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Visiting Bromo in Frugal Traveling.
Bromo, the name means Brahmana-The Creator God in Hinduism, undoubtedly has heavenly view. People from all over the world visit this place to prove this well known beauty. Visiting and living in Bromo doesn't have to be expensive, if you want to visit Bromo in a backpacker way that budget needs to be a major consideration, then here are the tips.
How can Bromo be reached.
Prepare long days before your departure.
Preparing a trip long days before is very important since it enables you to find promotion flight tickets.
Bromo can be reached by planes to Juanda International Airport, Surabaya, the capital city of East Java Province.
There are also direct flights to Surabaya from some countries like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hongkong, and from some major cities in Indonesia like from Jakarta, Batam, and Denpasar, Bali.
Surabaya - Bromo.
After you land at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, the next destination is Probolinggo also known as Mango City.
From the airport, take Damri shuttle bus to go to Bungurasih Bus Terminal which costs you Rp. 20,000 (around 2 US$).
At Bungurasih Bus Terminal take a non or air conditioned bus to go to Probolinggo. Air conditioned bus costs Rp 25,000 (2.5 US$) and takes about 3 hours to arrive in Probolinggo.
The next town to reach is Cemoro Lawang. This is the closest base camp to Bromo and where you can find economy accommodations.
The transport from Probolinggo to Cemoro Lawang is Elf medium-sized bus. To find this medium-sized bus, you need to walk out of the bus station and turn left. The medium bus you look for is just around the corner outside the main bus station and they are mostly in green color. This bus will charge each person Rp. 25,000 (2.5 US$). You will experience inclining, winding roads and feel "the sensations" of skillful driving through narrow roads. The bus will pass Ngadisari before it reaches Cemoro Lawang from where you'll see Bromo in the distance and take only one hour to reach the crater.
To reach Bromo peak and its crater.
As it has been mentioned before, Bromo mount is located near Cemoro Lawang and needs less than one hour to go to its crater. The main attraction when you go to Bromo is go to the crater and watch the sunrise from its rims and it's all possible to be done if you leave for it before dawn, around 3 a.m.
There are some choice of transports when you want to go to Bromo peak from Cemoro Lawang either by Jeep, horse ride, motor cycle taxi, or the most economical on foot. Of course renting a jeep is the most costly, Rp 400,000 (around 42 US$) compared to horse ride (16 US$), or motor cycle taxi (they call it ojek) which costs Rp. 75,000 (8 US$.). All tariffs are for back and forth services.
If walking is not a hindrance for you, I myself prefer to go on foot because it's the cheapest since you only need to spend less than 8 US$ to hire a track guide (if necessary-it's also ok if you go without a track guide). I did it with my family in our last visit in 2012 but we had to take three motor cycle taxis on the way home because of my wife's weary legs.
Many choices of accommodations are available at Cemoro Lawang, ranging from home stays which cost around Rp. 100,000 (10 US$) to 4-star hotels. Facilities provided by those accommodations are varied depends on the rate, for budget home stays they only provide a room with a small bed in every room while the bathroom is normally available only one for all renters.
F o o d s.
Foods in Bromo shouldn't be any problem for everybody considering that the foods can satisfy various tastes, local and international. Restaurants at nearby hotels serve international foods, while for budget or local tourists they can go to small restaurants where local foods like noodle-based food, fried rice, mixed rice and other foods are served. Small, local restaurants serve foods at much lower prices, ranging Rp. 10,000 - Rp. 20,000 (1 to 2 USD) and warm tea is often included.
What You Need to Bring.
Like when you climb a mountain, you need to prepare some proper clothes and things to bring :
- Thick, light jacket.
- Thick-light cotton trousers
- cotton gloves
- Strong, light shoes with gripped soles.
- Mask, to cover mouth and nose from dust.
- Bottled drink water and some snacks.
- Pocket camera.
- Some money in case you need to rent transports on the way home.
Alternative routes to Bromo.
Besides from the route has been explained above, Bromo can be reached from other 4 different directions:
- Malang - Probolinggo - Ngadisari - Cemoro Lawang
- Surabaya or Malang - Pasuruan - Tosari - crater
- Malang - Tumpang - Gubuk Klakah - Ngadas
- Purwodadi - Nongkojajar - crater .
Experience with the first route.
Among those alternative routes I wrote above, my family tried the first choice: Malang-Probolinggo-Ngadisari-Cemoro Lawang and we
We started the journey from Arjosari bus station in Malang at around 10 a.m. There are two kinds of buses (air conditioned and non air conditioned) which both going to Probolinggo, a city also known as a Mango City for it's government main income from mango plantation. and we took an air conditioned bus to be more comfortable considering that the fare was still acceptable. The distance from Malang to Probolinggo is around 90 km and can be reached in around 1.5 hours. It was already noon when the bus arrives at Bayuangga, Probolinggo'w bus station. After having lunch at bus station we continued the trip to our main destination, Bromo.
An adrenaline-pumping journey.
The transports going to Bromo from Probolinggo are varied. People can go there by their own cars, by motorbikes, or by public transport like my family and I did. We took a medium-sized bus which was available outside the Bayuangga bus station.
The bus, people colloquially call it bus "elf" regarding its type, was not as neat and new as the Malang-Probolinggo buses, but the size was ideal for the width of road leading to Bromo and it's power to hit the climbing and winding mountainous way made us sure that we could reach the destination successfully.
We passed some scenic locations along the Probolinggo-Bromo road. With some steep inclines at certain areas and from there we could see deep valleys with green fields and farmers' activities below us. Many of them grew leeks, tomatoes, potatoes, Japanese cucumbers, corns, etc.
It was really an adrenaline-pumping trip.
The scenery along the road pleased the passengers and distract their feeling of worrisome caused by the steep winding journey plus ravines at certain areas. Some tried to take pictures amidst the shaking bus following every curve of winds. We imperceptibly passed Ngadisari and found out the bus had reached Cemoro Lawang at around 4 p.m. We were grateful that we didn't get any trouble in finding a home stay at the price we can accommodate.
That attractive price had also invited two other families The Sugitos and The Bonars, to join and stay in the same home and we became one team in Bromo climbing.
Tengger-Bromo-Semeru National Park.
Bromo is an active mountain situated at around 2200 above sea level, clustering with other mountains in the area called Tengger-Bromo-Semeru National Park comprising 5,250 hectares area.
Tengger itself is a wide caldera which was formed during a giant eruption many years ago. From the top of its eastern part of Tengger, where Cemoro Lawang village located, we can see vast sea sand (locally called Lautan Pasir) with the views of Mt. Batok below and Mt. Bromo behind it and Mt Semeru in the background.
Semeru or Mahameru is the highest mountain (3676m) in Java and very popular among mountain climbers. This mountain has three wonderful lakes Ranu Pani, Ranu Regulo, and Ranu Kumbolo where climbers usually have a stop over on their way climbing to the peak of Semeru.
To see the amazing view of Tengger, Bromo, and Semeru National Park all from one strategic place called Pananjakan, visitors are suggested to take the route : Surabaya or Malang - Pasuruan - Pananjakan - Bromo.
Climbing to the peak.
We found climbing mount Bromo was pretty challenging, especially at the time when we wanted to see the sunrise. As if there was one commando ordering them to move, people in my home stay woke up almost at the same time at around 3:00 am as agreed the night before. All dressed in our mountain gears like thick jackets, gloves, balaclavas, face masks, and flashes. We mustn't have forgotten to bring some drinking water too.
As I've said above we can rent a jeep, motorcycle taxi or horses to climb Bromo. We decided to go on foot since we have an experienced member in our team who knew the route to the peak well. Having this guy in the team, we didn't need to worry to get lost . In the darkness and low temperature of around 5° Celcius, we walked lining up following the path which was specially provided for climbers with 2 persons at the front and back respectively torching the path with their flashes as well as guiding our directions.
Having walked for about one hour in the sand sea, we reach the foot of Bromo around 04:30.
The thousand-step stair is the next challenge awaiting. We had to go upstairs stepping one by one step the stairs in order to reach the rim of the caldera. It was quite an effort since we also had to fight the coldness, the darkness and had to take turns when we came across other climbers who were in the same direction, and we had to be particularly careful for not wanting to stumble on others when there were climbers taking a break on the steps.
Some team members needed some rest too and sit on the step out of breath. The clock was ticking and we raced with the time to reach the peak before the most awaited moment, the sunrise , appeared. It motivated us to be on our feet again and continued climbing. At 4:30 we reached the rim of the Bromo crater.
The rim was not so wide, only around 1.5 to 2 m in width circling the caldera which looked grayish scary. Many climbers had been sitting along the other parts of the rim ahead of us, so we had to be extremely careful if we didn't want to slip and possibly rolled down the slopes and landed on the floor of the caldera.
Twenty minutes prior to sunrise, the sky showed brilliantly purple in the east horizon with glowing beams of sunlight emerging from its base. We all speechless waiting for the moment of sunrise, slowly but sure the beams decorating the ring of rising sun got imperceptibly brighter from soft to be more vividly golden rays until we were eventually shown a beautifully round shape of the great luminary.
Having enjoyed the fantastic sunrise show on top of Bromo and posed for some pictures, next we were treated with another attractive view we hadn't noticed because of the darkness: vast sea of sand below with Mount Batok looked friendly and huge as if it were only in a stone-throw distance from us. Mt. Batok's appearance could be a good object to learn the anatomy of a mountain for its perfect conical shape, an indication of having never erupted yet.
The sea of sand covering the floor of Tengger caldera which is totally around 5250 hectares areas. Besides the fascinating look of Mount Batok, Poten Hindu temple also lies there and become the place where local people, called Tenggerese, hold their religious ceremonies. In this temple a ritual, Yadnya Kasada or Kasodo (means 10th) regularly takes place on 14 of 15 of the tenth month in Javanese calendar or in December. From the temple the procession continues to Bromo mountain where they'll throw offerings as their service to God.
Bromo or Brahma (one of Gods in Hinduism) is considered sacred by Tenggerese, for that reason they say prayers to Him on Kasodo begging for salvation, prosperity, protection from evil spirits and from illnesses.
During the ceremony on the peak of Bromo, Tenggerese will dare going down to the crater walls to grab the falling offering as a symbol in winning the blessings.
With all of physical and cultural beauties Bromo always gives, no wonder that people all over the world fall in love with Bromo.