Some people will tell you that the best way to see Mount Bromo is with a guide, that you need to pay for a tour. After doing it recently, we wanted to share our experience with you to make it easier to understand the information out there.
Because we read a lot of conflicting information online about how to see Bromo, and from which side of the mountain we should approach the crater from. We decided to set the record straight once and for all…
Seeing Mount Bromo
There were two choices for seeing Mount Bromo; The first is from the city of Malang, or alternatively you can reach it from Probolinggo.
We chose to see it from Probolinggo because;
- it was closer to the park and the side of the park where the mountain sits. Therefore you do not need to rent a Jeep, motorbike or go by horseback to reach the crater. It’s a short and easy going hike and walk.
- you can access the National Park for free. There is an entrance fee of 300,000 Indonesian Rupiah (about 20 US Dollars) from the Malang side.
- You can catch the best sunrise viewpoints from the village of Cemara Lewang which is a short 1 hour bus ride from Probolinggo
How to do it right!
Get to Probolinggo
For all of the reasons mentioned above, it’s best to start from here. There are trains that run to the main Probolinggo station from all other major cities in Java. We came through Surabaya, from Yogyakarta, and got off the train in Probolinggo.
Get to Cemara Lewang
Cemara Lewang is the name of the village closest to the crater of Mount Bromo. From this village you can overlook the crater, and the surrounding National Park, which is made up mostly of the flat sea of sand; a blanket of volcanic ash.
There are buses dedicated to getting people up to Cemara from Probolinggo. They are not found at the main bus station in Probolinggo. Local Taxi drivers will know it as either the Bromo bus stop or the Bison bus stop.
The buses do not run on a strict schedule or times. They leave when they are full. So, depending on whether it is peak season or not, get there early enough to catch one before it leaves.
We went in the quieter, low season (End September) and our bus only left just a bit before 11am.
Book 1 night accommodation in Cemara Lewang
We advise you to book one night’s accommodation if you want to do the hike up the crater and see the sunrise.
We were able to do the hike up the crater and see a sunset on our first day. We then woke up nice and early the next day to hike up to the sunrise viewpoints.
We recommend the Cemara Indah Hotel for a few reasons; best location, hot showers, cleanliness, there is a restaurant.
Even if you do not stay at the hotel, find your way there in order to access the park. You will see a small one-man hut close to the hotel reception. It is a sort of security hut. It had a red frame to it. Behind this hut is the path you need to walk down to access the park. No one will stop you or ask for an entry fee.
Walk the Sea of Sand and hike up to the summit/crater of Mount Bromo
After finding the pathway i mentioned in the point just above, you’ll find an open plain after winding down the path. This is what is known as The Sea of Sand.
The Sea of Sand is a site to behold, all on its own. We visited during the dry season and there was very little greenery around. This made the baron blanket of volcanic ash that surrounds the mountain that much more epic!
From the sea of sand you approach the mountain and begin an ascent. Towards the end you will hit what felt like a thousand steps. As soon as you reach the top… you’ll feel it. You’ll hear it. If the wind is blowing in the right direction, you’ll smell it, too!
I still do not adequately have the right words to describe what it feels like to see and hear the earth literally boiling below you. It’s an experience not to be missed.
Bromo is incredibly active and it’s noisy! I didn’t expect it to be so loud up there. It sounds like an ocean is inside the crater.
Watch the sunset from the best located hotel
We recommend the Cemara Indah hotel for a few reasons but one of them is the location. It is so close to the entry point into the park as well as its ideal location to catch a remarkable sunset over the Sea of Sand, too.
Wake up and start hiking to the sunset viewpoints at 3am
Its about 2 hours from Cemara Indah by foot to the sunrise viewpoints, depending on your fitness levels and which one you want to go to.
They are all pretty crowded. Some blog posts we read had said that the King Kong viewpoint was less crowded, for us, this wasn’t the case. They are however magical spots to catch the day break over this incredible wonder.
Have I mentioned that it’s really COLD up there in the village? The park is at a high altitude and it is MUCH colder than the rest of Indonesia. Pack a jacket and some gloves or a warm hat.
Enjoy an amazing sunrise over Mount Bromo
Catch a bus back down to Probolinggo
There is a “bus stop” that looks like this, it can be found just down the hill from the Cemara Indah hotel.
As on the way up, you will either need to pay more OR wait for the bus to fill up. There is a fixed price per bus.
Want to know how much it all cost?
Watch a video we made which outlines all of the above and more, has the full cost breakdown, with 4 of the best tips for how to see Mount Bromo: