June 9, 2023

You must have heard about Mount Bromo and Mount Ijen, right? Yes, these two mountains are famous for their beautiful panoramic views and they have become a tourist destination for hiking and trekking.

Before we start this adventure, it’s good to know about the profiles of these two famous volcanoes in Indonesia.

Mount Bromo: The Fact 

Mount Bromo is located in East Java. Precisely in the area of Probolinggo, Lumajang, Malang, and Pasuruan.  Mount Bromo has an altitude of about 2,329 m.

Mount Bromo in the Tengger language is often referred to as “Brama” or Tengger Caldera. This mountain is an active volcano to date. The last recorded time Mount Bromo erupted was in 2016.

Mount Bromo is very interesting and invites many people to come because of its status as an active mountain. Mount Bromo is included in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park area.

bromo ijen hiking 7 @the_ibrahem

Mount Ijen: The Fact 

Mount Ijen is a volcano located on the border of Banyuwangi and Bondowoso regencies, East Java, Indonesia. The mountain has an altitude of 2,386 m. Ijen last erupted in 1999.

Ijen Crater is an acidic crater lake located at the top of Mount Ijen. The lake is about 200m deep and the crater area reaches 5,466 hectares.

One of the stunning natural phenomena of Mount Ijen is the blue fire in the crater of the mountain. Blue fire can only be seen by the human eye when there is no light, so the ideal time to see it is 2 am to 4 am because the ascent of Mount Ijen only starts at 2 am.

The ascent of Mount Ijen can start from two places, from Banyuwangi or Bondowoso.

bromo ijen hiking 11 @jiwajawaijen

Day 1: Surabaya to Mount Bromo

We started this trip to Bromo from Surabaya. A driver picked us up at our hotel in Surabaya around 11.30 am. We still had time to have our lunch for about 15 minutes and then check all our stuff before leaving.

Tips to reduce the time spent checking things after lunch: Pack early in the morning or prepare everything the night before.  

Prepare everything at night, no matter how tired you are. Packing the night before will make it easier the next morning.

Prepare the clothes and toiletries that you will use in the morning. Once done, put them on the top or front of your carrier. 

Heading to Bromo

We started our road trip to Bromo by car. This trip takes about 2.5 – 3.5 hours. Prepare yourself by bringing a neck pillow that will be very useful during the trip.

We use the time to take some naps but the scenery was so good. It’s not to be missed. 

We arrived at Bromo around 4 pm. Tired and all we wanted to do was rest considering tomorrow we had to wake up early to hunt for sunrise.

Day 2: Hike to Mount Bromo

Sunrise at Penanjakan

Our guide woke us up at around 2 am. It’s very cold but we have to get up. There’s no time to get back into the blanket because it’s so cold. I hurriedly put on a sweater as a layer, then put on my mountain jacket. Oh and don’t forget my scarf.

 Our guide and driver were waiting to take us to Mount Penanjakan. He took us to the best spot on the edge of the caldera to wait for the sunrise.

Oh yeah, if you didn’t bring enough warm clothes, don’t worry, you can rent them at one of the shops in the area. If you’re lucky, you might even get a cup of hot coffee to wait for the sunrise.

Then we headed to King Kong Point. Our guide said that this spot is the best spot to get the perfect sunrise. The path at King Kong Point is not too long but quite steep. Be careful, maybe because you are still sleepy you can slip if you are not careful.  

Waiting for this sunrise is easy. You have to be patient. If the day is sunny then you will soon see the sun rise beautifully. But if the sun is covered by clouds, you have to wait until the clouds disappear.

But it all paid off when the sun came out. I saw the most stunning scenery I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

Golden yellow, orange, and silver-colored rays appeared. We could see Mount Bromo puffing smoke and Mount Batok looking colorful. Let’s not forget the huge and dashing Mount Semeru in the background.

Amazing! Beautiful!

bromo ijen hiking 12

4×4 to Bromo via Sea of Sand

After enjoying the breathtaking views, we took a 4X4 car to cross the sea of sand. The landscape felt like driving through the Sahara Desert. It was like being in a movie.

Some people use horses to cross this sea of sand, but for me, it’s not a good idea because I don’t know how to ride a horse. It’s safer to take a Jeep instead.

This Bromo sand sea does provide an extraordinary sensation. Did you know that this sea of sand was formed due to the collision of two mountains facing each other?

During the eruption, volcanic material was thrown to the southeast and formed a large valley and caldera. The depth of the caldera caused volcanic material from subsequent eruptions to accumulate and eventually become a sea of sand.

Bromo sand Sea has an area of about 5,920 hectares which covers Mount Bromo, Mount Batok, Mount Widodaren, Mount Kursi, and Mount Watangan. This area is located at an altitude of 2,100 m above sea level.

Luhur Poten Temple

In addition to the sea of sand, Bromo is also famous for the Tengger Hindu place of worship, namely Pura Luhur Poten. This temple is located at the foot of the crater of Mount Bromo.

Pura Luhur Poten is a sacred place of worship for the Tengger tribe who live in the Bromo Semeru National Park area. This temple is closely related to the annual Yadya Kasada ceremony.

The Tengger people believe that this temple is the residence of Isa Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa or God, who is the embodiment of God Brahma. Brahma is one of the three great gods in Hinduism, apart from Shiva and Vishnu.

How interesting!

bromo ijen 13 @atang_triastama

Up to Bromo Caldera

We arrived at the foothills of Mount Bromo and started climbing. It was quite easy as we didn’t have to struggle because of the stairs. But there were a lot of them! And it was also quite tiring.

When you reach the crater rim, you can look into the crater if possible. But you have to be careful because if the smoke is thick enough and the wind direction is towards you, it’s best not to. Fortunately, this time everything is friendly.

We took a short walk around the rim of the Bromo crater. You can also hear the rumbling in the belly of the Bromo crater. Wow, what an amazing experience.

bromo ijen hiking 2 @rinzanangga

Goes to Banyuwangi: Let’s Go

After enjoying the view of the crater of Mount Bromo, we then descended and returned to the hotel for breakfast, shower, packing, and preparing to continue our journey to Banyuwangi. There, we will climb Mount Ijen to see the blue fire in its crater.

The journey from Bromo to Banyuwangi is about 6 – 7 hours. We stopped for lunch at a local restaurant and several times stopped to buy something at the minimarket or just to stretch our legs and back.

We used a lot of the travel time to see the scenery and landscapes, and of course, take a nap. We arrived in Banyuwangi in the afternoon and checked into our accommodation.

Day 3: Hike to Mount Ijen  

Down to Crater

We woke up at 1 am to start the hike. We drive to the parking lot of the Mount Ijen nature park and pay our entrance fee. Then we hike for 3 km, passing flat, steep, and very steep roads in the darkness until we reach the crater rim. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight. If you have a head torch, better use it.

We descend slowly to the crater. It had to be slow because it was dark and the path was quite steep. If it’s your first time climbing, it’s a good idea to have help and guidance. Because descending a steep crater in the darkness of the early morning is not very fun.

It took about 45 minutes to descend to the crater, with a small queue as many people also wanted to descend cautiously. There are some people who want to get close to the edge of the lake. However, it is best not to do so as it is dangerous.

The sulfur fumes coming out of the crater can be 600 degrees Celsius and can burn you. Just stay away.

bromo ijen hiking 9 @jiwajawaijen

Blue Fire

Blue Fire is a rare phenomenon and not everyone gets to see it. We were among the unlucky ones who didn’t get to witness it in large numbers. We only saw a little bit of the blue fire.

At the bottom of the crater near the lake, the sulfur is located and the smoke is billowing. Be careful of the wind direction as it carries the dense sulfurous fumes towards you and can cause shortness of breath and stinging eyes. Make sure you wear a mask if you enter the crater.

If you’ve had enough of getting the shot you want, it’s best to head up before the wind gets stronger and brings the thick sulfurous fumes with it.  

Sunrise at Kawah Ijen Lake

We quickly climbed to the top of the crater to watch the sunrise over the crater lake. The panorama is truly breathtaking. The lake has a turquoise color that contrasts with the bright yellow color of the sulfur mine. Coupled with the golden yellow morning sunlight. It’s truly awe-inspiring.

bromo ijen hiking 5 @mariakrabbe


We finally descended to where our car was parked. Along the way down, we saw a beautiful landscape with the morning sun and mist. Then we went back to the lodge for a shower, breakfast, and packing.

After Yogyakarta, then Bromo and Ijen, we will continue our journey to Bali and then to Lombok.

Off we go!