2 Days Mount Bromo & Ijen Crater: Day 1| Bromo & Madakaripura Waterfall

Not the highest, but amongst the most well-known for its awe-inspiring sunrise view and its magnificent crater, Mount Bromo (Gunung Bromo) is yet another item on my bucket list that I’ve always wanted to tick off. Luckily for me, I finally got the chance to hike up Bromo and also discover one of Probolingo’s hidden gems – Madakaripura Waterfall.

As the title indicates, for the journey to explore Indonesia’s two most popular volcanoes, I booked a tour rather than having free & easy travel.

Should I do a free & easy or book a tour for Mount Bromo & Ijen Crater?

One of most taxing questions everyone has before traveling to Bromo or Ijen is – Whether to travel free & easy or to book a tour. Both choices have their pros and cons, and it is really up to yourself to decide. In my case, I went with booking a tour as it was much more hassle-free compared to planning my own free & easy experience. Though, that doesn’t mean it is difficult to do so yourself; there are plenty of online guides that teaches you how to. But with the time constraints that I had, booking a tour was the more viable option.

I was also fortunate to have friends that visited these two volcanoes before and was introduced to an affordable tour agency – Java Volcano Tour Operator, which offers student pricing. For my 2-day Mount Bromo & Ijen Crater Tour (which includes a visit to Madakaripura Waterfall), I was only charged around IDR 1,525,000 a person, which I felt was quite cheap compared to the other tours. You do need to have a valid student ID to get the student price and pricing varies for everyone due to different itineraries. As for my case, I arrived at Probolingo from Yogyakarta via train and left East Java to Bali after. Planning of itineraries was also flexible. Our tour organizer Sam planned our itinerary according to our needs and request, sending us multiple drafts of itineraries for us to consider. Something to note is that the tour offered is a private tour, meaning your party will be the only ones in the transport throughout the tour.

Price difference between free & easy and booking a tour for Mount Bromo & Ijen Crater

It’s not all about saving money for free & easy, but it is one of the main considerations for budget travellers. If you are a solo traveller, free & easy would surely be cheaper than booking a private tour.

A rough cost breakdown of free & easy travel from online sources:

Mount Bromo –

Transport from Airport/Train Station to Accommodation near Mount Bromo: IDR 100,000

Entrance Fee Cemoro Lawang: IDR 10,000

Accommodation Near Mount Bromo: IDR 80,000

Transport from Accommodation to starting point of King Kong Hill: IDR 30,000

Jeep from King Kong Hill Sunrise Point to start point of Bromo: IDR 50,000

Transport from Start of Bromo to Accommodation: IDR 30,000

Transport from Mount Bromo Accommodation to Ijen Crater Accommodation (6 Hours Ride): IDR 500,000 per car

Ijen Crater –

Transport from Ijen Crater Accommodation to Ijen Crater Start Point: IDR 30,000

Entrance Fee to Ijen Crater: IDR 100,000 on week days, IDR 150,000 on weekends

Gas Mask Rental: IDR 50,000

Transport from Ijen Crater back to Accommodation: IDR 30,000

Total: IDR 1,010,000 for both Mount Bromo and Ijen Crater

The above costs are only for a self-planned visit to Mount Bromo and Ijen Crater, and there might be other miscellaneous cost not included like transportation to restaurants. As for the tour I booked, it costs a total of IDR 1,525,000, and is inclusive of a visit to Madakaripura Waterfall, which I strongly recommend to anyone who visits Probolingo as it is perhaps one of the best waterfalls I have ever witnessed in Asia!

If you are not a student or do not have a valid student pass, you can still email or contact Sam from Java Volcano Tour Operators to get a quote as their price is relatively lower compared to the rest.

Overall, if I were to return and visit Bromo and Ijen again, I would still choose booking a tour over a free & easy as it is way more convenient, and the private tour allows flexibility, which is something I take into consideration during my travels. The price difference is not a lot to begin with, unless you are a budget traveler out to save every single cent. Another plus point – having a guide leading the trek of both volcanoes made life easier for all of us. Hey, nobody wants to get lost in the dark before daybreak and worst of all, miss the sunrise, right?

Start of Mount Bromo Tour

We arrived in Probolinggo after a long 8-hour train ride from Yogyakarta, feeling all tired from doing… nothing on the train. Our JVTO driver held an A4 paper with our names written on it, welcoming us to the city. After a quick dinner, we were taken to our accommodation for the night which was another 2-hour drive away from the train station. Thankfully, our accommodation was only located a short 15-minute drive away to the start of our Mount Bromo trek.

The accommodation had the bare minimum of everything we needed; a bed, a roof over our heads and a toilet. But it would have been better if we were able to control the temperature of the bathing water in the cold night. But well, we would only be staying for a few hours before waking up at an unearthly 4am for our sunrise tour.

The drive from our accommodation to the start of the trek was short, but the trek up to the sunrise point was not. There wasn’t any light along the way, but thankfully the tour guide provided torchlights to light up our way. At the start of the trek, there were proper concrete roads to walk on which eventually turned into a dirt path as we got closer to the top. It took us a total of 45 minutes to reach the top of KingKong Hill in the dark, which is THE place to be when viewing the sunrise during a visit to Mount Bromo.

At the sunrise view point, there was a lady with a dimly lit store selling Goreng Pisang (Fried Banana Fritters) and hot drinks at only IDR 7,000 each. Sure enough, we each got ourselves a cup of hot chocolate to warm ourselves up in the cold morning as we waited for the first rays of sunlight.

From the top of KingKong Hill, we were able to see the cities of Probolinggo and Pasuruan, Mount Semeru and lastly, Mount Bromo. Blessed with good weather, the sunrise was nothing short of amazing during my visit. The sunrise point can get crowded at times, but there is a whole stretch of walkway for one to position their tripod and capture the perfect shot. For an hour, we waited and watched what seemed like one of the most beautiful sunrises we have ever seen in Indonesia.

After the sunrise, we hiked to our Jeep’s pick-up point, which is a further 10minutes hike from the top of the hill. The entire place was crowded with not only jeeps, but also horses and motorcycles. If you are with a tour, kindly turn them down if they were to surround you (we experienced that) and ask if you need transport down to the start of Mount Bromo trek. If you need such transport, the prices range from IDR 50,000 – IDR 100,000 for a one-way trip down. Alternatively, a trek down the hill takes around 30 minutes. After squeezing through the crowd, we hopped onto our jeep, which was included in the tour, and headed down to the start of the trek.

At the start of the Mount Bromo Trek, we were welcomed by a Sea of Sand, where one can either choose to walk (30 minutes), take a bike taxi at IDR 50,000 or a return ride on a horse for IDR 150,000.

To reach the top of the crater, there are a flight of stairs with more than 200 steps that must be conquered. We did it in 15 minutes, although we took a short break halfway through. The steps might be tiring but it was completely doable and should not deter you from visiting Gunung Bromo!

White smoke spewed out from the volcanic crater, which we were told was sulphur. Surprisingly, there wasn’t any whiff of odour as compared to Ijen Crater, where the smell of sulphur was overwhelming. It was a different experience witnessing a live volcano’s crater but there really wasn’t that much to see. After snapping a few pictures, we went back down the dreaded stairs as we were not huge fans of squeezing with the crowd.

A lot of visitors left after visiting the top of crater, but there is another picturesque location a 3-minute drive away from the start of the trek called the whispering sands a.k.a Pasir Berbisik. The Insta-worthy location is a large sea of flat black sand/ash, located in the middle of the caldera.

After staying for 30 minutes, taking photos at every angle possible, we took the jeep back to our homestay where we had our breakfast that was rather average. We had a few choices – Maggee Goreng, Nasi Ayam and Mee Soto. We checked out of our homestay at 10am after breakfast, and drove for 2 hours before reaching our next attraction – Madakaripura Waterfall.

Exploring Madakaripura Waterfall, the hidden gem of Probolinggo

Upon reaching the village which is a stone’s throw away from the start of the waterfall trek, each of us hopped on to a motorcycle and rode towards the entrance. There are a few locals selling ponchos (IDR10,000) and slippers (IDR15,000), which I highly recommend purchasing if you do not have these items. Even if it is not raining, you will need a poncho as you will definitely get wet from walking under the waterfall (yes, under the waterfall).

Just like Mount Bromo, we also had a tour guide lead us through the trek to the waterfall. The trek to Madakaripura Waterfall was easy, with proper concrete paths to walk on. It was a bit slippery due to moss growth on some places along the way. After a 45-minute walk, I was pleasantly surprised by the waterfall. 

Unlike other waterfalls I have seen in Asia, that might seem dirty or small, Madakaripura Waterfall was a true beauty.

Madakaripura Waterfall is a series of waterfalls, and to get to the end of it, we had to cross and go under a few falls that had water flowing down rapidly. The view of water flowing over the edge of the cliffs and cascading down through the dense vegetation is absolutely breath-taking.

After spending half an hour there, and due to the unforgiving wet weather, we headed back towards the entrance and returned on the bikes back to the village where our car was parked.

There was so much to see that we lost track of time and had a very late lunch at 4pm at Dapur Padi restaurant which was along the way to our Ijen accommodation in Bondowonso.

Dapur Padi Restaurant Details:

Address: Jl. Raya Dringu, Kedungdalem, Probolinggo, East Java, Indonesia

The drive from Madakaripura to Bondowonso took around 3 hours, and we slept through it. After what felt like a short nap, we arrived at Palm Hotel in Bondowoso, our accommodation for the night. Compared to the first accommodation we had the previous night, Palm Hotel was way better, with proper facilities and hot showers (just what I needed after a long day).

That is all for my Day 1 of the Mount Bromo & Ijen Crater Tour where we explored Mount Bromo and also Madakaripura Waterfall. Do give our day 2 a read, where we witnessed the Blue flames of Ijen Crater!

Here is more information you might need if you are interested in the tour I booked – Java Volcano Tour Operator.

Website: http://javavolcano-touroperator.com/

About the Author:

Shameless self-proclaimed beer connoisseur. My body says yes but my wallet says no to my globetrotting adventures.

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