East Java, Gunung Bromo

Written by on July 16, 2012 in Java Mountains with 0 Comments

East Java, Gunung Bromo

Bromo (Pananjakan)


Bromo is probably the most popular volcano attraction in Indonesia. Situated in the middle of the “Sea of Sand”, an ancient crater, Bromo itself is only 2,329 metres high. The perfect ridged cone of Gunung Batok next to Bromo stands taller at 2,470m and the surrounding crater rim is higher in many places, with the highest peak being Gunung Pananjakan (2,753m). It is from Pananjakan that thousands of people watch the sun rise with Bromo and Batok in the crater below, and Java’s highest peak Semeru brooding in the background. Gunung Panajakan is not a Ribu because of the proximity of Semeru, but the spectacular view is well worth “Spesial” status – the Sea of Sand, the Hindu temple, the beautiful cone of Gunung Batok, gases rising from Bromo’s crater, and the menacing Semeru in the distance.

The only problem is that you don’t have to earn the fantastic view – there is a road that leads from Sea of Sand up to within 5m of the Summit of Penajakan, and most people take well organised trips by four-wheel drive jeeps or motorbikes for the sunrise. On a busy weekend the viewing points can be a circus, and there can be hundreds of jeeps lining the road near the Panajakan summit. However, there is a really pleasant way to hike and bag this special peak, avoiding the crowds until the last 15 minutes.

Most people stay in Cemoro Lawang, which is is the closest village and literally perched on edge of the north side of crater rim (2,350m). The Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park entrance and office are here, and you need to pay Rp. 25,000 entry (once for your entire visit). Despite the number of people that pass though, Cemoro Lawang is a lovely place and the farmland of mostly cabbages and corn fields cover the slopes of the crater rim away to the north, and terraces reach up the steep sides of Pananjakan. There is good hostel accommodation here and also a camp ground with views directly of the Sea of Sand and Bromo.

To earn the sunrise on Bromo, you start your hike at around 3:15 am from Cemoro Lawang, walking along the road that runs west along the rim edge (the road is the right turn about 50 metres before you get to the National Park entrance). You quickly leave the congregating jeeps behind; keep going straight along the crater edge, and in approximately 30 minutes the road begins to climb a little. At the end of the paved road continue straight on the path into shrubby forest. Even with a full moon, you will need a torch. The path is mostly paved, although a little overgrown, so make sure to follow the paved route as it zigzags upwards. After another 30 minutes you reach a large covered viewpoint, which will probably be deserted at 4:15 am, and likely sees few visitors because of the need to hike uphill for 30 minutes! With a strong moon, Bromo and its clouds of white gas will be visible, as well as the lights and sounds of the jeeps roaring across the Sea of Sand. The trail up to the summit of Panajakan continues from here; leave the viewpoint and turn left, uphill, and follow the zigzag path that makes its way up the steep slope – the next viewpoint should be 45 mins hike, and as you approach it you will hear the crowds. If the hike took longer than planned, this is a good place to watch the sunrise, but otherwise continue on the trail for a few minutes before emerging onto the paved road lined with jeeps and motorbikes. Turn right, uphill, and pass all the parked vehicles for about 15 mins – the entrance to the Panajakan summit viewpoint is on the right and very obvious – there are several warungs (stalls) selling souvenirs, tea/coffee, food, hats and gloves, and local barbecued corn. The summit can be packed, and it can be good to descend some steps to right and stand on the steep grassy slope for unimpeded views. From the summit, you can see the famous scene of Bromo, Batok and Semeru.

After taking more photographs than you ever thought possible of Bromo, you can also see Gunung Argopuro and probably Gunung Raung to the East. Once you’re finished at the summit, return to the road where you can also see Gunung Arjuna and Gunung Wellirang to the west and also Gunung Butak further southwest. Just north of Arjuna you might be able to see the relatively small Gunung Penanggungan.

The route on the road with the motorbikes has many more great photo opportunitiesand you can take one of the many ojeks on offer (motorcycle taxi) – don’t forget to bargain! If you wisely choose to hike back and shun motorised transport, don’t miss the path on the left that brought you onto the road before dawn. The hike back the same way is very different in daylight, and there are numerous great photo opportunities – the views of the farmland on the rim as you descend are also wonderful.

It is also essential tourism to walk down into the crater from Cemoro Lawang and across the Sea of Sand to Bromo, which is possible in same morning after a well-earned breakfast. At the foot of Bromo is the temple where every year at full moon December/January the traditional Kasodo ceremony is held. The Tengger people thow offerings into the crater to ask for a good harvest and for the healing of various ailments. Near the temple there are a few hundred steps to reach edge of Bromo and peer inside, and across to Batok and Panajakan.

Bagging information by Andy Dean.


Getting there

Easy to arrange from practically anywhere in East Java.


There are several hotels near Bromo or, further away, in the coastal town of Probolinggo.


Buy a ticket on entry to the National Park area.

Water sources

There are many shops selling drinks and snacks nearby.

Country: Indonesia

Subregion Name: Java (Indonesia)

Volcano Number: 0603-31=

Volcano Type: Stratovolcanoes

Volcano Status: Historical

Last Known Eruption: 2011 

Summit Elevation: 2329 m 7,641 feet

Latitude: 7.942°S 7°56’30″S

Longitude: 112.95°E 112°57’0″E

The 16-km-wide Tengger caldera is located at the northern end of a volcanic massif extending from Semeru volcano. The massive Tengger volcanic complex dates back to about 820,000 years ago and consists of five overlapping stratovolcanoes, each truncated by a caldera. Lava domes, pyroclastic cones, and a maar occupy the flanks of the massif. The Ngadisari caldera at the NE end of the complex formed about 150,000 years ago and is now drained through the Sapikerep valley. The most recent of the Tengger calderas is the 9 x 10 km wide Sandsea caldera at the SW end of the complex, which formed incrementally during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. An overlapping cluster of post-caldera cones was constructed on the floor of the Sandsea caldera within the past several thousand years. The youngest of these is Bromo, one of Java’s most active and most frequently visited volcanoes.

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