I guess the only bit of advice here is to not pay the crazy prices offered by hostels/agencies to climb Bromo and just do it yourself!
We got to Probolinggo after an epic 8 hour train journey. Economy class on Indonesian trains is clean and quiet but cramped. Legs and backs aching we practically ran off the train (especially our 6″5 French friend) and looked for transport to any hostel where we could go and lie down. Bromo Sunrise Homestay located we were happy.
Unsurprisingly due to its very apt name (the only reason anyone actually visits Probolinggo!) the hostel was full of people staying for a night and heading to Bromo the next day to catch the sunrise. However, speaking to all of them it seemed that the price they were paying was so high; 500-750k rupiah or £30-£45 and really just for a transfer. So, we decided to rebel against the norm and go about climbing Bromo our way – the cheap way! It is relatively simple and whilst we didn’t see sunrise our experience we felt was just as memorable!
Here is how we did it:
1. Public bus from Probolinggo to Cemera Luwang
Should cost you about 25k rupiah. The minibus’ are 12/15 seaters and they wait until they are full to leave…no matter how much you plead. If you don’t want to wait you can pay a bit more to cover the cost of the seats but again, convincing the locals to do this is hard! We ended up paying 30k each one way. The journey takes about 1 and a half hours so leave time if your planning a quick trip. Its easier to get a full bus the earlier in the morning you go.
2. You may or may not get stopped at the park entrance to pay 10k each conservation fee. We did but really its not so much!
3. The bus will drop you off at the top of the hill where the road forks into two roads ahead. Get off the bus and DO NOT follow the crowds and walk up the left fork towards to the main hotel. This is where the main park entrance is and where they charge tourists the hefty and unreasonable entrance fee. Instead take the right fork and walk down the road to the ‘locals’ pathway. If you don’t have the app ‘maps.me’ download it as its marked as ‘freeway to Bromo’ on there!
4. Subtly walk through the gate/hole in the fence, down the pathway in the hill and out onto the Sand of Sea.
5. You’ve made it! Now explore until your hearts content, there are no more checkpoints or ticket enforcers so you can wander around freely and ‘somewhat’ guilt free. Plus, Bromo during the day was all but deserted so you can enjoy the walks, crater and viewpoints without the hordes and hordes of people who gather at sunrise.
6. The bus back to Probolinggo works in the same way as the morning. The last busses generally leave around 3pm however if you are in a group speak with your driver and they may agree to pick you up later. There were four of us together so we had arranged for our bus driver to take us back at 5pm.
All in all our trip to Bromo cost us 130K rupiah which also included lunch! A bargain we’d say! Plus, Bromo had started erupting the day before so we got to climb up to the crater to see the beginnings of the smoke billowing out. Probably pretty stupid but an experience we will never forget! Go check out our Bromo photo blog should you STILL need any more inspiration!
C & J