Feb 20 2012

Gunung Bromo, the alternative way

Published by at 10:03 am under Java

Being one of Java‘s premier attractions, Gunung Bromo and the Tengger Caldera area get their fair share of visitors with many travelling straight from Yogyakarta via some sort of pre-arranged tour. It’s not a bad option to take a tour from Yogyakarta, but one thing is almost gauranteed: you will be travelling via the town of Probolinggo, staying overnight in the town of Cemoro Lawang on the lip of the Tengger Caldera and the next day you will either be travelling to Kawah Ijen, Bali or back to Yogyakarta. A whirlwind tour if you like. But there is another alternative for those not wishing to take organised transport.

A river valley on the journey from Malang to Gunung Bromo

A river valley on the journey from Malang to Gunung Bromo.

If visiting the city of Malang, it is possible to reach the Tengger Caldera and Gunung Bromo much more quickly than taking the circuitous route of heading to Probolinggo and then up the hill to Cemoro Lawang. Better still, you can head to Bromo one way and depart the other, allowing you to see two totally different but spectactular sections of scenery that truly are a joy to behold.

Jeeps making their way across the savanna around the back of Gunung Bromo

Jeeps making their way across the savanna around the back of Gunung Bromo.

The route from Malang starts on the side of the road, looking for an angkot to take you to the Arjosari bus terminal. Luckily for you angkots travelling to Arjosari pass most main roads in town frequently from early in the morning to late at night. Look for any angkot with the letter A on the windscreen — such as an ADL or GA — and it will get you to the terminal for 2,500 rupiah.

Farming the incredibly steep slopes around Gunung Bromo

Farming the incredibly steep slopes around Gunung Bromo.

Once at Arjosari, catch an angkot to Tumpang, 24 kilometres away for 5,000 rupiah. In Tumpang, things get interesting.

There are two ways of getting to the Tengger Caldera, Gunung Bromo and accommodation in Cemoro Lawang. The first and easiest way is to charter a motorbike taxi (ojek) to carry you and your luggage for 80,000 rupiah up the steep ridge, which affords some absolutely magnificent views. It gets cold along the way and long pants and a jacket are a good idea.

The second way of getting to the top is by jumping in a shared jeep, which departs from the Tumpang market, for 60,000 rupiah. The problem with this method is that the jeeps only leave when there are enough passengers, meaning that a long wait could be in order. Worse, they simply won’t depart at all if enough people don’t show up, so it’s advisable to arrive early and with a backup plan to use an ojek if the jeep option doesn’t materialise.

An incredible savanna around the back of Gunung Bromo

Dreamy savanna around the back of Gunung Bromo.

The good thing about heading to Bromo from this direction is that you get to pass through the savanna at the back of the caldera which is an incredible contrast to the Sea of Sand around the front — something the vast majority of visitors to the area simply do not see. It is so impressive that we reckon it’s a must-see if already in the area. The other good thing about this route is that it’s easy to make a slight six-kilometre detour to the town of Ranu Pane where hikes to Java’s tallest volcano commence from.

Of course, you can do this entire journey in reverse for the same price. It’s a great way to do something a little bit different when visiting Gunung Bromo.

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48 responses so far

48 Responses to “Gunung Bromo, the alternative way”

  1. Sandraon 17 Mar 2012 at 12:31 am

    Hi Adam,

    Thanks a lot for explaining in detail this alternative route to get to Gunung Bromo. I plan to do so myself in early June and was looking for something different from the usual Surabaya-Probolinggo-Cemoro Lawang option.

    I have a couple of questions, if you don’t mind:

    1. How long did it take you from Malang to Cemoro Lawang? I understand that once you got there you rested until next day’s sunrise.

    2. I’ve read somewhere that, instead of a jeep, you can take a bike to drive you to the lookout. Is that correct?

    3. What would you advise would be the better option from Gunung Bromo to Yogyakarta?


  2. Adamon 17 Mar 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Hi Sandra,

    It doesn’t take too long to get from Malang to Cemoro Lawang, but it depends on your mode of transport. If you catch public transport to Tupang from Malang, it takes about 1 hour. From Tumpang to Cemoro Lawang on the back of a motorbike is about another hour or so. Maybe 2 hours if you stop to take in the views. Because most people like to take in the sunrise views, it’s not really practical to depart from Malang at 2am to arrive for sunrise in Cemoro Lawang unless you have a private car or ride a motorbike yourself, but the road through the crater can be muddy and I would say dangerous in the dark.

    It is possible to take a motorbike to the lookout. It’s also possible to walk to the lookout from most hotels in Cemoro Lawang — allow about 1 hour to viewpoint #2 or 1.5hrs to viewpoint #1.

    Bromo to Yogya is a long long journey and most people do it using tourist shuttle (which is part of a package tour including accommodation), but it is possible to do it on your own, but it will take longer. I think a great way to do it is to take the train from Malang — the Malabar which departs at 1545. You could easily hire a motorbike driver (ojek) early in the morning to take you to the sunrise lookout, bromo itself, around the back to the savannah and then all the way to Malang train station. That would be fairly expensive because it is a long day for the driver and a long way also, but they should be able to do it for around 150,000 rupiah after negotiation. The 7hr train journey is then 95,000 rupiah.

    Whatever you end up doing, it is fantastic. I actually recommend staying in the area more than one night just to relax and take it all in. Most people are only there for one night. Have fun!
    There is a direct train service between Malang and Yogyakarta. The train departs Malang at and is very comfortable. I don’t know how much time you have, but if you had to, it

  3. Sandraon 17 Mar 2012 at 11:50 pm


    Thank you very much for providing such a detailed reply. You have truly opened my eyes! :)

    From your post I understood that staying overnight in Malang or Ngadas wouldn’t be wise. I agree with you that reaching Cemoro Lawang is easier and more practical.

    I am discovering right now that there’s a 2nd lookout! I thought that Penanjakan was the only one (where crowds gather to get the famous postcard of the 3 volcanoes) and then people went to visit the crater.

    However, I’m afraid to get lost and miss the track from Cemoro Lawang (especially if I don’t have time the day before to explore the path a bit). After all, I will only have one chance to see the sunrise & panorama. Should I go for it?

    I love your idea of catching a train from Malang to Yogyakarta. Faster, more comfortable and at a very reasonable price. Should I buy the ticket in advance?

    Again, thanks for help. I really appreciate.

  4. Adamon 19 Mar 2012 at 1:28 am

    Walking all the way from Cemoro Lawang is only really if you like walking and want to save money otherwise just hop in a jeep like almost everyone else does. It’s much quicker and doesn’t really take away from the experience that much. Of course it would be great to be completely in nature without a car, but the fact is that it’s a long walk from Cemoro Lawang to the viewpoint, viewpoint to Bromo and then Bromo back to Cemoro Lawang. Most people just don’t want to walk that far.

    You won’t get lost walking to the viewpoint. Just follow the jeeps along the road.

    It’s possible to buy train tickets from any train station and if you are 100% sure you are travelling on a certain day, I would book a ticket because sometimes the trains are full. Up until recently, the train company would allow “extra” passengers on the train even if they didn’t have a seat number, but this has stopped now. Buying a ticket the day before is usually enough unless there is a big holiday.

    One other thing, the second lookout is really just a viewpoint lower down the mountain. Because of the eruption last year, viewpoint #1 at the very top of the mountain couldn’t be accessed by jeep and it’s a long walk up so most people just stop at viewpoint #2. This situation may have already changed though!

  5. Danny Hollandon 03 Jun 2012 at 4:43 am

    I have also a question. I want to travel in the end of June by night train from Yogyakarta to Malang. I will arrive early in the morning and want to continue traveling to Cemoro Lawang. So if I understand you correctly it is possible to travel to Tumpang and from there to Cemoro Lawang (also by Jeep?)? I want to take a hotel or guesthouse overthere for the night and get up early to see daybreak at Bromo.
    Then, after returning from that trip, I would like to travel to Banyuwangi (either by minivan, or by minivan and train via Probolingo).
    Can you advise me on this one? Kind regards from the Netherlands!

  6. Adamon 05 Jun 2012 at 10:16 am

    @Danny – What you want to do is possible. Get off the train in Malang, catch an angkot to the bus terminal (arjosari). There are lots in front of the train station. Then change angkots in arjosari and head to Tumpang. There jeeps in Tumpang, but they aren’t guaranteed to leave when you want them to leave, so the backup plan is to get a guy on a motorbike to take you. It’s all very easy and well worth considering.

  7. Jenniferon 15 Jul 2012 at 5:27 am

    Hey Adam!

    Some queries:
    I plan to go to Bromo, hopefully to see the sunrise (what time is the sunrise, normally?).

    I will be departing from Turen, on to Malang (Arjosari Bus Terminal), on to Tumpang, then probably take the Jeep (since there are 4 of us).

    My question is, what time should I depart? From Turen to Malang is probably 40 min, looking from Google Maps. How long is the trip from Arjosari to Tumpang, then Tumpang to Bromo? If I were to depart early morning say at 2a.m., would there be transport to Arjosari, to Tumpang and Bromo?

    Also, at Tumpang, how do I find the Jeeps? Or the Ojeks?


  8. Adamon 15 Jul 2012 at 11:18 am

    Sorry, I can’t remember sunrise time off the top of my head, but it was between 5 & 6. :)

    Ok, I don’t know anything about Turen, but it looks tiny on the map an I would doubt public transport would depart from there to Malang during the night and even then it probably wouldn’t go to Arjosari – it’d go to a southern terminal, I’d say. From Arjosari to Tumpang it is also unlikely that there would be public transport readily available at that time of the day but you could be lucky. If you are definitely going to be in Turen the day before, I would ask one of the locals to organize a jeep and driver for you all the way from Turen to Bromo and then have the jeep drop you off somewhere – wherever you want to go next. It might cost quite a bit for the jeep to pick you up from there, so budget for about 500,000 rupiah.

    The problem with all of this is that the route from Malang is not as often done by tourists and certainly much more rarely for sunrise. It may well be possible to arrange your transport as you travel during the middle of the night, but it’s safer to arrange it in advance. If you don’t need to see the sunrise, then it is easy to just wing it.

    Why are you going to Turen? Have you used public transport in Indonesia before?

    Ojeks and jeeps are available in the centre of Tumpang by the way. Perhaps not in the middle of the night though.

  9. Celineon 02 Aug 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Dear Adam,

    Thanks a lot for these information !
    I have a few questions for you : we are planning our trip in Java in September and have chosen to rent our own car (like a Toyota Avanza, which is more a MPV than a SUV) to avoid any time loss as we will be spending only 2 weeks, and also for the freedom spirit :)

    For the Bromo visit, I was planning to spend 2 nights in the area. We will be coming from Kalibaru (West from Banyuwangi) and next stop after Bromo will be Solo.
    From what I read and maps, there is a road from Kaliparu to go on Bromo from the east/north on from the west/south.

    Going from the north would lead us to enter the Bromo from Cemoro Lawang, which is more touristic but seems easier for accomodation.
    > If so : even with our own vehicule, will we need the Jeep service from Cemoro for the Bromo trip ?
    > Then, after the trip to Bromo, will it be possible with our car to easily join Malang with the trip you describe, from Cemoro Walang ?

    Other option from the south would be to join directly Malang road from Kalibaru.
    > Is the trip you describe here as the other way also manageable with our own car or is a jeep necessary ?
    > Do you know places to stay on this side of the Bromo, not too far ?

    I know these are very specific questions, thanks in advance if you can help me !
    Kind regards

  10. Adamon 03 Aug 2012 at 12:49 pm


    I haven’t travelled the route you want to travel, but have travelled a bit around that area and I am 95% confident that your journey will involve dirt roads. Dirt roads in Indonesia are often not good and using a normal 2wd vehicle can be a problem. But on the other hand it may not be! My advice would be to enter Bromo via the Probolinggo/Cemoro Lawang route. It is possible to drive from Cemoro Lawang to Malang via this alternative route, but… When I went through there it was muddy and a car had gotten stuck. I wouldn’t take a 2wd avanza from Cemoro Lawang to Malang. It is possible to make it, but there is also a good chance you won’t either because there is not road across the caldera floor — just dirt tracks which the jeeps use.

    So, I would advise going to Cemoro Lawang. It is not touristy! Yes you will see other tourists, but not that many. You don’t need to take a jeep from Cemoro Lawang to the summit of Gunung Penanjakan where people watch the sunrise. You can walk and it isn’t too far — hotel owners may tell you differently.

    If you want to see the back of Gunung Bromo, I would hire a jeep or motorbike to take you there. There is a great viewing platform around the other side and it is worth the journey.

    One last thing, I’m not sure what your plans are for visiting Kawah Ijen, but I would advise that you don’t try to reach Ijen with your rental car from Banyuwangi. I don’t think it would be possible — people usually hire a jeep or a motorbike as the road is VERY steep and is made up of large rocks. Even motorbikes can’t be driven along much of it because it is so bad.

    Sorry to be dramatic, but the reality is that some of these areas are just not built for 2WD vehicles.

  11. Jennifer Hahon 01 Sep 2012 at 11:55 am

    Dear Adam!

    I went to Turen to see some relatives, haha. Anyway yeah sunrise was 5a.m., but I reached Bromo foot at 3.30am. Ended up taking a travel agent, IDR300,000 per person, very very cheap, considering they picked us up from Turen at 12a.m. and back, provided blankets, jackets, gloves, midnight coffee and snacks and a huge buffet breakfast! Excellent service! The Jeep ride was included in the package as well!

    But anyway, thanks for your reply! I had an awesome time at Bromo ^_^

  12. Ernaon 20 Oct 2012 at 6:23 pm

    hay. I’m Erna. I come from Probolinggo, but now I live in Malang.
    I really feel so happy when I read this website. you adore Bromo so much.
    yes, it’s so amazing, wonderful view, especially when it is sunrise and sunset.
    hopefully you will be joyful in Bromo. our biggest tourism place in Probolinggo :)

  13. Matton 30 Oct 2012 at 5:50 am

    Hi Adam,
    I feel like I’ve struck gold with finding your post! I am Singapore-based, and my parents are coming to see me in 2 weeks. I plan to take them (with my girlfriend) to Bromo, via Malang. (We’re taking a train Yogya-Surabaya then will take a car to Malang). I plan for a day’s rest in Malang/Batu then wish to get to CL during the next day via the ‘backdoor’ route you described, and then do the sunrise stuff the next day after staying at CL – giving us 2 days in the mountains.

    Couple of questions:

    – With 4 of us and a fairly expansive budget, can we take a jeep all the way on the backdoor route easily from Malang? (I heard many Malang operators still go via Probolinggo) How much would the backdoor route costs for hired jeep all the way?

    -After sunrise views at CL, i want to get to Banyuwangi, via minibus to Probolinggo and then train. Is this feasible?

    Hope to hear back from you soon,
    Many thanks

  14. Adam Poskitton 30 Oct 2012 at 1:43 pm


    1. Yes, you should be able to find someone to take you all the way from Malang by asking at your hotel. If you have no luck, a good place to ask is Hotel Helios as they run a transportation service as well. I would imagine the journey to cost about 400,000 rupiah all the way to Cemoro Lawang. You definitely need a jeep of some sort to get there especially because it’s the rainy season. Don’t accept it if someone offers a normal car.

    2. Getting to Banyuwangi is easy from Cemoro Lawang and there are 3 main options. Jump on with one of the minibuses that is going direct to Banyuwangi with all the other tourists. Catch a bus down to Probolinggo and then catch a train. Or, Catch a bus down to Probolinggo and then a regular bus from there to Banyuwangi. You might want to check train times on http://www.kereta-api.co.id

    The train between Probolinggo and Banyuwangi is fantastic. It’s a real pleasure to sit in the cheapest class as well so you can really soak up the atmosphere.

  15. Matton 31 Oct 2012 at 7:10 am

    Thanks Adam!

    Will check out Hotel Helios for the transport arrangements. I’m having some trouble finding a place to stay in Cemoro Lawang that isn’t fully booked up (at least on booking sites like Agoda etc.) Is this just because agents book out the rooms in bulk? Do you know of any decent agents I can approach to organise accommodation in CL? Thanks again for your help!


  16. Adam Poskitton 31 Oct 2012 at 1:42 pm

    The accommodation options in Cemoro Lawang are generally quite basic and most you can’t book online. Check out the accommodation listings on travelfish. I reviewed all of those places. My favourite is Yoshi’s, about 4 km from Cemoro Lawang and the crater. It’s basic, but charming. You can probably call them and book if you need to as they do speak English. Well some of the people do anyway. Better still, email them.

  17. Citraon 04 Nov 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Hi Adam,

    Thank you for your post. It is really good information. I am thinking to do this on my upcoming trip to bromo.

    Really appreciate it if you can help me with this questions:
    1. If we come via Malang (departing 1pm from Malang), in which village you would recommend us to stay? Ngandas or Cemoro Lawang?
    2. If we are using private car, in which point should we change to jeep?
    3. Do you have any car rental recommendation with good price from Malang?

    Thanks a bunch! :)


  18. Adam Poskitton 05 Nov 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Citra, those are tough questions to answer but I’ll try.

    1. Cemoro Lawang. The other places are very very basic.

    2. If you are using a private, change in Tumpang as that’s where the keeps go from.

    3. Car rental in Malang. The only place I know of is at Helios Hotel. But if you’re going
    To rent a car and then drive to Tumpang and them rent a jeep, what are you going to do with the rental car? Maybe better to see if Helios can arrange a jeep straight from malang to cemoro Lawang.

  19. Maureenon 18 Feb 2013 at 12:51 am

    Adam…. Thank you very much for posting this and I am impressed! … I am Indonesian and I have gone to Bromo twice. This is one of those places I really love and I would like to go the third time on my own and stay there for few days… Again, thank you (^^)

  20. John Burgesson 25 Mar 2013 at 3:52 pm


    I am very impressed that you have bothered to pass on such valuable info. I have just spent a few days in Surabaya covering the Axiata Cup Badminton for TV. I will return there in 3 days for another session next weekend. In the meantime I travelled to Malang today with a self drive car and have 3 nights at the Santiki Malang. Your blog has been so useful because I will now drive to Tumpang and take a bike taxi up the back route to Bromo. I will return the same way. I always like to find different ways of sightseeing and your suggestion is excellent and I’ve no doubt very efficient. I will return to Malang the same evening, intending to watch the sunset instead! The motorbike down the mountain in the dark also has a certain daredevil appeal!!
    If you don’t mind, I will add my own experience to your information once I’ve completed the journey. My only slight concern is the whether my 66 year old bottom will stand the bumpy bike ride!!
    I will go to Batu 26th March and Bromo the 27th.

    Thanks a lot for all the details and best wishes,

    John B

  21. John Burgesson 25 Mar 2013 at 3:58 pm


    I am very impressed that you have bothered to pass on such valuable info. I have just spent a few days in Surabaya covering the Axiata Cup Badminton for TV. I will return there in 3 days for another session next weekend. In the meantime I travelled to Malang today with a self drive car and have 3 nights at the Santika Malang. Your blog has been so useful because I will now drive to Tumpang and take a bike taxi up the back route to Bromo. I will return the same way. I always like to find different ways of sightseeing and your suggestion is excellent and I’ve no doubt very efficient. I will return to Malang the same evening, intending to watch the sunset instead! The motorbike down the mountain in the dark also has a certain daredevil appeal!!
    If you don’t mind, I will add my own experience to your information once I’ve completed the journey. My only slight concern is the whether my 66 year old bottom will stand the bumpy bike ride!!
    I will go to Batu 26th March and Bromo the 27th.

    Thanks a lot for all the details and best wishes,

    John B

  22. […] to this article from Travelfish, we were introduced to this alternative way. Quoted from the […]

  23. Ireneon 03 Aug 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Hi Adam
    I have 3-4 days in Surabaya
    What would u recommend beside mt bromo for the sunrise.
    Arrive ard 12.39-1.00 pm
    How do I get to ceromo lawang to stay overnight for the sunrise
    How do I book the hostel or honesty or hotel there . Have to book advance or book when we arrive. Are there many nearby.
    Appreciate your help. Thanks for wonderful guide very helpful since I wish to travel on my own. We are 2 girls. Safe to take public transport or get someone to pick us from airport?
    Thank you

  24. Adam Poskitton 07 Aug 2013 at 8:42 pm


    It all depends what you’re into. For me, a great thing around Surabaya to see is the temple complex Trowulan, a bus ride out of town. It’s basically a series of old Hindu temples from the Majapahit empire which few foreign tourists visit which is sad really — they’re great. That’s all you’ll have time to do in addition to Bromo if you have 3 days. 1 day heading up to Cemoro Lawang, the next day experiencing Bromo and heading back to Surabaya, the next day to Trowulan.

    If you have one extra day, I think it’s worth visiting the Sempoerna cigarette factory and going on one of their free city tours. In fact, there’s plenty to do in a day in Surabaya including visiting the zoo which has a terrible history.

    On day 1 you arrive at 1pm. Get from the airport to the bus station via whatever means you can – a taxi shouldn’t be too expensive. Then catch the next bus from the bus station which goes to Probolinggo – maximum waiting time of 20 minutes. At Probolinggo, I advise to refuse all offers of help from the tour agents. Just catch an angkot for 2-3000 rupiah to the main bus terminal (if you’re not already dropped there). From the main bus terminal, there as buses up to Cemoro Lawang for 25,000. Just don’t be there too late or you’ll miss the last bus. You should have enough time, but if you don’t, you can negotiate a ride on the back of a motorbike for 75,000 or arrange something with one of the tour agents.

    There are plenty of places to stay in Cemoro Lawang and there is no need to book.

    Public transport is safe and you’re unlikely to be harassed.

  25. Alanon 22 Nov 2013 at 3:50 am

    Hi Adam,

    Just to echo most of the other responses here, thank you for providing such detailed information about your travels in this area. I will be doing a trip to Mt Bromo in December, and will take the route described here. The only difference is that I’ll be riding a motorbike that I’m hiring from Yogya, alone. I’ll be staying overnight at Malang, and then heading off to Cemoro Lawang the next day (during daylight hours!).

    My concern is that you mentioned 2WD vehicles may not be able to make it through the “sea of sand” section of the trip, and hence this may also apply to motorbikes. However, I understand that the locals somehow manage to do it with tourists on the back of their motorbikes. Do you think this is down to local experience, determination, or luck? (or a combination of the three?). Do you think it is realistic for an experienced rider (me) to think he can manage this route, alone, in December?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!.

    P.S. The Mt Bromo trip will be part of a 12 day solo motorbiking trip around Java. Do you have any other suggested destinations I could consider after Bromo? For example, Madura?


  26. Adam Poskitton 22 Nov 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Alan, a solo motorbike trip from Yogya sounds like a top idea! The motorbike ride up the hill should be easy enough even if there’s a bit of rain — you’ll be riding slowly anyway. The only problem you might encounter is if there is too much mud around the back of Bromo. When I was there, there was mud everywhere, but motorbikes were easily able to find dry routes around it. It should be no problem unless there has been a lot of rain and the jeeps have been churning everything up. I’d just go anyway. It’s a pretty busy area and I doubt they would leave it impassable.

    I haven’t been to Madura. But if you’re keen on East Java, then definitely check out Kawah Ijen and the national parks on the east coast across from Bali. It’s a nice part of the world. I also really enjoyed all the hindu and buddhist temples dotted around Malang and the hindu temple complex of Trowulan south of Surabaya. I like the quirky and not so stunning attractions and these are quite low key — but the history of the places is astonishing. And to think, you will be the only foreign tourist there — they’re not often visited by anyone.

    I’m also a massive fan of the Dieng Plateau. It’s a day trip from Yogya on a motorbike if you’re determined, but I prefer to stay there overnight. Should cost you about $15 for a cold room with hot water shower. I’ve written most of these places up for Travelfish, so check them out.

    Last but not least, I highly recommend trying to find out what the local famous dish is in all the of the towns you plan to visit. Either google beforehand (preferred) or ask when you’re in town. It’s a great way to sample different cuisines around the island rather than relying on nasi goreng, mie goreng, bakso and martabak for every meal. Your first meal is Gudeg in Yogya.

  27. Alanon 25 Nov 2013 at 7:20 am

    Hi Adam,

    Thank you for your detailed response. Info like this is priceless, and I will try and add to it by reporting anything new I come across during this trip.

    I will definitely seek out all the town-specific dishes :-). For future reference, I’ve been told by a Yogyakartan friend that Malang is famous for Bakso (a meat-ball soup).

    All the best and thanks again.

  28. Donaldon 28 Jan 2014 at 4:02 am

    Hi Adam,

    I m intend to visit bromo via Jogjakarta. From Jogja, the morning train leaves at 7.15am and is expected to reach Wonokromo by mid-day where i intend to take a bus to purabaya. From Purabaya another bus to Probolinggo then a van/ojek to Cemoro Lawang expecting to arrive in the evening. Is it possible reach Cemoro Lawang by train thru’ Malang to Cemoro Lawang? Do u have any idea on the earliest train leaving Jogja for Malang?


  29. Adam Poskitton 28 Jan 2014 at 4:22 am

    Hi Donald. If you simply want to get from Yogya to Cemoro Lawang and don’t really care about the way to do it, the easiest is via a minibus. Tickets can be purchased throughout town in Yogya. If you want to save a small amount of money and do it independently on public transport, then your options are many, but usually involve the train. I’m not familiar with current train schedules, but there is definitely no train to Cemoro Lawang as it’s quite high in the mountains. Many people choose to catch a train to Surabaya and then change there for a train or bus to Probolinggo. The bus station is out of town making it a bit of a hassle. You then have to hope that the last bus from Probolinggo to Cemoro Lawang hasn’t gone up the mountain already. In that case, you can get a motorcycle taxi for about 80,000 rupiah.

    So… from what I’m seeing here, Malang is really not in the picture for you. I’d just pay for a ticket on one of those minibuses which can take you directly to your accommodation in Cemoro Lawang.

  30. Donaldon 29 Jan 2014 at 9:54 am

    Thanks for the insight Adam. One more thing, I intend to travel on from Ijen to Bangyuwangi and onward to Denpasar Bali. Most of the review seems to indicate a trip back to Bondowosa and from there a bus to Banyuwangi. This may not be suitable for me. Are there private transport (van) easily available throughout the day from Ijen to Bangyuwangi and is yes do u have an idea on the estimated cost for such journey? Any info wud be greatly appreciated.

  31. Adam Poskitton 31 Jan 2014 at 1:15 am

    Donald, it all depends on how you’re getting to Ijen. If you’re arranging your own transport to get up the mountain, then just asked to continue on down the other side of the mountain to Banyuwangi. If you get to the top on a tour, I guess it’s up to them which way to go, but I have heard differing reports of which ways they descend the mountain. But now that the road appears to have been fixed, there should be no reason for them to return to Bondowoso. If for some reason they want to backtrack through Bondowoso, you shouldn’t have a problem negotiating with a motorbike rider to have him take you back down the quicker way. I wouldn’t bank on their being a private minivan or jeep to take you down that way, although it is possible.

    If you’re arranging your own transport and are staying on Bonowoso the night before heading to Ijen, just ask someone to take you up to Ijen and then down the other side. Prices will vary depending on whether your using a motorbike or car.

  32. Gennyon 03 Aug 2014 at 9:05 pm

    Hello Adam – I’m impressed with the wealth of information you’ve provided on this thread. I’ll be in Java mid-september – in Jogja the 9th to 12th. I have arranged with a driver recommended to me by friends to drive through Java from Jakarta all the way with him to the ferry and on to Lovina. This sounds a bit wild but exciting. He drives this route frequently but probably not via Bromo, which would be one of my main reasons for this journey – besides Borubodur and other temples in that area.

    I’d like to approach from Malang as the scenery you show is stunning and then exit via Probolingo. Judging from your comments it’s best to skip Ijen crater unless driving a jeep. Is it possible to get from Malang to Cemoro Lawang by 2-wheel drive vehicle? If so, approximately how long would it take? Since that drive would be quite stunning I wouldn’t want to do it at night just to view the sunrise. I think most people are in too much of a hurry – but I don’t have a pressing deadline though I have a few places booked later in Bali. Thanks so much, Jenny

  33. Adam Poskitton 04 Aug 2014 at 7:20 am

    Hi Jenny. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s wise to try the Malang route to Bromo in a 2WD. When I was there last time, even a couple of 4WD vehicles got stuck because there had been a bit of rain the previous night. An alternative would be to wing it a bit… Get your driver to take you to Tumpang where you can catch a jeep up to Cemoro Lawang where most people sleep. Your driver can then meet you in Cemoro Lawang later that day at whatever hotel you decide to stay in by driving the more circuitous route via Probolinggo. Your journey will take about 2 hours and your driver’s about 4-5.

    As for Ijen, it’s well-worth visiting and I have heard the road has been fixed in recent times meaning it is much more convenient to access. Definitely do this.

  34. Gennyon 04 Aug 2014 at 6:02 pm

    Adam – Thanks for the advice. Wouldn’t want to get stuck in mud – though perhaps it doesn’t rain in September. It sounds like you have to do a bit of planning though to catch a jeep in Tumpang. Is this an actual village or just a turn in the road. I can’t find it on the map?

  35. Adam Poskitton 07 Aug 2014 at 6:22 pm

    Genny – Yeah, it does rain in September. It rains in every month! :) Even if there was no rain or mud, I wouldn’t take a 2WD vehicle to Bromo from Malang, but I’m sure it’s possible. Tumpang is a town 1 hour from Malang. Google maps isn’t reliable in Indonesia when it comes to smaller roads and villages. For example, it shows a nice neat line going from Tumpang to Cemoro Lawang without any indication that it’s unsuitable for normal through traffic. In fact, whenever there is a mountain and google maps indicates there are roads, I generally assume that there is a good chance a car won’t be able to traverse it.

    By the way, the town of Tumpang can be found by searching for “Tumpang, East Java, Indonesia” in google maps.

  36. Gennyon 08 Aug 2014 at 12:24 am

    OK – thanks Adam for the info. When I see my driver I’ll discuss this option with him. I’ll be travelling with him from Jakarta, via Bandung to Jogjakarta starting September 7th. Perhaps it’s possible to arrange for a jeep to meet me in Tumpang before leaving Malang. Or as you say get there early in the morning. This will undoubtedly be quite an adventure. From Probolingo what is the best way to get to Ijen -which looks absolutely stunning! We will ultimately take the ferry from Banywangi to Gillimanuk.

  37. Vivion 12 Sep 2014 at 3:06 am

    Hi Adam, your website appeared with perfect timing! Me and my partner are planning to travel from Bali (Ubud) to Banyuwangi to see Kawaj Ijen and then travel to Cemoro Lawang to see Bromo. Which route do you think is the best for it, considering that we’re backpackers so budget travellers but we would like to enjoy a scenic route in the way too. We are thinking to take the train to Probolingo, and then I am stuck! What would you recommend and which are the prices app just to have a reference. Thanks a lot for such valuable information!

  38. Vivion 12 Sep 2014 at 3:17 am

    Adam! One more question.. From Cemoro Lawang, which is the best route to get to Yogyakarta, as you see we’re doing the opposite way of the volcanos, Bali-Ijen-Bromo-Yogya-Solo. We would like to see the savannah also, how would that work? Form Cemoro Lawang on a motorbike do you think we can get there? How long will take? Thanks again!!! Cheers from Chile :)

  39. Adam Poskitton 12 Sep 2014 at 7:52 am

    Hi Vivi. From Ijen to Bromo is a tough one by train. It means you will have to travel back to Banyuwangi and catch a train to Probolinggo from there… I really don’t think it’s the best way. You are going to need to get private transport from Banyuwangi up to Ijen crater… maybe a motorbike rental, motorbike taxi or 4WD. From there, it is quicker to keep heading west rather than backtracking to Banyuwangi. If you have a motorbike taxi, they can take you to the bus station in Bondowoso after you have explored Ijen. This whole trip will cost about 200,000 rupiah each from Banyuwangi, but make sure you negotiate. It could be cheaper, but could be more expensive.

    From Bondowoso, catch a bus to Probolinggo. It will probably drop you on the side of the road where there are lots of “agents”. They’re basically guys trying to set you up with transport and accommodation — you can do it cheaper yourself. When in Probolinggo, you need to get to the Probolinggo bus station and you may need to catch a little yellow (???) minivan for 2,000 rupiah…. It just depends on where the bus from Bondowoso drops you.

    Next, catch the bus from Probolinggo bus station to Cemoro Lawang. Easy. Just make sure you get there before about 3pm or else there may not be anymore buses for the day.

    After exploring Bromo, you should hire a motorcycle taxi to take you to Malang via the savannah… The price is variable again, but it should cost no more than 150,000 rupiah. But because there are lots of tourists visiting Bromo, they may ask for a lot more than that, so negotiate hard. Worst case scenario is to walk across the savannah and up the other side (15km???) and then find a motorbike taxi there.

    From Malang you can catch a train to Yogya. But there are quite a few cool Hindu temples around Malang to see before you leave. Tourists rarely visit them, but I think they’re pretty cool. Cemoro Lawang to Malang on a motorbike including viewing the savannah will take 3 to 4 hours. You could also ask the motorbike taxi to take you to Tumpang instead. It’s a shorter distance and will save money on the taxi… From Tumpang it’s a one hour 5,000 rupiah (probably a bit more now) journey to the Malang bus station. It’s all pretty easy, but takes time.

  40. Marcon 25 Sep 2014 at 6:55 am

    Hi Adam,

    First, I have to say that your information is really perfect. Have searched the internet a lot – but your page is the first that is really helpful 

    We have planned a similar trip like Jenny above.

    I have some short question – would be very glad about short advise:
    We have in total 3 days in Surabaya (coming from Singapore). Fridays we’ll arrive at 6pm at the airport. Does it make sense to go directly to Malang? Since we are not really on a budget trip and 6 persons in total, we want to hire a private driver. How long do we need to Malang?
    Second day we want to go from Malang via Tupang to Mount Bromo (we would ask our driver to organise a jeep from Tupang). We don’t want to see the sunrise, but would rather spend the day at the Caldera area and see the sundown there. After the sundown we want to go back to Surabaya. Do you think this can be done on the same day? One idea would be that our driver catches us again in CL and we are going back via the Probolinggo route to Surabaya. Do you have any idea, how long the total trip from CL to Surabaya will take? Or is it better to go back with Jeep to Tupang & Malang on the same day and spend another night @ Malang and then go back to Surabaya the next day?

    Thanks a lot for your help!

  41. Adam Poskitton 25 Sep 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Hi Marc – Hmm… Interesting plan. I think it’s possible and I think you already know how to do it. Yes, it’s possible to travel directly from Surabaya Airport to Malang at the time of night. I haven’t travelled between Surabaya and Malang myself, but I’m told it is a 2 hour journey. You could catch a cab from Surabaya Airport to Malang — cost of about 400,000 rupiah per taxi (you will need 2). Or yes, you could just have a private driver pick you up from the Airport in Surabaya, take you to Malang, sleep in Malang somewhere and then take you the next day to Tumpang for the jeep ride.

    Most drivers will be happy to help negotiate a jeep ride for you as they will often receive a small commission. From Tumpang you would need to make it clear to the jeep driver of your schedule and arrange a meeting point in Cemoro Lawang with your regular driver so that he can take you back to Surabaya that night. It should be no problem, especially if you have a local phone number to contact your regular driver on.

    From Cemoro Lawang it should take about 3 or 4 hours to get to Surabaya, but it really depends on traffic conditions and the exact location in the city you need to be. Is it possible that you could stay for one night in Cemoro Lawang and then head to Surabaya after that? That might be more interesting.

  42. Marcon 26 Sep 2014 at 2:04 am

    Hi Adam,

    Thanks for your quick reply.

    Since it seems to be a busy weekend, it’s quite difficult to find an accommodation in CL. Furthermore, we only saw offers with a very bad value for money. Also friends told us, that overnight stays are mostly not that very good in CL.

    So I think we might drive back after sunset – if we leave Bromo at 6pm, we might be back in Surabaya around 10pm. That’s fine :)

    One last question:
    If we do this way around – how many hours do we need at Bromo area?

    I assume that in case we leave Malang at 10am, we might be at Bromo at 1pm. Till sunset will be another 4.5h. That should be enough time, correct?

    What are the best places @ Bromo in your opinion to stop?

    Thanks a lot for your help :)

  43. benon 28 Sep 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Hello Adam,

    I’m currently in Probolinggo and planning to reverse this route. We’ve been getting around Indonesia just fine so far on public transport, and were able to take our own trip to Ijen with a motorbike rental from Banyuwangi…which was great!

    I’ve only got questions on hiring the jeep in Cemoro Lewang. First, I feel sure that they are plentiful in CL, but I also feel like they will be much more expensive on that side. If I hire the jeep for the sunrise/standard Bromo day and then onwards to Tumpang for my wife and myself (it’s our wedding anniversary so we’re treating ourselves with this added trip across the savannah), approx how much should we expect to pay? Your story quotes 60,000 rupiah pp, but how many passengers would that be? I’m hoping to keep it to 500,000 rupiah max….does that seem realistic?

    Thanks for any advice, and for the article! We’re really looking forward to giving it a try.

  44. Adam Poskitton 28 Sep 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Hi Marc. Accommodation in Cemoro Lawang can be very cheap, but also very basic. I enjoy it, but many may not. For the Bromo area, it’s enough time to spend 4 hours checking the views, climbing the volcano itself and then looking at the savanna. Some may take longer, some speed through there quicker. Also depends on if you want to just sit and contemplate the view for a while in a quiet spot. As for the best places, I really can’t say which particular individual places are best… I enjoyed the view from the tower on the way from Tumpang to Bromo and in fact, I really enjoyed the view of the caldera from the road which leads to Ranu Pane. Not many people use that road for sightseeing, but it is pretty cool in my opinion.

  45. Adam Poskitton 28 Sep 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Hi Ben. 500,000 rupiah is a realistic price in almost anywhere in Indonesia for a car and driver for a full day inclusive of fuel and meals for the driver. In fact, you can even go cheaper than that depending on your route, but 500k for a jeep to Tumpang sounds reasonable to me. The problem with Bromo, as you rightly point out, is that it can be a bit of a tourist trap and the jeep operations there operate somewhat like a mafia with price fixing the norm. Similar to how guides work throughout the country as well.

    So, with that in mind, you should try and negotiate hard — but don’t be surprised when they quote some high price that is non-negotiable. If all else fails, you could get a couple of motorbikes to take you to Tumpang for much cheaper. An exhilarating way to travel (especially if you don’t have suitcases).

  46. benon 28 Sep 2014 at 3:33 pm

    That was an amazingly quick reply Adam! Thanks so much.

    Ok, I’m used to bargaining with the transport mafias of SE Asia, so I’ll give it my best shot. If all else fails, we’ll take the ojeks! We’re only carrying backpacks, so we should be good to go if we need to take that route!

    Thanks again!

  47. Arthuron 14 Oct 2014 at 4:51 am

    Hello Adam,

    Thank you very much for all the information you published here, it is very helpful!

    I have a question: I will be in Surabaya during 4 days with my girlfriend next weekend and we plan to go to Bromo. We’ll take morning train then bus to Cemoro Lawang and sleep there. Next day we have to go back to our hotel in Surabaya.

    We want to see the sunset but I wonder if we have time on the day we arrive to CL or the day we leave to do other things, maybe discover a bit more the caldera? I also read there are waterfalls not far away, is it realistic to go there after seeing the sunrise, then head back to Surabaya? Also, do you know when do the last buses leave from Probolinggo to Surabaya?

    Also the photos you posted are amazing and I would like to see those landscapes, do you think we can reach the green side of Bromo and then head back to Surabaya?

    Thank you,

  48. Marcon 20 Oct 2014 at 5:26 am

    Hi Adam,

    A bit delayed, but I wanted to share my experience here as well :)

    Doing the alternative route was really a good experience. Especially seeing the agriculture on the back side of Bromo and the way to the savanna was really impressive. We also made it to the waterfalls – nice :)

    What we also liked – after we finally arrived at Bromo (around 2/3pm), we were (nearly the only) tourists there. Very nice….however, the sunset was sadly not very impressive.

    Overall it was really a nice trip!

    BTW: We also visited Trowulan. That was okay, but not spectacular in our opinion. However, the trip from Trowulan through the mountains via Batu to Malang was really worth a visit. The views were amazing (even better than from Bromo) and the weather really refreshing – very, very nice :)


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