My absolute favorite part of Java was the sunrise hike up Mt. Bromo. Bromo, an active volcano, is tucked away in the Sand Sea in the middle of Java, Indonesia. You can hike up to the rim of Bromo and hear the volcano erupt like a jet engine or head for the rim of the Tengerr Caldera at sunrise to see the magical landscape below. I hope this post tells you everything you need to know for a self-guided sunrise hike on Bromo!
Self Guided Mount Bromo Tour
You can easily see Mt. Bromo for about $30\day like I did rather than 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.
Getting to Mount Bromo
To get to Mt. Bromo head to Obong Bus Terminal and ask for Probolinggo (4-8 hours from Kuta for 200,000 IDR ($15) and then Cemoro Lawang (1 hour for 35,000 IDR ($3) 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 ($10/night) for a homestay 5 minutes from the crater.
Double check the exchange rate before you go but when I wrote this 1 USD = 14000 IDR
Cemoro Lawang at Sunrise
Indonesian public bus rides are rugged and should only be taken by travelers that have extra time to spare. I took two “4 hour rides” that each took over 8 hours and you will often overpay for the bus ticket.
WARNING: Pay the lady on the bus for the best prices! Don’t buy any bus tickets ahead of time or in any booth.
View from the top of Mount Bromo
Hiking to the rim of Mt. Bromo is a wild experience and takes about 1 hour from Cemoro 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.
Where to stay for hiking Mount Bromo
To hike Mount Bromor at sunrise or anytime you’ll want to stay at least one night in Cemoro Lawang. I wish I stayed 2 or 3 and did more hiking here but alas I left after just one night. If you are backpacking on a budget then don’t worry about reserving something in Cemoro Lawang ahead of time. There are always homestays available! If you’re not backpacking then better make a reservation in Cemoro Lawang today because there are very few nice hotels! The highest rated hotel on Booking.com is the Villa Rooma Bromo.
Hiking the Sand Sea to Mount Bromo
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. At the edge of the road, you’ll see a flag on the right. There’s your trail.
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-apocalyptic 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.
Ash covered plantsYou’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.
How to do a sunrise hike on Mt. Bromo for FREE!
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, buy an expensive jeep ride. or follow me and hike it for FREE!
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. It’s 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. I sat here watching shooting stars for about 2 hours not realizing that I fogot to change my clock to the new timezone and was an hour ahead of sunrise.
After sunrise you can hike back down or pay a local a few dollars to ride on the back of his moto. By this time I was getting hungry so I gave in and paid a few dollars for the ride down. Driving across the Sand Sea is a whole other experience and worth the trip, plus your driver will 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!
Read more about traveling Indonesia below!
- Looking for other budget destinations? Check out my friend Valen’s list of the Cheapest Countries!
- If you’re budget traveling to Bromo then you should look into this budget Borneo jungle lodge! Borneo is a short hop from Java and still on my bucket list so if you go make sure you let me know how amazing it is!
- Traveling on a budget? Check out these tips for saving money to travel!
- Love trekking and heading to Mt. Ijen? Check out my blogging friend’s experience coming all the way from Yogyakarta to Mt Ijen!
- Want to explore more of Java? Check out this introduction to Yogyakart