Sikunir Hill is one of the popular places to watch the sunrise at Dieng Highland, Central Java. Its altitude at 2350 above sea level makes it the shortest hill compared to the other two sunrise points, Prau hill at 2560 above sea level, and Pakuwaja hill at 2413 above sea level. Sikunir Hill was the closest to the homestay where we stayed for a night after Dieng Culture Festival 2014. It was about one hour walk from the starting point to our homestay.
Prior to the trip, I was informed that sunrise on the Sikunir Hill would be the most beautiful sunrise I would ever see and it would be even much more beautiful than sunrise at Mount Bromo. Well, at that point of time…I did not fully believe in it. I mean, it is only on top of the hill, how beautiful and clear the sunrise will be compared to if we were to view from the top of the mountain – In this case, I mean Mount Agung in Bali? But, they proved that I was wrong!
We started our sunrise trekking at 3 am. We went by our 15-seaters van in the beginning but near to the starting point where the parking area was, we have to stop and start to walk due to the crowds from Dieng Culture Festival 2014. The parking lots were full and we were not allowed to go through further. The road was narrow and at that time I thought walking would be a better choice as well.
I was not a serious trekker. I tell ya’ I trek for fun. But I am pretty sure that not many people encountered a situation where we need to queue just to get up to the hill. Queue. Yes, you did not read it wrong. So, most of the people who went to Dieng Culture Festival on the night before, they stayed near to the Sikunir Hill and waited for the sunrise, too. Hundreds of people at one short. Only one small hill. If the hill can scream probably it would have screamed, “You human, can you please come on another day?!”
But I noticed that, although the place was packed with people and the movement was slow, I didn’t hear anyone complain about it, not even pushing around and being inconsiderate. Instead, I heard them telling jokes, commented something funny which made the trek felt less boring and tiring. We didn’t need to climb and the path was not to hard to walk. There were some handrails in some area but there was also no barrier in some areas near to the cliff! Haha..so, at your own risk, friends!
Another important thing to remember is because it was uphill, we may breathless somehow. Don’t be panic. Stay cool and try to inhale through your nose and exhale by your mouth if it happens. So, about one hour later we reach the top of the hill. People were scattered around securing their own spot while waiting for Mr. Sunshine. While me, with my camera on my hand and strap hanging around my neck, trying to adjust the camera setting and so on ~ acted like a pro. 😀 The sky was still dark but there was a layer of sunray behind the clouds.
Ehm…I thought that probably I could play with the composition. It was still dark but I could see there was some silhouette of hills around. And since there were so many people around and the easiest way to get rid of those unwanted objects on the photos was…make all surrounding and unwanted objects darker!
We waited for the sunrise but it seemed wouldn’t appeared that morning. We almost gave up and decided to make our way back downhill until we heard someone who was sitting there facing the sky said, “See, I told you he will appear!” and I turned my head back and I was speechless. The sun was slowly appearing behind the clouds. And it was like red-golden colour egg yolk. 😀 It was small from far but the shape can be clearly seen. I would say, I was awed!
It would have been better if I had my tripod with me but I was pretty happy with the results. About 6 am we started to walk back downhill. But guess what? There was a human traffic jam! Most of the people who ascended early this morning were going down after the sunrise but unexpectedly there were people who were just starting to walk up which caused the only pathway had to be divided for two ways traffic. I saw a human sea…ON TOP OF THE HILL!
Sun was out and people were started to be impatient after a long wait. Woke up early morning and now had to stand for so long, it’s understandable for some people to start grumbling. My mouth didn’t grumble but my stomach was. Luckily I brought some snack bars. Everything was still in order, no pushing around sort of thing. Anyway, where you want to push people to? To the cliff?
Not long after, it seems some guards came to get the traffic right so we finally moved – slowly. We were about 1.5 hrs late from our schedule because of it. We have to get back to our homestay by foot because our van was not able to park this morning. It was a good exercise in the morning somehow. Well, traffic jam on the hill. Who would have expected that?
We were rewarded with the beautiful views for all our efforts that morning. Clear and blue sky. And after we had our delicious fried rice prepared by our host in our homestay, we packed up and continue to our next program, “Ruwatan Anak Gimbal”, the highlight of the Dieng Culture Festival.