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Mount Bromo Hike Ultimate Guide

The “home of the Gods” is not a title given lightly, but the breathtaking Mount Bromo hike will make you see why such a name makes perfect sense. Located in the Tengger Caldera, Mount Bromo is easily identifiable by a white cloud with an intense sulfur odor coming out of its crater. Surrounded by an impressive dark-gray Sea of Sand, this is an Indonesia must-visit for any nature lover.

People come from all over the world to witness in person the one and only Mount Bromo sunrise. It doesn’t matter how many photos you have seen of it, I can guarantee you will be moved by such beauty. Not going to say who, but some people (me, it was clearly me) even wept when the sun came out.

Join us as we unveil in this travel guide everything you need to know to make this experience as unique as it is meant to be. Lace up your shoelaces, the Mount Bromo hike awaits!

MOUNT BROMO

Mount Bromo is an active volcano located in East Java, Indonesia, more precisely within the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. Surrounded by Mount Batok, Kursi, Watangan and Widodaren, they create a stunning scenery that make adventurers, nature enthusiasts and photographers flock to the site at sunrise.

Mount Bromo Guide

Its unique geological features make hiking Bromo the closest it gets to an outer space experience, with its huge dark-gray Sea of Sand and moon-like surface, formed from dry lava remains. Absorb all this experience while the sky appears to be set on fire by the first rays of morning light.

Mount Bromo in Java

Romanticism aside, it also smells like rotten eggs 😅, sorry to break it to you, but sulfur in the morning hits like a punch in the face. However, you are safe from the smell from the viewpoint.

The Tenggerese people, which is a Hindu ethnic group that live in the area, have a deep connection with Mount Bromo, as they believe it is the home to the gods. During the annual Yadnya Kasada festival, crops, livestock and other offerings are thrown into the volcano’s crater, seeking blessings to their families and good harvest.

When To Visit Mount Bromo

The easy answer is: sunrise, not only for the fantastic sky when the sun rises, but also to avoid the heat. If you leave your Mount Bromo hike for the afternoon, you might risk getting a moody Sea of Sand, having waves of dust rising and making the journey not as pleasant. Ok, but sunrise when?

mount bromo best time to visit
Man and Mount Bromo View
visiting mount bromo solo

Mt Bromo sunrise is usually between 5 and 5.30am, depending on the month of your visit.

The dry season (April to October) tends to be the best time to book a trip to Mount Bromo. During this period, there is a higher chance of clear blue skies and excellent visibility of the caldera. However, adjust those expectations, as this is not a hidden gem, it is literally on everyone’s East Java itinerary, and you won’t be on your own regardless of the season. Nevertheless, visiting during the week will not only be cheaper, but also have fewer crowds.

Sea of sand near mount Bromo

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Even during the dry season make sure to pack a warm jacket and long pants, the temperature drops significantly at night, and waiting for the sun to rise is not a pleasant experience if you are trying not to freeze. As an alternative, there are some shops in the village of Cemoro Lawang that rent all types of clothes and gear for very affordable prices.

man with face covered due to smoke near a Bromo volcano crater
jacket rental shop near Bromo in East Java

How To Get To Mount Bromo

Your Mount Bromo hiking mission can have as a starting point three locations:

Malang

COZY Boutique Guest House best budget hotel in Malang
Grand Mercure Malang best hotel in Malang
Shalimar Boutique Hotel best luxury hotel in Malang

Probolinggo

Break Homestay best budget hotel in Probolinggo
Bromo Park Hotel best luxury hotel in Probolinggo

Cemoro Lawang

Homestay Tengger best budget hotel in Cemoro Lawang
Bungalow Triple at Lava Lodge best hotel in Cemoro Lawang

The accommodation options in these areas are limited (Booking.com is quite useless here), and high-end places are nonexistent. Consider your stay in Cemoro Lawang as a means to an end, most places don’t have hot water and are very, very simple. So choose one that is at least in the village center.

Cemoro Lawang where to stay in Bromo

The decision on where to stay in Bromo (or vicinity) should be based on the rest of your East Java itinerary. Malang and Probolinggo both have decent train connections, but are on different sides of the caldera. Probolinggo will be your best option if your plan is to visit Mount Bromo and ijen right after. Nevertheless, if you are on this adventure without a tour and with some freedom, Cemoro Lawang is by far the best option.

Cemoro Lawang has an entrance fee of IDR 30 000.

Cemoro Lawang entrance tickets

Cemoro Lawang is a small village within walking distance from the National Park. To get there, the best option is via Probolinggo, which takes around 2 hours. You can reach Cemoro Lawang by local van that departs from the Probolinggo Terminal when it is full. It may leave earlier if you're willing to pay the price difference for the missing passengers. The price per person ranges from IDR 35 000 to 50 000, and the van departs when a group of 10-15 people is gathered (depending on the driver’s mood).

pig illustration
van public transportation to Cemoro Lawang
Cemoro Lawang public transportation

Alternatively, you can use Grab, but keep in mind that returning from Cemoro Lawang using the same method is not possible unless you arrange a return pickup with your driver, as there are no transportation apps in the village.

Bali to Mount Bromo

You can travel from Bali to Probolinggo in two ways: by taking a 14-hour bus ride*, or by driving to the Gilimanuk pier, crossing by ferry to Java, and continuing your journey by train or bus. Nevertheless, the fastest way to get there is by by plane*, flying from Bali to Surabaya airport.

Most people opt for taking a 3 day tour departing from Bali, to make sure they get their Mount Bromo hike, as well as many East Java highlights as possible, without having to worry about the logistics and time constraints of changing island and accommodation.

binoculars illustration

From the airport of Surabaya you can easily get to Probolinggo or Malang by bus* or train*. Nevertheless, for your convenience, if your plan is to only visit a couple of East Java’s main attractions, consider joining a Mount Bromo and Ijen tour, or one with more locations if you don’t have time constraints. Some tours have a local guide pick you up at the airport and start the adventure as soon as you land.

binoculars illustration

Surabaya to Mount Bromo

man facing Bromo Tengger Semeru Caldera

Mount Bromo Viewpoint & Crater

When you visit Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park there are usually two places nobody wants to miss: the viewpoint and the crater. Dozens of Mount Bromo jeep tours roam towards the viewpoint for sunrise and head afterwards to the crater.

Viewpoint Mount bromo and temple

Viewpoint

Mount Bromo at sunrise is a majestic view you can enjoy from several viewpoints, most of them at Gunung Penanjakan. You can expect to find small stands in most of them selling warm coffee, tea, noodles and even blankets for rental to guarantee you are comfy. The main viewpoints are:

  • Penanjakan Viewpoint (Penanjakan 1 and Penanjakan 2): Choice of most tour operators.

  • Kingkong Hill (Bukit Kingkong): Preferred by most solo tourists.

  • Seruni Point: The quietest option of the three, but still expect a small crowd.

The journey to the viewpoint is what most people refer to when talking about the Mount Bromo hike. To clarify, this is the most challenging part of the visit for those who undertake it on foot. Going up Mount Bromo itself is an easy task, as the crater is only about 245 steps from the foot of the volcano.

Viewpoint Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park

For more off the beaten path options, that also provide a nice perspective of the caldera you can visit:

  • Love Hill (Bukit Cinta).

  • Taman Bukit Cinta (Bukit Cinta Park).

  • Serenity Point.

The viewpoints are all located outside of the Natural Park, so there is NO entrance fee to access them.

You can either walk for about 1 hour and 45 minutes from Cemoro Lawang village to the viewpoints, go by scooter for most of the way, or join what is called a Mount Bromo sunrise tour. However, even the jeeps do not take you all the way to some of the viewpoints. In that case, the last 10 minute stretch has to be on foot.

Cemoro Lawang and Sea of Sand from above

Crater

Finally, we get to the OG Mount Bromo hike: the path to the crater.

The crater is visited by most tourists right after sunrise, as that is how the tours are set up. So, if you have hired a private Mount Bromo guide, and you have control over your schedule, or if you are going solo, we suggest you go up the crater at sunrise or right before lunch time to avoid the crowds.

Bromo crater visit solo
stairs to mount bromo crater with queues of people

Bring a scarf with you to cover your face from the volcanic smoke and ashes. It will also help with the sulfur smell (but there is no escaping the egg aroma). If you visit at any other time besides sunrise, make sure to bring sunblock as well.

Climbing Mount Bromo all the way to the crater for sunrise is an intense and beautiful experience. The view is fantastic, and you will probably find yourself alone, surrounded by the Sea of Sand and dry lava, with a huge cloud of smoke adding a nice touch to the orange sky tones.

Sea of Sand in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park
woman visit alone mount bromo crater

Be cautious around the Bromo crater, especially in the dark, as there are barely any safety rails around the crater.

doctor illustration
free visit to Mount Bromo crater

Join a Mount Bromo Tour

Hop on a 4x4 jeep from a nearby city and get ready for your Mount Bromo itinerary to begin.

The most convenient way to visit Mount Bromo is by using a jeep tour service. It is a hassle free option that includes everything you need, but of course for a cost. You can choose from basic tours that provide only transportation, to those that include accommodation, food, entrances and everything in between.

Blue tour jeep in Sea of Sand by Mount Bromo

The biggest advantage of a tour is having an experienced local guide to show you around the most beautiful hidden gems, as well as other major East Java Highlights such as Ijen and Tumpak Sewu Waterfalls. These are usually part of 3 and 4-night packages.

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Always pay attention to the details of your tour package. Some don't include the entrance fees to the Natural Park, which for foreigners is: IDR 240 000 on weekdays and IDR 340 000 on weekends.

The one thing that most tours have in common is that they take you to the viewpoint for sunrise and afterwards to the crater. Usually, they drop you off in the Sea of Sand, next to the Luhur Poten Hindu Temple, and you have to walk for about 10 minutes to the foot of Mount Bromo. Please don’t ride the horses available for this short walk.

Horses surrounded by dust in the Sea of Sand near Bromo
two men and a scooter in the sea of sand
men riding horses in the sea of sand of Bromo Tengger Semeru Caldera

Mount Bromo Solo & For Free

If you are on a tight budget and don’t want to miss out on this natural wonder, or simply like to explore at your own pace, then doing your Mount Bromo hike without a tour is the way to go. It will require more planning, but you won’t regret it!

Where to stay in Bromo

If you wish to stay as close to Bromo as possible, book and accommodation in Cemoro Lawang center, which is basically a single street. Use the location of Cemara Indah Hotel as reference, you'll want to be within walking distance.

village of cemoro lawang where to stay for visit Mount Bromo

We stayed at Homestay Tengger*, it was beyond basic – hot water was not a thing, and the staff was nonexistent. But hey, the location was fantastic, and we had a sink with Sponge Bob tiles!😂 So it wasn’t all bad!

sunrise at cemoro lawang from above

Mount Bromo viewpoint

The entrance to the viewpoints is free, and the path is fairly straightforward. From the village you just have to follow the main road (as per map), you will probably not be the only one.

main road cemoro lawang for free viewpoint
phone illustration with Cemoro Lawang free map

In case of doubt, check the trajectory in Google Maps, by foot from Cemara Indah Hotel to King Kong Hill (the path for the main viewpoints is all the same). Don't do the search from your accommodation, or it might send you via the Sea of Sand which is a big no-no!

The hike should be around 1h to 1h 30min, depending on which viewpoint you decide to visit and your fitness level, there is quite a bit of elevation. Most people leave Cemoro Lawang around 3:30am to get there without rushing and to guarantee a nice spot for the iconic Mount Bromo sunrise.

When returning to the village later on, by the same path, you will get to enjoy a pleasant walk (coming down is always easier😅), seeing nice locals going about their daily tasks, and some small shops where to stop for a cold beverage.

mobile phone illustration
Land workers digging potatoes in dust

Mount Bromo Crater

For hiking Bromo itself you have two possibilities:

  • Enter via the main gate, where you will need to pay the entrance fee and probably pay someone on a scooter to take you to the foot of Bromo as it is quite a distance.

  • Follow the horse track from which locals get into the Natural Park for free. Oh! And your Mount Bromo hike starts immediately, as it is quite a shortcut to get to the volcano, so you can easily walk there (there is no scooter alternative from here either way, so you have to walk).

Sea of Sand crossing in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park

As you can imagine, the latter is a non official entrance, but locals chatted about it openly and didn’t seem to mind the few people that had this more adventurous route in their Mount Bromo itinerary.

Dry lava in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park
Man in sea of sand with mount bromo behind

Mount Bromo for Free

To reach Mount Bromo for free, begin your journey at Cemara Indah Hotel. Upon entering their parking/restaurant access road you will notice a statue of a man on a horse on your left and a narrow sand path on the right, adjacent to the wall of the next building. Your Mount Bromo hike commences on that sandy path. The path is quite uneven, so wear sturdy shoes, bring a scarf to cover your mouth, and carry a lantern if you are trekking at night. This is not called “horse track” by accident, there will be a lot of horse poop, so watch your step.

free access to Mount Bromo near statue with man on horse
map to free entrance to mount bromo

Download the app MAP.ME, where you can double check where the stairs up the volcano are if you have any doubts. Additionally, it will provide you the exact route to Mount Bromo without passing through the food stands or any checkpoints. This app is also useful when going to the viewpoint, as it has pinned down several cool alternative viewpoints.

This path will take you to the Sea of Sand. Continue your Mount Bromo hike along the path shown in MAP.ME while you enjoy the fantastic starry sky above you. Once you reach it, climb to the top of the crater and enjoy the fantastic sunrise or the views of the Sea of Sand.

From Cemara Indah Hotel to the base of Mount Bromo it took us about 45 minutes.

two people walking around a Mount Bromo crater in the dark

Bring water and snacks for the journey, especially if you plan to do this route at sunrise. Unlike the viewpoints, there are no stands open that early since nobody goes to the crater at night.

crater from mount bromo

When returning to the village, use the red and white communication towers as a reference. Walk towards the right-hand tower to find the entrance in the bushes to go back to Cemoro Lawang.

Planning Time

If you are ready to start planning your next trip, here you have all the usefull links you need to make it happen! By using them you are supporting our work as we might get a small fee from it. But hey! You pay the same (or might even get a discount), so is a win-win situation!

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