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How to Hike Mount Bromo for Free, Without Using a Tour or a Guide

How to Hike Mount Bromo for Free, Without Using a Tour or a Guide

If you are planning your trip to Indonesia, you’ve probably stumbled upon one of the countless Mount Bromo tours already and you are wondering if you can climb Mount Bromo for free on your own.

One of the biggest highlights of Indonesia, Mount Bromo is part of the Tengger-Semeru National Park situated in the east of the Java island and is famous for being one of the few volcanos you can hike without being a pro-climber. And let me tell you something – this place is absolutely stunning!

The Sea of Sand (and ashes) surrounding the volcano is as unique as it gets and staring inside the crater of Bromo is also an experience you would cherish till the end of your days. Let’s not forget the sunrise sight from one of the many many viewpoints around. Catching the first sunlight there can easily become the highlight of your Indonesian trip, and everyone who’s been to Indonesia knows how bold of a statement this is.

how to climb mount bromo for free on sunrise
The photo everybody wants

However, being such a fantastic place combined with being immensely popular, brings some negatives to Bromo, and if you don’t plan your visit carefully, they may ruin the whole experience. What am I talking about? The prices and the crowds.

The easiest way to visit Mount Bromo is by booking a tour from Surabaya, Yogyakarta, or Bali. Doing so will get you hundreds of dollars behind, and you would spend most of the time just sitting in a car getting bored to death.

The worst of all – once you arrive at the volcano you would have to battle your way through crowds of thousands of other tourists. No, I’m not exaggerating – literally hundreds of cars and thousands of people visit Bromo every single night (even more on the weekends).

   See Also:  The Ultimate Indonesia Travel Itinerary

how to climb mount bromo for free- night bromo
Can you see the line of cars surrounding the volcano?

Oh, I almost forgot, you also have to pay two extra taxes – a small one to enter the village of Cemoro Lawang (10,000 IDR / 0.7 USD) and not so small one to enter the volcano area – ( 220,000 IDR / 15 USD during weekdays and 320,000 IDR / 21 USD on weekends).

Are you starting to reconsider your trip already? Don’t! There is actually a way to climb Mount Bromo for free and skip the annoying crowds.

*When I say for free, I don’t mean you won’t spend absolutely anything. You still have to spend some rupiah on transport and accommodation, but as you’ll see in the end, the total amount of expenses won’t be anywhere near the price of the tours.

How to get to Mount Bromo?

how to get to mount bromo

How to get from Surabaya to Probolinggo

The closest airport is in the city of Surabaya. From there you need to make your way to the small town of Probolinggo. You have three options:

how to get from surabaya to proboling

By Bus

the Purabaya bus station (also known as the Bungurasih terminal) is close to the airport, but the taxi to it would still cost you around 100,000 IDR / 7 USD. You can also take the shuttle bus from outside the arrivals gate for 25,000 IDR / 1.50 USD

Once at the bus station, find the one to Probolinggo (the destinations are over the buses) and get inside.

The only place to buy a legit ticket is inside the bus, and it costs around 35,000 IDR / 2.50 USD. Do not buy anything from people who offer you at the station. The journey should be 2-3 hours. 

Have in mind that there is a chance to get an AC bus or one with just some fans in the back. Also, the bus may stop quite sometimes to get additional passengers on the way.

By Train

To catch the train to Probolinggo you need to make your way to Surabaya Gubeng Station. It’s 20km from the airport so I believe the taxi would be much more expensive than the one to the bus station; also there is no airport shuttle going there.

The train to Probolinggo costs between 30,000 IDR / 2 USD and 60,000 IDR / 4 USD and you can book it online here.
The train option costs you more than the bus one but is also more comfortable.

If you are in Yogyakarta, you can take a direct train to Probolinggo. Prices vary between 75,000 IDR / 5 USD and 300,000 IDR / 21 USD. The journey will take approximately 9 hours

By Taxi

The most comfortable but also the most expensive way. The price here depends entirely on your haggling skills. I got an offer of 500,000 IDR / 35 USD from the Purabaya bus station to Mount Bromo, so maybe if you are a group of people and you like to haggle with taxi drivers, it’s worth it to explore the option.

How to get from Probolinggo to Cemoro Lawang

how to get from probolingo to cemoro lawang
This is bemo

Once in Probolinggo, you need to make your way to the village right next to the crater of Mount Bromo – Cemoro Lawang.

You have only one option here, and it’s the colorful public vans called Bemos. Once you are out of the bus/train station, you can find someone to take you to one. The bad thing about bemos is that they don’t really have a schedule, they go when they are full, and this may take hours.

You can also offer to pay more and go faster. Ticket should be around 5 USD.

How to get from Cemoro Lawang to Probolinggo

On the way back, It’s the same route you came – you get the bemo from the center of the village. If you are in a hurry, your hotel should be able to find you a taxi, but it won’t come cheap.

How to hike Mount Bromo for free – the secret passage map!

how to climb mount bromo for free

Once in Cemoro Lawang, you can get easily to Mount Bromo without a tour. I suggest to explore the Sea of Sand and the crater during the day and go to the viewpoints at sunrise.

Since all tours go to the crater of Mount Bromo before (or right after) sunrise, during the day, there will be close to no people around it, and you can thoroughly enjoy this masterpiece of nature.

To get there without paying the hefty entrance fee, you need to find the secret passage next to the hotel Cemara Indah. You get inside the parking lot and go right, down to the pathway that leads you to the Sea of Sand. Not only free but also a shortcut.

mount bromo for free secret way map
This path is shown only on 

   See Also:  How to Get The Best Angkor Wat Sunrise Experience

Is the whole fuss really worth it?

Don’t know about you but I rate my travels by the “wow-moments” I experience on them. A wow-moment is something so amazing I can’t help but say WOW out loud (it’s kinda tricky when diving).

In Indonesia, I had five wow moments and two of them were around Mount Bromo. The first one – when I looked down at the crater of the volcano. It is such a humbling experience, getting that close to something that powerful you won’t have a choice but to say wow.

The second one was the night when I was hiking to the viewpoints. The road was empty, there were gazillion stars in the sky and a scent of fresh jasmine in the air. One of my most perfect and relaxing moments ever.

staring at the crater of Mount Bromo
Don’t do this at home

Once in the Bromo area, you’re going to get a lot of offers for a horse ride up to the volcano. I plead you to deny them.

Poor horses are severely mistreated, and it’s obvious their size is not suitable for riding up slopes with people on their backs. They have a hard time going up, slipping from time to time which gets them a whip as a reward…

Please don’t support animal abuse. The path up is doable even for people with average fitness levels.

horses on mount bromo
Don’t make him carry you up there, please!

How to get to the viewpoints of Mount Bromo?

mount bromo for free - viewpoints

There are probably a dozen viewpoints located on the mount across Bromo – Penanjakan Hill. To get there, you don’t go to the Cemara Indah hotel, but you continue down the road. It will slowly become a climb, and you will see a parking lot (which is also an excellent viewpoint).

Continue going up, and you would find a lot of places to experience the magical Bromo sunrise. The top viewpoint is where all the tours go so I suggest to avoid it. There is one slightly below – King Kong viewpoint, where you can get the same sight with fewer tourists.

If you are not interested so much in the photo but more in the experience, I suggest you stop at any of the viewpoints along the path to King Kong. In most cases, you won’t have to share the sunrise there.

My Bromo sunrise was at 5:30 AM but I left the homestay at 2:30 AM. I made quite a few photo-stops along the way so that slowed me down. Most people leave at 3:30 AM and reach the top viewpoints without rushing.

mount bromo viewpoints map
Only on

Mount Bromo Weather

mount bromo weather
Wind and ashes – bad combination!

Unlike the rest of Indonesia, the temperatures around Mount Bromo get quite low at night. You definitely need to bring some long pants and layers. You can buy winter hats, scarves, and gloves from one of the many hawkers in Cemoro Lawang.

It’s also windy all the time, which is not good when you are next to a place called The Sea of Sand.

Have you wondered why the sunrise is so famous, but there is not a single mention of the sunset? The reason is that in the afternoon the winds often brought clouds that cover the crater and ruin the whole view. Damn you, winds!

mount bromo for free

   See Also:  Borneo: The Land of The Orangutans

Mount Bromo hotels

mount bromo hotels
The secret passage is 10 meters after the entrance, on your right

Since you are without a tour, you’ll need a place to stay for at least one night. The Cemoro Lawang area, however, is not very well managed for tourists. Most of the hotels are homestays with just basic conditions. There is hot water in most of them, but don’t be surprised if your breakfast is a cold egg and some rice or there is no window in your room.

If you are ready to splurge a little bit more, you can check the Cemara Indah Hotel (the same one with the secret passage) that offers a fantastic view, The Lava Hostel or the only resort in the area – The Lava View Lodge. Since you’re reading how to climb Mount Bromo for free, however, I suggest using the homestays.

Mount Bromo places to eat

bromo restaurant

Finding a place to eat turned out to be a bigger challenge than expected. Not only there are very few restaurants, but they don’t seem to be open most of the time.

On my first try, I walked and sit in one that had an open door and a local guy inside. He was playing a game on his phone and walked past me a few times without any signs he noticed me 15 minutes later, when I walked to him asking if it’s open, he was genuinely surprised to see me.

The best place I found is the restaurant of the Lava Hostel. They had quite a few options, service was fast and the food was tasty.

Is climbing Mount Bromo safe?

Climbing Mount Bromo is as safe as climbing a volcano can be. However, you are just a moment of bad luck away to ruin not only your climb but your whole Indonesian adventure.

I currently use HeyMondo for my travels because they have proven themselves to me more than once over the years. The link above will give you a 5% discount, but If you have another favorite provider, that’s ok. Just make sure you have one because you never know what may happen.

While I sincerely wish you never have to use it, life happens (even more when you are traveling) and it’s always good to be prepared.

What do you need to climb Mount Bromo for free?

what do you need to climb mount bromo for free

Like I already mentioned, layer clothes and long pants. Hiking shoes are not needed but don’t go there with flip-flops either. Trainers will do just fine.
If you stay in one of the homestays – make sure you have a towel with you.

Sunglasses and sunscreen are a must. It may be windy but the Indonesian sun is still as strong as it is in Bali, and you are closer to it now.
A scarf or a buff, even two buffs if you have. Wind + ashes = bad combination.

You also need a phone app called Maps.Me It’s an offline map generator so make sure you’ve downloaded the maps you need before you get to the area. Maps.Me has a huge database of small roads and paths you can’t find on google maps including the secret passage to the volcano and a detailed path to all viewpoints.

Mount Bromo Tours

mount bromo tours cant offer you this tranquility

If you don’t have the time to do Mount Bromo for free or you simply don’t want the whole hustle, and you’re ok with spending some money here are some tours that will handle everything for you. ( don’t say I didn’t warn you about the crowds though )

The Lazy One– With this tour, you really don’t have to do anything. You’re gonna get picked from your hotel in Bali and you’ll spend the next 3 days exploring Mount Bromo and the nearby Mount Ijen.

The Cheap One – With this one, you won’t have to spend a fortune. You just make your way to Surabaya or Malang and let everything else is your guide’s hands.

The Waterfall One – This is an interesting one because it’s not just Bromo but includes an amazing waterfall too.

The Camping One – This is something I would try to be honest. I hate tours but having a local to help you find the best place for camping would be invaluable. Most of the homestays in the area are in such poor condition that the tent would be more comfortable.

That’s all from me, I hope you enjoy climbing Mount Bromo for free!
If you haven’t planned your trip there yet, find out how I plan my trips!
I’ve got 22 bucket list ideas for Indonesia. See my impossible bucket list of 1700+ adventures!

Is Mount Bromo on your bucket list? 

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free Bromo pin
Mount Bromo for free pin


Wednesday 19th of June 2024

Lots of great info and tips! Thanks a lot. Is there any info if secret is still usable?



Saturday 27th of January 2024

Hey there,

This is an incredible post! Do you think it would be okay for someone to do the sunrise solo? Female traveller and always interested in a gut check!

Thanks so much,


Monday 29th of January 2024

Hi, Chelsea, The place really didn't feel threatening in any way. The locals weren't pushy or anything, they barely even noticed I was there. My gut feeling says it's safe, but I can't adequately put myself in a solo-travel girl's shoes :)


Tuesday 19th of July 2022


Thanks for the info! I have a couple of questions… 1. I have heard that you can drive most of the way up the volcano and walk the rest of the way to the top (around 30-45 mins), is this only possible if you pay the entrance fee? Can you drive up the free secret pathway too? 2. If you can’t drive up the secret pathway, how long does it take to hike to the top and is it difficult? 3. Do you recommend doing to secret pathway when it’s light and the viewpoints for sunrise? 4. Is the drive up the volcano big enough for a camper van or just a bike?

Thank you!


Tuesday 14th of May 2024

@Slavi, Well, there is a several points of going to secret path before sunrise, at night. 1. Evade park patrol. 2. Go over sand fields in the fog, using only GPS. 3. Climb to mount Bromo before sunrise, in night. 4. Sleep near the crater on the Bromo. 5. See sunrise on there! It was excellent experience with mad team of 3 people, who accepted my idea in 2016. :)

Martina Vaverova

Wednesday 12th of July 2023

Hi Slavi,

Thank you for this detailed description! We saw the amazing sunrise today (12.7.2023) and we can confirm, the secret path to Mt Bromo is still for free. It blew my head off when we walked up the stairs to the volcano! It was a bit bussy also at the first view points and the top of King Kong, but we have found nice empty spots in between. It was worth all effort :) 🌋


Tuesday 19th of July 2022

Hi there Sophie,

1. You can drive to the volcano's foothills and just climb to the crater but you have to pay the entrance fee this way. You can't drive through the secret path but the path is not going up, it's going down. 2. Going down the secret path is maybe 15 minutes, you have another 15-20 minutes of walking through the sea of sand to reach the foothills of the volcano (the place you can drive to) 3. No point in going to the crater at sunrise. Go there during the day. The viewpoints are located on the hill across Bromo and yes, they offer the best view at sunrise. 4. You drive through the sea of sand (see the wide area around the volcano). It's big enough for an airplane too. Haven't seen a camper van there, though.


Tuesday 1st of February 2022

A few updates and suggestions now that it’s 2022! I’ve just done my Bromo adventure and your article was a great source of information. I did do it differently though as I came on scooter from Bali. I stayed in Good Karma guesthouse which was perfectly fine and only 125.000 IDR. There are some new restaurants in town, one of which is Kusama Kitchen which is great and affordable. Going to Seruni Point by scooter is perfect, just drive all the way until you have to continue by stairs (15 min drive). From here it only takes about 30 min to King Kong Hill. Honestly I don’t think you have to go that far, the view from Seruni Point is in my opinion just as good. I did pay the entrance fee as I wanted to cross the ‘sea of sand’ by scooter and continue my journey from the Wonokitri side. The drive was actually quite easy! So just another idea on how to explore Bromo! Very efficient and still very cheap too 👍


Thursday 3rd of February 2022

Awesome info! Thank you, Job.

Kaylini Naidoo

Thursday 26th of November 2020

Thanks so much for the wonderfully informative article! The Mount Bromo shot was one I didn't even know I coveted until I actually moved to Indonesia. I unfortunately was one of the many ignorants that really thought Indonesia was just Jakarta and Bali. Then I discovered this trip. It was literally life changing.

Thanks so much for all the valuable info and for sharing this less touristic destination in East Java.


Sunday 20th of December 2020

Hi guys, somebody told me, that due to COVID the entrance without passing the entry gates is closed currently and there is a quota aaand an online ticket has to be bought before arrival. Is that really true? If so, that would suck


Saturday 28th of November 2020

Glad I can help, Kaylini. Being stuck in the European winter, I envy you quite a lot about living in Indonesia :))

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