Hike to the active volcano Mount Bromo, Indonesia

Did you know that Indonesia has about 147 volcanoes spread all over the country?  Luckily, there are many volcanoes open for visitors and Mount Bromo must be without a doubt the most visited!

Mount Bromo is to be found in east of Java, in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. The name Bromo comes from Javanese pronunciation of Brahma, the Hindu god. It sits inside the massive Tengger caldera with a diameter of approximately 10km, surrounded by the Laut Pasir (Sea of Sand) of fine volcanic sand.

Most of the visitor base themself on the tiny mountain village Cemoro Lawang, situated right on the edge of Tengger Caldera. Here, you can find an array of guesthouses, restaurants and souvenir shops. I have to admit, I can’t remember how exactly how we got there and were we slept. But I do remember very well our hike on the ridge of Mount Bromo!


What most of the tourist do

Most of the tourist choose to go on an organised jeep tour. If you chose to go with a tour, here is an example of how your day will look like: a jeep will pick you up very early in the morning and drive you all the way to viewpoints at Mount Penangjakan, perfect-timing for the sunrise. Then, you will be continuing on a back of a jeep to Mount Bromo. Sounds great, right?

Perhaps not! Read here and you might want to do like us, skip the chaotic early morning and the hectic crowds.

What we did

Like everywhere else, when possible, we like to basically ignore all the tours companies. We love to have control of our own day and visiting Mount Bromo and the surrounding area on our own pace.

The hike

Please note that our visit was back in 2014 and I wasn’t blogging at that time so I didn’t write down every details but I will try to be precise as much as possible here.

From Cemoro Lawang there is a small path leading down to the Sea of Sand, I think you can find the path by one of the bigger hotel Cemoro Indah Hotel on the edge of the caldera. And by reading other blog posts, I think you need to pay a fee because you will be entering the park. Although, I can’t remember paying anything.

The hike down is about 10-15 minutes and once you are down add another 20 - 30 minutes to cross the sea of sand to the base of the active volcano Mount Bromo where you will be climbing +240 steps to the crater.

The walk down from Cemoro Lawang to the sea of sand, Indonesia.

A wind of sand by at the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park

Photo credit: Here

Photo credit: Here

In stead of waking up very early and fight with other visitors for a spot on the smoky Bromo crater, we decided to take our time and visit the volcano late on the afternoon. We had the active Mount Bromo to ourself! If you come with a tour group early in the morning, this is what you will get as view! Picture below! 

Photo credit: Here

By Mount Bromo you will have a crackling sound and an odor of rotten eggs.

Most of the visitor would stay put around the concrete fence by the stairs but if you dare, you can actually walk around the crater of Bromo.The sand is fine and it does make the hike a bit harder but we didn’t find it dangerous or risky because the crater is quite wide and not as narrow as some might belive. However, we DIDN’T walk all around but only to half of the crater although I wish we could have completed it! If you decided to complete the round hike, I estimate it should take about 1 hour. 

It was a thrilling knowing that this active volcano can erupt any minute! Mount Bromo volcano started showing activity in December 2010 since 2004. A month later, in January 2011, Mount Bromo had an eruption. The eruption has caused widespread damage due to near continuous ash fall, damaging buildings, roads, and destroying farmland. 35 homes were washed away, 20 were severely damaged and 44 sustained minor damage. About 340 people were displaced. As there were huge amounts of ash prompted flight cancellations between and to Bali and Java during these times.

Read about our volcano hike at Mount Rinjani My hardest hike so far, Mount Rinjani, Indonesia

A sea of volcanic sand by the active volcano Mount Bromo, Indonesia.

I had wholes on my hiking shoes so imagine all the sands I had in them! After a few meters it felt like my shoes were 5 kg heavier.


  • Bring something to cover your nose and mouth because the smell of rotten eggs (sulfur) can be overwhelming. And when crossing the sea of sand it helps to protect from the sand storms as it could be difficult to breathe.
  • It can be cold! So bring something warm just in case!
  • Expect to get dirty after a hike to Mount Bromo!

David up close with volcano sand on his face, Indonesia.


Hiking to the viewpoints

The day after our hike to Mount Bromo and its crater we did a hike to view points by the Penangjakan hill. It seems as there are several viewpoints, Viewpoint 1, Viewpoint 2 and Kingkong hills. As we didn’t pay attention at which is which I can’t tell you much about these viewpoints other than that there are a lot of spots along the hike from where you will have a great view of the volcanoes. Unfortunately, I have zero pictures of our hikes but I do remember that the walk from Cemorro Lawang was technically easy with about 200-300 m of elevation gain and it takes about 1.5-2 hours to reach the viewpoints. The trail is not hard to find, you can ask any locals for direction.


How many active volcanoes are there in Indonesia in 2018?

There are 147 volcanoes spread all over Indonesian’s 13.000 Pacific islands. And 120 out of 147 volcanoes are currently active and three are in a state of eruption right now. These tree erupting are Mount Sinabung on the island of Sumatra, Mount Agung and the island of Bali and Mount Merapi on central Java. The volatile chain of volcanoes covers an area similar in size to the continental United States, according to Volcano Discovery. This makes Indonesia the most active volcanic region in the world. 

Source: Here



So what do you guys think? Would you complete the round walk on the crater of the active volcano Bromo?


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  1. Wow 147 Dawan? Awesome! Indonesia has some desolate, out of this world scenery happening around the volcanoes, then lush jungle in other regions. What a delightful mix. We have yet to see any eruptors but were almost grounded in Bali when Mount Raung erupted on Java a few years ago. Ash played havoc with plane engines.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂


  2. its my dream to go there once in life and see how this active? i read your post and felling jealous that you had spent good time there. Lets hope that me too can go there once. Thanks for sharing good trip experience.

  3. This trip only can be done by an adrenaline junkie. All the picture of your trip is making me excited to explore this active volcano. It will be so exciting to climbing up the stairs. The view from the top is outstanding. This will be the best hiking experience in here. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us.

  4. hi Dawan, thank you for this great article and pictures, its really great post. For me it’s my dream to go there, it’s really an interesting experience.

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