Hiking Mount Bromo Independently: A How-To Guide

I’m currently overlanding the world (well, a good chunk of it at least) from Bali in South East Asia to London, England. So my first point of call was Bali’s neighbour, Java, and its many volcanoes.

While in Java, I managed to adopt a ‘travel all day hike all night’ routine, which is exactly what it sounds. Bromo was my second sunrise hike in two days (I climbed Mount Ijen the previous night), and during that 48 hours I literally slept for 4 of them.

Was it exhausting? Yes. Was it worth it? Abso-bladdy-lutely. It was a great time, and I highly recommend any travellers to Java to hike Mount Bromo.

We were a bit unprepared when hiking Mount Bromo; we got there two late, we didn’t have enough food, and we weren’t exactly sure where to go. So I thought I’d write this Mount Bromo hiking guide with everything I learnt, to help you on your Java trip!

How to Get to Mount Bromo

Mount Bromo is located in East Java – but you won’t be able to travel from Bali in a day. The overwhelming majority of travellers opt to stop in Banyuwangi for a night and hike Ijen the night before, then head to Bromo.

The nearest city to Mount Bromo is Probbolingo, and you can easily take a train or bus from Banyuwangi – but bear in mind that it’ll take most of the day.

If you’re venturing west to east, you can take a train or bus from Yogyakarta.

If you’re not on a minimal budget, and are ok with planning a few days in advance, I highly recommend taking the trains over buses in Java. They’re about 50x more comfortable, they nearly always run on time, and they’re a hell of a lot quicker than buses. But they do sell out, so bear this in mind.

Once you arrive to Probbolingo, you’ll need to transfer to a shuttle van that will take you up to Cemoro Lewang. This is the main jumping point for Bromo National Park. The van will cost you between 35k-75k IDR, depending on how many people are in it.

Can I hike to the Mount Bromo crater?

Disclaimer: I didn’t actually hike to the Mount Bromo crater. This is because it had only recently erupted and wasn’t considered safe (safety first kids). Tourists were allowed into the park but prohibited from entering into a 1km radius from the crater.

As far as I know, this is still in place (I’ll keep this post updated when I hear more news). So as of now, you can’t go to the crater. But the park is still safe and is well worth seeing.

You’ll still get the chance to see the sunrise over the mountain and the rest of the spectacular landscape from various viewpoints.

Hiking for Sunrise at Mount Bromo

So, this is what my friends and I did rather than actually going to the crater.

We woke up at 3:15 to leave at 3:30am. There are some places in town open at that time (madness, I know) to get a snack or water if you desire. It’s actually a very easy hike to the viewpoint – and you won’t be alone. There are a lot of people doing it as well, including dozens of jeeps. So just hike to the national park area, and then follow the jeeps. It’s just one path to the viewpoint, and takes about 90 minutes. If you have time, you could opt to hike to the next viewpoint.

There are people offering donkey rides up the hill. Please don’t take them up on this offer – if it’s tough for you, imagine what it’s like for the poor donkeys with humans on their back!

Once you reach whatever sunrise spot you decide on, just hang around – and wait for a spectacle.

There are other trails to do a bit more exploring once the sun’s up. You can take these and walk around – and if the crater is open when you are there, of course, you can visit that as well!

Where to Stay in Cemoro Lewang

Cemoro Lewang is not exactly famous for its great accommodation options. In fact, it’s actually famous for its pretty awful accommodation options. We stayed in a random hostel in a very basic room, it was fine for the three hours sleep we needed and for somewhere to lock our stuff away, but it definitely wasn’t somewhere I’d choose for myself.

You can either wait until you reach Cemoro Lewang and suss out places then (there will most likely be vacancies – obviously I can’t guarantee that though!) or check out locations on booking.com or another booking website prior to going – click here to go through to Booking.com and check out accomodation.

Where to Eat in Cemoro Lewang

Again, you’re not going to be in too much luck here. Cemoro Lewang doesn’t have the best food options – especially not if you get there too late. If you’re going to arrive past 8/9pm, make sure you eat in Probbolingo before, as all places will be closed.

There are a few warungs selling Nasi Goreng, Mie Goreng and other Indonesian fare. These are all open in the early morning, so you won’t go hungry – but you might want to pack some snacks as Cemoro Lewang is certainly not the next foodie’s top destination.

Where to Go From Probbolingo

From Probbolingo, most travellers either head west to Yogyakarta, or east to Banyuwangi and Mount Ijen (post coming soon!) and eventually Bali.

You can take a train in either direction – and I’d recommend trains over buses in Java, when possible. However you must book these in advance. You can do so either on Traveloaka or Tiket. Both sites either I or my friends have used and they both work well.

If you’re heading to Bali, check out these blog posts:

And if you’re heading elsewhere in South East Asia, check out my blog posts for Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

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