Bromo is one of Javanese volcanos and still alive. Its top reaches 2329 m above sea level and is tiny comparing to volcano next door – Semeru (3676m), but size doesn’t matter and Bromo looks more spectacular as it lies in the middle of the Lautan Pasir – Sea Of Sand. It is a huge caldera that measures 10 miles in diameter with volcanos in the middle.
How did we get from Banyuwangi to Bromo?
Our next destination was Probolinggo – the town where the buses were coming to Bromo. It was 120 miles from Banyuwangi to Probolinggo so we hoped to get there before the dark. We found the right bus quite easy. The driver told us about the price for bule (white tourist in Indonesia), twice as much. Hopefully, we noticed a board with bus fares: ”ekonomi 36k rupiah, non ekonomi 60k rupiah”. The bus was falling apart and there was no A/C so it must have been an “ekonomi” and there was no way we would pay what he asked for. Whenever you are in Indonesia and travel by bus: check the price twice. There should be a board with fares hidden somewhere. If not, just ask other passengers or someone else – but not a driver as there is a big chance a price would be higher. One more thing is to never pay for a ticket before getting into a bus. Always after bus starts to roll conductor walks in the bus and sells tickets. You should check the ticket if it isn’t just a piece of paper sold by a fake conductor. (That’s another scam in Indonesia – a fake conductor who works with drivers! He collects the money from tourists, then bus driver lets him out on petrol station and he disappears. There is no way you can prove they worked together.)
It took 6h to reach Probolinggo. Why so long? Well, first 40 miles we were moving with the speed of 10mph (it was sooo slow, so we had to check it on GPS 🙂 ). Of course, we didn’t arrive to Probolinggo before the dark and had to stay there overnight. We can recommend everybody Hotel Ratna in Probolinggo, which is in the centre – cheap and quite clean. Double room with fan and breakfast cost only 90.000 IDR (about £4).
Room service woked us up at 6am, they brought us a breakfast to the bed. After breakfast we packed up and set off to the nearest bus station which was 3 miles away. So we walked and waited for a public transport to stop for us. We stick out from the crowd with our backpacks and literally always when we walk, we are offered a lift for the money by many cars. Finally, bemo stopped and gave us a lift to the bus station where we had to switch to a different bus to Cemoro Lawang. Next bus leaves the station after collecting 15 people or after paying full fare for 15 passengers. We chose 1st option and waited. It took 3h to fill the bus! Views on the way were stunning! We arrived in Cemoro Lawang after 1hr ride.
The village is next to a caldera and lies at the edge of 200 m high precipice. At the bottom of it, there is a Sea Of Sand – Lautan Pasir with Bromo and green Mount Batok in the middle.
Cemoro Lawang is surrounded by even higher mountains than volcano. The contrast between green mountains and moon like panorama of the Bromo is just breathtaking. Every flat or steep part of the land near the village is used for farming. Every work is done here without using any machinery but people or animals.
Tengger – who are they?
Big curiosity of the place are people. Java is a Muslim island but Cemoro Lawang is populated by Hindu. It is an ethnic group called Tengger. They are mostly farmers but thanks to tourists they have the opportunity to have an easier life and run guesthouses or restaurants only. Can’t blame them at all! For comparison: farmer’s daily salary is 20-30k rupiah while tourists pay 150k rupiah/night. They have 5-6 rooms for guests in the house and most of the time all are occupied – math is easy…
Bromo and desert around the volcano is a sacred place for Tengger people. There is one temple at the bottom of the mountain and one more at the top of Bromo.
The walk to viewpoints
We skipped waking up for the sunrise because we knew viewpoints are covered with horde of tourists at this time. For our piece of mind we started to climb about 8AM. It was a good move because we had viewpoints for ourself! Check out our map with some directions:
We had to take an asphalt road that turned into a dirt road to get to the first viewpoint. An easy 45 minutes walk. We could see 3 volcanos together from there. From the left: Bromo, Semeru, Batok.
The second viewpoint is less popular. Points are not marked and many people when they get a little bit higher and see concrete benches think it is the end and turn around. To be honest, we thought the same when we saw it but we love to get sweaty so we carried on walking up through a very narrow path in the bushes.
We climbed to the top and what we saw was another asphalt road going even higher… so we carried on…
Only by the chance we found the real viewpoint at 2700 meters high. 🙂 Local people said the peak was called Penanjakan. It took about 2 hours with taking a lot of stops for pictures on the way to get there.
We came back from view oints about 1pm for a quick dinner and then went to check how Bromo looked inside. Nearby our homestay, right behind guard’s booth, we found a hole in the fence and way down through sandy and a curvy path to the desert. It saved us a lot of time as the official path is a little bit longer.
Volcanic dust was everywhere.
It takes about 20-30 minutes to walk through the desert.
Last stage of the trek are steep stairs right next to the rim of the crater.
When standing at the rim of the volcano we could hear an incredible noise from the crater. In the air we could smell a sulphur. It was sometimes hard to breathe so we used our buffs again (like on Ijen).
On the way back we had to stop and sit down as we couldn’t get enough of the views.