This is an update on Bromo Budget Travel article that I posted previously (see it here).The update includes the costs that you can find at the end of the article below.
I decided to take another trip to Mount Bromo in East Java for the second time in December. Having taken the trip the previous year, I was pretty confident that I could trace the route that I took. Especially I went this time with a friend who hadn’t gone there before. We were about to take the public transportation from Surabaya, but a last-minute change occurred and we were delightfully offered a free ride by a relative, complete with a driver. OK so here is some information that you need to know.
There are 2 entrances to Mount Bromo; the first route is from Surabaya which will take you to Cemoro Lawang village, and the second one is from Malang which will take you to Tosari village. Mount Bromo actually sits on a vast plateau that is located quite strategically between Surabaya and Malang, so you have 2 choices of route. However Cemoro Lawang is a popular option for budget travelers since you can walk from the village to the crater.
Things to see & do
Mount Bromo is located in a national park called Bromo – Tengger – Semeru National Park. The most popular destination is obviously Mount Bromo, but many people choose to go to Mount Penanjakan first before going to Bromo. Mount Penanjakan is located on a hill overlooking the plateau. The reason you want to go to Penanjakan is because the hill is higher than Bromo so you can see the sunrise clearer. Most people prefer to reach those 2 villages the night before the sunrise and start the climbing (or hiking/biking/driving) journey right before dawn. It will become very hot and uncomfortable after 9 AM.
So here is a possible itinerary for you:
Day 1: I presume you are already in Surabaya or Malang. From Surabaya, a good time to start the journey is around 12 PM. Go to Bungurasih bus terminal of Surabaya, and take the bus to Probolinggo city (about 3 hours). I’m sorry but the last time I took the route from Malang was in 1997 so I don’t know the situation now, but generally you can depart from Malang in the afternoon due to the close proximity to Tosari.
You must reach Probolinggo bus terminal before 4 PM because that’s the last minibus schedule for Cemoro Lawang. If you arrive later than that then you have to rent the minibus by yourself which would cost you Rp 200,000.- or more. The journey to Cemoro Lawang takes about 2 hours. It’s not a tourist bus; it’s a public transportation for the villagers so the bus stops everywhere the passengers wish to get on/off. Make sure that you alight at the very end of the journey, usually at the Cemara Indah Hotel of Cemoro Lawang village. Find a hotel, and get some rest.
Day 2: Cemoro Lawang/Tosari – Bromo
Most people start the journey at 4 AM. For those of you who departs from Tosari, the only way to travel is by jeep. From Cemoro Lawang you can take the jeep which will drop you off at the first point: Penanjakan. After taking the pictures of the sunrise, that same jeep will take you down to Mount Bromo. There’s a huge parking space at the plateau. From there you must walk to crater. The path is clearly visible with signposts and stone marks. You will walk past a Hindu temple; continue walking until you reach the hills. Just walk up the hills until you see the stairs. That’s the final challenge for you before seeing the crater. Another alternative mean of transportation is to take the horse; there are plenty of villagers that will offer you the ride.
After admiring Bromo, walk back to the parking lot and find the same jeep that will take you back to your original destination. Remember to take note the plate number of the jeep.
If you feel like hiking, you can start walking from Cemoro Lawang straight to Bromo. Bring a flashlight with you, but the road down to the plateau is pretty much clear with a pedestrian walk on the side so it’s safe. The trick is to follow the jeep’s route; don’t wander off the track because you can easily get lost on the plateau (mind you, it’s still dark and the fog is thick). It will eventually take you to the parking lot, and you continue up the hills. This is (for me) is better because you reach Bromo while it’s still dark. The sunrise view is also breathtaking.
Cemoro Lawang has plenty of budget options. The most popular one is Cemara Indah Hotel (0335-541019) and Lava View Hostel (0335-541009). There is another place called Lava View Lodge but it’s more expensive. Or you can also ask around for local-run hostels. They’re spartan rooms, but hey, you only check in for 1 night so it’s worth it.
Places to Eat
Both Cemara Indah Hotel and Lava View Hostel have cafes. You can also try local eateries along the main street of the village.
OK, so here’s a breakdown of all costs:
Bus fare Surabaya – Probolinggo: Rp 30,000.- for executive/AC bus. Non AC costs about half of it.
Minibus Probolinggo – Cemoro Lawang: Rp 25,000.- as per August 2008
Hotel Cemara Indah: lowest fare starts from Rp 100,000.-
Lava View Hostel: starts from Rp 110,000.-
Local-run dormitories: starts from Rp 60,000.-
Jeep transportation: Rp 100,000.-
Horse ride: Rp 50,000.-
Entrance ticket to the national park: Rp 6,000.-
Food: no fixed price, but reasonably cheap especially at the local eateries.