After our night climb on Kawah Ijen with our 2 amazing miners, we headed straight to our second volcano in 48 hours in East Java, the Bromo! Must-see on any trip to Indonesia, Mount Bromo fascinates by its lunar atmosphere. Come on, we embark with us on the last volcano in Southeast Asia! 🌋
- Presentation of Mount Bromo
- How to get to Mount Bromo?
- Where to stay near Mount Bromo?
- Jeep or not Jeep to go on Mount Bromo?
- Enjoying Mount Bromo without a guide
- The best spot to see the sunrise on Mount Bromo!
- The ascent of the Bromo crater
- The gear for Mount Bromo
- Review of these 3 days between Ijen and Bromo
We took this trip in 2014, but the article was completely revised and updated in April 2023. If you see any price changes or have additional information that might be relevant, please feel free to leave us a comment!
Presentation of Mount Bromo
In Indonesia, Mount Bromo is a volcano particularly prized for its atypical scenery! Located in East Java, it is in the heart of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. The latter includes the highest volcano on the island, Gunung Semeru with its 3676 m altitude, and a large caldera, the Tengger caldera, where are located Mount Bromo, Mount Batok and other volcanic reliefs. Mount Bromo is actually a huge crater (Kawah Bromo) that culminates at 2329 m altitude and whose diameter reaches 800 m! Still active, it smokes continuously and its last eruption was in 2015.
The small village of Cemoro Lawang is the starting point for all tours and hikes to discover Mount Bromo. Perched on the crest of the Tengger caldera, it offers a breathtaking view of the site! Every year, between June and July, is held a Hindu festival, Yadnya Kasada, organized by the Tengger, one of the last Hindu ethnic groups of Java. It is then the occasion to gather on Mount Bromo to make offerings and to realize sacrifices in exchange of the blessing of the Gods.
How to get to Mount Bromo?
To get to Mount Bromo by your own means and by public transport, you will have to go to Probolinggo first! This city is an essential step since there is no public transport going directly to Cemoro Lawang from other cities in Java. We detail to you all the information city by city to reach the foot of Bromo!
You will arrive in Probolinggo by train or bus. So, let’s warn you right away, this city is known to be a nest of scammers, either at the train station or at the bus terminal!
From the train or bus station, take a yellow bemo (the public minibus) to Probolinggo terminal, Bayuangga terminal, for 5000 rupiahs. Beware, the bemos tend to take you to a tourist agency where the tickets go up quickly to go to Cemoro Lawang! If this happens to you, stay in the bemo and ask to be dropped off directly at the Bayuangga terminal, the “real” bus station, or at one of the hotels near it (Lava Lava, Hary’s Homestay or Hotel Moronyoto). Then, walk the 100 meters or so to the terminal.
Once at the Bayuangga terminal, the best thing is to find other travelers in the direction of the village to lower the price of the minibus tickets and also leave more quickly. Indeed, the driver will start only if his vehicle is full! Count around 40 000 rupiahs per person for a 45 km trip of 1 h 30. Note that at the entrance of Cemoro Lawang, there is a small toll that requires about 20 000 rupiahs per person. You may also be lucky and not be charged anything at all!
Malang is a beautiful small town, located 2 hours drive from Cemoro Lawang. It is especially known for its colorful district, Jodipan (Kampung Warna Warni and Kampung Biru Arema). For some travelers, it is also the starting point of a motorbike loop that passes through the Bromo after joining the north coast of Java. If you don’t want to organize everything by yourself, several tours leave from Malang.
Otherwise, express buses leave at night (6:30 p.m. at the earliest) for a 2.5-hour drive with a ticket price ranging from 185 000 to… 900 000 rupiahs! By train, the travel time is the same but the price of the tickets is lower: 58 000 rupiahs per person.
From Kawah Ijen
We already talked about it in our article about Kawah Ijen, our team of guides was what we could call quite crazy… And our driver was probably the winner! A great guy, super smiling, nice as anything, but a really bad driver! We even wondered several times if he had ever driven a car, that’s right!
Basically, he didn’t dare to shift gears, so we often found ourselves driving uphill at 35 km/h in first gear, with the engine begging loudly for a gear change… And it was the first time he went up to the Bromo, so in addition to not really managing the mechanics, he had some orientation problems. The combo! Finally, we still reached our destination, Cemoro Lawang, after about 6 hours and 30 minutes of driving. PHEW!
On the way, we saw surprising plantations. We knew the rice terraces, especially those of Yuanyang or Sapa, but around Mount Bromo, they decided to innovate by growing cabbage and lettuce on the slope!
We went on a tour that combines Kawah Ijen and Mount Bromo. If you organize your own tour, from Banyuwangi, you can take the bus or train to Probolinggo. There are several of them that leave every day for a 4-hour trip for a minimum of 255 000 rupiahs.
If you prefer buses, you have the choice between local buses or tourist buses (express buses). The first ones are cheaper of course (around 75 000 rupiahs for 6 hours), but the tourist buses are more comfortable and you will arrive directly at the “real” bus station. The 2 companies that do the trip between Banyuwangi and Probolinggo are Sinar Bali 99 (280 000 rupiahs) and Lorena (the offices are on Argopuro Street, north of Banyuwangi). A little above, we explain all the travel options between Probolinggo and Cemoro Lawang.
To go to Probolinggo from Surabaya, you can also choose between bus and train.
Be careful, Surabaya has several train stations so check carefully where you want to go! The train ride takes about 2 hours for a price starting at 27 000 rupiahs (that’s if you leave at 5 a.m. in economy class 😉).
By bus, head to the Bungarasih bus terminal. As in Probolinggo, beware of scammers… Prices are quite variable with a public bus… With express buses, you are sure not to get ripped off by knowing where to go (the Bungarasih bus terminal is one of the biggest in Indonesia). Several companies make this 2-hour trip with tickets that cost between 120 and 280 000 rupiahs.
Like the other cities mentioned above, you can also take the train or bus from Yogyakarta to Probolinggo.
By train, there are 2 train stations to Probolinggo: Tugu (the main station of Yogyakarta) and Lempuyangan. It will take 8 hours with 10-15 min of difference, but the departure time is different depending on your departure point. From Tugu, you have 2 trains, one at 11:15 a.m. and the other at 6:20 p.m. and the price varies between 260 000 and 430 000 rupiahs. From Lempuyangan, one train leaves at 7:00 a.m. and the other at 8:45 a.m., but the train tickets cost less, from 88 000 to 300 000 rupiahs. In short, it’s up to you to see what is the most interesting according to your plan!
By bus, it would be possible to go directly from the Giwangan terminal but we didn’t find much information about it. If you have any, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment 😉. Considering the consequent travel time, we rather advise you to take the train or to go through Surabaya or Malang.
Going through Surabaya
Another solution if you prefer is to cut your trip in 2 by first joining Surabaya, then Probolinggo:
- by train: the trip is done by one of the many trains (night trains or not) and faster than by bus (4 h) for a ticket from 210 000 rupiahs;
- by bus: the trip is made by night bus (one night saved!), a 6,5 hours trip for a ticket costing 230 000 rupiahs. In addition to the express buses, there are probably local buses that make the connection, the best is to see on the spot…
Going through Malang
If you prefer to go through a small town rather than Surabaya, Malang is an alternative. To reach Malang from Yogyakarta:
- by train: there are 3 trains leaving every day, for a ticket costing 210 000 rupiahs minimum and about 6 hours of travel;
- by bus: it’s about 7 hours and a half drive with the tourist buses for a price of 220 000 rupiahs minimum. Local buses probably make this trip but we have little information on this subject…
Where to stay near Mount Bromo?
In Cemoro Lawang
Many travelers stay in Probolinggo to visit the Bromo, because travel guides tend to say that closer accommodation is expensive. Well, don’t be mistaken! It will be much cheaper to stay at Cemoro Lawang village. Moreover, you will be free of your movements and in the starting blocks for the sunrise! If you arrive directly at the village, not too late, you will have the possibility to make the tour of the crater in the afternoon, without the tourists! Especially since the sunset on Mount Bromo from the top of the village is not really bad either.
In Cemoro Lawang, there are many hotels and I must warn you that the prices are a bit high compared to the quality. For example, for a really basic room, you will have to count at least 200 000 rupiahs! But don’t worry, if you have a small budget, there are also very gloomy guest houses, less expensive, with a common bathroom and rudimentary infrastructures: Turkish toilets and cold water. In short, it’s good for one night!
Advice: go as much as possible to the top of the village, you will be closer to the start of the trek, and the tiny difference in price between the guesthouses does not justify an extra 30-minute walk in the middle of the night. We recommend you the Bromo B&B and the Bromo Deddy Homestay, they have a good quality/price ratio compared to the other hotels of the region (between 200 and 250 000 rupiahs per night) and are really close to Mount Bromo! Be careful, some hotels in the village are located in the national park and to access them, you will have to pay the entrance fee (220 000 rupiahs).
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There is still an alternative to discovering Mount Bromo without a guide while staying in Probolinggo: it is to rent a scooter to go back and forth on the day. OK, this option is valid if you are comfortable on a two-wheeler, that goes without saying! You can find one for about 150 000 rupiahs per day.
The idea is to watch the sunrise by parking at the bottom of the stairs next to the first viewpoint or if you want to walk a bit more, at the junction of the 2 trails located on the map a bit further down in the article. So, you will be exempted from paying the park entrance fee! For more information, we recommend you the nice article by Andy and Alissa who did Mount Bromo by motorbike from Probolinggo.
Jeep or not Jeep to go on Mount Bromo?
If you read the travel guides or listen to the hotel recommendations, then it would be impossible to go to see the first light of day without a vehicle. The good news is that if you don’t mind a short walk in the morning, it is quite possible to see the sunrise on Mount Bromo without a Jeep! After that, if you decide to see the sunrise, the crater and the plain, it is possible to do it in half a day on foot.
If you are short on time, then a vehicle is necessary and you will finish your tour around 9:30/10:00 a.m. Otherwise, the Jeep is really dispensable! To give you an idea, the price of the tour (viewpoint + crater) costs more or less 300 000 rupiahs per person depending on the agencies from Cemoro Lawang. Otherwise, the prices of the tours with transportation from the big cities of Java can be around 2 million rupiahs!
Enjoying Mount Bromo without a guide
To enjoy Mount Bromo without a guide and as cheaply as possible, here is roughly the itinerary that we detail in this article:
- travel to Probolinggo (train or bus), then 1 h 30 by minibus to Cemoro Lawang;
- hike on the crater if you don’t arrive too late;
- sunset on the Bromo;
- (short) night in the Cemoro Lawang village.
- wake up at 2:30/3:00 a.m.;
- walk to watch the sunrise from one of the three viewpoints overlooking Mount Bromo;
- descent and crossing of the sea of sand;
- climb on the crater and walk around Kawah Bromo if you did not do it the day before;
- return to the village around noon, shower and nap according to your program;
- night at Cemoro Lawang or return to Probolinggo to take the train by taking one of the minibuses in the center of the village.
As Mount Bromo is part of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, one would expect that everything would be charged. However, access to the viewpoints on the caldera (detailed below) is free because they are located at the limit of this natural area! Some Javanese will make you believe that you have to pay. In short, (again) a nice scam on this Indonesian land. On the other hand, to go to the crater, you must theoretically pay an entrance fee: 220 000 rupiahs per person during the week and 320 000 during the weekend. But if you follow the itinerary below, you should be safe!
The best spot to see the sunrise on Mount Bromo!
To see the sunrise on Mount Bromo, you will have the choice between several viewpoints depending on how you travel. We have listed them on the red path on the map that you will find below.
By taking a Jeep tour, your guide will take you to the Penanjakan viewpoint, on the eponymous mountain. For this, he will first pass through the sea of sand to climb to the top of Mount Penanjakan which dominates the whole Tengger caldera… We warn you, the view will be spectacular on Mount Bromo but you will be a few hundred because all the Jeep tours come here for the sunrise!
Your guide may take you to the Serani viewpoint instead. It is closer to the village, your driver will not need to cross the plain and will climb directly to a small parking lot. There, you will have to climb a staircase to reach your destination. The view is “a little less pretty” than at the top of Mount Penanjakan since it is a little lower, but there are fewer people. It’s up to you to see with your guide what is planned in the program!
If you are not afraid of walking at night with a headlamp, then we advise you to do everything on foot! You will then have the 3 viewpoints all to yourself.
The Serani viewpoint
To do this, follow the road that leaves the village to follow the cliff and then cross the fields. Once at the end of the road, you will reach a small parking lot from where a wide staircase starts and continues towards the antenna, at the top of Mount Penanjakan. On the way, after the steps, you will see a platform: it is the Serani viewpoint where the view is well clear. It is located 3 km from the village.
If you want to get some height, continue on the path that starts from there. Be careful, it is narrow and very slippery!
The King Kong Hill viewpoint
With our great guides, we obviously took this path! Since we were not sure where they were planning to take us, we followed them. At one point, we realized that the goal was actually the summit, which was Mount Penanjakan!
Honestly, we didn’t really feel like walking for 2 hours in the middle of the night to end up at exactly the same spot as the hundreds of people who came by Jeep! So we explained to our guides to stop 1 km further than the Serani viewpoint and 1 km before the summit, at the King Kong Hill viewpoint. From there, we have a magnificent view! The landscape is just splendid with the sun illuminating Mount Bromo, Gunung Batok on its right and Mount Semeru in the background.
If we had to do it again, we would have stopped at the level of Serani, because the slight improvement of the view does not justify the slips on the muddy ground!
The Penanjakan viewpoint
If you are motivated, you can push to the top of Mount Penanjakan for another 20 minutes of walking. By the time you get there, all the tourists in Jeeps will have gone down to climb the Bromo crater. In other words, you will have a breathtaking view all to yourself!
You can download the trail map of Mount Bromo here.
What if we told you there was another viewpoint? Go to the top of Mount Batok! Then, we warn you, it is rather sportive and it goes up well but it is a good spot to have a beautiful view which includes Mount Bromo and the volcano Semeru. We recommend however to do it in the middle of the day rather than at sunrise because of the unstable ground. The beginning of the path is just after the Pura Luhur Poten temple. The round trip is 2,5 km for a positive difference in altitude of 280 m.
The ascent of the Bromo crater
Crossing the caldera
To go to the Bromo crater, you must go back down by the same trail as on the way up. Once at the junction of the two red and blue paths on the map, you can either come back to Cemoro Lawang for a bite to eat or go directly to the ascent of Kawah Bromo (as long as you are started…). This last option is illustrated with the blue path on the map above. The 2 combined make a nice hike of about 20 km and the round trip on the crater takes about 3 hours.
If you have time to spare and want to get off the beaten track even more, take the Jeeps’ road. This is the white road you see on the map that descends from Mount Penanjakan to the northwest of Mount Batok, the small volcano in front of the Bromo crater. Of course, it is longer (3 km more), but you will not cross many people and will have nice views.
During the descent and also in the sea of sand, Javanese will offer to take you by scooter or horse (yes, yes!) to the foot of the Bromo. This can be an alternative to save some time or if your legs need a little rest. They charge between more or less 50 000 rupiahs, which is still cheaper than a Jeep ride 😉.
Discovering the crater
After crossing this lunar landscape, you will come to a staircase that invites you to climb its steps to access the crater rim. Note that at the top, you will not be able to go around the colossus. Indeed, a section of the path that goes around the crater is a bit broken and it would be too dangerous to try anything. Turn back and go around the other way.
We did not see the volcano…
Due to the capricious weather at the time of our arrival in Bromo, we could not make the ascent of Mount Bromo as it was planned on the first day. Our guides proposed to go there after sunrise, just before taking our train to Probolinggo for Yogyakarta.
We admit it to you, we had only average confidence in the capacity of planning of our merry men. Given that there are only 2 trains that leave in the morning for Yogyakarta and that ours was planned at 11 a.m., we preferred to play it safe by giving up the crater.
Well, we don’t hide it from you, we were also particularly tired after these 4 days since the trek of Kawah Ijen. To wake up at 3 a.m. 2 days in a row, 7 hours of travel and 2 small treks… All this was not an easy task! In short, we saw the sunrise on the Bromo, the Batok, and the Semeru, but not more… Well, we can’t do everything at the same time!
The gear for Mount Bromo
To discover the Bromo serenely, some small things will be necessary for you. We no longer present the essential headlamp which is used (at least) for all the volcanoes of Indonesia! Don’t forget warm clothes to avoid being chilled while waiting for the sunrise. We remind you that good hiking shoes are always very useful on volcanic ground! If you plan to make the crater, take a mask, a scarf, in short, everything that can protect your face from possible gusts of sand or ashes when you cross the sea of sand to climb the Bromo. The weather is very changeable as soon as you go up a little bit in altitude…
Review of these 3 days between Ijen and Bromo
Honestly? We talked about it a lot and frankly, we don’t know if we recommend you or not to do the Ijen and the Bromo with a tour in 3 days/2 nights or to organize everything without a guide. We hesitate… For Batur, we did not have this problem, it is more easily accessible by scooter. 3 days/2 nights is a bit hard, we really have the impression of running non-stop and making things too quickly. In the end, we were completely out of it, so tired and out of time!
If we had more time, we would have done it by ourselves but in more days. But the problem is that the duration of a trip to Indonesia is limited by a 30 days visa. Which is long, but extremely short at the same time! Therefore, spending 5 or 6 days visiting the Ijen and the Bromo quietly and trying to dodge the scams on transportation is not necessarily ideal either! Financially, it is of course cheaper to do it by yourself, but you will have to be talented in negotiations!
But one thing is certain, no matter if you do it with an organized tour or by yourself, the Ijen and the Bromo are not to be missed under any pretext!
After this little marathon of 3 days among the volcanic wonders of East Java, let’s go to another essential step of Indonesia: Yogyakarta! This will be the opportunity for me to rest after an infection (thanks to the hygiene conditions during this tour!) and for Benoit, to visit one of the must-see places in Java! Do you come with us?
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