How to do Mount Bromo without a tour – 1

Reaching Cemoro Lawang

Through this post I aim to divert at least a few of you to follow unconventional way of accessing Cemoro Lawang for your Mount Bromo tour. Especially those who are visiting Malang as part of their itinerary.

Mount Bromo is one of the most pictured tourist attraction in Java. Why should it not be – the surrounding area is so unearthly that it immediately gives the feeling of living on some other planet for some time.

A view from Bromo - Unearthly as if on some other Planet
A view from Bromo – Unearthly as if on some other Planet

Mount Bromo is one of the volcanic mountains of Bromo Tengger-Semeru National park in East java region of Indonesia. Three words of national park signify, Bromo and Semeru Mountains, both of which are active volcanoes and Tengger corresponds to original inhabitants of the area (the Tengerrese).

Major or the only tourist friendly access point for Bromo is Cemoro Lawang at the north-eastern part of caldera consisting of Mount Bromo and the massive Sea of sand of fine volcanic ash.

Accessing Camera Lawang

1) Common way:

Undoubtedly, Mount Bromo is Indonesia’s most accessible active volcano. And this is the very reason why a lot of local tourists also make it a point to visit this place. The well-known, written and the most accessible route to Cemoro Lawang is via Probolinggo. As a matter of fact Cemoro Lawang is a part of Probolinggo province only.

Probolinggo Railway Station
Probolinggo Railway Station

So, whatever has been your previous stop; like traversing through Java from northern side or if coming down from Bali; Probolinggo is an easy accessible spot. Probolinggo has a railway station as well which serves as the junction point and hence it is very well-connected with most of other areas of Java Island. There are also many buses available both from northern and southern Java towards Probolinggo.

In Probolinggo, wait at the Bemo/mini bus station for regular sharing buses to Camera Lawang. Bemo station is just in front of railway station. Though, Bemo is operated by private owners and these only start when full (usually occupied by 10-15 person). Otherwise the equivalent cost needs to be divided equally among available number of tourists sharing a mini bus.

Also, going via this route, we will have to pay 10 K IDR as entrance ticket to Cemoro Lawang village.

Note: This route is infamous for the usual frauds happening in Probolinggo area specially related to bus departure to Cemoro Lawang. But, always be firm and do not ever get down at any intermediate stops, if coming by bus.

Total cost:

  1. Reaching Probolinggo (Depending on previous destination and mode of transportation)
  2. Bemo/Shared Bus to Cemoro Lawang (50 K – 100 K depending on number of person sharing the Bemo)
  3. Entrance fees to Cemoro Lawang Village (10 K)


2) Malang-Tumpang-Jemplang way:

This one is a much beautiful, less explored and a bit costlier route. A very natural question by any backpacker; if it is costly, why am I recommending it?

Answer to this question lies in the beauty of the route itself. This trip which can possibly give anyone a good story. Also, if the previous location has been Malang, traveling to Probolinggo for the sake of previously described route will be more time taking as well as costly.

View on the way from Tumpang to Jemplang
View on the way from Tumpang to Jemplang

If Malang is already part of your itinerary, it is possible to visit Bromo in lesser time than taking the route to reach Probolinggo first, and then head to Cemoro Lawang. Moreover, after the tour of Bromo, we can always leave for Probolinggo and thus the tour will allow us to see two completely different routes – each of these are spectacular in nature and worth a visit.

The journey from Malang starts with an Angkot to Arjosari bus terminal. In Malang, it is easier to find Angkot traveling to Arjosari bus terminal – look for ‘A’ letter mentioned on windscreen of Angkot such as AG, AL, ADG, where letters corresponds to the terminals they serve such as ‘A’ for Arjosari, ‘G’ for Gadang. It will cost about 5 K IDR to reach Arjosari.

White Angkot to Tumpang
White Angkot to Tumpang

Arjosari is a major bus terminal in Malang. Wait for white colour Angkot which goes to Tumpang, and charges 10 K IDR. The journey to Tumpang is quite simple with no elements of surprise at all. But, now starts the exploration part of the trip.

From Tumpang, there are two options:
Tumpang Market Area
Tumpang Market Area
  • Hiring Ojek: Lot of Ojeks (motorbike taxi) are available to drop tourists down to Cemoro Lawang. Though, I have not tried this option but mere inquiry suggests the price to be somewhere around 150 K IDR to Bromo caldera.
  • Shared 4X4 Jeep: These 4X4 jeeps are available in Tumpang Market area. Jeeps are run by private operators and usually shared by 6-10 tourists. The biggest issue with this option is the number of tourist available on this route, and hence the waiting time related to sharing. Charting complete 4X4 costs around 600 -700 K IDR. Try contacting PAINO TRANS on +62-813-3447-6664 in advance, who provides jeep in market area.
    1. Jeep will go through Jemplang which is the bifurcation point for Semeru and Bromo. Till Jemplang it should be fairly easy to share with other tourists who might be going to Semeru as well.
    2. From Jemplang, follow the left to reach Bromo. It is another 10 Km drive/walk through beautiful savannah and sea of sand.
Shared 4x4 form Tumpang
Shared 4×4 form Tumpang

Though it might seem little discouraging that the route is not very well-defined but the views and surroundings are too surreal to be part of everyone’s itinerary.

Get encouraged by changing views:

  • Till Jemplang, it is beautiful fields on one side and changing mountainous sceneries on other.
  • But immediately after leaving Jemplang, fields disappear and the view changes to open green Savannah which seems to be endless (of course, its existence so close to an active volcano is incredible).
  • Just a few kilometres further there is a total contrast in view – an open sea of sand with no sign of any vegetation (as if we landed on some other planet).

Best part of heading to Bromo caldera through this route is the magnificent views – changing sceneries at every 5-6 km and most importantly, wide open savannah at the back of caldera. While the caldera is all barren land made up of volcanic ashes the Savannah are lush green – an incredible contrast in view.

Sadly, most of the visitors to Bromo are not even aware of the presence of such enchanting views provided by this route for free. Few of the tours recently started the tour of savannah as well from Cemoro Lawang and they charge hefty amount – 100-250 K IDR for a < 3 hour tour. I found myself very lucky to reach Mt. Bromo via this route and not missing on capturing some of the most beautiful landscapes of my Indonesia trip.

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Few tips:

  • Mark your timing try to leave early if coming through Malang way.
  • Keep enough cash; Cemoro Lawang is a small village with lesser accessibility options.
  • Start early from Malang – this will give more waiting time margin for shared jeep in Tumpang.
  • Contact in advance Ali from PAINO TRANS – +62-813-3447-6664. He should be able to merge you with other passengers to Semeru and hence better chances of getting cheaper price transfer.
  • Be ready for last 3-4 Km of hike from Bromo caldera to Cemoro Lawang village.

19 Responses

  1. Aasiya

    Hey Shashank,

    Thanks for all the tips on the off beat route. Which month did you travel in? I will be there in August, which I am told is peak season. So hopefully, getting shared jeeps from Tumpang would be easy?

    • IncidentalNomad

      Hey Aasiya,
      Glad you liked it..
      i travelled in September, and yes you are correct August is kind of Peak time in Java as such. Don’t worry, there are multiple Jeeps in Tumpang leaving every hour. Take this path, you will never regret 🙂 .. Happy travelling.. do share your experience..

  2. Aasiya

    Thanks for all the info. Your post inspired me to take the Tumpang route. Else I was about to make bookings to go through Probolinggo. Anyway how much time did it take you to reach Bromo?Plus do the jeep guys stop in between so we can soak in the views enroute?

    Sure I will let you know how it went!

  3. IncidentalNomad

    Thanks Aasiya :)..
    Consider it as a journey of at least 6-8 hours depending on how frequently you are getting connecting transports and how much you want to stay to enjoy the views. And as this involves considerable(about a km) amount of trekking just before reaching Cemoro Lawang, this might be bit tiring as well.
    Jeep guys are quite friendly, atleast this Guy Ali with whom i booked. If you are booking full 4X4..nothing is better Though, please be safe, this is not a very crowded route..
    waiting to see how it went for you.. Happy Holidays..

  4. Aasiya

    Thanks for all the help.
    Gonna be backpacking solo,so mostly hiring an entire 4×4 won’t suit my budget. Have read about people hiring an ojek too from Tumpang or Ngadas. If nothing works out I’ll try that.
    Thanks for the caveats though. I travel responsibly and hopefully won’t encounter any issues from locals in this route.


  5. Aasiya

    Hi Shashank! Thank you for all the info on your post. I was able to carry it out similarly and was very happy doing it on my own. So I arrived at Tumpang from Malang and then shared a jeep with a group of locals who were going to Semeru. Unfortunately couldn’t find anyone going to Bromo directly. Also the number you provided of the tour didn’t work. The ride in the jeep to Jemplan was amazing. From Jemplan I was offered a free ride through the Savannahs and through sea of sand and was dropped off at a point where I could see the temple. From there I hiked to the starting point of Bromo and visited the crater the same day.The next morning I trekked to Seruni point and Penanjakan. Overall, Mt Bromo was one of my most favourite places in Indonesia. Thanks for all the info you provided.

    • IncidentalNomad

      Hey Aasiya!! Good to know this..and thanks a lot for this update.. Bromo indeed is one of the most beautiful and indeed a really different experience. Locals there are really good and help travellers in their adventures :D..
      Hope your overall trip was fantastic.. :)… Waiting to here more such stories from you… Keep posting.. Happy Travelling..

  6. Florence

    Hello! Thank you so much for your inspiring and useful post! I am thinking of doing this in the next days. May I just ask you, did you have to pay the entrance fee of Bromo national park through the Malang Tumpang cemoro lawang way?

    • IncidentalNomad

      Hey Florence.. So sorry, i was away for few days.. Did you already complete your travel? You don’t have to pay the entrance fee… Just follow my second post on bromo here… please follow me @facebook for quicker response.. Have a great time in Indonesia!!

  7. Carol

    Hi Shashank! Thanks for your post. I just need your opinion for next year plan. I’m plan to go to Surabaya + Bromo on September 2020. Just 2 of us. Do u prefer on tour or just get rental car? About 5 days over there later.

    • IncidentalNomad

      Hey Carol, thanks for stopping by..I will not suggest a tour definitely…You can get a rental car(i believe its a return trip to Surabaya?), though you will have to travel from Probolinggo side, the road down is much better. And incidentally no organised trip take Malang route anyways..
      Hope this helps..

    • IncidentalNomad

      hehe.. not sure, if you are going to still take this planned trip of yours :). Though, whenever you are planning next, a tour seriously is not required. You can easily do it either with public transport or as you told a “Rental Car” will serve the purpose nicely.

      • Carol

        We are cancel all our trip. Maybe not a good time this year to see Bromo. Will plan it again next year. Thanks for your advise…

  8. Andristour

    with the highway for now it is very easy and fast, if from the Surabaya airport, you can take a bus to the Probolinggo terminal which can be reached in 1.5 hours, if you go to Bromo for up to 4 hours drive, for now Surabaya to Bromo Cemoro Lawang need 2.5 hours drive

    • IncidentalNomad

      Thanks a lot for this new update. Beauty of Bromo definitely can make people travel multiple times and i’m sure i would like to do it sometime again. Thanks again 🙂

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