The Bromo region is best known for its awesome scenery; at its heart is a vast, ancient volcanic crater with sheer walls over 300m high. Within this crater, a host of picturesque mountains, including the dramatic, still-smoking Gunung Bromo (2329m), rises up from the Sea of Sand, the sandy plain at the crater’s base. Hundreds of thousands of visitors come here each year to climb Bromo for the sunrise – a stunning sight, and less strenuous than many other Indonesian peaks.
This unique landscape now comprises the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park, whose highlights are the dramatic smoking crater of Gunung Bromo, Gunung Penanjakan – on the outside crater’s edge and one of the favourite sunrise spots – and Cemoro Lawang, with its brilliant panoramic view of the crater. The park also contains the highest mountain in Java, Gunung Semeru, which can be climbed by experienced trekkers. Views are best in the dry season but, whatever time of year, you should bring warm clothes.
There are two main approaches to the Bromo region. The most popular is to head inland from Probolinggo, on the north coast, to the crater’s edge at Cemoro Lawang, where most people stay in order to make the dawn trip to Gunung Bromo as easy as possible. Alternative access is from Pasuruan, also on the north coast, inland to the less-visited villages of Tosari and Wonokitri. These villages are linked by road to Gunung Penanjakan, so they offer an excellent approach for the sunrise. Many people visit Bromo as part of an organized trip from Yogya to Bali.Read More
There are a variety of excursions possible from Cemoro Lawang, the most popular being the climb to the top of Gunung Bromo (2392m); if you’re lucky with the clouds, there may be an absolutely spellbinding sunrise. To get to the base of Gunung Bromo, you can walk (1hr; bring a torch and follow the white pillars through the Sea of Sand), get a horse, or hire a jeep for the morning to take in both Gunung Bromo and Gunung Penanjakan. However you get there, you’ll still have to manage the 249 concrete stairs up to the crater rim, from where there are great views down into the smoking crater and back across the Sea of Sand. Dress warmly.
The best spot for the sunrise across the entire Bromo area is Gunung Penanjakan (2770m). The whole crater area lies below, Bromo smoking and Semeru puffing up regular plumes while the sun rises dramatically in the east. You can camp up here if you wish, but you’ll be invaded before dawn by the hordes. Otherwise, you can walk from Tosari or Wonokitri at around 4.30am or, more popular, take a jeep tour from Cemoro Lawang at around 4am that will then drive across the Sea of Sand to Bromo before returning to Cemoro Lawang.