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Mount Bromo, properly named Gunung Bromo, is one of Indonesia’s breathtaking landmarks. Rising 2392m high and it’s crater stretching 10km across, this active volcano is surrounded by ashen and is best viewed at sunrise from a view point.
Our couch surfer host David from Jakarta had previously adventured to Mount Bromo and advised us to arrange a package from a travel agent including Mount Bromo and Mount Ejen. We flew into Surabaya and got a bus to Probolinggo, the town with travel agents offering the packages. From there the tour package included all transport to and from both excursions, hotel/homestay and jeep tour.
It took around an hour and twenty minutes to get to our homestay. It was dark by the time the minivan climbed up to Cemoro Lawang and temperatures dropped significantly during our drive. Our room was basic but we never complain when we have a comfortable bed, wifi and hot shower. Surprisingly food in small local restaurants was still cheap.
Our jeep picked us up at 4am and made it’s way to a popular view point on Gunung Penanjakan offering the best spot to see the sunrise and Mount Bromo. We expected there to be a few dozen people but to our surprise there must have been over one thousand as we counted around 200 jeeps, each with a capacity to take 6 tourists, parked on the hill on the way up, excluding jeeps which arrived after us and people who paid to be driven by motorbike! Saying this, even though it was crowded it did not ruin our experience because we managed to find a good spot without people ruining our view (and photos of course). The sun started to rise around 4:45am, illuminating the dramatic landscape, watching Mount Bromo and it’s surrounding hills slowly appear from the darkness, giving it an orange tinged colour. Gunung Semeru puffed smoke in the distant horizon behind Bromo.
Sunrise over Mount Bromo and Gunung Semeru
Sunrise from Gunung Penanjakan
After sunrise we were driven to the base of Batok to take in the exquisite landscape. Horse trekking from the jeep parking to the bottom of the steps is available for 50,000 which may be a good idea for some before having to climb the 253 (as counted) steps up to the ridge of the crater. Walking the entire way was fine, allowing to view the landscape from different angles so a horse ride is not necessary, besides we felt sorry for them as they are a smaller breed and the ground was very uneven.
Sitting watching over Laotian Pasir (Sand sea)
Once you have conquered the climb you are immediately rewarded with the magnificent view overlooking the mouth of the volcano, giving off smoke and a strong smell of sulphur resembling rotten eggs! The crater is so extensive I just stared in awe. There’s a stone bannister in the area just above the steps but if you venture away from here to make your way to the highest point of the ridge to sit and overlook the centre, you walk on the ridge with a drop on either side, not idle for those who do not like heights but you just need to look down at the path and walk on straight like I did.
Mount Bromo’s spectacular crater
The view from there of the flat Laotian Pasir (Sand sea), Batok and the Hindu temple located just in front of Bromo was ridiculously beautiful, I had never seen anything like it. Climbing down was easier as we took the more adventurous route and walked down the side, it resembled walking down a sand dune.
Alternative walk down
Just past 8am we we driven back to the homestay to get some breakfast before making our journey back to Probolinggo to swap minivans for Mount Ijen.
Tips For Travellers:
Surabaya to Probolinggo
A bus from the opposite side of the road when to exit the terminal will take you the Surrabay bus terminal (25,000). Once there there are several frequent buses to Probolinggo taking 2 hours. economy (16,000), Business (30,000 with Aircon) and Executive (60,000 with Aircon).
Mount Bromo + Ijen Plataeu combo ticket:
Tour package purchased from Probolinggo travel agent cost us 600,000 for a combined trip to Mount Bromo and Ijen Plataeu. Beware they will give you a 1,200,000 starting price per person. Just haggle and tell them a friend got it for 600,000. This included all transport, hotel/homestay and jeep tours. However, national park fees had to be paid ourselves (217,000 each). Breakfast was included in Ijen Arabica Hotel.
If planning on going alone you need to get a public bus from the bus terminal in Probolinggo for 35,000 one way which takes an hour and 20 minutes and then pay an additional entrance fee of 10,000. A homestay and jeep was offered to travellers for 300,000. If you do not wish to share a jeep you can trek to Gunung Penanjakan but be warned it is a very long trek in the dark, aparently it takes 2 hours but I believe it would be longer and the climb up the mountain is extensive. From Cemoro Lawang it is only a 3km trek and you need to pay the 217,000 entrance fee but we noticed that at the top of the hill by our homestay (Yog) there was no ticket master when we returned at 9am so it might be worth while checking it out, it’s quite near to the main area.
After your visit you need to arrange transport to Ijen if you wish to visit it also. It is 5 hours away from Probolinggo so you need to take a minivan back to there. The tour package has been economical and convenient for us and u would advise it unless you plan on staying for longer and seeing the attractions later on in the day when there is a significantly decreased number of tourists and you want to avoid masses.