Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park

Travel Guide Asia Indonesia Java East Java Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park

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Introduction

Bromo crater

Bromo crater

© theo1006

Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park is best known for Bromo Volcano (2,329 metres). Most package tours offer a overnight plus six hours visit for seeing the sun rise from Penanjakan viewpoint (2,702 metres) and accessing the rim of Bromo Volcano for a peek into the crater. But of course the park has more to offer. If one allocates more time for Bromo, one can take the tour starting at Malang which approaches Tengger Caldera from the south through Tumpang and Ngadas. On the way one can visit Coban Pelangi (waterfall) and with a little side trip Ranu Pani (lake and village) and Ranu Regulo (lake). The route then dives into the caldera at the Savannah and crosses the sand sea for 14 kilometres before climbing to Cemoro Lawang. Half way up Widodaren mountain south of Batok mountain (Bromo’s inactive twin) are the Widodaren caves, seldom visited but a sacred place for the Tenggerese, because they contain the only water sources inside the caldera. And of course there is Semeru Volcano, Java’s highest at 3,657 metres, only for experienced mountain baggers in the dry season.

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Sights and Activities

  • Penanjakan viewpoint and Bromo volcano 4WD trip - Most tourists take this trip as part of a package tour, but it can also be booked on the spot in Cemoro Lawang, Ngadisari and Tosari (as long as jeeps are available, which may not be the case on peak days). Most Toyota land-cruisers belong to the village cooperation. The cooperation has set the price and the amount the driver receives. Some land-cruisers are privately owned but will charge the same price. Wake-up call is usually at 3.30am, in order to leave at 4.00am and to arrive at Penanjakan viewpoint before sunrise. After viewing the sun rise and picture taking, the land-cruiser takes one to the parking at the foot of Bromo volcano, and will wait for its passengers to return. One is back for breakfast at the hotel around 9.00am.

Penanjakan viewpoint is small and around sunrise even on workdays tends to be crowded, with people jostling for the best spots for picture taking. If one would forego the sunrise and go there after breakfast, one has the place for oneself. With the added advantage that then there is no shortage of 4WDs. The Penanjakan viewpoint can be reached by sedan car, but it stands to reason that the villagers do not like people doing that. And if one should be as foolish as to enter the sand sea without a 4WD and get stuck, one would have to pay heavily for help to get pulled out.

Tengger Caldera, the savannah

Tengger Caldera, the savannah

© theo1006

  • The Savannah - The southern part of the caldera, where the sand sea makes place for some vegetation is referred to as the Savannah (Indonesian Savana). In the right season, February through April, it may even be a sea of yellow fennel flowers (foeniculum vulgare). However, the Javanese edelweiss (anaphelis javanica) is not found there any more. A bunch of edelweiss used to be offered for sale to tourists, who could then throw it as an offering into the crater. Mass tourism caused the shrub to become extinct in the caldera, though it still can be found on mountains elsewhere in Java. The Savana can be visited as an extra to the usual 4WD tour.
  • The Widodaren Caves - The Widodaren Caves are seldom visited by tourists. They are located below Widodaren peak, which is located south of Batok mountain, hidden from view at Cemoro Lawang. An unexperienced driver may have to ask advice for the right way. The 4WD brings one to the start of a footpath, which takes about 20 minutes to ascend. The two caves, close together, are sacred places for the Hindu population, because they are the only sources of water in the whole caldera. Once a year, in May, people gather there for a religious celebration. From the vantage point of the caves one has a great view of the sea of sand.
  • Coban Pelangi waterfall - The first of several waterfalls that can be accessed from the road to Bromo via Ngadas. Coban is the local word for waterfall and Pelangi means rainbow. When the sun shines into the ravine at the right angle, the rainbow appears. From the parking a 1.5 kilometre footpath leads down across the river and then uphill to the foot of the 30-metre waterfall. Unfortunately the water falls among big rocks, no chance to take a dip.
Ranu Regulo

Ranu Regulo

© theo1006

  • Ranu Pani and Ranu Regulo mountain lakes - Ranupani village (2,200 metres) named after the lake of the same name is the starting point for everyone who wants to climb Java's highest volcano, Gunung Semeru (3,676 metres). The villagers depend on the lake for water, but regrettably the lake shore on the village side is not devoid of litter. A ten minutes’ walk brings one to Ranu Regulo, unspoiled within its green borders. The inhabitants of Tengger Caldera traditionally are Hindu. Ranupani has a Hindu temple reminiscent of Bali. There is a cluster of guesthouses for climbers of Semeru volcano.
  • Semeru Volcano - Most of Java’s volcanoes, like Merapi and Lawu, can be climbed in a weekend outing without special gear. Semeru Volcano is a different matter. The trail is not hard - except for de ascent of the cone , but it is long. The expedition takes four days and one must be prepared to camp at sub-zero temperatures. For more information and maybe joining a trip, see the JavaLava website.

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Cost

As of May 2014 a ticket for foreign tourists to enter the National Park (not including jeep tour and horse trip) costs Rp 220,000 on weekdays and Rp 310,000 during weekends and holidays. The price includes a Rp 2,500 insurance fee. When booking a package tour one should ascertain whether the park fee and the jeep tour are included or not.

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Getting There

Package tour

Most foreign tourists wishing to see Bromo volcano come with an package tour, including transport, accommodation for one night and an early-morning sight-seeing trip with a Toyota land-cruiser. Such tours, booked from abroad or locally in Yogyakarta, Surabaya or Malang, include accommodation in Cemoro Lawang or Tosari. And one may add options like Ijen Plateau and Madakaripuro waterfall. A more time-consuming but far more interesting tour sets out from Malang by 4WD and leads through the saddle between Semeru Volcano and the Tengger Caldera.

By train

Take a train from Surabaya Gubeng station direction Banyuwangi and get off at Probolinggo (for Cemoro Lawang) or Pasuruan (for Tosari). From either of these towns one has then to proceed by bus. Probolinggo bus terminal lies 10 kilometres from the the train station, use a local minibus (bemo) for the transfer. Pasuruan bus terminal is at 3 kilometres from the train station.

By bus

Buses from Surabaya to Pasuruan and Probolinggo depart from Bungurasih bus terminal, if you have landed at Juanda International Airport a Damri shuttle bus will take you there. Be sure to get on a PATAS bus with destination Probolinggo, and ignore touts who try to get you on another - usually slower - bus. Outside Probolinggo bus terminal minibuses with destination Cemoro Lawang leave once they are filled with 15 tourists, unless one cares to pay for the empty seats. And one may have to pay for empty seats if one arrives after 4:00pm, because then the regular stream of tourists has dried up already. The ride to Cemoro Lawang takes about 90 minutes. At Pasuruan there are no special tourist minibuses. The local bus for Tosari leaves at irregular times.

The south route from Malang via Ngadas can only partly be done by bus. A minibus from Arjosari bus station in Malang goes as far as Tumpang, with luck to Gubukklakah. From either place one can try to hire an ojek (motorbike taxi) or walk. The distance from Tumpang to Gubukklakah is 8 kilometres, from the latter it is another 11 kilometres to Ngadas. In Ngadas there is a modest homestay. Ngadas lies three kilometres from the caldera rim. The walk down into and across the caldera to Cemoro Lawang is approximately 16 kilometres.

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Getting around

By Toyota Land-Cruiser

If not pre-arranged, one can hire a Toyota Land-Cruiser on the spot, preferably booked on arrival. Every hotel or losmen will help booking one, as long as they are available. The price per vehicle for the early morning jeep tour to Penanjakan viewpoint and Bromo volcano is not negotiable. It is the same whether one sets out from Cemoro Lawang, from Ngadisari or from Tosari. But one can negotiate for additional or alternative routes, to wit the Savana and the Widodaren caves. The land-cruisers all park at about one kilometre distance from the volcano. From the parking one can hire a horse for that last distance or walk. There is a standard rate for the ride there and back, the owner will wait near the foot of the 250 steps’ stairway that everyone has to negotiate one his/her own legs.

Hiking

To appreciate the scale of Tengger Caldera one should walk, at least the last kilometre to the foot of the Bromo stairs. The first half of the track is pretty level, but then it starts rising. Horses following the same route may stir up a lot of dust. Pay attention to the direction of the wind and walk on the upwind side. Or better still, follow the less used path at some distance from the horse track. It is perfectly feasible and acceptable to forego the jeep tour and walk from Cemoro Lawang to Bromo Volcano. Indeed, before the advent of mass tourism this was the only way. The distance is about three kilometres. For hardy hikers, here are some approximate distances. Footpath from Cemoro Lawang to Penanjakan viewpoint: 6 kilometres uphill. Cemoro Lawang to the Savana: 12 kilometres. Cemoro Lawang to the Widodaren caves: 10 kilometres.

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Sleep

Cemoro Lawang

There is abundant accommodation at Cemoro Lawang. If you are not choosy, you will always find a place in a losmen or homestay. But if you want a specific hotel, e.g. the popular Lava View Lodge, it is advisable to book in advance.

  • Lava View Lodge - Less pretentious than Bromo Cottages at Tosari, but a popular choice because it is located right on the rim of the caldera. The advantage of that is limited, because many guests arrive by nightfall, too late for a good view. A restaurant serves dinner, land-cruiser tours can be booked at the reception.
  • Hotel Istana Petani - If you do’nt intend to go hiking, there is no need to stay close to the caldera. The driver of the land-cruiser will pick you up even at Istana Petani at 12 kilometres from Cemoro Lawang for the same price. Istana Petani, Indonesian for Farmers’ Palace, offers wooden bungalows with views downhill. A great place if you would stay away from the crowd in Cemoro Lawang.

Tosari

Tosari is less crowded with Bromo tourists than Cemoro Sewu and therefore has less choice of accommodation.

  • Bromo Cottages - The most upmarket for doing Bromo.
  • Sri Dewi Homestay - The rooms are simple but clean, with primitive shower and toilet without seat. The price includes breakfast.
  • Penginapan Bulan Ayu - Cheaper than Sri Dewi, yet with better bathroom but without breakfast.

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This is version 10. Last edited at 19:21 on Aug 7, 19 by theo1006. 2 articles link to this page.

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