My absolute favorite part of Java was trekking Mt. Bromo and Mt. Ijen. Bromo, an active volcano tucked into the Sand Sea, is constantly erupting a cloudlike smoke while Mt Ijen has magnificent blue flames! This post will tell you how to explore Bromo on a budget.
Mt. Bromo for $30/day
You can easily see Mt. Bromo for about $30\day like I did or book a private tour for about $400 from Kuta. Thankfully the most expensive part of these mountains is getting to them and public transportation is dirt cheap so you can literally save hundreds of dollars by taking the bus.
To get to Mt. Bromo head to Obong Bus Terminal and ask for Probolinggo (4-8 hours from Kuta for 200,000 IDR or less) and then Cemoro Lawang (1 hour for 35,000 IDR if you wait for a shared van). Cemoro Lawang is literally on the edge o the volcano and you can hike in from there. Guesthouses are everywhere and even in high season you won’t need to book ahead of time. I paid 125,000 IDR/night for a homestay 5 minutes from the crater.
Indonesian public busrides are rough and should only be taken by travelers that have time to spare. You can often overpay for the bus ticket. Dont buy anything ahead of time or in any booth. Simply ask which bus and buy it from the lady on the bus.
Hiking to the rim of Mt. Bromo is a wild experience and takes about 1 hour from Cemaro Lawang. When you follow the main road there is a sketchy booth asking for as much as 300,000 IDR per person. There are no park rangers and there is a FREE path that the locals take 5 minutes away.
From the gate turn around and walk straight. Just passed Cafe Lava Hostel there is a sharp left turn. Take that left and walk back towards the volcano. Walk for a few minutes and the road will end next to the rim of the caldera. A the edge of the road you’ll see a flag on the right. There’s your trail.
Love trekking and heading to Mt. Ijen? Check out my blogging friend’s experience coming all the way from Yogyakarta to Mt Ijen!
Once in the caldera you can rent a horse or motorbike for a few dollars instead of walking the few kilometers across Segara Wedi, or Sand Sea. The entire plateau feels like a post apocolyptic desert circa Mad Max but this wasteland is in fact an extinct supervolcano! The Tengerr caldera stretches 9 km across and is the home to 3 newer volcanos: Bromo, Batok & Semeru.
Traveling on a budget? Check out these tips for saving money to travel!
You’ll pass a temple near the base of the dormant Mt. Batok and on a clear day can see Mt. Semeru towering behind. Immediately before the rim a local will try to sell you a mask for a few dollars. They are optional on Bromo but I recommend one for anyone with weak lungs and frankly I was happy I bought one. When the wind shifts the smoke is very strong and can ruin your day.
Mt. Bromoo FREE Surnrise Hike
The other way to see Bromo is from one of a dozen viewpoints along the ridge. You can pay a local a few dollars to bring you up on a motorbike or buy an expensive jeep ride. I chose the FREE way, hike it!
I recommend bringing a headlamp and hiking the ridge at night. The stars are beautiful and sunrise gives a golden glow to the whole Caldera. Trails are relatively easy to find and will all have viewpoints on them. Its not necessary to go to the top where its packed with tourists!
Supposedly if you come between 10pm-1am you can even see the Milky Way Galaxy above a glowing red Bromo. Then again that might only come out in long exposure photography.
After sunrise hike back down or pay a local a few dollars to ride on the back of his moto. The ride back across the Sand Sea is worth a trip and he’ll gladly stop for a few photos.
However you choose to experience Mt. Bromo I highly recommend checking it out. It was one of my favorite parts of Java and will surely be a great addition to your Indonesia vacation!
Looking for other budget destinations? Check out my friend Valen’s list of the Cheapest Countries!