Mount Bromo – Inside a volcano

Mount Bromo is an active volcano in East Java, about an hour out of Probolingo. It’s 2329 metres high and erupted as recently as 2015. So we decided to trek up and see inside the volcano.

We booked a mini bus from Probolingo to Cemoro Lawing, a small village 2km away from the volcano. For anybody travelling from Probolingo make sure you take a green shuttle bus. We found if you go inside the official bus station  (even if they tell you no) and go to the far end you will see an agent called Toto Travel. This guy is the only honest guy in Probolingo and will make sure you have the correct information and pay the correct price. It should be around 35,000IDR to get up to Comoro Lawang.

 

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Sadly as we climbed up towards Comoro Lawang it started to heavily rain. We met two other groups of two people who were also visiting Bromo and decided to meet them at 2am for the trek to see the sunrise over Mount Bromo.

We woke up at 2am to find the rains had stopped and decided to take the walk up Mount Penanjaken, adjacent to Mount Bromo which had the best viewing point of the sunrise. Toto gave us a good tip for a small path you could take away from the fleet of Jeep tours that drive up to the mountain and also to avoid the scam of paying to see the mountain the tours have to take. It can get cold at night high up so make sure you take warm clothes, or if not you can buy a hat from one of the street sellers for around 8000IDR with a nice embroidered Bromo patch.

We walked in the pitch black through crop fields and farms not quite sure if we were going the right way at times. However we managed to stay on track and eventually reached the official viewing point of Penanjaken. An older woman selling coffee gave us a tip that if we climbed up high by 10 minutes we would have the best viewing point for sunrise and avoid the crowd of around 20 people form the official tour that were also viewing the sunrise. We managed to find the small view point where there was no noise disturbance and we were alone as a group. 

The sunrise was spectacular, slowly revealing the belowing smoke from the volcano, the sea of clouds below and the vivid greens of the surrounding rain forrest. At around 7pm we decided to trek down towards the crater of Bromo, across the sea of sands.

We spoke to the same coffee woman as before who gave us a shortcut on how to get down the mountain and easily cross the sea of sands to Mount Bromo. We trekked around an hour down Penanjaken and finally arrived at the bottom where it appeared to be an easy path across the sea of sands to Bromo. However around 10 minutes later we were greeted by a flooded path from the rains the evening before. A woman cutting reeds said there was no way through. We had to turn back, dreading the climb back up Penanjaken.

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The climb a up Penanjaken was so daughnting that we decided we would  instead make our way around the edge of Penanjaken and hopefully work our way around the flood. There was no path so we had to push down the reeds on top of the puddles of water to get around to the sea of sands. We eventually made it over, however we now had soaked shoes.

The walk across the sea of sands was amazing. Every direction you turned you was greeted by a completely different landscape; volcanic wasteland, luscious green forrest, crop fields, and the smoking volcano of Bromo in the distance.

We spoke to the same coffee woman as before who gave us a shortcut on how to get down the mountain and easily cross the sea of sands to Mount Bromo. We trekked around an hour down Penanjaken and finally arrived at the bottom where it appeared to be an easy path across the sea of sands to Bromo. However around 10 minutes later we were greeted by a flooded path from the rains the evening before. A woman cutting reeds said there was no way through. We had to turn back, dreading the climb back up Penanjaken.

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When we arrived at Bromo we were almost alone as all the jeep tours had already drove away. Due to the rains the evening before we decided to remove our shoes and tackle the muddy steps barefoot. The volcanic mud was actually quite refreshing after the hours of walking we had done previously.

The pay off was incredible. The volcano was very active and belows of smoke puffed out constantly. We walked slightly round the edge of the crater but decided it was too dangerous to wander further. Seeing the views from Bromo and the trek we had done to get there was very rewarding.

We walked back to Cemoro Lawang barefoot across the volcanic wasteland of the sand of seas ready for a shower and a bowl of Soto Ayam. The night before we had eaten at Cafe Lava, but the food was overpriced and not very good. We ate at a waroeng on the opposite side from Cafe Lava where the food was cheap (40000IDR for two) and very delicious.

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For anybody visiting Bromo my suggestion would be to speak to Toto in Probolingo and get the route for the small path, otherwise ask at Cafe Lava Hostel for a map and ask for the route to get down  from Cemera Indah Hotel to avoid paying the entrance fee and taking a beautiful walk to the viewing point.

The next day we got up, took a bus back to Toto who set us up with transportation to the infamous Cawa Ijen to see the blue fire of the sulphur mines, inside an active volcano with the largest acidic lake in the world.