so much, Mas Zainul!
-Marya The BeauTraveler-
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