Mount Bromo stands at 2329-meter-high and is an active volcano from east Java, Indonesia.
On Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, you can find 2 active vulcanos the Mount Bromo and Mount Semeru surrounded with a sea of sand.
For me, Indonesia was never about the beaches but about the luxurious greenery, mountains, traditions, culture, food, and the volcanos.
Going close to a volcano was for a long time on my bucket list, and I finally had the opportunity to visit one in Indonesia. My favourite one was by far the Mount Bromo.
If you are planning to visit Mount Bromo, remember that you can do it for free, and without joining a tour. Here is how to do it.
How to get to Cemoro Lawang
Wherever you are in Java you need to head to Probolinggo. That can be done by bus, taxi or train.
In Proboling they are quite good at scamming tourists, so be careful and go to the bus station. Don’t believe if they say that there are no buses and that the only way to go is by joining a tour.
Outside the bus station, you have the minivans (called Bemos) that will take you to Cemoro Lawang (a village right next to the crater of Mount Bromo).
Unfortunately, there is only one option here. These minivans don’t have a schedule neither depart regularly so you need to wait for sufficient passengers to arrive. They charge Rp.35.000 ($2.50) if the bemo is full with 15 people, but they are happy to leave early without waiting to have 15 people as long as you pay the difference.
The ride from Probolinggo to Cemoro Lawang takes approximately 1 hour and a half always up the hill. Sometimes felt like the minivan wasn’t going to be able to go further up, but in the end, we arrived safely.
To go back to Probolinggo it’s the same route you came, find a bemo in the centre of the village, and wait for more people to arrive.
At Cemoro Lawang
Once at Cemoro Lawang its easy to find a place to spend the night, it felt that everyone in town had a room to rent. Just make sure you have hot water because it’s really cold there, and you will not want to take a cold shower when is 5ºC outside. Cemoro Lawang is a village high up in the mountains, 2217m above sea level, so you can imagine how chilly it is.
Cemoro Lawang doesn’t have great food at all neither accommodation options, and because of the lack of offer, the prices are a bit higher than in other places in Java. We paid Rp.200,000 ($14) per night for a basic mouldy room. We didn’t struggled to find plant-based options.
How to Hike Mount Bromo for Free, Without Using a Tour or a Guide
It can’t be easier to visit the Bromo for free. Just find the passage next to hotel Cemara Indah. Walk through a narrow passage near the hotel, and this way you don’t pay any entrance fee (Rp.350,000~$25). The path is quite straightforward, you go down the path, cross the sea of sand and then go up the volcano. It took me around 1hour and a half to get to the crater.
I recommend using the free offline map app – maps.me so you don’t get lost.
Both crossing the sea of sand and peeking inside the crater was definitely an experience of a lifetime.
How to avoid the crowds
Mount Bromo isn’t the highest peak of Indonesia, but it is very popular among tourist and locals. If you don’t plan your visit carefully, you might end having your experience ruined.
Avoiding the tours is the key and the only way to have a nice time exploring the area. So keep in mind that all tours go to see the sunrise first and then visit the volcano, so from late morning and afternoon the place is empty, there will be close to no people around it, and you can thoroughly enjoy your walk on the moon like landscape in the company of the wind and some clowns.
Be kind to all kinds
You will get a lot off offers for a horse ride up to the volcano, please don’t use the poor horses to transport you, they look sick, malnourished and tired. These horses are severely mistreated, and they are too small for riding up slopes with people on their backs… Please don’t support animal abuse ? be kind ?
- Warm clothes
- Decent shoes
- A scarf or a buff,
- app – Maps.Me
- snacks and water
photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha
20 thoughts on “Mount Bromo, for Free & Without a Tour”
thanks for shared about bromo
what a beautiful summary of your trip! i’ve been there in March and it was a great place to visit indonesia!
If you go to mount bromo by your own don’t forget also to visit mount ijen and tumaok sewu waterfall
Those views look incredible, what a great experience you had there x
It was amazing
This is brilliant! We’re going to java soon and would like to go to mount bromo! Thanks for sharing these tips!
Very cool! Loved the pics!
Stunning views of that ridge! And thank you for sticking up for those poor horses. 🙁
Brought back memories of when I visited Mt Bromo back in 1998 – spent almost 4 months in Indonesia, would love to return.
Wow you do need time to visit Indonesia it’s such a big country, did you visit all the main islands ?
We flew from Australia just after the riots between the Chinese and Muslims, but almost called the trip off. Instead, we decided to fly into Singapore and make our way by boat to Sumatra. As tensions died down, we headed south to Java, Bali, Lombok, boat back to Singapore to renew the visa, then to Kalimantan – they’re the only islands we saw in the 4 months. And yes, you need loads of time as travel was slow in those days but there are also loads of islands to experience. 😉
Another great travel post with useful tips and recommendations! In awe with your pictures (once again) xx
thank you so so much ?
Spectacular photos, excellent description. Moonscape, indeed. As dramatic a sight as one might wish to see. Thank you.
thanks Brad 🙂
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This is a great post Ana, well done you!! Mount Bromo has been in my bucket list forever, I’m saving your tips because I want to do it like you did, without a tour. thanks again for sharing **
thanks Oliver ? feel free to email me if you need anything else! happy travels