in Java

Mount Bromo is one of the most popular volcanoes in Indonesia and rightly so, for it offers a view that shouldn’t be missed. Located in East Java (About 5 hours from Bali by road) near the town of Probolinggo, reaching Mount Bromo takes a fair amount of planning. We visited Mount Bromo in the third week of October, specifically during New Moon, because we wanted to see the Milky Way over Mount Bromo at midnight which looks simply spectacular.

There are 2 ways to reach Mount Bromo:

  1. Travel independently and visit Mount Bromo only, OR
  2. Go with an agent and visit Mount Ijen too

Traveling independently from Surabaya

Traveling independently to Mount Bromo can be maddening and confusing from the moment you step into your bus in Surabaya bus terminal in Surabaya.  There are many stops on the way to Mount Bromo and different modes of transport. The route is:

Surabaya -> Probollingo -> Comoro Lawang -> Mount Bromo

To get to Probollingo from Surabaya, we took a local bus from the bus terminal. The terminal is huge and there are lots of buses leaving to Probollingo every hour. Just ask anyone at the terminal where the buses are. You do not need to buy tickets in advance or before getting on the bus. Probolinggo is approximately 100 kms and takes 2.5- 3 hours to reach. If you tell the conductor you want to visit Bromo then the bus will stop at an agent’s office instead of the bus terminal at Probolinggo.

The agent will offer various options that will include Mount Ijen and Bromo. If you do not wish to see Mount Ijen then you may skip it and to take the mini-bus to your hotel/ hostel in Cemoro Lawang. The agent will arrange for the mini-bus after he has sold other seats in the bus (usually within an hour). The ride to Cemoro Lawang costs approimately Rupiah 100,000 and will be rickety-jerky. You will reach there after about 2.5 hours, at dusk. Tell your hotel that you would like them to arrange a bike/jeep to Mount Bromo early next day, which can be arranged for about rupiah 100,000. You must also inform the agent/hotel in advance about your ride back to Probollingo the next day, so that the mini-bus will pick you up accordingly.

In my experience it was too tiresome and time-consuming to visit Mount Ijen independently after Mount Bromo, so my advise is to visit only Mount Bromo.

Traveling with an agent and visiting Mount Ijen too

The second option is to spend about Rupaih 600000 per head and visit Mount Ijen too. You will need to go with the travel agent (where your bus from Surabaya will drop you). If you are good at haggling, he may settle for Rupiah 500000 each including the park fees.  The route is:

Probollingo -> Comoro Lawang -> Mount Bromo -> Cemoro Nawang -> Probollingo -> Bondowoso/Banyuwangi -> Mount Ijen

The agent will arrange for transport, accommodation (not very good ones), breakfast and park entry fees. On day 1, you will be picked up by a mini-bus from the agent’s office and taken to Cemoro Lawang where you will pay for your dinner. At about 3 am the next morning, your taxi/jeep will pick you up from the hotel and proceed to Mount Bromo and Mount Penanjekan and take you back to the hotel just in time for breakfast. After breakfast, you will pack your bags and leave for Probollingo again (to the agent’s office) and take another mini-bus to Bondowoso/ Banyuwangi, directly to the hotel. The next morning at 3 am you will leave for Mount Ijen and carry your breakfast with you. By 7 am you will get back to the hotel, pack your bags and leave for Probollingo. If you are going onward to Bali, you will get off the mini- bus before you reach Probollingo to catch another bus. If you are proceeding to Surabaya then you will be taken to the bus terminal at Probollingo (bus fee to Surabaya/ Bali is included in the package).

Is it better to opt for the package?

If you wish to see Mount Ijen too then yes, it is better to go with the package. It will be cheaper but be warned- the accommodation provided in Banyuwangi (Arabica homestay) is really bad, our room was about the size of a cubicle and was infested with many cockroaches. You can tell the agent to give you one of the better rooms in the hotel for an extra cost.

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