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[GUIDE] Watch the sun rise in Mount Bromo and Surabaya

[GUIDE] Watch the sun rise in Mount Bromo and Surabaya

This article contains affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase I will make a commission at no extra cost to you. This article was first published on Nov 02, 2016 and updated in March 2018

One of the highlights when visiting Java is seeing the spectacular sunrise over Mount Bromo. With the crisp Bromo mountain air surrounding you, you huddle in the mountain side, waiting for the sun to gently illuminate the sky. Clouds cover the valley below and the faint but distinct cloud of ash gently steams out of the crater of Mount Bromo. Despite its popularity amongst visitors, Mount Bromo Indonesia is still an active volcano so ash activity is normal. Head on over to Mount Bromo and Surabaya for a weekend getaway to see one of the best and most memorable travel experiences.

Day 1: Arrival in Surabaya

9:10AMArrival at Juanda International Airport

Even before arrival, since your time in the weekend in limited, we suggest going for a packaged tour which will pick you up directly from Surabaya and will bring you to the town of Cemoro Lawang. These tour packages often include an English speaking driver and a private AC car/van. We recommend taking your Surabaya Bromo tour with Bromo Java Travel. They have an easy enough website to understand and their customer representative is very prompt in responding. They have different prices depending on which hotel accommodation you choose so it’s best to contact them for a quote. Expect to pay around $200SGD for the Mount Bromo tour from Surabaya including airport transport, tour, and one nights accommodation. If you prefer to do it yourself and are short on time, this is a budget guide.

As soon as you arrive in Juanda International Airport, you will be picked up by your driver and you will be driving for 3.5 hours to the scenic hilly town of Cemoro Lawang. Although the accommodations and provisions in Cemoro Lawang are very simple, this place is actually one of our favourite little picturesque towns in Java. We enjoyed exploring the place and just walking around taking photos!

1:00 PM: Arrival at your hotel

Upon arrival in Cemoro Lawang, you can walk to any nearby warung (family owned business/shop) to have a local Indonesian meal or if you want to have a sit down restaurant meal, head on over to Café Lava where you can order from their basic but delicious menu. The staff in Cafe Lava are also very helpful. If you are not too tired, we recommend asking them for a map and one of their staff members will happily recommend places where you can wander around after lunch. They will also mark out a nearby viewpoint which you can walk/drive to for sunset to give you a glimpse of the fabled Volcano. This viewpoint is pretty secluded and isn’t visited by a lot of tourists- this might be your chance to see Mount Bromo without loads of tourists around.

4:00 PM: Sunset

After having a bit of a wander around the town of Cemoro Lawang, we suggest either trekking or riding up to a nearby viewpoint. You can rent a local scooter/motorbike near the Lava View Lodge Bromo. From here, you can ride up the view point to witness the sun turn into various shades of pink, purple and orange with the silhouette of Mount Bromo illuminating the sky. Alternatively, if you feel like having a relaxed afternoon, the view from Lava View Hotel Bromo is pretty amazing. Order a cup of coffee or a cup of tea and sit in their wooden bench outside to gaze as smoke spews out from the volcano crater right before the sun goes down.

8:00 PM: Dinner

The food options are rather limited in the modest town of Cemoro Lawang so, for dinner, we recommend going to Cafe Lava once again. Other options are Lava View Hotel or Hotel Cemara Indah. After dinner, we recommend going to bed rather early in preparation for the 3am wake up in order to catch the much awaited sunrise tour.

Day 2: Exploring Mount Bromo

3:00 AM: Rise and Shine!

Early morning wake up in Cemoro Lawang

Early morning wake up in Cemoro Lawang

Although it seems like waking up at 3am is an impossible task, you would be rather surprised at how quickly your excitement will get you out of bed! Your tour guide and driver will pick you up from your hotel and will take you to the highest peak in Pananjakan in a 4WD Jeep. The drive takes about 3 hours so you will have a bit of time to take a nap on the way up. Upon arrival, you will trek up for about 10 minutes where you can see an uninhibited view of Mount Bromo and Mount Semeru (the highest volcano in Java). Watch the sun slowly illuminate the town, blowing away the fog encompassing the valley below. It is really a stunning sight and worth waking up at 3am for. Don’t forget to charge your phone the night before so that you don’t miss a change to get that gorgeous timelapse Bromo video!

Early morning over Mount Bromo

Early morning over Mount Bromo

Be warned that there will be a lot of other people who will be watching the sunrise, as they will also be on a Mount Bromo sunrise tour, so it may be wise to get there slightly earlier in order to secure a great spot ahead of time. To do this, you can contact the company and arrange for a private tour. That way, you can decide on the best times to go rather than waiting for a larger group. We also recommend making friends with your tour guide/driver and asking if he knows of any secret spots that isn’t full of tourists.

6:30 AM: Trekking up the Crater

Walking up to the crater of Mount Bromo

Walking up to the crater of Mount Bromo

As if seeing the active volcano isn’t enough, one of the highlights of the tour is actually driving up to the volcano crater and climbing to the top. The jeep will be taking you through a part which the locals often refer to as the sea of sand until you reach Mount Bromo crater. From here, you can opt to ascend the crater, climbing to the very top of Mount Bromo. The walk up takes about 25-30 minutes and is a relatively easy climb. Don’t be surprised if you see people offering you the opportunity to ride up the crater in a horse. As great as riding on a horse up an active volcano sounds, the sad truth is that a lot of these horses are overworked and malnourished. You can see them looking tired and miserable as the trudge up this volcano carrying the weight of two large tourists. We definitely recommend avoiding doing this.

Watching the volcanic peak

Watching the volcanic peak

There are additional tours which you can add on your basic tour package. If you decide to do this, you can arrange directly with the driver and request for him to take you to Savanna Hill and Whispering Sand. Located in the Northern side of the Crater, you can visit these two places only using a 4WD jeep. The barren sand valleys are a sight to see and is perfect for taking stunning landscape shots. The prices of these vary so best to just ask the driver or company directly when making your booking.

Beautiful scenery surrounding Mount Bromo

Beautiful scenery surrounding Mount Bromo

8:30 AM: Back to the hotel

By this time, you can head back to your hotel, shower, check out and have breakfast. Your hotel should have a variety of breakfast options and if they don’t, there’s always a nearby warung where you can quickly grab a bite to eat. Your driver will then take you to Madakaripura Waterfalls which is on the way back to Surabaya.

11:30 AM: Madakaripura Waterfalls

Madakaripura Waterfall

Madakaripura Waterfall. Photo cred: ESCapade

The Madakaripura Waterfalls are located in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. It is the biggest waterfall in East Java and is a sight to see. Although it takes around 20-30 minutes to trek up, the view of the powerful water cascading down is impressive. The Madakaripura Falls is a set of seven waterfalls, cascading from a height of 200 meters. It is very impressive and is a great way to unwind and relax. You can stay here for as long as you want, stopping by to grab a bite to eat in the small warungs nearby. The warungs here are very basic and would probably only have either Mie Goreng (fried noodles) or Nasi Goreng (fried rice).

1:00 PM: Back to Surabaya

From the waterfalls it is another 3.5 hour journey back to the town of Surabaya.

This was a very full day. Feeling accomplished and in awe, watch the day go by or snooze for a bit in the car on your way back to in Surabaya where you can relax and unwind. If you’re keen to explore further, here is our guide of things to do in Surabaya for a weekend.

5:00 PM: Check in

As soon as you check in to your hotel, you can opt to take an hour to relax, shower and rest before you go out around Java’s second largest city.

7:00 PM: Dinner 

Melati restaurant

Melati restaurant. Photo cred: Melati

After all the hiking and traveling, you can be sure of one thing: you will be dying for some delicious food for dinner. Don’t fret as Surabaya is full of delicious dining options. For a traditional Indonesian meal, we recommend visiting the Tugu Hotel to dine in Melati Restaurant. Their mansion like atmosphere will definitely set the mood for some delicious Indonesian food. Their menu is very extensive so finding something which you would like won’t be too difficult. We recommend trying out their Sate Ayam, fried noodles, and Ayam Goreng amongst a few other delectable dishes to try here. After dinner, you can head back to your hotel for a well deserved night of sleep.

Day 3: Exploring Surabaya

10:00 AM: Breakfast

After all the trekking and traveling, you can wake up a little bit later than usual and make the most out of the breakfast that your hotel will offer. If your hotel doesn’t have breakfast, you can head over to Monopole Coffee Lab for a cup of freshly brewed coffee and pastries. Before leaving your hotel, you can already check out and just leave your luggage by the front desk so you can make the most out of your day sightseeing.

11:00 AM: Touring Surabaya

After breakfast, you can opt to visit the House of Sampoerna which is a free-entry museum that houses local art and historical exhibits on both Surabaya and the cigarette company that owns the facility. Apart from roaming around the museum itself, they also organize a Surabaya Heritage Track bus tour. Tickets cost IDR1,500 (about USD$0.15SGD) in a tram which was built to look like the ones that went around the city of Surabaya in the olden days. It is best to check the website above as their routes and times change on a regular basis.

1:30 PM: Lunch

Layar Seafood Surabaya

Layar Seafood Surabaya. Photo cred: Layar

Before you leave the town of Surabaya, a trip to Layar Seafood Restaurant is a must. Surabaya is undoubtedly known for one thing: its specialty seafood and fish dishes. A meal here in Layar Seafood will definitely not disappoint as you can dine in a variety of well prepared crabs, lobsters, shrimps, frog legs, and the like. Their crab cooked in duck egg sauce is a specialty and is worth ordering while you are there.

3:00 PM: Pick Up Your Bags and Head to the Airport

Surabaya sunset

Surabaya sunset

After lunch, you can sightsee some more before heading back to the hotel to pick up your bags. Your hotel can help book an airport taxi but getting transportation around the city of Surabaya is fairly easy and straightforward.

Hotels near Mount Bromo in Surabaya, Indonesia 

For the accommodation in Cemoro Lawang, the guys over at Bromo Java Travel agent will fill you in as to the various hotel options and Mount Bromo accommodation. They offer a package deal including a hotel in Bromo for the night so that would already be included in your package deal. We recommend choosing a hotel closer to Cemoro Lawang. Lava View Lodge Hotel is a safe choice, however, they will present you with a variety of Bromo hotel options.

Lava View Lodge Suite

Lava View Lodge Suite. Photo Cred: Lava View Lodge

In Surabaya however, check out these options:

HotelType of accomRating on TripadvisorPrice per nightMore Photos & Availability
The Krowi innBudget4,5S$24

YELLO Hotel JemursariBudget4S$35

Grand Darmo Suite by AMITHYAMid4,5S$41

The Alana SurabayaMid4S$60

JW Marriott Hotel SurabayaHigh4,5S$98

Hotel Majapahit Surabaya managed by AccorHotelsHigh4,5S$103


The Krowi Inn

The Krowi Inn

The Krowi inn is our recommendation for Budget stays in Surabaya City. This hotel is located in the city center and is a quick 10 minute walk from the zoo. The rooms are basic but it has AC and free wifi. For $33SGD a night, you can get a double room for two with breakfast. The airport is a 30 minute drive away from this hotel.


The Alana Surabaya

The Alana Surabaya

Located near the carnival night market, The Alana Surabaya is a modern mid range hotel which features an indoor pool with a good breakfast buffet selection. The hotel itself is located 20 minutes away from the airport. A night here costs $60 SGD for two people with breakfast.


JW Marriott Surabaya

JW Marriott Surabaya

For a luxurious nights stay, the JW Marriott Hotel Surabaya is our pick. This large hotel is known for its great service, good central location, and comfortable rooms. Although located a bit further from the airport, staying here is worth it for a good quality nights sleep. Room prices start at $108 SGD for a Deluxe Premier Double room for two with breakfast.

Getting to Surabaya, Indonesia 

Singapore Airlines flies directly to Surabaya Indonesia daily. We recommend catching the 7:50am flight on Saturdays, arriving in Surabaya at 9:10am. This is a direct flight lasting 2 hours and 20 minutes. On the way back, you can catch either a 10:10 flight on a Monday or an afternoon flight at 18:40 which gives you more time to explore the city of Surabaya on Day 3. This afternoon flight will land in Singapore at 21:55.

What to Pack for Mt Bromo and Surabaya

For this quick weekend trip, a small carry-on suitcase or backpack would do. Mount Bromo weather is very cold in the town of Cemoro Lawang so we suggest bringing warm clothes. Cold weather gloves and jackets are available for rent but we recommend bringing your own. A scarf and a hat is also highly recommended as the temperatures tend to drop, especially when the sun still isn’t out. Apart from that, the basic clothes and toiletries for a weekend away will do.

"Mount Bromo and Surabaya"

Image Credits:

All images by Adventure in You unless otherwise stated.

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