Carrie and I say bye to Jon and Paul and head westward to the island of Java to see Mt. Bromo. To check out the logistics of how we get there, check out the Travel Notes at the bottom of this post.
It’s 4am and we taxi our way to the local bus stop in Bali, trying to catch a bus to Probolinngo, where we will transit to the mountain park complex that houses Mt. Bromo, one of Indonesia’s most famous volcanoes. First stop is a ferry to cross the strait to get to Java, where we see a bit of local life as there are very few tourists in site traveling this route. The water is a sapphire colour and we honestly can’t ask for a better view of the ocean. However, it is disheartening to see garbage floating around the water near the bays and people littering straight into the water. If ecological conservation is part of the local culture, this slice of it certainly didn’t show it well.
After a grueling, and confusing 10 hour bus ride, we make it to Probolinngo. It is around 9pm and very dark. We get shipped off by scooter to a tourism office where we booked a night at our guesthouse right by the entrance of the park. It seems that the mini van carrying people up the mountain only leaves once it’s full. Thankfully we are the last 2 people to arrive, whereas some of the guests on the bus have been waiting the better part of a whole afternoon and evening for the van to leave. Yikes. Carrie and I are the last to be dropped off since Cafe Lava, the guesthouse we are in, is the furthest away. Absolutely exhausted and sleep deprived at this point, we pass out to catch a few hours of sleep before our early start to catch the sunrise. All I can say is, thank God for the hot showers (it is freaking cold up there) and a comfy bed.
In the morning, we catch a super jeep down to the first viewpoint just in time for sunrise. We get dropped off and start our ascent by foot up to the top of the viewpoint in what seems like freezing cold air. It is crowded here and there is no way around it. We are here during high season after all. Still, the view of the morning sun just hitting the 3 volcanoes off in the distance is a mesmerizing sight to behold. Bromo is one of 3 volcanoes that reside within the caldera of a mega volcano. This is why the ground here is pretty must composed of ash and dust.
Our next stop is to climb Bromo itself. As we pull into the actual volcano, you get an idea of how big it actually is. Walking the slight incline to the base of the mountain, I start getting really short of breath. I’m quite embarrassed at this point since I’m supposedly a healthy young man, yet this altitude seems to be hitting me pretty hard. Near the parking area are locals selling snacks, which is a much welcomed sight. Can’t climb a volcano without some instant noodle energy! At the base of the volcano there sits a temple done in a style similar to that of the Balinese temples we saw the previous week. I assume you can go and check it out but we were tight on time unfortunately.
There is a stairway leading up to the caldera since it’s pretty hard to climb the actual terrain of the volcano. Now, at the top, there are countless tourists vying for a view of the caldera. However, if you take 5 minutes to walk around the circumference, you will get an almost unobstructed view of the innards of the still smoking caldera of Bromo. The sight is amazing! Smokey volcano on one side, and vast open dessert (it’s not actually desert but the ashy terrain makes it seems so) on the other. At part,s the path becomes barely a meter wide making this sandy trek that much more exhilarating!This is something that I will not soon forget.
We get back to the guesthouse just in time for brunch. Next stop is Surabaya, where we catch a flight to KL, then off we go to Krabi, Thailand!
- Getting to Bromo is no easy feat. You can fly to Surabaya and head southward, or other neighbouring cities south of Bromo and head north. Either way will involve multiple transits so make sure to ask your local travel agent or guesthouse staff for tips. From Bali, you can travel overland but this will require you to buy a ticket from the bu station. Head down there early in the morning and tell the ticket booth staff you are looking to get to Probolinngo. The ticket should be under $40CAD. Strap yourself in for a long bus ride. There are inevitably delays in the ferry and traffic so make sure to head down as early as possible to avoid reaching Probolinggo late in the evening. You will be dropped off at Probolinngo bus station and from there, you must find your way up to the mountain. Make sure to have your route planned ahead of time. There are tons of people offering to take you to Bromo and just go with any of them. They will take you to a local travel agent to get everything sorted our for you.
- As far as accommodations go, we stayed at Cafe Lava. Let me tell you, opt for the private rooms because you get your own washroom and a comfy bed. I’m all for roughing it but after the journey here, you will want some creature comforts. Brunch is provided and they can arrange your tour of Bromo for you. Sharing a super jeep is obviously the cheapest way, but if you have dough to blow, you can hire your own and make your own itinerary. I suggest trying out Bromo for the actual sunrise to avoid the giant morning crowds at the viewpoint in the morning. For rates and booking check out this page.
- After you’re done in Bromo, a mini van will take you back down to Probolinngo. The drive down takes you through steep hills and beautiful mountain views of huts and rice paddies. From Probolinngo you can head to Surabaya via a bus. Surabaya has an international airport where you can head to your next destination.
- Bring a sweater. It’s pretty damn cold