Watching sunrise in the valley of volcanoes from the top of the mountain, walking along volcano ashes, climbing to the edge of volcano crater and looking into the funnel of the active volcano. Sounds really great, isn’t it? We traveled to Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park to get this experience.
Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park is located in East Java. It’s a very popular tourist place. Typically, trips start at night to see the sunrise on the top of a mountain overlooking the valley of volcanoes. Our trip was not an exception.
We woke up at 2 am in the Chemorolawang (Cemoro Lawang) village, got into a local jeep and went to the observation platform of Mount Penanjakan. The road took about 40 minutes and passed through the picturesque and quite steep serpentine. Jeep arrived almost to the site. We only needed to walk up a little bit (an average of about one kilometer, but it depends on the place where the jeep stopped). For your convenience you can take a motorbike on the road, there are a lot of offers all along the road. But the road is so narrow, that it could be faster to walk to the place, especially if it’s very crowded.
Mount Penanjakan Viewpoint
Views from the observation deck on Mount Penanjakan are breathtaking. The rising sun colors the valley first in blue, and then in gold. From the top you can see the entire 16-kilometer Tengger Caldera: Bromo and Batok volcanoes on the foreground and majestic Semeru on the background. Clouds shrouded the valley are gradually fading, smoke coming from the depths of Bromo and Semeru rare clubs become clearly visible. Magnificent picture of the valley of volcanoes exactly as on pics, even better.
After sunrise we got some tea and coffee in the nearest warung and went to an another platform of the same mountain. There were no people, so we were able to enjoy the views while the rest of tourists climbing on Bromo. Colours of the valley during the day time are not worse. Of course, there is no magic sensations of feeling a birth of a new day and of changing colors of the sky. But clouds are finally gone and we could see all the details.
A Little Bit of Geography
Tengger Caldera is a result of a grand volcanic disaster that occurred millions of years ago. Five volcanoes of the volcanic complex (Batok, Watangan, Kursi, Widodaren, and Bromo) are surrounded by a sea of sand and ash formed after the destruction of a huge volcano.
Bromo volcano (2392 m) is popular due to its easy availability and constant activity. Bromo is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Its top was destroyed after the eruption, so now it has such a strange shape with a disproportionately large crater diameter (600 meters). Near the Bromo Batok (2440 m). It’s an extinct volcano of an almost perfect shape, covered with vegetation. Semeru volcano (3676 m) is the highest point of Java. It’s in a constant state of explosive activity during the last 6 years. A smoke above Semeru on the photos is not a cloud, it’s the evidence of volcano activity.
Chemorolawang (Cemoro Lawang) village is located on the edge of a sheer cliff 100-200 meters in height.
Way to Bromo
In order to climb Bromo, you must first go to the bottom of the Tengger Caldera. Jeeps park in a row just. There may be a lot of cars on the parking, so I advise you to remember a color, a number plate and an approximate location of your car to be able to find it later.
Then you walk along the sand and ash to the volcano. There is a dead zone around – a the desert born of fire and smoke. Sand dunes look like waves, that’s why the caldera called the Sand Sea.
Suddenly in the middle of sands you can see a Hindu temple (Pura Luhur Poten Bromo). Hindu temple in the middle of the Muslim island? Actually indigenous inhabitants of Tenger highlands, Tenggerese, are Hindus. They believe that volcanoes are the entrances to the underworld. Every year Tenggerese hold a Kasado ceremony. During this ceremony they cajole volcanoes, all participants walk along the edge of the crater and throw offerings into the funnel of the volcano.
The road to the foot of Bromo take up to 30 minutes. You can rent a horse to move faster ($ 6-10). Don’t worry if you have never rode a horse. Usually tourist don’t ride, they just sit on a horse, and a horseman lead it. But when I had seen this huge field around, I dreamt about gallop riding when there is nobody around .
A staircase of 250 steps (300 m) leads to the top of the volcano. It’s the easiest and the most common way. But as far as there were a lot of people because of Chinese New Year, we decided to go up along the hill slopes. We lumbered and sank into the sand and ashes, but actually we reached the top quite quickly and had a lot of time to take pictures of the crater while waiting for those who went to the stairs. It’s much easier to go down. You can stop making yourself slow and just run directly to the bottom. Amazing feeling of joy, like in childhood!
On the Top of Bromo Volcano
At the top of Bromo you can walk on the edge of the crater, look at Sand Sea from the heights and make traditional selfie. But be careful with the selfie. They say that there were cases when people fell down into the crater, and no one tried to take them out.
Please look our short video (1:41) about Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park:
A Piece of Advice
Something you need to know before you go:
- National Park is located in the highlands. It’s really cold here at night, it may be about 5 ° C. You need warm clothes. Not just a sweater, take a jacket or a coat. Also you can take with you or buy hats, scarves and gloves in the village.
- The sun beats down during a daytime. So you can get a sunburn. Protective cream and thin long-sleeved shirts will help to avoid this.
- On holidays it can be a lot of people. A lot means that there is no place near by the fence of a viewing platform at all, even beyond the fence and on it. Jeeps parking goes along a couple of kilometers down the road. We have observed this on Chinese New Year. For the sake of good shots I had to squeeze between people, to climb over the fence many times, stand on the dangerous slopes behind the fence and move back and forth across the site.
- In case of increased activity of Bromo (when the smoke is really thick), it’s maybe dangerous to be on the edge of the crater without a protective mask, because a high concentration of a sulfur gas.
- Bromo is an active volcano. Most of the time it’s safe, but on June 11, 2004 an unexpected eruption killed two tourists. The entrance is normally closed until the danger has reached a high level, but it’s important to remember about the risk.
- The best time for a visit is a dry season (April to October). During a rainy season there is a risk to see only clouds instead of the beautiful panorama of the valley. But usually it’s clear in the morning, clouds begin to gather in the afternoon.
Map of Main Places
Accommodation and Facilities
Usually travellers stay at hotels in small villages near by Bromo. Cemoro Lawang village is the most popular one. I could recommend Sion View and Bromo Permai hotels which are very close to Bromo volcano. In general I must say that facilities around Bromo are pretty simple.
There are a lot of warungs pretty much anywhere in tourists places. But usually they offer Indonesian cuisine only. Simple and cheap.
How To Get to Bromo?
It’s easier to get to Bromo and Mount Penanjakan from Chemorolawang (Cemoro Lawang) village. You can walk to the volcano from the village. The road takes an hour and a half. But usually people take jeeps.
Often people combine a trip to bromo with a trip Ijen volcano and Madakaripura waterfall.
How To Get There by Public Transport?
By plane to the international airport of Surabaya. Then take a shuttle to a bus terminal Bungurasih / Purabaya. Then by bus go to the town of Probolinggo, to the local terminal 6 km from the city center. Then take a bus or a minibus to Chemoro Lawang village (a distance of about 50 km, the approximate travel time 1.5 hours).
How to Get There by Car?
Go from the international airport Surabaya to the Cemoro Lawang village (3-4 hours). In the city you can take a tour, rent a car or a car with a driver.
How To Get to Bromo Volcano from Bali?
- Go to Gilimanuk ferry terminal on the west of Bali.
- Take a ferry to Java (it takes about an hour).
- Go from Ketapang ferry terminal on Java to Chemoro Lawang village (5-6 hours, about 230 km).
If you go by public transport, then go from Ketapang ferry terminal to Probolinggo and continue as described above.
- Date of the trip: 21 of February, 2015
- Place: Bromo volcano
- Location: Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, East Java, Indonesia
- Nearest town: Probolinggo
- Coordinates: -7.941667,112.95
- Time for visiting: 5-8 hours