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Written by Beverley Lennon

All photos are taken by the TripCanvas team unless otherwise stated.

We sure all know that Indonesia is home to several dynamic volcanoes, as after all, it is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire!

One of the most visited volcanoes in the country is Mount Bromo, it is not only stunningly located in a “Sea of Sand” but it is also pretty easy to reach – no hiking required, a walk up a series of stairs will lead you to the summit.

Having been to Mount Bromo back in 2018, I was overly excited to head there again a year later. For those who know me, I love to say that the views at Mount Bromo are one of the most beautiful I have seen throughout my lifetime so I’d most probably miss my best friend’s wedding (jokes!) only for another trip to this iconic active volcano!

Truth be told, my first time at Mount Bromo was quite deceiving – I could not make it to the top of the crater due to the sulphur, dust from running horses, scorching hot sun and overwhelming crowd, but this time we visited during Ramadan (fasting) season and it was an absolute breeze, I made it to the top! I conquered the volcano!!

So perhaps if you’re also looking at exploring the volcanoes around Indonesia, I’d personally say that Mount Bromo is a good option to begin with, and along the way, you can explore a hidden waterfall, stay among the clouds and easily reach the fiery volcano!

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5D4N Adventurous road trip itinerary to Surabaya, Mount Bromo, and Kawah Ijen under $250

Overview

Ready for an exciting adventure?

This itinerary will take you to uncover not only Mount Bromo Crater but also the lesser-known natural wonders in and around. Starting with a magical Amazonian-looking waterfall, you will venture to some of the most impressive natural wonders in the region. We’ve also included the best spots to dine and stay at so you can be sure to enjoy a comfortable trip.

Getting to Surabaya

From JakartaFrom Singapore (tap here to view)From Malaysia (tap here to view)

1. Flights

Direct Flight (From Rp.1,004,000 per pax for return flights)
Book a flight to Juanda International Airport (Surabaya) via Sriwijaya Air, Citilink Indonesia, Lion Air, AirAsia, Batik Air or Garuda Indonesia

(Flight time: ~1h 30 min)

2.Train

a. Executive: starts at Rp. 405,000

– Depart from Gambir Station (Central Jakarta), and arrive at Surabaya Gubeng Station Surabaya. Train ride duration: ~ 12 hours 30 minutes

b. Economy: starts at Rp. 104,000 – Seats are cramped and not recommended.

– Depart from Pasar Senen Station, and arrive at Surabaya Gubeng Station. Train ride duration: ~ 15 hours)

Direct Flight (From S$187 per pax for return flights)

Book a flight to Juanda International Airport (Surabaya) via Jetstar, or Scoot (Flight time: ~2h 20 min)

Direct Flight (From MYR505 per pax for return flights)
Book a flight to Juanda International Airport (Surabaya) via Airasia, Malaysia Airlines or Lion Air (Flight time: ~2h 50 min)

Day 1

Sleep to endless city views from your stay!

Arrival at Surabaya – Juanda International Airport

✈️ TripCanvas Tip: Opt for an evening flight to Surabaya and get some good sleep before tomorrow’s early morning wake up to catch the sunrise!

From Singapore and Malaysia, there are convenient ways to get to Surabaya as various airlines provide direct flights to Juanda International Airport. While you can head directly to Mount Bromo (approximately 3 hours drive from Surabaya), we would recommend you to opt for a stay at hotels in Surabaya or Malang city for the night so you can recharge for your following days of adventures in and around Mount Bromo.

We opted for an Airbnb stay and it was a gorgeous apartment with three expansive bedrooms and a palatial living room with amazing city views! It is conveniently located within the compound of a mall – Ciputra World Surabaya, where you will find an array of food and fashion outlets, as well as other entertainment venues like a cinema!

Photo via TripCanvas

Book your Surabaya stay here:

TripCanvas Tip: Since we visited during the Ramadan season, several eateries were closed and only open from 3pm onwards, so we had to call before heading there to double check on their opening hours during the holy month.

Day 1 Route

Day 2

Let the adventure begin as you explore a mystical Amazonian-like waterfall!

Jump into a Jungle Book and chase wildly cascades of never-ending water – Tumpak Sewu Waterfall (2 hours)

East Java is an amazing destination for nature lovers; especially if just like us you particularly appreciate the beauty of waterfalls!

Since we were on a road trip around East Java, we made sure to head over to the waterfall at sunrise to avoid the scorching hot sun and the crowd (this means you’ll have to leave Surabaya by 2am reach the waterfall at 6am). It takes approximately 4 hours from Surabaya.

Tumpak Sewu is almost the Niagara Falls of East Java, and arguably one of the most scenic and magical waterfalls in Indonesia (even famous bloggers have said so!). We reached the waterfall as the sun slowly rose and the fog cleared up gently, making place for a majestic volcano backdrop. At that time, there was no one at the viewpoint. We were the only one enjoying the beginning of this new day with magical views of an almost Amazonian-looking waterfall.

What’s impressive is that there isn’t only one gush of water at Tumpak Sewu but rather a collection of more than 30 cascades plummeting down. Of course, we had to get up close to the waterfall so we also decided to trek down the canyon, cross the river and stand in the middle of the gorge, surrounded by the never-ending water. It wasn’t one easy hike down but friends, it was absolutely mindblowing! I felt like the tiniest creature on earth as everything around me was enormous and overwhelming in beauty. Pictures speak for themselves!

Photo via TripCanvas

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TripCanvas’ Tips:

⚠️About the hike: Mind you, the trek down is pretty challenging. Especially because it is slippery (wear proper trekking shoes!), there are only some rustic bamboo ladders to hold on too and at some point you’ll have to cross over streams so your shoes will get all wet (making it even more slippery!). It took us a good 30-40 minutes to get down to the canyon and another 5 minutes to walk and cross over to reach the waterfall.

🚛On the way to the waterfall: If you’re driving while it is still dark to reach the waterfall at sunrise, we highly advise you to be careful as there are several trucks transporting their loads to and from the mines and it can get quite stressful.

💦At the waterfall: The water gushing down to the gorge is extremely powerful and we were soaking wet, so be mindful of all your electronic gadgets! We could barely take any pictures.

Get up close to heaven at this magical stay – Plataran Bromo

It wasn’t our first time at Plataran Bromo. In fact, there’s a reason why we decided to come back a second time. To our biggest surprise, the stay had expanded – a year later they came up with a beautiful spa with a view, two more dining venues, additional room categories (ideal for families), and a magical nursery!

Reaching Plataran Bromo is pretty much like discovering what heaven on top of a hill looks like. It is a comfortable option for when you’re around to visit Mount Bromo and if you ask us, we’d choose to stay here a million times! It quite feels like home now, even the staff recognized us after a whole year had passed!

It’s nothing quite like you’ll imagine here; it is like a sanctuary, a retreat high up in the skies amongst clouds and mist. For our stay, we were set in two gorgeous and welcoming rooms – the Deluxe Family Room and the Deluxe Attic Room. Both rooms accommodate a total of three persons and offered us sublime misty views of the nearby agricultural plantations.

The rooms are set in what feels like a house as each level shares a common space with TV, couch and dining area. I personally thought it was a homey concept which is great for big families coming on vacation as they can enjoy a place to mingle and maybe play some board games as well.

Besides, they also have an ultimate family retreat option – their Private Pool Family Villa that can accommodate up to 10 persons! Though the villa comes with a private pool, I have to say that it might not come in use due to the cold temperature (the pool is not heated).

To add, Plataran Bromo’s location atop the highlands offers beautiful sunset views dotted with a show of clouds, if you are lucky like us (they have a viewpoint by the villa for sunset!). And mind, it does get pretty cold at night, so do pack warm clothes (it goes down to 5 degrees Celsius sometimes)!

What’s more, the resort also offers airport transfers and tours (or what they call “encounters”), including the ever-so-popular Mount Bromo Sunrise at the Tengger Caldera.

Photo via TripCanvas

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Check Rate on Agoda

Come, cook and eat above the clouds! – Cooking Adventure at Plataran Bromo (2 hours)

We’ve had lots of cooking classes around resorts and hotels but this is one we’re not ready to forget – in fact, it is more of an adventure than a simple class.

I find no better way to immerse in local culture than through traditional food so besides just fun, I found the experience to be insightful, interactive and quite cultural. I mean, you’re set in a beautiful venue that seems to be floating above the clouds, overlooking local farms, while their expert chef guides you in every possible way as you make use of fresh and authentic ingredients so it sure isn’t your typical cooking class right?!

Depending on the season, the cooking adventure experience lets you pick your own ingredients from the farm (if it is harvesting season). While we were here, all ingredients were beautifully decorating the table, with tons of colours – all looked so freshly picked!

On the menu that day, we got to master a traditional beef stew known as ‘Krengseng’, along with a flavourful chicken soup known as ‘Soto Lamongan’. You get to cook and learn the basic skills from A-Z before indulging in your own-made meal! The dishes were amazing and I felt quite proud (though we were directed by the chef); plus they were so comforting during the cold weather!

I personally think that many people overlook cooking classes while travelling, and think they are missing out on one of the best experiences you can have in a new country – I promise, it brings a whole new form of appreciation and I would recommend it to anyone.

Photo via TripCanvas

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Dine while being surrounded by nature – Teras Bromo at Plataran Bromo (1 hour)

After an evening nap in your comfortable rooms, why not head down to Teras Bromo and indulge in Indo-Asian comfort food? The restaurant is playful and offers both indoor and outdoor seating overlooking the nearby local plantation.

We dropped by here for lunch but they’re also open for dinner and serve delicious dishes that are really, really, ridiculously packed with flavours!

My all-time favourite is their “Sego Goreng Bukit Cinta” which is fried rice with seafood, pickles, skewer and sunny side up egg.  All ingredients come directly from the nearby local farms and fresh juices served are only based on what’s in season.

🍽Other option: If you fancy a Western menu for tonight, you can drop by Langit Bromo within the hotel itself!

Photo via TripCanvas

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Website

More info: https://www.plataran.com/hotels-resorts/plataran-bromo/dining

Day 2 Route

Day 3

Tick off sunrise at Mount Bromo from your adventure bucket list!

Note: No private cars are allowed in the national park area. You will need to park and take a jeep to the various spots. Alternatively, we recommend you to opt for a few organised tours (like the one from Plataran Bromo, which even includes a picnic breakfast). Besides tour operators, your hotel might arrange tours to Mount Bromo too!

As at 2019, the entrance fees for Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park are as follows (this entrance fee also includes access to the viewpoints and savannah):

Domestic visitors
Weekday: Rp. 27,500 (Approximately USD$1.93)
Weekend: Rp. 32,500 (Approximately USD$2.28)

International visitors
Weekday: Rp. 217,500 (Approximately USD$15.30)
Weekend: Rp. 317,500 (Approximately USD$22.30)

Secure the best spot at this iconic viewpoint – Penanjakan Peak (2 hours)

If you don’t mind the crowd or waking up super early to secure the best VIP seat, don’t miss out on this sunrise viewpoint! With Plataran Bromo being conveniently located 40 minutes away from the viewpoint, we reached there early enough so we sat down for an hour to grab a hot coffee at a small stall (it felt so comforting because it was really cold up there!).

In fact, it was so cold that some of us had to rent thick overcoats (you can get one at Rp.20,000). Sunrise at Penanjakan Peak was at 6.30am but we secured the best spots as early as 5am! Yes, that’s what you do for front row seats and for the best views!

Hear me, it will be a painful wait with the cold breeze. I was finding all possible ways to hide away from the cold and time felt like it was going so slow until the sky started to change colour, bursting out gold on lavender melting into saffron.

We were quite lucky as we visited during Ramadan (low season) and it was a weekday so there wasn’t much of a crowd as compared to our first visit in 2018 which was overwhelming due to the weekend horde.

Also, try to find the little path before the staircases (right beside the outdoor prayer room) and take in the panoramic views of Mount Bromo fuming and Mount Semeru also puffing in the background! We still can’t get over how magical that morning glow looked like over these two majestic volcanoes, especially after the crowd had left. I always tell people that this is one of the most beautiful sceneries I have seen in the whole world!

Photo via TripCanvas

💡Hate the crowd? Here are other viewpoint options:
Organized tours options:

Discover Indonesia’s very own little Africa! – Bromo Savannah (1 hour)

Throw in an elephant or two, a zebra and a giraffe and you would be transported to Africa without having to leave Indonesia!

Surely, we did not spot the Big 5, it does not get that wild here, but the scenery at Savannah Bromo is one we are not ready to forget! An expansive grassland scattered with shrubs and isolated trees, guarded by endless mountain ranges – this is where we had the pleasure to enjoy a picnic breakfast, lie down and breathe in fresh air!

There is nothing better to do at the savannah than to laze on a mat, enjoy some refreshing drinks and take in the spectacular scenery and morning sun rays (remember to apply lots of sunscreen!). Within a few minutes, we were surrounded by other jeeps and even a Bakso seller, so come here as early as you can (right after sunrise at the hill).

The savannah is also home to Teletubbies Hills which (depending on time and season) can get crowded with photography enthusiasts.

More info (tap to expand)

Mask on, come and conquer the active volcano! – Bromo Caldera (1 hour)

Now, the time has come to tick off one of your bucket list items! From the jeep parking area, you will be required to walk through the sand dunes for a good 15 minutes before reaching the set of stairs that lead to the top of the crater.

If luck is on your side and you’re visiting at the right season (we recommend to come during Ramadan), the walk up will be pretty easy, as long as you don’t rush it and take breaks in between. During peak season, it is a whole different scene as the area is packed to the brim with adventurous travellers and horses, which makes it less enjoyable.

Once on top of the crater, you’ll be able to relish on the beautiful surrounding views and be thrilled with the thick fumes puffing out (be sure to wear your mask and drink water!). You can also take a walk around certain areas of the crater and sometimes you can even hear the volcano roar!

TripCanvas Tip: Remember to bring along a mask as the sulphur fumes at the caldera and dust can be pretty choking!

Photo via TripCanvas

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Go on a whimsical breakfast date with fairies at Jiva Devi Nursery (1 hour)

I’ve always had a thing for breakfast dates and I could absolutely picture myself with my special one at Jiva Devi Nursery. To say the least, the set-up and atmosphere is magical!

Stepping into the glasshouse, you’re surrounded with beautiful flowers and lush greenery, along with the soothing sounds of a man-made stream filled with eclectic Koi fish, complemented with the morning chirping birds in the background and fluffy rabbits on the outside!

I think that breakfast at Jiva Devi is as close as it gets to stepping into a fairytale – the place is so special and beautiful that it looks like every little girl’s’ dream. It reminded me of the times I used to set a tea party in my garden when I was a child.

The spread is also quite extensive (pastries, fried rice, fruits, cookies, freshly baked cakes and so much more!), and the experience very intimate, perfect if you’re looking for a unique way to enjoy your first meal of the day.

Photo via TripCanvas

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🍷 In need of a dinner date idea? Jiva Devi Nursery also hosts private garden romantic dinner served by a personal butler.

Sign up for a massage with a side of magical valley views – Padma Spa (1 hour)

Booking yourself a massage at the spa is already a wonderfully indulging experience after conquering Mount Bromo, but spending that time in a room with great views takes it to another level.

That’s exactly what you’re in for when you sign up for a body treatment at Padma Spa. You might possibly doze off while the expert therapists work their magic hands on your sore body but with such panoramic views of the great outdoors, we bet it will be hard to keep your eyes firmly shut.

There are various essential oils to choose from, each for a different purpose, and with the hotel being located on top of a hill, you can surely expect serenity and tranquility throughout your whole treatment.

We had a quick half-body massage which was soothing and relaxing; however the hotel only offers couple treatment rooms so make sure you’re comfortable with whoever you decide to share the room with!

Photo via TripCanvas

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Optional: Stand under giant rainlike streams – Madakaripura Waterfall

If you’re keen to check out another waterfall in the area, drop by Madakaripura Waterfall and stand under its magnificent giant rainlike streams that make their way through the thick green moss. We did not manage to drop by here, but we seriously wished we did!

The place is known to be sacred and is often visited by people looking for a peaceful retreat to meditate in and be cut off from the real world. It is accessible within an easy 20-minute trek through rivers and beautiful scenery, and pictures simply don’t do justice to the beauty of this place.

P.S. Gushing down from over 200 metres high, it is almost inevitable that you’ll get wet when you are nearing the waterfall, but rest assured that you can always find stalls along the trekking path offering umbrella rentals, raincoats and waterproof bags to protect your valuables, such as cameras.

Photo via aandicky

TripCanvas’ Tips:

🏊🏻‍♀️ Safety first: It gets very deep near the entry point of the falls, so make sure everyone can swim or wears proper safety gear!

💰Be wary of the tour guides approaching you there, there’s absolutely no need to hire a local tour guide to access the waterfall – these people are scammers!

More info (tap to expand)

Hop on your way back to civilization – Surabaya!

Now that you’ve happily conquered Mount Bromo and enjoyed stunning attractions around, it is time to head back to the city before catching your flight back home the next day. We opted for a lovely and convenient Airbnb stay!

Photo via TripCanvas

Book your Surabaya stay here:

Day 3 Route

Day 4

Pack your memories and head to the airport!

Time to head back home and start planning your next adventure to discover more of Indonesia’s fiery volcanoes! Have you thought about the iconic blue flames of Ijen?!

Day 4 Route

Best time to travel

The best time to hike Mount Bromo is during the local dry season (June – October), so mark your calendars for the ultimate views! Also, we’d personally recommend you to visit during Ramadan season and on a weekday to avoid the crowd!

Getting around

Car rental with driver recommendation: Zena Travelindo
Rates: From Rp. 400,000 per day with a driver, excluding gas and parking fee (approximately USD 30).

Note: Although the rates include the driver’s living expenses during the trip, we still encourage you to tip them daily for meals or accommodation (may vary from Rp. 50,000 – 100,000 per day)

Travel Budget- Estimated Cost Breakdown

Do note that the breakdown below is based on estimated costs. Actual costs may vary slightly.

Flight cost:

Travelling from Singapore: SGD $187/ USD $137 per pax (USD $548 for 4 pax)
Travelling from Malaysia: MYR 505 / USD $121 per pax (USD $484 for 4 pax)

Activities (4 pax): Approximately USD $427 (calculated based on activities listed, not inclusive of shopping)

Car rental (4 pax): Approximately USD $120 (for private car with driver for 4 days)

Total cost for food (4 pax): Approximately USD $87

Total cost for hotel (4 pax): Approximately USD $384

Estimated Total for 4 pax from Singapore (Flight+Activities+Transport+Food+Hotel): ~ USD $1566 (~USD $391/ SGD $534 per pax)

Estimated Total for 4 pax from Malaysia (Flight+Activities+Transport+Food+Hotel): USD $ 1502 (~USD $375/ RM 1565 per pax)

Packing list

TripCanvas tried-and-tested: Your pocket-friendly essential packing list!

Although your day in and around Mount Bromo would likely not be a die-hard one, based on our personal experiences, you should not miss these must-pack items before heading there:

Why I’d go on a Bromo adventure for a third time?

There are a million reasons why I am thinking of making this Bromo adventure a yearly affair. First, I’ve got a good bunch of friends looking forward to explore Mount Bromo so why not accompany them?! I can’t possibly say no to one of the most beautiful sunrise spots in the whole world.

But more than that, I personally think that this adventure is a good break from my usual beach retreats around South East Asia. Here I can experience the diversity of mountains, volcanoes, waterfalls, sand dunes and much more, all at once!

What’s more, it is what I call a “comfortable” adventure that is not too rugged and one where you don’t have to rough it out in nature as you can find a comfortable stay in the clouds which is Plataran Bromo – our home away from home!


PLEASE NOTE: All the above information is correct at the date of publication. If you come across any changes or updates, please let us know and we will update the information accordingly. Thank you!
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