Mount Bromo’s vast stretch of black volcanic sand is a desolate landscape that’s totally out of this world. When you finally scale its summit to stand on the crater rim, the view dramatically changes with each turn – a sea of clouds ahead with the undulating hills below, a sharp drop into the smoking crater right behind and the looming Mount Batok at the side.
Here’s our journey from Surabaya to Mount Bromo:
From Surabaya to Cemoro Lawang
We landed at Juanda International Airport, Surabaya on a Sat afternoon, with not a single arrangement for our transport or accommodation and a vague idea of where we’re going. After grabbing our backpacks, it was either the Damri Shuttle Bus (Rp25,000/pp) or Private Taxi (Rp100,000/pp) to get to Bungurasih Bus Station. We were 4 and went for the latter, naturally.
After rejecting several touters (“Mount Bromo, M’am?”) at the bus station, we found the sign above our public bus that says ‘Probolinggo’. Rp23,000 for a 3h air-conditioned bus ride, not too bad. To ensure our journey was enjoyable, organized troops of peddlers took turns to come onboard, offering an assortment of snacks, bread, steamed buns and books before the bus set off.
From Probolinggo bus station, there’s no fixed bus schedule to the hilly town of Cemoro Lawang – the mini bus leaves when there are 10 people for Rp250,000 per journey. There was another couple who waited with us, but it was getting dark so we decided to share the cost between the 6 of us.
By the time we arrived, it was completely dark. There were plenty of guesthouses around the area and we weren’t too picky, so we settled for this one called Penginapan Home Stay for RP350,000/night for 4 pax. The rooms were sufficiently decent, but to our horror there was no hot shower (and it was about 15°C)! We sacrificed our shower for that night, and booked our next night at the much nicer Cemara Indah for Rp400,000/night for 4 pax.
Walking to Mount Bromo from Cemoro Lawang
And here’s a video of us taken at the summit…
When we had our fill, it was time to head to the adjacent Mount Penanjakan. The experience was completely different walking through the same landscape, as we saw our surroundings in bright daylight for the first time. Breakfast was hot coffee and cup noodles from one of the many stalls littered along the route.
It was a short 30minutes walk to the foot of Mount Penanjakan, but barely a minute after we ascended the steep slope, we gave in to the motorbikes that followed us. Rp25,000/pax to the peak in 12min – one of the best decisions of the trip.
The hike back down to Cemoro Lawang took us another 2.5hours, but that gave us another perspective of the landscape. We had discovered a shortcut only accessible by foot, descending along the edge of the mountain and walking across the local farms.
And then finally back at our beautiful, new lodge at Cemara Indah that overlooked the mountains we just conquered, for our much awaited hot shower.
Our itinerary – Surabaya, East Java Part I
Day 1: Arrive Surabaya
Day 2: Mount Bromo + Mount Penanjakan
Day 3: Leave for Ijen Crater