In April we climbed Mt. Bromo and saw the sun rise over it all without the help of a tour. This is how we did it.
Time: 1 hour walk - Cafe Lava -> Crater Rim
Turn left out of Cafe Lava and pass through the main gate. You’ll need to pay the park entrance fee of 220k IDR per person.
Follow the road left and down the hill, until you reach the Sea of Sand. From there, walk towards the yellow topped markers in the middle.
Perpendicular to the regular yellow topped markers, there are a set of white topped markers that you can follow into the desert.
You’ll eventually cross a dried up river bed. From there, aim to pass to the left of the Hindu temple, and you’ll hit the slope up to the crater. Following this up, you’ll eventually find yourself at the foot of around 200 steps.
Once you reach the top, you’ll be greeted by the huge roar of the volcano. You can catch glimpses of fire at the bottom of the crater, but try not to fall in. You can, if you have time, walk all the way around the rim.
We did this the day we arrived in Cemoro Lawang, after seeing the sun rise on Ijen that morning. We were really glad to do this in the middle of the day, after the sunrise jeeps have cleared out.
Time: 1.5 hour walk - Cafe Lava -> Viewpoint
We did this walk in the middle of the night so that we were there for sunrise (left 3:15, arrived 4:45), but to be honest the most spectacular view is in full morning light and the crowds thin out very quickly - so don’t feel the need to catch the sunrise!
I’ve broken this down into three sections: the walk from Cafe Lava to Seruni Point; Seruni Point to King Kong Hill; and King Kong Hill to the main jeep viewpoints.
We turned right out of Cafe Lava, and then took the next left. From this point onwards it’s a case of following a fairly flat uneventful road for a while. There are several pot holes/puddles on the way so use torches or keep your eyes peeled - but generally it was bright enough for us to navigate by moonlight along this stretch.
Note that Google Maps have two separate Seruni points marked - but it’s actually the second which you want as displayed on the map above (this confused us for a while). Most of the way there is a road, and then steps up to Seruni point. You’ll know you’re there when you pass through the large overhead gate which welcomes you.
Take a minute to check out the view, then walk back through the gate and take the path left into the woods. You’ll be on a small trail that will feel wrong but is in fact right! The trail climbs uphill, switching back and forth across the mountains.
We got fairly soggy walking through the undergrowth at 4am, so dress appropriately and bring decent footwear. If you’re doing this before dawn, it will be freezing. Bring money for tea (5k IDR a cup) to warm your hands - there are a few vendors who make the trip out for the sunrise crowd at the viewpoints.
You’ll eventually emerge at King Kong Hill. You can continue to follow the path 1 minute up to the Penanjakan 2 viewpoint, but depending on the time of day this may be more crowded and the views are similar.
There’s actually a good view halfway between them, at the railings.
You can also walk up to the main viewpoint from here, where all the jeeps take everyone for sunrise. Just turn right when you hit the main road and follow it around. The jeeps clear out soon after sunrise, so this was empty by the time we reached it.
In order to get back to Cemoro Lawang, retrace your steps - don’t follow the jeeps, since they go a different way, all the way down to the sea of sand.