Mount Bromo (map) is an active somma volcano and part of the Tengger mountains, in East Java. At 2,329 meters (7,641 feet) it is not the highest peak of the massif, but the most famous. The area is one of the most visited tourist destinations in East Java, and the volcano is included in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park (wikivoyage).
If a landscape was ever needed to demonstrate the meaning of the phrase desolate beauty, then this is surely it. Rugged, barren volcanic peaks, gravel plains and that sea of sand. Truly unworldly.
The park also includes large areas which are very lush and green fed by rivers from the high tops. The medium elevations are clad with much thinner forest before this gives way to the barren plateau and peaks.
+ More information > Wikipedia • Wikivoyage
A typical way to visit Mount Bromo is from the nearby mountain village of Cemoro Lawang (map). From there it is possible to walk to the volcano in about 45 minutes, but it is also possible to take an organized jeep tour, including stops at the viewpoint of Mount Penanjakan (map). The sights on Mount Penanjakan can also be reached on foot in about two hours.
Mount Bromo is perhaps the most accessible of Java’s active volcanoes and for that reason it gets a lot of domestic tourists, often in package groups. It is also a popular destination for high school groups who camp in the area.
For that reason, those visitors seeking a quiet appreciation of the park should avoid major domestic holiday periods or at least you have no room at the main watchpoint platform area to take sunrise photos.
That being said, this is a large park and providing you get away from the main watchpoint platform area, quiet enjoyment is possible at any time, as long as the Tenggar caldera in the Mount Bromo volcano complex is not erupting as it did in 2004, late 2010 and early 2011. If so some caution may be required.
The nearest larger town is *Probolinggo (map), on the north coast of Java about 45 km as the crow flies from the park (but it feels a lot further). This is by far the most common route used to access the park as it is the most straightforward (but not necessarily the most interesting).
When timing any activities in the area, bear in mind that sunset is soon after 17:00 and sunrise is correspondingly early at around 05:30. This means you will usually need to get up by 03:30 or so to get to a watchpoint in time for dawn.
For the keen hiker, this park is a dream come true and you can make your own schedule. There are many possibilities once you are away from the more popular area at Mount Bromo. Maps and information about the area are available at one of the many official locations.
There is plenty of accommodation around the park. Most facilities at Cemoro Lawang (very conveniently located with dramatic views because it is perched on the edge of the caldera) and elsewhere close to the caldera are somewhat basic so visitors looking for more up market accommodation should stay in Sukapura or Tosari.
BUS > DAMRI • bosbis.com
RAIL > PT Kereta Api – the government-owned train company, runs trains across most of Java and some parts of Sumatra. + tiket.com (*Rail transport in Indonesia)
AIRPORTS > Most visitors to Indonesia arrive at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali or Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta.
WATERWAYS > Indonesia is all islands and consequently boats have long been the most popular means of inter-island travel. Ferries may take you on long trips lasting days or weeks, or short jumps between islands for several hours. However, not all destinations are served daily.
The largest company is the state-owned PELNI, whose giant ferries visit practically every major inhabited island in Indonesia on lengthy journeys that can take a week from end to end. ASDP runs fast ferries (Kapal Ferry Cepat, rather amusingly abbreviated KFC) on a number of popular routes. Indonesia Ferry >> indonesiaferry.co.id