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If you’re visiting Java in Indonesia there are a couple of Mountain tours that you can go on.
One is Mount Ijen which if you visit before sunrise spits out blue fire which sounds unbelievable and the other is coming face to face with an active volcano Mount Bromo.
It is a magical mission to go and explore this mountain and it means getting up extremely early to do so, but it is a must when visiting Java.
You will leave before the sun rises and when the first morning light reveals the mountain view before you – your jaw will drop at the sight.
Keep reading for a quick guide to meeting Mount Bromo in Indonesia.
How to organise a CHEAP Mount Bromo tour yourself to visit the Mount Bromo viewpoint and how to climb Mount Bromo!
How to organise a really cheap Mount Bromo tour in Java
If you want the expensive way to find the Mount Bromo Viewpoint at sunrise as we did, you can organise tours from Yogyakarta and the surrounding areas.
But these tours leave extremely early and will cost you a fortune due to the location of the mountain.
The best place to find Mount Bromo without a tour is to stay the night is Cemoro Lawang, a mountain village on the gateway to the National Park.
If you’re travelling on the central train line through Java you can catch the train to Probolinggo and get a Bemo (bus) to the top.
The buses run on the rule that they will only leave when it’s completely full so you may be waiting a while!
It will also cost you a fair penny as they know you have no other choice but a private taxi.
The buses leaving for Cemoro Lawang are similar to minibusses and they don’t have seat belts.
In our case, it was overpacked and someone was provided a stool to sit on the foothold!
You will be tearing around the tiny winding roads which are so steep I’m not sure how the bus was still on the road, but you will see some amazing views of the mountains and feel it get colder as you rise.
Where to stay in Cemoro Lawang for Mount Bromo
If you’re on a budget your options are limited as everywhere in Cemoro Lawang hotels are pretty pricey.
We decided to stay the night at Café Lava as that was the cheapest choice at 300,000 rupiahs for the night.
They also had a lovely restaurant that had a fire roaring for the frosty temperatures.
Compared to sea level it was absolutely freezing so if you’re backpacking prepare to put every layer of clothing you have on!
If you have the money, you can also rent a thick jacket and trousers to fight off the cold. They do provide some thick blankets but it is so cold, I can’t tell you how cold. I could hardly feel my feet!
Make sure you wrap up warm for the night. You won’t be sleeping too much anyway due to your early wake-up call but you will want to sleep for those few hours and save your energy for the day ahead.
How to hire a jeep to visit the Mount Bromo viewpoint and climb Mount Bromo
To ensure you’ve booked a tour to see the sunrise, you’re going to need to rent a jeep for Mount Bromo. You can organise this with your hotel but this can be pretty pricey.
If you’re based in Cemoro Lawang you can approach the ticket box at the gate of the national park (5 minutes walk from Cafe Lava) and rent a driver then and there. You can also try and negotiate a better deal.
The going rate is around 400,000 rupiah per car and so you will need to find some friends to share with to bring the price down.
This is usually split between four and so you will be paying around 100,000 which is £5. You will need to buy a permit for 10,000 Rupiah to enter the park.
Watching the sunrise from the Mount Bromo viewpoint
You will need to set your alarm for around 4.30 am or when your driver instructs you to leave for the sunrise.
No matter what time you leave, cars will be making their way to the viewpoint at all times of the morning. The ride over to the King Kong Hill viewpoint is an adventure in itself and takes a good hour to get there.
Your jeep will be driving in pitch black over the ‘sea of sands’ around the mountain with other tourists to the popular stop.
As you’re making your way, all you will see is the headlights of other cars dotted around the slopes.
When you reach the viewpoint, your jeep will park behind the plethora of other 4x4s so just make sure you remember where your driver is located!
Then you can climb up to the Mount Bromo viewpoint and join the thousands of others who are waiting there in anticipation.
It will be in complete darkness, but you’ll feel the buzz of excitement as everyone waits for the sunrise!
Most of the time, the driver will allow you to journey back to the car at your leisure once you’re happy you’ve seen everything at the lookout.
Watching the sunrise over Mount Bromo
As the sun shows its head over the hills, it will reveal one of the best sights that Indonesia has to offer you.
The mountains glisten in the sun and you can see the smoking Mount Bromo underneath.
I think I took hundreds of photos of this scene as it was just so magnificent.
You can explore all around the viewpoint and go on the many walks and platforms for a different perspective of the scene.
What’s even more exciting than seeing the smoking Mount Bromo is that after the sunrise you’ll be heading straight for it!
If you’re feeling peckish by this point as you will have been waiting for a while there are a few Warung’s to treat yourself to some Nasi Goreng.
Climbing the Mount Bromo summit
After you’ve taken enough snaps to fill a memory card of the viewpoint, you’ll make your way back down and drive over in your jeep to the ‘Sea of Sands’.
Here, you will park up with the other jeeps and make your way over to climb Mount Bromo.
- Walk all way up to the mountain over the slippery sands to the top
- Don’t get the horses… There are horses which you can ride to the platform which provides the stairway up. I didn’t personally choose this option as it didn’t look like the horses were treated fairly. Watch out for them coming back down to pick more people up, they can be a bit wild!
What can you see from the top of the Mount Bromo volcano?
One of the coolest things about this tour was the fact you get to come face to face with an active volcano!
It felt like I was on a completely different planet, like Mars, or was in a scene from Total Recall (with Arnie).
You will literally be looking into the crater and be covered in the sulfur which emits from the middle.
It does have that eggy smell to it, but after a while, it will fade.
Here, you can walk all around the edge of the mountain and get some fantastic views from the summit.
It’s pretty crazy when you think about it, circling an active volcano – but hey, if you can – why not?!
So, that’s how organise a CHEAP Mount Bromo tour by yourself
It was definitely a surreal experience coming face to face with Mount Bromo in Java but it’s something that I will remember forever.
If you’re going to be visiting Java, it is essential that you put a hike up to Mount Bromo on your list.
It may stretch a backpacking budget, but looking back it was one of the best tours I was glad to invest in as the views were stunning!
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