Mt. Bromo – A Sunrise Volcano Hike

by Mike Still
Mt. Bromo – A Sunrise Volcano Hike

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!

Mount Bromo was picked as one of the hikes in Asia.   Scroll down to see why!


Mt. Bromo at Sunrise

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. _DSC6308-001

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.

_DSC6311-001View 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.

Going on a sunrise hike?  You’ll need to buy a headlamp and can find them for as low as $9 on Amazon!


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 is the Villa Rooma Bromo._DSC6262-001

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 plants

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.

 Wear a mask when climbing to the rim!  This stylish one is only $9.99 on Amazon!



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!

Mount Bromo Panorama Sunrise-001

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!



Mt. Bromo under a starry sky

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.


Looking east at sunrise, Mt Bromo

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.


Blue skies after the sun comes up on Mt. Bromo

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!_DSC6357-001

Read more about traveling Indonesia below!

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Mike Still
Mike is a travel enthusiast, photographer and teacher. He loves adventure travel, meeting the locals and exploring new culture. As an outdoor enthusiast you can often find him hiking mountains or exploring forests trying to capture the beauty of mother nature. In 2013 he founded as he left his home in America and has been teaching or traveling around the world ever since!

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[…] first heard about Mt. Ijen’s blue flames from a British biologist who hiked Bromo with me. Thinking it would be impossibly far away I was happy to hear Mt. Ijen is on the way back […]

warren August 26, 2016 - 2:56 pm

Mike!!! This is awesome. Seriously it convinces me to visit there!
I will put it on my bucket list!!!

Reply August 26, 2016 - 3:00 pm

Thanks Warren! Be sure to also check out Mt. Ijen if you go to Java. Truly magnificent place 🙂

Ehsan September 9, 2016 - 3:06 pm

Your pictures are great man! I actually went to Indonesia earlier this year, but didn’t do any proper volcano climbs. It is definitely something I plan to do in the future!

Reply September 9, 2016 - 3:09 pm

The volcanos were one of my main draws for heading to Indonesia. Only after I got there did I realize how much MORE there is to see. What did you check out?

JM September 9, 2016 - 3:09 pm

Hi Mike. The volcano looks beautiful and the views around looks wonderful. Great job on the photo shots taken.

Reply September 9, 2016 - 3:13 pm

Thanks JM Glad you like the photos 🙂

Luca September 9, 2016 - 4:06 pm

I envy you! In a positive way of course!
There are a lot of volcanoes that I’d like to see, considering I’ve never been to one before, and now I guess I’ll add this mt. Bromo too to my lava bucked list 😀

Reply September 9, 2016 - 4:13 pm

Luca, there are so many amazing volcanos to see. I’ve only been to 3 active ones and Indonesia tops the list. Hawaii’s kilauea is pretty stunning too. If you’re a hiker there are hundreds more dormant ones out there! I love the way the craters make a picturesque landscape 🙂 You’ll get there!

WhereMonicaGoes September 9, 2016 - 8:24 pm

I have’t been to Indonesia, much more Java. However, I have heard such good things about the island and I would love to go. Your photos are amazing and it must be interesting to climb there. I only thought that going there is free because of your title instead of the $30 fee you mentioned.

Reply September 9, 2016 - 8:33 pm

The $30/day was my living expenses for food, lodging and transportation.

Many visitors end up paying huge amounts as an ‘entrance fee’ or for a guide with transportation costs. I wanted to point out that the national park has no such fee and you can reach Mt. Bromo cheaply and enter the park for free 🙂

Kevin Wagar September 10, 2016 - 12:13 am

Wow, that sea of clouds is absolutely breathtaking! and $30 a day seems like a very reasonable cost for such an incredible experience

Reply September 10, 2016 - 12:56 am

Totally worth it. Dont pay for a tour if you go!

Adam, Bite of Iceland September 10, 2016 - 2:39 am

I love hiking, so it’s definitely something for me. When I go to Indonesia, I’ll use your great tips for sure. Good to know, that you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to go there.

Reply September 10, 2016 - 9:43 am

Happy to help! I was so bummed when I first heard the tour prices but happy I just tried it myself. You’ll love it there and definitely check out Mt. Ijen too

Sia September 10, 2016 - 4:56 am

The plateau photo is amazing! Actually, all of them are. This place is simply stunning and so cheap to visit. I can imagine horseback riding would be even more fun wy to explore it.

Reply September 10, 2016 - 9:44 am

Thanks for the photo love. Be sure to check out my instagram for the best of em.

I was shocked at how much cheaper Java is from Bali. When you go, enjoy Bali but be sure to explore other islands!

Bethanny Sudibyo September 10, 2016 - 4:10 pm

It’s always a great pleasure to see travelers visit my home country. I’ve to Bromo once a few years ago, and it is sucj a magnificent site! I hope you enjoyed Indonesia!

Reply September 10, 2016 - 4:13 pm

I absolutely loved Indonesia and want to go back!

Isabelle May 19, 2017 - 1:24 pm

This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for writing!

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Tonkin-Travel Vietnam June 14, 2018 - 2:35 am

Wow your photos you take look amazing and inspiring. They make me desired to travel to Indonesia immediately and don’t want to wait for October.

Mike Still June 19, 2018 - 9:48 am

Thank you so much! Indonesia is such a hot spot for beautiful destinations and I’m so glad you enjoyed my photography <3

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