About Senduro District
The northern border of Senduro District in Lumajang Regency is formed by the curving brim of the Tengger Caldera, the home of the infamous Mt. Bromo.
The whole district slants upwards towards this ridge, with leek and potato farms plastering the steep walls near the ridge, durian farms undulating through the middle, and the rice paddies flattening into a plain at the bottom.
Mt. Semeru looms in the distance, a scenic reminder that Senduro District is most popular with backpackers, off-road motorcyclists, and day hikers all here to glimpse the quieter backside of Mt. Bromo and the three tranquil lakes located between the Tengger Caldera and Mt. Semeru.
But from February to March, Senduro District is also attracting another kind of tourist: Durian Tourists. Senduro is home to many enormous durian trees, some more than 200 years old, as well as the infamous Rainbow Durian Pelangi.
There’s no better place to get a lungful of fresh mountain air and marbled red-fleshed rainbow durian in the same day’s adventure than Senduro.
You’ll find a guide to hiking Puncok B29 below ⇊
Visiting Gencono Village in Senduro District
We started our morning at the home of Pak Inggit in Gencono Village.
Pak Inggit is a school teacher, who, like almost everyone in the village, also has ancestral durian gardens and now sells durian out of his garage.
He took us out to visit the oldest durian tree in Gencono, the one planted by his great-something grandfather, Pak Prabtu.
The Hollow Durian Tree of Gencono Village
The ancient tree is striking for a large hole carved in its trunk by years of nibbling termites. Its days are numbered, poor thing. But for now, it’s an impressive sight, a local tourism destination for Selfies inside the embrace of the ancient.
According to Pak Inggit, his grandfather Prabtu was one of 7 brothers who founded Gencono Village something-something-hundred years ago. The story goes that the brothers were living in Ponoroggo Regency, a good 250km to the West.
The region was suffering from drought, so the 7 brothers decided to pack up their families and go looking for water.
Back then, Lumajang was one of the least populated areas of Java. The Dutch called it De Oosthoek, “The Eastern Corner” – a rugged, mountainous region that strongly resisted Dutch allegiance.
When the brothers reached Senduro, they found a lush forest nestled against the mountain. According to Pak Inggit, every person in the village is a relative of one of those brothers.
Today the tree stands in a small garden behind the village, towering over the Kapulaga (Javanese Cardamom) and Robusta coffee planted in the undergrowth.
It still gives fruits every year, but unfortunately we weren’t in the right season for it.
Rainbow Durian Pelangi Kirana of Gencono Village
So instead Pak Inggit shared with us another village celebrity: Durian Pelangi Kirana, the Rainbow Durian!
Its name was suggested by our friend Rahmat, in honor of the aristocrat Naryaya Kirana who founded Lumajang City around 1255 A.D.
Pak Inggit explained that they had to give it another name because there are many Durian Pelangi in the village. Pelangi just means “rainbow” – a reference to the unusual marbled, swirling, gradiated coloration of the durians here.
Opening Durian Pelangi Kirana was like discovering a beautiful sunrise inside a durian: the pale orangey-yellow slowly blushing into darker orange and finally red.
Everything about this Pelangi reminded. me of Khun Poh in Penang Island, Malaysia: the way it clung to the inner shell as we struggled to open it, ripping and tearing at the almost translucent skin over an incredibly soft, limp, almost fiberless flesh.
It was nutty and gentle, with the milk-coffee bitterness of a very old-tree Khun Poh. It made me wonder if, somehow, Khun Poh and Durian Pelangi Kirana could somehow be related.
What genetic cocktail gives this rainbow durian its gorgeous coloring?
Pak Inggit said we would need to come back to try other Rainbow durian in Gencono, as we unfortunately arrived at the end of a kind of terrible season when this particular tree had produced only 20 fruits.
Still hungry after our hike on Puncok B29, we were very glad when our friend Rahmat suggested we visit one more house.
Ngadiono Durian in Gencono Village
Pak Ngadiono lives right next door to Pak Inggit and of course, has been selling durians all his life along with the other crops harvested from the mixed gardens.
We arrived to Ngadiono’s house at the same time as a group from Surabaya who had driven all the way here to stand around in his emper, the open courtyard in all Indonesian houses, and have a durian feast.
Ngadiono was opening durians as fast as he could to feed the hungry group, placing the durians on whatever empty table of bench surface was clear before the durian was swarmed by reaching fingers.
Most of the Durian was no-namers like this one, a fluffy, whipped, honey-flavored durian that reminded me of my fav durians in Jepara and which we gobbled up with glee, begging for another.
But then Pak Ngadiono brought out one of Indonesia’s Registered Durian Varieties, Si Tokong, and I got really excited.
Registered Durians in Indonesia are surprisingly difficult to find.
The Si Tokong variety was registered in 1984, making it one of the earliest established durian clones in Indonesia.
According to Mohammad Reza Tirtawinata, the young researcher who signed the durian’s certificate of registry, the mother tree of Si Tokong stood in the parking lot of the Ragunan Zoo in Jakarta until its demise by lightning in 2000.
Pak Ngadioso said that the seedling trees were distributed to farmers in Gencono as part of a government program over 20 years ago, which is how it ended up in Gencono Village, East Java.
Unfortunately, Si Tokong was no match for the Whipped-Honey No-Namer we’d been munching just moments before OR the rainbow durian. Its flesh was very thick, but almost chewy in texture.
I liked it’s slightly bitter taste, which reminded me a lot of Matahari, but I was finally satiated after a long and all around awesome day in Senduro, Lumajang.
Sunrise Over Mt. Bromo (Climbing Puncok B29)
Since the northern border of Senduro District is formed by the brim of the Tengger Caldera, you can wake up not too disgustingly early to start your Durian Day with a sunrise over Mt. Bromo and have one of the most scenic hikes in the world along the ridge.
We were looking forward to a gorgeous morning of hiking when we left our hotel in Senduro Village at 3:15AM and drove for about 30 minutes up the winding road towards Argosari Village, where we parked the car in the empty lot next to Wahyu Homestay B29.
From the Wahyu Homestay carpark, it’s just 3.7km to the top of B29. Google Maps is correct about the location, because you can actually drive all the way there, and many local tourists do so.
Near the top, you’ll find a motorbike parking for all those who arrived by either by their own fuel or on the back of an Ojek. The road is paved the whole way up, except a rough pothole spot near the bottom of the hill, and technically wide enough for a 4-wheel car. We did see small Lorries collecting sacks of potatoes near the top, but you should be a confident driver before you tackle this road in the dark.
After the motorbike parking the road ends and everyone has to walk up the short flight of stairs to the ridge.
There is a free public toilet here too, but not particularly recommended.
When you climb up in the dark, you don’t realize what a vertigo-inducing slope you’ve just ascended until you start getting close to the top of the ridge just as it’s starting to get light.
At the top of B29, you reach a 10 foot wide flat area with plunging views on both sides; one direction toward Mount Bromo, the other direction towards Senduro District and Mt. Argopuro beyond.
The gravity-defying hillsides are completely deforested and covered in potato and leek farms.
The open views are just incredible. But you can understand why these zigzagging farmlands prone to landslides. Just imagine dropping a potato here and watching it roll kilometers to the bottom!
From the B29 viewpoint, you can wander along the top of the ridge in either direction. These trails are deeply worn off-road motorbike paths, which makes the walk muddy and sometimes slippery where the wheels have ground too deeply into the earth.
With the Tengger Caldera laid out at your feet, and both Mt. Semeru and Mt. Argopuro towering in the distance, it’s possibly the most scenic hike. inthe world.
Definitely you’ll be starving for durian after this.
Where We Stayed: Hotel Soemanake
Hotel Soemanake has a large garden including a small Monthong durian farm, but the trees are still young and just starting to produce.
Our room was totally fine – clean, spacious, quiet. We paid 350,000 ($24) per night for a large room with double bed, cold-water shower, Wifi, and ceiling fan.
There was hot water for tea and coffee available in the lobby and although breakfast’s pile of butter sandwiches and syrupy tea was not entirely inspiring, we were saving our appetite anyway.
Best yet, it was conveniently located for exploring the neighboring durian villages and heading to Puncok B29 in the early morning.
How To Get To Senduro Village
Senduro Village is located about 25 minutes driving from the heart of Lumajang City.
Unfortunately, there is no way to drive here directly from Mt. Bromo, so if you would like to hike both Bromo and B29 you’ll need to drive about 2 hours around the mountains in a very skinny “U” to reach a point just 21km distant as the crow flies.
Angkot’s (the blue vans) can be found at Pasar Baru Lumajang, but leave irregularly for Senduro whenever there’s enough people or you can agree on a price.
You can find Gencono Village, Ngadiano’s Durian and the Hollow Durian Tree on the map below or in our Durian App.