Mount Bromo is one of the most popular volcanoes in Indonesia, located in East of Java island. With its rising fame as a travel destination, you would think it pretty easy to access solo but sadly it's not true.
Unfortunately, the eastern part of Java mostly lives out of the spotlight, even though it offers some of the most gorgeous landscape of not only Southeast Asia but probably the entire world.
The tourist infrastructure in this part of Java is not as yet developed and can be a bit tricky to visit the National Parks, especially when traveling on a budget.
How to get there
- You can reach the Mount Bromo from a small mountain town Cemoro Lawang.
- The only way to get there is with public transport that leaves from Probollingo. You’ll catch it at the Probollingo bus station.
The main difficulty is getting to the Probollingo bus station in the first place.
- If you’re coming from Bali or Jakarta or Yogyakarta, the easiest way to travel is to catch a train. You’ll arrive at Probollingo train station and then need to hop on a shared minibus that can drop you off at the bus station.
The issue is that the driver of this small minibus will most definitely try to drop you anywhere other than the bus station.
- The other way to avoid this problem is to grab a bus directly to Probollingo from Surabaya (there are also more frequent trains to Surabaya from Yogyakarta)- but once again you’ll have to make sure the bus driver doesn’t drop you off at a tour agency.
- The other issue is that the small bus to Cemoro Lawang will only leave when full with passengers, so you could be waiting for hours before getting a ride up the mountain.
- Unfortunately, the train from Yogyakarta arrives in Probollingo at 4 pm at the earliest.
- You will need to stay overnight in Cemoro Lawang or perhaps Probollingo and want to save some money then this is going to be the best option for you.
When to visit
- The best time to visit is during the dry season from April to October when there is less possibility of mist and clouds blocking your view.
At this time you may wish to add a dust mask to your packing list as the dry volcanic sand turns to dust, and mixed with dried horse manure and sulfur is not the most pleasant when the wind picks up.
- Also, don’t expect a lonely mountain experience at Gunung Bromo. It is a major tourist attraction in any season.
- In addition to the National Park fees to visit Gunung Bromo, you’ll have to pay a fee to enter Cemoro Lawang just before the entrance to the village.
- Bring all the cash you need as there are no ATMs.
- As well, be aware that medical facilities are basic.
- Make sure you’re not hiking without travel insurance. It is going to be dark and at some points and steep.
- Head to a guest house where they can give you pricing on tours or, even better, write out a map for you on how to get to Bromo on solo.
- Bring a headtorch and a jacket. If you need a jacket, you can rent it cheaply for 24 hours at some guesthouses.
- Start your hike around 3-3:30 am in order to catch the sunrise at the summit. Even better, stop about a quarter of a mile from the summit (before the asphalt road) and get a more private view of the sunrise.
- Trek back down and take the small bus to Probolinggo. It leaves when full. The drivers will be around looking for tourists to bring down.
- Demand to be brought back to the bus station, as these smaller vans will likely bring you to a private tour operator.
What else to do
- Around one hour from Gunung Bromo, you can also tour to Madakaripura Waterfall, known as a fountain of youth and well known as a bathing and meditation area for Gajah Mada, the powerful leader during the Majapahit Empire. It’s easy to reach from Sukapura village halfway between Gunung Bromo and Probolinggo.
The hike will take no more than 20-minute trek and river crossings but is worth the effort. It might be closed to visitors in the rain season.
- Bukit Teletubbies (Teletubbies Hill) is a popular selfie visit place.
This area can be reached with a motorbike or jeep as a round trip from Cemoro Lawang or on the way to or from Malang.