When you are planning a trip to Indonesia, Mount Bromo definitely needs to be on the to do list. It is one of the most active and unpredictable volcanos in Indonesia. The volcano can be found on the south-east part of Java. Due to the unpredictability of Mt. Bromo, the flora and fauna in close proximity to the volcano is destroyed and turned into a desolate moon landscape. Mt. Bromo has become a tourist hotspot, leading to extraordinarily high prices for guided sunrise hikes. However, nobody likes to pay more money than they should, so here are our tips to hike Mt. Bromo without unexpected expenses.
Plan your own route
The village of Cemoro Lawang is the starting point for the hike to Mt. Bromo. We will describe the precise directions below. First of all, in order to reach the village of Cemoro Lawang, you need to travel to the village of Probolinggo. The best place to start your trip to Probolinggo are the villages Malang and Surabaya.
When you’re traveling from Malang, there is a bus which can take you to Probolinggo in 2.5 hours. From Surabaya it will take you 3 hours to reach Probolinggo.
A train departs from Yogyakarta and it will arrive in Probolinggo in approximately 8.5 hours. An economy ticket will cost you 76.000 IDR (€4,50 or $5.30).
To Cemoro Lawang
From Probolinggo, you have to travel to the village of Cemoro Lawang. However, not many tourists take a taxi, because most of them take the organized expensive tours towards Mt. Bromo. Our tip: try to locate other backpackers with the same idea and share a taxi! This will result in a more affordable taxi, more sociability, and a faster journey to Cemoro Lawang.
Stay in a homestay
First, there aren’t a lot of hotels in Cemoro Lawang and the hotels that you do find online, will ask an extremely high price for their simple utilities. For example, one night (2 persons) in the Cemoro Indah hotel, will cost you 546.463 IDR (€34 / $40,3). If you are on a budget, you can try to get yourself a place to sleep in one of the few homestays in the small village of Cemoro Lawang. A night in a homestay will cost you around 65.000 IDR (€4 / $4,8) per person, breakfast not included.
Tip: some homestays do not have running water, let alone warm running water. And, most showers in Indonesia are bucket showers, which means that you have to put a bucket of ice cold water (especially early in the morning) over your head. Positive: you will be very awake and you won’t need your morning coffee.
Skip the tour!
We know what you are thinking: “Climbing Mt. Bromo alone?! I will get lost and never to be found again!” We understand your initial reaction, however, climbing the volcano on your own is easier and more fun than you would think. You can walk on your own pace to the crater, meaning a more relaxing hike. There is also a sunrise point you can reach, giving you an amazing view of the crater with the rising sun. These two different hikes can be done on the same day, for example the hike to the crater during the day and the hike to the sunrise point during the (really) early morning. If this is too straining for your body, you can accomplish the hikes in two days, while staying in Cemoro Lawang for the night. With the tour guide this would mean double the money.
Hike towards the crater
Yes, hike to the crater without a guide: it really is possible and it’s a lot more easier than you might think. First of all, you have to find the villagers trail to Bromo. You can find this trail right behind the Cemoro Indah Hotel Probolinggo. After descending through a tree line, you will reach an enormous sandplain. This is where you start your dusty hike towards the crater, which can take up to one hour.
Along the way you will be approached by men who offer horse rides for the climb. We strongly advise you to decline their offer for two reasons. First of all, the horses are mistreated due to lack of shade and lack of sufficient water. Furthermore, it is for a distance of approximately 100 metres, after which you will have to climb stairs. The stairs have a length of 254 steps and will lead you to the crater. When you reach the top, it is quite an exiting experience. You will hear a lot of rumbling and see a lot of smoke, it is therefore not for the faint-hearted. Please be careful, there is only a fence at the beginning of the crater, and this fence ends rather quickly.
Watch the sunrise
This is most definitely a recommendation, which is also possible without a tour. However, this means you have to hike on your own again, but this also means you are not loaded into a truck with a lot of other tourists. The hike towards Sunrise Point 1 will take you approximately one hour. Ofcourse this depends on your hiking speed and your amount of breaks during the trip.
One important note: make yourself visible with lights! Locals will drive these roads, even at 3.30 a.m., which is the time you will need to leave in order to catch the sunrise. The route for this hike can very easily be found on maps.me.