How to explore Bromo and Ijen without booking tour?
The Mount Bromo is the most famous volcanoes in east java Indonesia. Became its popularity such as a tourist destination. You would think it is pretty easy to access solo but sadly that is not the real case. As much like the country, public transportion is not as easy to navigate people as some of it’s neighbours.
On first thought, it may be seem easier to jump directly on a tour from Bali or another big Java cities like Yogyakarta or Surabaya. In fact, exploring Mount Bromo without booking tour is relatively easy. It means you can do it by yourself with a little planning before or after visit Borobudur and Prambanan temple.
If you really want to make it as famed ‘viewpoint’ for the sunrise which the crowds descend on then you have to rise early. When I woke up at 4 am in the morning and cursing at my alarm clock, I knew well it was too late for making it to the top of Bromo. Suddenly, rocking up on late the night before visit Mount Bromo without booking tour seemed a bad idea absolutely. But as the sun crept out and I realised perhaps this way was going to work out better than it planned.
The Bromo Sunrise View
However at 2:30 am is good time when I should have been up of the mount and hiking to the top. Through Penanjakan with other visitors I was snoozing away. The most important thing, if I hiking up by 4 am I realised that 2 hours trek to the top of the mount for enjoying sunrise is not going to happen. It is the same viewpoint of all the jeeps there should on the tours, also doable by foot or asking to the local people with a bike and zip you up.
I ended up wandering as soon as I could before the sun started rising up and made it as the first viewpoint of the most handful that marked up the Bromo Mountain. At least there were two Indonesians and three tourists to make up crowd and a bit different from what I’ve heard about the view at the top is like. Still I have to say, I was really happy with my photos and sunrise that I got and tried to avoid the battle for best capture spot that a lot of online posts summarise to the highest summit like.
The Sea of Sand To climb to the actual crater and peak into it, at least you have to cross the sea of sand. After going back down or grabbing a lift on a bike, then you will arrive back to the village around. Then you can walk over the sea of sand in under an hour by taking the path that the local horsemen use. It is right next to the main hotel looking onto Bromo Mouth. Alternatively, I only pay 80k IDR or 80.000 rupiah I rent a local bike driver to take me over there and go back. The price of ticket to enter about 300.000 rupiah and I believe at weekends, and I missed where this was meant to paid. This isn’t organised, or regulated attraction, I suggest you to don’t go expecting any queues for the ticket offices.
Even the crowds for taking the stairs to approach the crater were very insane. Not like others and avoid the stairs, to get there I just climbed up the sand. Just make steps to the left or right side of the main stairs and little bit power through the sand to go up.
The train transportation in Java is affordable and easy to get. You can book tickets online and very easy to get it. Taking the train to Probolinggo from Yogyakarta after visiting the Borobudur and Prambanan temple there, or from Surabaya is very easy. Driving on a bike to the bus station quickly and then finding a local bemo or bus to Cemoro Lawang is really simple. Perhaps it is not quite so simple when you throw in the odd scam and less of information but if you trust me, it is totally doable.
Even, getting out can follow the same way, most of buses leave the village about 9:30 am from the hill near the main hotels and take you into Probolinggo. Alternatively, find one of the share buses can take you such as in Bali and occasionally leave from Cemoro Lawang. Arriving on the village, you have to pay about 10.000 rupiah for village entrance fee which is fairly price. It was the same like I visited Dieng in Central Java.
Walking Around: When you are in the village, to explore more and getting around is easy like walking by foot as if there is not a whole lot here. You can find some treks in the fields and explore small plots around but you are coming here for Bromo and a one night visit should be enough.
Where To Stay
There are fair bit of accommodations in Cemoro Lawang with plenty of overpriced homestays and guest houses as well like a couple of large hotels. Such as much of rural Indonesia, online booking has not provide to all accommodations. I recommend Hotels.com to loyalty scheme, or for the selection seems better on Agoda.com. If it isn’t peak season, you must be able to climb up and arrange plan on arrival but mindful. Want a tour from local?
When you decide to the logistics or timings, to get more freedom of your time. You are easier with a tour there are local cooperation operators in most big cities that can arrange perfect tour for you. Indopanorama offers an trip from yogyakarta or surabaya which is reasonable price can be booked online.
Do visit Ijen as well:
If you are interested to visit Sulphur Mine and Blue Fire of Ijen crater then my friend Andrew has a great guide on doing Ijen booking or without booking tour– Most people pick one or the other, but both are unique and well worthy of your time.
Note: The price of all tickets will increase because of Indonesian rupiah value always increase. You can ensure the tickets information first.