Located in East Java, Bromo Tengger Semeru National park is named after its two mountains, namely Mount Semeru as the highest peak in Java, and Mount Bromo which is most popular for its carter landscape view and the Tengger people who inhabit this area. The steep slopes of the active volcanoes have been home of the Tenggerese people for several hundred years. One of the few remaining Hindu communities on Java, they are believed to be descendants of the Hindu-Buddhist Majapahit kingdom that fell in the 16th century.
Bromo is an ancient caldera 10km (6 miles) across, with four smaller peaks rising in the centre, ranging between 300 and 400 meters. Surrounding these peaks on the crater floor is sand and lush vegetation. Every year cinder and ash pours forth in eruptions to carpet the countryside with nutrient-rich deposits. Travellers come to Bromo to watch the sunrise in the cold air and to look down to the crater that is full of smoke. Bromo is also famous for the annual traditional ceremony called ‘Kasada’ held by Tenggerese. The Yadnya Kasada is a festival that is held every 14th day of the Kasada Month in the traditional Hindu lunar calendar. This ceremony is to honour Sang Hyang Widhi, the God Almighty, Roro Anteng, daughter of King Majapahit, and Joko Seger, the ancestor of the Tengger people.
The main gate to the sea of sand and Mount Bromo is through Cemoro Lawang. This is the most crowded visiting area, especially on holidays. Leave Cemara Lawang at 2-3 am to catch an incredible sunrise at the peak. To get to the peak of Bromo with its largely open crater, you need to walk across the sea of sand and step up on the 249 steps to rim, or you can go by pony, rented out by the locals. At the top is a narrow lip from where you can look into belly of the belching sulphurous centre of the carter and take a 360-degree view of the entire caldera and the majestic Gunung Semeru.
During your walk through the sea of sand to Mount Bromo, you will not miss the Poten. This is the Tenggerese Hindu temple that sits looking eerily beautiful in the sea of sand close to Mount Bromo. There is something quite magical about this place and the frugality of its decoration and austere design seems very appropriate for the location.
Although by far the most common activity in the national park is visiting the smouldering Mount Bromo, there are still several landscape attractions that worth to visit, such as Madakaripura Waterfall. These spectacular falls are located in the foothills of the park and are easily reached by anyone visiting with their own transport. The area offers a good example of the lush nature of the park at lower elevations. Lakes Ranupani and Ranu Regulo are also beautiful sights. These small, serene and always misty lakes are adjacent to the village of Ranupani on the south side of the crater. Most visitors to this side of the crater are happy to take in the beauty of the small highland lakes and leave climbing Mount Semeru to the professionals. Ranupani is an extremely mystical village even by East Javanese standards and the rather ghostly lakes only add to the feel of spirituality here.
The Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park can be reached by either private or public vehicles. There are four gates to access the place, Probolinggo, Wonokitri, Ngadas and Lumajang. You can take a plane to the airport in Surabaya, or Malang, which get regular services from Jakarta, Bali as well as from other Asian countries. Once at the Surabaya Airport, you have the choice of any of the three well established routes into the park. The first route is Probolinggo to Ngadisari, which is on the north coast of Java and about 145 km from the park. Second is Pasuruan to Tosari which is a bit more difficult than the Probolinggo route, but Pasuruan is much closer to Surabaya, and third is from Malang to Tumpang, this route is approachable from the Southeast.
Probolinggo approach is the easiest and by far the most popular route, especially if you go by public bus. Wonokitri is the closest and the easiest route if you travel by private vehicle from Surabaya (5 hours journey). To get closer to Mt. Bromo you must rent 4x4 vehicles. Occasionally buses will have short stops in Cemoro Lawang where you can purchase national park entrance tickets. From the village of Cemoro Lawang, you can easily hike up Mount Bromo and Mount Penanjakan and the best time to do this is pre-dawn. Tours to Bromo are easily organised in Malang, and you can also arrange jeep hire in hotels and travel agents there.
If you plan to hike Mount Semeru, it will be easier to climb from the Lumajang or Ranu Pane side. You can drive right up to Ranu Pane from Tumpang with a 4WD vehicle and start the climb from there without the hassle of Bromo. The trailhead is just outside Ranu Pane. You don't need a guide to find the way up the mountain: once you have left the village behind and are on the track, you can't miss the summit.
When to Go:
Best time to visit is from May to August but it is recommended to visit on May or September to avoid the peak months June through August. On the fourteenth day of the Month Kasada is also a best time to travel, you can catch the Kasada Ceremony held by the inhabitants of Tengger.
Where to Stay:
Address: Jl. Raya Cemoro Lawang, Ngadisari, East Java
Phone: (+62) 335 541018
Mobile: (+62) 812 351 112 39
Java Banana Bromo Lodge
Address: Jl. Raya Bromo, Wonotoro, Sukapura, Probolinggo, East Java
Phone: (+62) 335 541193 / (+62) 852 3033 5003
Mobile: (+62) 852 3033 5003 / (+62) 819 3211 5688
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Bromo Surya Indah Homestay
Address: Wonokitri Village, Tosari, Indonesia
Phone: (+62) 343 571049
Mobile: (+62) 852 3572 2333
Address: Tosari, Pasuaran, East Java
Phone: (+62) 335 515253
Fax: (+62) 343 571333
Grand Bromo Hotel
Address: Sukapura Village, Probolinggo, East Java
Phone: (+62) 335 581103 – 5 / (+62) 31 732 9945 - 6
Hotel Bromo Permai
Address: Jl. Raya Cemoro Lawang, Ngadisari, Probolinggo, East Java
Phone: (+62) 335 541021 / (+62) 335 541 049
Mobile: (+62) 803 442 561 / (+62) 803 011 4335
Café Lava Cemoro Lawang
Address: Jl. Cemoro Lawang Sukapura, Probolinggo, East Java
Phone: (+62) 335 541 020
Make sure you have a flashlight for any pre-dawn climb and always have your wits about you. The steps can be covered with crater dust and it’s possible to slip while climbing, be wary while climbing. Bromo is an active volcano, and Semeru is a very active volcano, watch out for rocks flung from a sudden explosion. Prepare yourself with warm clothing, comfortable trekking shoes, and gloves as protection against the freezing temperatures, which hover between zero to five degrees Celsius. A face masks is also essential to keep the dust away if the crowd gets big around the crater. Be sure that you have already eaten, or bring some food and drink with you before you start trekking or climbing. If you intend to climb Mount Semeru you will need to apply for a permit in advance to Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park office, but it is only for serious trekkers and it is often closed due to volcanic eruptive activity.
Eco Travel Tips:
During high season, visitors crowd around the road access to Pananjakan, mainly using 4 wheel-drives. The many parked vehicles on the side of the road cause traffic jams. It is recommended that you ask your driver to drop you off far enough from the main entrance so that you walk to avoid the traffic jam and reducing the fuel consumption. There are many tour operators offering their service with very competitive prices. Make sure you choose the right tour package that supports your travel necessities. The local Tengger people may press you into accepting a horse ride across the crater bed but there’s no really serious hassle. It is still easy to connect spiritually with this sacred peak if you wander around the lip of the Bromo cone, away from the main viewing point.
Useful contact and important number:
Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park Office
Address: Jl. Raden Intan No.6, Malang, East Java
Phone: (+62) 341 491828
Fax: (+62) 341 490885
Travel package and guide information:
3 Season Holiday
Address: Jl. Terusan Danau Kerinci 1 No. 20 Malang, East Java
Mobile: (+62) 856 499 883 89 / (+62) 823 354 144 45
Bromo Tours & Travel
Address: Jl. Raya Sukapura No 53 Probolinggo, East java, Indonesia
Phone: (+62) 335 434 183
Mobile: (+62) 812 34 5 71 135
Indo Java Tours
Phone: (+62) 335 7673777
Mobile: (+62) 812 5206 1999
Bromo Tour .co.id
Phone: (+62) 882 14183 7000 / (+62) 335 7673777
Mobile: (+62) 8561 9999 09 / (+62) 882 141 83 7000
Bromo Tours .com
Address: Gardenia Estate Block G29, Jl. S. Parman, Pakis, Banyuwangi, East Java
Phone: (+62) 370 6650238
Mobile: (+62) 821 4296 1911
Lintang Buana Tours
Address: Jl. Siwalan Kerto Timur 1 No.42, Surabaya, East Java
Phone: (+62) 31 8434556/ (+62) 823 354 144 45
Paket Wisata Bromo
Mobile: (+62) 82 232 690 100
Mobile: (+62) 82 330 515 567
Tour de Bromo
Phone: (+62) 31 336 20 333
Mobile: (+62) 878 5447 0845 / (+62) 889 1807 999