Mount Bromo: tips for visiting an active volcano in Indonesia

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Mount Bromo is an active volcano in Indonesia that draws thousands of visitors to see its steamy caldera and enjoy panoramic views of this unique destination. The volcano itself is already impressive, but the entire area is remarkable – a mix of volcanic dunes and lush green valleys.

When visiting Mount Bromo, you will have unforgettable views of one of the best places to visit in Indonesia. Additionally, you can enjoy various activities, including hiking and horseback riding.

This post is all about how to visit Mount Bromo, including how to get here, places to stay nearby, a description of the tour, and other tips.

About Mount Bromo

Mount Bromo is located on the island of Java and is one of the top places to visit in Indonesia. The active volcano is one of the attractions of Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, a park that covers a massive area of 800 km2 and has 5 impressive volcanic mountains. Though the star of the park is Mount Bromo, here you will also find Mount Semeru, the highest point of Java.

At 2,329 meters above sea level, with a crater about 800 meters in diameter and 200 meters deep, Mount Bromo was named after Brahma, the Hindu god of creation. The entire area is known as the Sea of Sand (Segara Wedi, in Javanese), a natural reserve made of volcanic sand dunes protected since 1919.

Mount Bromo, and the entire park, are considered sacred by the Hindu group Tengger who lives in the region. Because of this, here, you will find the Pura Luhur Poten temple and see people offering flowers, food, and other items to the volcano at the top.

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Getting to Mount Bromo

The Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park is located in the eastern part of Java, Indonesia, three hours away from the city of Malang and about four hours from Surabaya, the country’s second-largest city.

Both Malang and Surabaya have airports and are connected to other main destinations in Indonesia, like Bali, Jakarta, and Yogyakarta.

Additionally, if you want to be closer to Mount Bromo and skip waking up super early, you can stay in Cemoro Lawang, a small town at the park’s entrance that you can easily reach from Surabaya.

Once you set up base in one of the cities close to the park, a guided tour is the best way to visit Mount Bromo. I lived in Jakarta when I visited Mount Bromo, so I chose to stay in Malang to join the guided tour

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Where to stay nearby

The best cities to stay in to visit Mount Bromo are Surabaya and Malang. So, here are a some of the best hotels to stay at:

Best hotels in Surabaya

  • JW Marriott Hotel Surabaya: the best 5-star hotel in Surabaya, located right in the heart of the business and shopping district. The rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city, and the pool is perfect for cooling down and relaxing. Staying here, you can walk to the mall and enjoy many of the on-site dining experiences.
  • Shangri-la Surabaya: an excellent 5-star hotel that is located close to the mall and offers some of the best experiences in the city. The comfortable rooms are decorated with Asian and Javanese elements.
  • The Westin Surabaya: a great place to stay in Surabaya. In this modern hotel, the rooms are spacious and offer beautiful views of the city.

Best hotels in Malang

  • Hotel Tugu Malang: a beautiful hotel featuring Indonesian design. Here you’ll find an outdoor pool and restaurant options for when you don’t want to eat out.
  • Hotel Santika Premiere Malang: one of the best hotels in Malang, with a gorgeous swimming pool and spacious rooms.
  • Grand Cakra Hotel Malang: a hotel with comfortable accommodations and close to the bus and train stations.

Mount Bromo guided tour

Malang is located three hours away from Mount Bromo, so the sunrise tours have an early start.

The tour to Mount Bromo from Malang starts with a 1 am hotel pick up followed by a two-hour drive to a small village where you will transfer to a Jeep before continuing the last part of the journey by car.

At 3 am, the Jeep departs for a 30-kilometer drive to the park’s entrance. Then, it’s time to go on a short walk that takes you to the viewpoint of Mount Penanjakan, a mountain at 2,700 meters high. The lookout itself is usually full of people, so ask your guide to take you along a trail to climb a little further up the hill for a better view.

While it is still dark, you will be able to gaze at the stars, and you can even spot the Milky Way on a good night. The shooting stars, which eventually appear, crown the moment and may even validate what the Tenggerese believe: you are in a sacred place.

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As the first rays of sunlight begin to appear, you will be able to see the haze that covers the entire park and create a dreamy atmosphere, giving a special touch to this region of volcanic soil. You will see the sunrise and have incredible views of Mount Bromo and the other peaks, such as Semeru (the largest), stretching gloriously behind, and Batak (in the front), forming the perfect setting.

After the sunrise, it’s time to head back to the Jeep (around 6 am) to see the star of the park – Mount Bromo. Even though Semeru is the highest peak, it’s Bromo that everyone talks about and where they all want to go. And from afar, you can already see it is active and steaming.

After a few minutes, you will arrive in the Jeep parking area inside the crater-like park, where you will have the option to walk or use the horses (50,000 IDR per person – not included in the tour) to make your way to the stairs leading you up to the Bromo crater.

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If you choose to walk, as I did, you can do it calmly, at your own pace. However, along the way, there will be a lot of dust from the wind and people walking, so it is a good idea to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and something to cover the nose, such as scarves or face masks.

Once you reach the bottom of the volcano, you need to climb 200 steps to reach the crater, and when you get up there, a powerful sulfur smell will welcome you.

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The view from above is beyond exceptional and breathtaking (almost literally, after climbing the steps). Here, it is possible to recognize the human fragility in contrast to such a majestic nature. And it is not enough to be on top of an active volcano and look at its crater. If you can take a few moments to look around, you will be enchanted by an immense beauty that seems unreal.

After taking in the view of Mount Bromo and its crater, it’s time to continue the tour with the Jeep. You will pass by mountains that change colors at every turn and are a fascinating setting, eventually stopping at Savannah and Teletubbies Hill, a completely different landscape from the one seen previously. Here, you will see golden bushes and green hills (similar to those of the Teletubbies TV show, hence the name) with the blue sky as the background.

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To finish the tour, you go on the Jeep to Whispering Sands, a part in the middle of the sea of sand, to experience an almost absolute silence, which is only interrupted by the Jeeps and motorbikes occasionally passing by. Alone amid the vastness of a colossal scenery, you will probably believe you are in a sacred place.

If you are in Java or visiting other parts of Indonesia, do not miss the opportunity to visit Mount Bromo with a guided tour.

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Other tips

For more information on how to visit Indonesia, including visa, currency, and other practical information, read this post with all you need to know before visiting Indonesia.

When visiting Mount Bromo, be prepared for low temperatures and cold during the night and at the beginning of the tour. During the day, the weather becomes milder, so you should dress in layers.

We stayed at the Tugu Hotel in Malang, a comfortable and enjoyable stay, and we booked the tour directly with them. The tour package price to visit Mount Bromo from Malang starts at 1,000,000 IDR/pax, depending on the group size.

Also, if you want a vetted alternative, take a look at my curated tours to Mount Bromo with GetYourGuide, with options of tours from Bali, Surabaya, and Yogyakarta. Click on each tour below for booking:

The best time to visit Mount Bromo is between April and October. During this period, the weather is dry, and the hiking trails are less muddy.

After visiting Mount Bromo, you might also like to read other posts about Indonesia:

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I am Elen, and I help 9-5ers plan their next getaway. I curate travel experiences, from places to sip a coffee to stays in boutique hotels, so you can save time when planning your next vacation. Here you will find travel guides, tips, and the best itineraries for your next trip.

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