Belonging to the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, the famed volcano Mount Bromo sits ominously. Located in East Java, Indonesia, Mount Bromo is a peek into a prehistoric and archaic time. The topography mirrors scenes from Jurassic Park, donkeys are the local’s main mean of transportation, and you won’t see a McDonald’s for miles.
To arrive at the massive volcano, a 4-hour drive from the capital Surabaya is required. A couple of bus rides and one minibus trip will get you there from the airport, however, the schedule for the minibus is nonexistent. Meaning, there is no set schedule to the bus! Hope for other travelers to be on the same journey because the minibus requires a certain amount of travelers (I believe 12) to make the trip up the mountain.
The small village, Probolingo, is the best access point to Mount Bromo from Surabaya. Once you arrive here, you will come across a minibus hub. This is when you need to become acquainted with other traveler’s because you are relying on them to make the trip with you. If there aren’t enough people, you will most likely be expected to pay extra fees or wait for an unknown amount of time.
The route on the uneven gravel roads in the minibus is rough, but the views certainly make up for it. Altogether, the route can be anywhere between 2-3 hours until you reach Cemoro Lawang, the closest town outside of Mount Bromo. Once here, your driver will drop you and your luggage off at your homestay. Food and water options are somewhat minimal when you reach this point of the journey and consists of mostly basic Indonesian food. There are a couple of restaurants near the park, but once you go further away the options are few to none. Some hotels supply meals that you can purchase for a small price (less than $1.50).
When you arrive, it is best to rest up as you will most likely try to catch the sunrise at 5:00 a.m. the next morning. This is a popular activity in Mount Bromo and it is definitely worthwhile. Many people join a group tour with a guide, but it isn’t necessary. The crowds are big so you may want to adjust accordingly. If you don’t mind missing the sunrise, it is then recommended to hike the Ijen crater in the morning and hike up Mount Penanjakan in the afternoon to beat the crowds. The hike takes between 1-2 hours, but if you are lucky and meet some locals, they may let you rent a motorbike which will take you about halfway up the mountain.
You should plan on a full day in the park, but you shouldn’t need any more than that. Bring a light jacket and wear layers as it is chilly in the morning, but warms up in the afternoon. The pictures will never do it justice, but take several and enjoy the fascinating moment.