Feeling blessed fro this experience and pound of overcome some hard parts of the path, the dark cold of the night and the tiredness of a long-long hike, without giving up.
Arriving at Bromo, listening to the sound that comes from the center of the crater, a mix of boiling water with the sound from an earthquake… the breading of the earth. Such a power… such a memorable experience.
But the extraordinary moments lived in this visit to the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park started early in the morning, when before the first sun rays climb up the mountains, with the dawn light revealing a unreal landscape where the base of the three mountains – Bromo, Kursi and Batok – emerge from a thick layer of white clouds, giving the impression that these mountains are float in a cotton candy mattress.
But with the daylight the mantle of clouds slowly vanish, exposing a flat green plain, that is itself a center of an old volcano, which walls were almost all erased by erosion, but the one that is clearly visible is the location of Cemoro Lawang village.
The lava naked cone of Bromo volcano, emerge majestic and powerful in the lunar landscape, and the white dense smoke that comes from the crater reminds us this volcano is alive and can show is power at any moment!
Around there’s a wide and desert plain of black volcanic sand were a few plants try to survive… walking in this emptiness brings the feeling of total freedom, no boundaries, no limits… not even a footpath to follow!!!
Visit Bromo Volcano… DIY:
To visit Bromo National Park you don’t need a guide or a tour, but you need to walk a lot!!!!!… let’s say around 20 kilometers if you want to see the sun rise at the viewpoint and then go down to visit the volcano in the same day… is doable! I start at 4 a.m. and finish at 10.30 a.m. But don’t worry, ojeks (moto-taxi) are available everywhere, so if you start on foot and you feel that this hike is too hard you can get one ojek to save you some kilometers from your legs.
Jeep tours can be arranged at the guesthouses in Cemoro Lawang, but most of the people arrive here in tours from Malang and some from Probolindo (don’t recommend Probolingo as the city is famous for scams).
- You don’t need special gear, just comfortable sneakers and warm clothes. It’s better to dress several layers that you can take off as the day warm’s up. Also, be prepared for the rain if you are visiting Bromo around April.
- You need a ticket that cost 10.000 Rp. I couldn’t find the ticket counter and the guys also didn’t found me…
- I start at 4 a.m. but need to walk fast to reach the summit of the hill nearby Cemoro Lawang, where you have the top view point… so is better leave the village around 3:30 a.m.
- Walk along the road until the last viewpoint where you find some stalls (Mount Pananjakan). The road can be busy with traffic because almost everybody goes up by jeep. Most of the people stop here, on the end of the road, but you can keep walking up along a staircase. After, the path is not clear and the first part is a bit difficult, where I need the help of my hands to climb up, but after the hike get’s easier, always up in a kind of zigzag until you reach the top
- On the top of the hill, there’s a viewpoint with a kind of cement fence. Here is an amazing spot to watch the sunrise, Bromo and the nearby hills, as you probably arrive already with some daylight.
- After the sunrise, I could see clearly the volcano and the valley but just for a few minutes, because the fog starts to close the view. But when I was almost ready to leave, suddenly the all the fog vanish and the sunrays light the landscape. The view was perfect.
- I weather is very unpredictable here and the conditions change quickly. In April the mornings were mostly sunny but around noon the rain starts, sometimes with thunders… other times is just a thick fog.
- When you are done with the views of Bromo, is time to come down and walk to the crater. There are two options:
- the shortest one is to go back to Cemoro Lawang and from there cross the plain to reach the volcano.
- The other option is to go down along the road on the other side of the hill, a pavement road that ends in the plain area. Is a long walk, around 7.2 km but always downhill, with some parts very steep.
Anyway, at this road there are several ojeks waiting to help if you feel that is too much walk. There are several viewpoints where you can grab a coffee, instant noodle soup or some food, and have some rest.
- Crossing the plain is the easiest part. Here you’ll also find a few basic food stalls.
- When you arrive close to the Bromo, you’ll pass by the temple (Pura Luhur Poten Gunung Bromo) nothing special if you already have been in Bali.
- From here you need to climb a bit to reach the staircase to the top of the crater. There are horses to help you to reach until the stairs.
- You can walk along the crater rim, but a certain point the path gets narrow…. didn’t walk further because I found it danger as there is no protection on the active crater side.
- Now is time to go down… walk along the plain but now in the direction to Cemoro Lawang… is a very nice walk and you don’t even need to follow the path of the cars.
- The last part is the worst, as you need to climb a steep road back to Cemoro Lawang… it doesn’t have more than 800 m, but look steeper for my tired legs.
So all this takes more than 6.5h, but cost you nothing and you can enjoy the view as long as you want.
About Cemoro Lawang:
Cemoro Lawang (pronounces chemoro) could be just one more rural small village at the end of the road, but due to the proximity to the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park, which entrance starts in the village, become a tourist destination, particularly for visitors that want to visit Bromo independently, without a tour.
And Cemoro Lawang doesn’t have much than a few houses, some homestays, hotel and guesthouses, a few eateries and a couple of groceries shops. Around, away from the tropical climate from the lower lands, all the fields were planted with onions and cabbages!!!
Where to sleep in Cemoro Lawang:
There are many guesthouses and homestays everywhere… also many people renting rooms and houses that don’t even have a sign. Just start to ask, that someone will show you a place. You can bargain the price, but the local people don’t speak much English. The conditions are basic, no hot water and no heating, but you can get a room for 75.000 Rp in one of these homestays.
For a more comfortable stay there are many options in Cemoro Lawang that cost more than 200.000 Rp.
Where to eat in Cemoro Lawang:
There are many warungs along the main road that leads to the entrance of the Bromo Park. Despite being a touristic area, the prices are quite fair and the food follows the Indonesian standards.
Nearby the place where the buses wait for passengers there’s a restaurant with tasty food… a good option while you wait for the bus to be full.
ATMs and Money exchange in Cemoro Lawang:
There aren’t ATMs in Cemoro Lawang, but on the way from Probolingo the bus will stop at an ATM, and wait for you.
How to go from Probolingo to Cemoro Lawang (Bromo Volcano)
- If you arrive at Probolingo by train, you need to catch a bemo to the Bus Terminal Bayu Angga. If you travel by bus probably you’ll end your trip at the terminal and you just need to walk 500 m to reach the bus stop where the buses to Cemoro Lawang are waiting. Watch out: Probolingo is famous for scams!
- In front of the Probolingo Train Station, you’ll see a yellow bemo waiting that goes to the Bus Terminal Bayu Angga. You need to wait until it get’s full and the trip costs 10.000 Rp and takes 15 minutes. Along the way, the driver stopped several times trying to push the foreigners out of the bemo, saying that is the place to catch the bus to Cemoro Lawang, but these are the private buses or private cars. The public buses (very old and in bad condition) are waiting a bit south from the Bayu Angga Terminal, in front of some warungs. The driver will spot you as everybody that arrives here go to “Bromo”. The ticket costs 35.000 Rp and you need to wait until the bus is full, that means 15 people. If after a while there are not enough people, the total cost of 525.000 Rp will be divided by the number of passengers
- The 37 km until Cemoro Lawang are made along a bumpy road with nice views passing along rural areas. The bus drops you at the end of the road, or before if you ask, as there is not exactly a center of the village.