I visited Mount Bromo in Indonesia for a day trip with my family. Here are my experience and a collection of photos from my time in Mount Bromo, a popular (and active!) volcano in Indonesia.
Indonesia, sitting right atop of the Pacific Ring of Fire, is home to 129 active volcanoes. And quite naturally, these volcanoes play a big part in our culture. I grew up in Indonesia listening to mythical fairytales involving mountains and volcanoes, as well as real-life stories from my parents about escaping a volcano eruption which brought down a rain of black volcanic ashes down to their hometown.
One of the more popular volcanoes in Indonesia is Mount Bromo – an active volcano in the eastern part of Java Island in Indonesia with the last recent eruption in 2015 followed by a very recent one in 18 July 2019 (If you’re thinking of going, definitely check if it’s still okay!)
When it’s not spewing lava, Mount Bromo is very beautiful with a mild climate. This is why it has become a very popular destination among locals and foreigners alike, especially for a family vacation. I was told by my parents that I had actually been here when I was much younger but I barely have any recollection of the experience… I just remembered bits and pieces about having to wake up way too early to catch the sunrise.
What you need to pack for Mount Bromo
- Sunglasses – to protect your eyes from the sandstorms. I will elaborate more on this
- Scarves – also to protect yourself from the sandstorm.
- Sun Protection – Indonesia is in the tropics, and although Bromo’s climate is cooler, the sun will still be strong. Always wear sunscreen and layer up with extra clothing and a hat to shield yourself.
- Comfortable Shoes – wear either a trainer or hiking shoes. Don’t wear sandals or open-toed shoes since there will be a lot of dust.
- Light jackets and layers – the temperature can be a little chilly if you plan to be in the area before sunrise
How to get to Mount Bromo
I recommend getting a tour package if you are intending to visit Bromo, especially if you are traveling in a group. It would just save so much time and effort, and it isn’t that expensive. Ensure the tour package includes pick up and drop off, as this is the most difficult logistic to arrange. Driving your own vehicle into the volcano area is not allowed.
Mount Bromo can be reached from the city of Malang and Surabaya, both major cities in Indonesia with easily accessible airports. From these cities, you can book tours that will take you to Mount Bromo and back, or you can take the bus to Probolinggo and hire a driver there for a slightly cheaper option.
As for us, we were already in Malang so this blog post will address my experience going from Malang. We were picked up from our hotel in Malang early in the morning at 2AM, so that we would be on time to catch the sunrise. We were driven in a regular van for about 2 hours to Cemoro Village, where we transferred into a Jeep 4×4 car and continued our drive up to Bromo. The road from here onward can only be accessed by a 4×4 car.
As I mentioned before, Bromo is a very popular local tourist destination. This was evident by the sheer volume of traffic going up… that’s also why we had to leave so early! And just to set your expectation – the ride up in the Jeep was NOT a comfortable one. It was super bumpy and cramped. I think I hit my head on the roof of the car several times.
Sunrise overlooking Mount Bromo
We got to the sunrise viewpoint at Mount Penanjakan about 30 minutes before sunrise. We then made our way up to the peak in the pitch dark to get a good spot for the sunrise.
The “trek” up was actually very easy – it’s not so much of a trek, more like a slightly steep walk up. The path is nicely paved and there were stair steps you can climb. It’s still a long way up though, my parents could not make it up so my siblings and I went up on our own.
After the sun has fully risen, we walked back down and took our Jeep to the volcano. In the picture above, it’s the part in the middle of the sea of sand (known locally as Segara Wedi) with smoke billowing out of it. Our Jeep driver parked at the designated parking space and we had to walk the rest of the way to the foot of the volcano through a flat sandy area.
Visiting Mount Bromo Volcano itself
If you are the type of person that gets hungry easily, you’ll be pleased to know there are a lot of food stalls at the foot of the volcano! I don’t know how they got there, but I was definitely hungry, so I zeroed in on the Bakso stall.
Bakso is a meatball noodle dish that is very popular in Indonesia and can be found throughout the country. This one specifically is called Bakso Malang, which includes deep-fried crispy wontons and tofu instead of just the usual meatballs and yellow noodles. Just add some chili and kecap (Indonesian sweet soy sauce) and I’m in heaven. This bowl only cost $1 but the portion is quite small, so of course, I had seconds.
From here, you can choose to continue up to the crater rim of Mount Bromo. If you don’t want to walk up to the volcano, you can hire horses for ~$15 per person. The walk itself is actually very easy and doable on foot, but I wanted to ride a horse so we hired one for the way up. The horse will not take you all the way up to the summit but it will take you close enough. From there, you still have to walk up a set of stairs, where you move very slowly as it was narrow and there was quite a bit of human traffic going up and down.
Once you get to the top of the crater rim, you get a full view directly into the crater! It’s a very cool view for sure, but keep in mind there are no fences or anything that keep you from falling INTO the crater, so please… becareful!!
Once you’re done admiring the volcano, simply take the steep staircase back down (carefully!) and continue back into the sea of sand.
Sandstorm in the “Sea of Sand”
As we get into the late morning, the wind would pick up periodically and the “Sea of Sand” area gets hit with a mini volcanic ash sandstorm that goes on for a few minutes.
It makes for a beautiful set of photos, but also an extremely uncomfortable experience when the sand gets into your eyes, mouth and practically every orifice of your body. I suggest bringing a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes and some scarves to cover up.
Overall, I truly enjoyed the trip to Bromo. Some parts of it (like the volcanic ash storm) makes me feel like we were not in Indonesia anymore. It’s also easy enough to reach and does not require much physical exertion.
And that’s all from us for Bromo! Next time, I would like to come back and go to Mount Ijen as well, for the blue flames and turquoise lake.