From Bali to Mount Bromo (East Java) Complete Guide to Sunrise Hike

From Bali to Mount Bromo (East Java) Complete Guide to Sunrise Hike

From Bali to Mount Bromo

If you’re planning a trip to Bali, why not add a visit to Mount Bromo to your itinerary? Located about 100 km (62 miles) south of Surabaya, Mount Bromo is one of Indonesia’s most spectacular volcanoes. Mount Bromo (Gunung Bromo) is a volcano on the island of Java located in the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park, often touted as the most beautiful volcano in Indonesia. It culminates at 2 200 meters (7 217 ft) above sea level and is still active. Here are our tips from Bali to mount Bromo for enjoying Bromo on foot and without a travel agency. The fastest way from Bali to Bromo takes 3 hours 30 minutes, 1 hour flight from Bali (DPS) to Surabaya airport (SUB) and driving 2 hours 30 minutes.

Bromo is part of the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park.

It is very visited by tourists: we had often heard about it and seen great photos. Impossible then to miss it during our trip to Indonesia as the landscape seemed superb. And indeed, we were not disappointed at all! In addition, there are ways to escape the crowds…

From Bali to Mount Bromo by plane and car

The fastest way from Bali to Bromo takes 3 hours 30 minutes, 1 hour flight from Bali (DPS) to Surabaya airport (SUB) and driving 2 hours 30 minutes.

From Bali to Mount Bromo by car or bus

The best way to get from Bali to Bromo without a car is to bus and car ferry and train which takes 10h 14m and costs IDR 500 000 – IDR 750 000. How long does it take to get from Bali to Bromo? It takes approximately 2h 52m to get from Bali to Bromo, including transfers. However, this option is more time-consuming and less convenient than flying.

Pura Luhur Poten, an Hindu temple on the Bromo caldera. © Jose Mario Pires (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Crater of Mount Bromo

Crater of Mount Bromo, Java, Indonesia, 20220820 0558 9456
Crater of Mount Bromo, Java, Indonesia. Jakub Hałun, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Edge of the main crater

Bromo crater
Edge of the main crater of Mount Bromo on Java, Indonesia. Zapata1000, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How to climb Mount Bromo?

Hiking to the summit of Mount Bromo to witness the sunrise is the most popular activity in the area. Here’s what you need to know to plan your hike:

1. Starting point

The ascent of Mount Bromo begins from the village of Cemoro Lawang. From there, you have two options:

  • The first is to climb on foot. It is an easy and safe walk of about 45 minutes. Without any apparent difficulty, the hike is accessible to everyone, even children.
  • The second is to take part in an organized Jeep tour. This tour includes a stop at Mount Penanjakan Viewpoint, the best place to watch the sunrise over Mount Bromo.
2. Timing

The best time to start your hike is around 2:30 AM to reach the viewpoint in time for the sunrise, which usually occurs between 5:00 to 6:00 AM. The hike to the viewpoint takes around 1-2 hours, depending on your fitness level.

Stair climbing to Bromo crater
Sea of sand in Bromo National Park, East Java, Indonesia: 250 steps to reach the top of Bromo crater. 22Kartika, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

3. What to bring

It’s important to bring warm clothes, as it can get quite cold at the summit, as well as a flashlight and good hiking shoes. You can also rent a horse or a motorcycle to make the hike easier.

4. Other activities

After watching the sunrise, you can hike down to the Sea of Sand and visit the Bromo Crater, or take a jeep tour to explore other scenic spots in the area, such as the Savanna and Whispering Sands.

Famous sea of sand

Its famous sea of sand and its smoking crater taking shape in the first signs of dawn have made it a must in Indonesia’s travel diaries, attracting a little more visitors each year. Located in East Java, halfway between the city of Surabaya and Kawah Ijen, Mount Bromo – whose name probably comes from a deformation of the name of the Hindu god Brahma – is one of the most known and the busiest in this region of Southeast Asia.

Lautan Pasir Di Gunung Bromo - panoramio
Sea of Sand, Mount Bromo – East Java, Indonesia. kresnanda bayu, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


To facilitate the climb with children, you can rent horses for them. Between tourists and locals, you can walk on a steep path. You’ll leave the horses at the foot of the stairs that go up to the volcano.

It is a staircase of 250 steps, anchored in the volcano which allows us to climb easily. Once at the top, the show is impressive. Between the smoke and the noise of the volcano, this moment is magical. You have to sneak around to find an accessible place to admire the yellow smoke coming out of the volcano.

Horseback getting into crater of mount Bromo
Horseback riding to reach the top of the Bromo crater. Maulana Yusuf, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Climb Mount Penanjakan for sunrise over Bromo

The path to Mount Penanjakan is simple and its ascent does not require too much physical effort. To admire the sunrise, we went up to King Kong Hill, which is not another hill, as one might think. It is just one of the viewpoints of Mount Penanjakan.

We explain all the stages here and you can find the route on an interactive map a little further down.

1) Departure from Cemoro Lawang around 3am

At the main fork in the village, take a right towards Cemara Indah Hotel, not Cafe Lava. But do not continue to Cemara Indah. A few meters before the hotel, turn right onto a road that runs along the cliff without approaching it.

Continue straight on this more or less paved road, there is no risk of making a mistake. The road passes between fields of leeks and next to small houses.

In front of you, in height, you should see a small red light, it is an antenna which is located at the very top of Mount Penanjakan on which you are going to climb, a good landmark.

2) Passage in front of the small car park around 3:45 a.m.

After 30 to 45 minutes, you will come to a small parking lot where Indonesians will offer you coffee. It’s just a bend in the road, turn right to continue on it. Pass the barrier that blocks vehicles.

3) End of the road, beginning of the steps

You come to a viewpoint where you can stop, but you are still quite low. Here you will have to take the small stairs that go up. You can take off a few sweaters and your hat, the upcoming climb will keep you warm!

4) End of the steps, beginning of the trail

Another point of view, with a sort of concrete structure. Look here for the small path that goes up through the vegetation. You attack the part a little more complicated, nothing very dangerous however.

5) Arrival at King Kong Hill around 4:30 am

You reach concrete barriers under which you have to pass. A small crowd has already formed (unless you are the first!). This is a great vantage point to see the sunrise over the valley. If you don’t want to stand, there is room for about twenty people seated in the dirt, going back under the barrier at the front. Be careful, it slips.

The sun will rise to your left around 5:00 – 5:15 a.m., during this time the volcanoes will become visible in front of you.

From 6:30 a.m., tourists vanish. If you are not in a hurry, then you find yourself alone in front of this incredible spectacle.

Menanti Sunrise di Bromo
Waiting for sunrise in Bromo. As an alternative, two other locations are provided to enjoy the sunrise on Mount Bromo, namely Bukit Cinta and Bukit Kingkong. Arbasbarong, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

6) King Kong Hill (cont’d)

If there is no more space on the small platform of King Kong Hill, take the concrete path and climb about fifty meters to the other belvedere which is not bad either.

7) At the top of Mount Penanjakan

The viewpoint at the very top of the hill is nice too, but it’s more crowded, everyone getting dropped off by jeep. If you’ve waited long enough at King Kong Hill, everyone will have already descended and you’ll have the viewpoint all to yourselves once at the top, after a 20-minute walk.

Continue to climb on the concrete path, until you reach the asphalt road. No hesitation, you have to go up, so turn right.

If you arrive late like us, around 7:30am, the tourist stalls should already be closing (these are probably the earliest shops in the world). Take the path that leads to the antennas and the viewpoint.

8) Descent to Cemoro Lawang on the Bromo

You will be offered the motorcycle trip if you want to quickly continue with the ascent of Bromo. For our part, we were in no hurry and we went down on foot by the same path, which is very pleasant during the day.

Practical info

The volcano belongs to Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. Access to this park costs about 220,000 Rps, the equivalent of about € 14.

If you want to watch the sunrise over the Penanjakan viewpoint, bring warm clothes (hiking pants, fleeces or windbreakers, etc.).

Gunung Bromo 1
Viewing point for Bromo sunrise. Azxeav, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sources: SurabayaApartments, Cleverly Smart, PinterPandai

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