Mount Bromo, which stands tall at 2329 m, is the most iconic and the most hiked mountain in Indonesia. This is one of the top 10 things to do in Java and rightly so. The mountain beckons majestically despite having the entire top blown off and with a crater inside that keeps spewing off-white sulfurous smoke.
Mount Bromo is still one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and some areas are blocked off from tourists due to its imminent danger. It sits inside the massive Tengger caldera (volcanic crater with a diameter approximately 10km), surrounded by the Laut Pasir (sea of sand) of fine volcanic sand.
After an easy hike, travelers are awarded a breathtaking and ethereal landscape during the sunrise.
Where is it
To be awe in nature’s best combination of beauty and danger, an active volcano that can be so foreboding and desolate yet so beautiful. The view itself is almost out of this world and be the reason enough to go there!
When is the best time to go
June – August where there is less rain but more tourists. August is also the month for the Kesada / Kesodo festival for the Tengger people if you are interested.
With that said, Indonesia has relatively mild weather of just rain or shine. So anytime is a good time to go Mount Bromo. Do check out for local weather when you are there for the best clear sky for your sunrise experience. If you do not have many days, then hope for the best when you are there.
Also try to avoid weekends if you do not want the crowd.
What to see
Mount Bromo, of course.
Tenggerese houses which is unique to its kind, while take some time to understand the beautiful Tengger people.
A Tenggerese Hindu temple known as The Poten that sits nearby Mount Bromo, looking both eerie and peaceful on the sea of sand.
What to do
Hike up Mount Penanjakan in time to catch the sunrise over Mount Bromo. It takes about 1-2 hours hike to the first vantage point. The sun rises at 5.30 am, therefore, usually, you have to plan when to start hiking depending on your fitness level. Maps and information are readily and easily available at one of the many suitable locations. An extra tip is that you may want to hike earlier to avoid the crowd and get the right spot as you may find a lot of people crowding the vantage point to view the sun rising over Mount Bromo. If you have the time and energy, there is another less-crowded vantage point higher up with an unobstructed view of the sunrise. Find and scale the slope behind the shelter to get to the higher flat land.
Trek down Mount Penanjakan and up to Mount Bromo summit. Here you can trek down and then across 3km sand of sea and then upwards to summit the caldera of Mount Bromo. It takes about 1-2 hours again depending on your fitness level.
Where to stay at Mount Bromo
You may find various guesthouses and basic hotels located around Mount Bromo, as that place is popular for tourists. Try to stay nearby so that you can do the morning hike up to catch the sunrise easily. Lots of guesthouses or hotels are situated at the crater rim. Take note that all the prices here, whether hotels or guesthouses or homestays, would be higher than your usual Indonesian ones as it is a popular tourist area.
I stayed here myself, and it was an overall pleasant stay with a direct view of Mount Bromo. Most important of all is that it is located right behind the trail to start trekking up for the sunrise. Recommended for those who want to do their hike for sunrise independently themselves. After that, come back straight down for the breakfast provided before trekking onwards to the crater rim. Budget to mid-range with prices starting at 50 USD.
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Jiwa Jawa Bromo
One of the popular hotels at Mount Bromo, with a beautiful garden for sitting out and enjoying the scenic mountain views. The surroundings of the place are well loved by guests and to top it off, they have really good coffee! Luxury with prices starting at 120 USD.
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If you are coming from Surabaya, you are most likely to go via Probolinggo. There are also some options to stay * in this town and take a day trip up to Mount Bromo, such as the good for value Clover Homestay *.
If you want to access Mount Bromo via 4WD drive, then it is recommended to stay at Malang *, where you can enjoy the unique and luxurious Tugu Hotel *. I stayed at the mid-range Hotel Santika Premier * here with good experience.
What and where to eat
Every lodge, guesthouse or hotel normally serves food as well for travelers. There are also few independent eateries around to choose from, such as Bromo Corner Café and Waroeng Basuki, or you may head on to simple roadside warungs and enjoy basic local Indonesian food. You should also try out the hot Javanese coffee (kopi panas). All restaurants will open by 3 am as that is when most people start to wake for the hike to catch the sunrise.
How to get there
Fly into Juanda international airport at Surabaya. There are direct flights from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Jakarta, and Bali. If you are flying domestic from Jakarta, you may take Sriwijaya that flies twice weekly. Take note of domestic departures cost is 40,000 Rp tax while international departures cost is 200, 000 Rp tax.
Distance from Surabaya airport to the Mount Bromo national park is about 70km, and the time it takes us around 4 hours due to heavy traffic and congestion. On the way, you would pass Probolinggo town, which lies on the major highway across java. Here is where most backpackers would usually share a transport to take them up to the Bromo Tengger Semeru National park. Or get a complete overnight sunrise tour from Surabaya to Mt. Bromo and back.
How to get around
If you are able, then trekking or walking is the best way to experience Mount Bromo but you may take ponies or horses across the sea of sand to the bottom of the steep stairs that leads to the crater.