Mt Bromo is an active volcano located in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park in east Java. There are many active and inactive volcanoes in the National Park. Mt Bromo lies in middle of the deposits of volcanic ash, sand and other ejected material called “Sea of Sand” (Pasir Lautan). Mt Bromo emits white fumes of Sulphur continuously. Last major eruption happened in January 2011 when area in 2KM range was total cut off from public access.
Biggest volcano of the region Mt Semeru lies at the backdrop of Mt Bromo. It takes two day hiking to visit the crater of Mt Semeru. As stated in legend, it was transplanted from India; the tale is recorded in the 15th-century East Javanese. Semeru is a sacred mountain in Hindu and Buddhist cosmology as well as in Jain cosmology, and is considered to be the centre of all the physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes. It is also the abode of Lord Brahma and the Demi-Gods (Devas). Mt Semeru has been mentioned in Geeta also. I recently heard Krishna mentioning Arjun to be like Mt Su-meru in new Mahabharat TV serial.
How to reach Mt Bromo
Cemoro Lawang is the base village for visiting Mt Bromo.
There are no direct buses from Surabaya to Cemoro Lawang. You have to change over to a local bus from Probolinggo which would take you to Cemoro Lawang. Since I was short of time, I booked a taxi from Sam. He was very professional in handling my needs.
Reach Banyuwangi via ferry and from there catch a train to reach Probolinggo. Hop on a mini bus from Probolinggo to Camero Lawang (Pronounced as Jemero Lawang)
Where to Stay in Mount Bromo
There are multiple stay options. We stayed in Yoschi’s Hotel, in Standard room and it was pretty okay considering the remote location. Economy rooms are also clean but they do not have attached bathrooms. Hotel also has a decent garden. There is no running hot water in bathrooms but there is a shared hot shower, which has a gas geyser. Hotel offers free Wi-Fi at reception and restaurant. Restaurant looks nice with local interiors and food served is also basic. Location of hotel is amazing and relatively at the start of Cemoro Lawang. If you plan to trek to Bromo, consider staying nearer to the volcano, at the highest point of village. There are many cheap home-stay also available in Cemoro Lawang.
There are two viewpoints at Mt Bromo
Mt Penanjakan (Height: 2660m)
From this spot the vista is magnificent. You can see star studded sky with clouds at the bottom, followed by amazing sunrise with Mt Bromo in fore ground and Mt Semeru smoking in back drop. Normally clouds cover the whole area and only volcano peaks spewing off smoke can be seen at the top. As if an aerial view of volcano. View becomes breath taking when sky turns yellow orange with rising sun.
You can reach this point by taking a 4WD jeep from Cemoro Lawang in 30 mins or by taking an ojek (motor cycle taxi) or a trek of 1-2 hours. We left from our hotel at 3AM after a hot black coffee at the restaurant for our first volcano visit. Roads are in bad condition and steep. There are no street lights and roads are non-existent at times. At places there was visibility of only 10m due to intense fog/clouds. We had to cross these dense clouds to come up. Only 4WD jeeps do this stretch or ojeks.
There is an entry fee of 217,500 IDR + 3,000 IDR tax per person for foreign tourists. Fee has been increased from 75,000 IDR in 2013 to 217,500 IDR in 2014. On weekends and public holidays the entrance fee is 320,000 IDR. This is a hike of 300% for foreign tourist. Seems government just wants to make some easy money. The fee is way too high for a place which doesn’t see too many tourists already. Entry ticket for locals is 10,000 IDR.
We were initially not expecting too many tourists here considering the offbeat location, but were surprised to see the number of tourists on reaching the top. Majority of tourist this place sees are Europeans. I had a brief talk with a photographer couple from Switzerland. They will be spending two days at Bromo itself. Sunrise normally happens around 5 AM but you need to reach early at 3AM if you want the first seats of show. If you start early your Jeep may reach near the top else you will have to get down and walk all the way up as parking is an issue. Hoards of tourist may make getting clear view difficult. Mornings are pretty cold here, nearly 10 degree, so carrying a woolen jacket is recommended. Alternatively you can buy/rent one from village. If you plan to take an ojek make sure you are wrapped in enough woolens to keep you from cold winds. You can get some drinks and snacks at local shops on Mt Penanjakan.
And we thought we would be alone. We reached pretty early so we could get unobstructed views. As can seen by jackets and caps. Its was really cold at night. Temperature was as low as 8 degrees.
Second viewpoint is the Crater of Mt Bromo. To read next part of journey click Walking on crater of Mt Bromo(Link opens in new tab)