Sunrise at Mount Bromo: Putting check marks on the Indonesian Bucket List

From Banyuwangi and my trek to the Ijen crater I made my way to Probolinggo to see the sunrise at Mount Bromo. I had read plenty of bad things about hassles and scams in the city and was keen to  make a speedy exit to Cemoro Lawang, the village closest to the sunrise viewing point. Catching a bus was actually easy enough, although the bemo from the train station did insist on dropping passengers at a tour agency rather than the bus stop, my advice to others making the journey would be to stay put until the bus station. For us it worked out well as we were able to catch a minibus from the tour agent for only IDR10,000 more than the public bus, and could get moving quickly. I had heard that you can wait a long time in the bus station so I was happy with this.

Cemoro Lawang was cold, that was the main thing I thought when I arrived and had to walk around seeking accommodation. In honesty, the options are limited and I would recommend booking in advance to save yourself the trouble, but we managed to bargain a good rate at the Cemara Indah guesthouse near the road that lead to the viewpoint, so that would do, it was only for one short night anyways! The guesthouse actually has an incredible view of Bromo and the sand-sea so I do recommend it, although the economy rooms are nothing to write home about.

After dinner and an early bed time it was all too soon 3:30am and time to make a move. The walk up to see the sunrise was short and not challenging. Hoards of tour groups passed by in jeeps avoiding the climb but we opted to walk. I had hear that all the tours go to the highest viewpoint and it was better to stop at one of the lower ones. My legs, still aching from Ijen, were pleased with this, and it was certainly far nicer to watch with just 20 people than the hundreds that must have been higher up.

The sunrise was spectacular and everything I had heard it to be, making the journey to Cemoro Lawang instantly worth it and putting a huge check mark on the Indonesia bucket list for me. Bromo itself was closed, as it was showing signs of erupting. I found this out just after I arrived in Probolinggo and did have a moment of wondering whether I should really be travelling towards and erupting volcano. The smoke it produced did however make it more atmospheric but meant that there was no options to explore closer to the crater today.

That being the case, after a large Indonesian breakfast of Nasi and Mie Goreng, we made a speedy exit back to Probolinggo, backpacks precariously balanced on the roof of the small minivan, and to the train station in time to catch the train to Yogyakarta.

The ride was a long 8 hours but we were on our way to the next stop and my journey across Java was making quick progress. It was a fast-paced start to this part of the journey and I appreciated the time to do nothing on the journey and catch up on two nights of missed sleep!


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