Bromo (Pananjakan)


Elevation: 2,782 m (9,127 ft) Prominence: 586 m
Ribu category: Google MarkerSpesial Province: Jawa Timur (East Java)
Google Earth: kml Other names:  
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Eruptions: Bromo 1804, 1815, 1820, 1822, 1825, 1829-30, 1835, 1842-44, 1856-60, 1865-68, 1877, 1885, 1885-87, 1890, 1893, 1896, 1906-10, 1915-16, 1921-22, 1928, 1930, 1935, 1939-40, 1948, 1950, 1955-56, 1972, 1980, 1983-84, 1995, 2000-01, 2004, 2010-11, 2019


Bagging It!


Bromo is probably the most popular volcano attraction in Indonesia. Situated in the middle of the “Sea of Sand”, an ancient crater, Bromo itself is only 2,329 metres high. The perfect ridged cone of Gunung Batok next to Bromo stands taller at 2,470m and the surrounding crater rim is higher in many places, with the highest peak being Gunung Pananjakan (2,753m). It is from Pananjakan that thousands of people watch the sun rise with Bromo and Batok in the crater below, and Java’s highest peak Semeru brooding in the background. Gunung Panajakan is not a Ribu because of the proximity of Semeru, but the spectacular view is well worth “Spesial” status – the Sea of Sand, the Hindu temple, the beautiful cone of Gunung Batok, gases rising from Bromo’s crater, and the menacing Semeru in the distance.

The only problem is that you don’t have to earn the fantastic view – there is a road that leads from Sea of Sand up to within 5m of the Summit of Penajakan, and most people take well organised trips by four-wheel drive jeeps or motorbikes for the sunrise. On a busy weekend the viewing points can be a circus, and there can be hundreds of jeeps lining the road near the Panajakan summit. However, there is a really pleasant way to hike and bag this special peak, avoiding the crowds until the last 15 minutes.

Most people stay in Cemoro Lawang, which is is the closest village and literally perched on edge of the north side of crater rim (2,350m). The Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park entrance and office are here, and you need to pay Rp. 25,000 entry (once for your entire visit). Despite the number of people that pass though, Cemoro Lawang is a lovely place and the farmland of mostly cabbages and corn fields cover the slopes of the crater rim away to the north, and terraces reach up the steep sides of Pananjakan. There is good hostel accommodation here and also a camp ground with views directly of the Sea of Sand and Bromo.

To earn the sunrise on Bromo, you start your hike at around 3:15 am from Cemoro Lawang, walking along the road that runs west along the rim edge (the road is the right turn about 50 metres before you get to the National Park entrance). You quickly leave the congregating jeeps behind; keep going straight along the crater edge, and in approximately 30 minutes the road begins to climb a little. At the end of the paved road continue straight on the path into shrubby forest. Even with a full moon, you will need a torch. The path is mostly paved, although a little overgrown, so make sure to follow the paved route as it zigzags upwards. After another 30 minutes you reach a large covered viewpoint, which will probably be deserted at 4:15 am, and likely sees few visitors because of the need to hike uphill for 30 minutes! With a strong moon, Bromo and its clouds of white gas will be visible, as well as the lights and sounds of the jeeps roaring across the Sea of Sand. The trail up to the summit of Panajakan continues from here; leave the viewpoint and turn left, uphill, and follow the zigzag path that makes its way up the steep slope – the next viewpoint should be 45 mins hike, and as you approach it you will hear the crowds. If the hike took longer than planned, this is a good place to watch the sunrise, but otherwise continue on the trail for a few minutes before emerging onto the paved road lined with jeeps and motorbikes. Turn right, uphill, and pass all the parked vehicles for about 15 mins – the entrance to the Panajakan summit viewpoint is on the right and very obvious – there are several warungs (stalls) selling souvenirs, tea/coffee, food, hats and gloves, and local barbecued corn. The summit can be packed, and it can be good to descend some steps to right and stand on the steep grassy slope for unimpeded views. From the summit, you can see the famous scene of Bromo, Batok and Semeru.

After taking more photographs than you ever thought possible of Bromo, you can also see Gunung Argopuro and probably Gunung Raung to the East. Once you’re finished at the summit, return to the road where you can also see Gunung Arjuno and Gunung Welirang to the west and also Gunung Butak further southwest. Just north of Arjuno you might be able to see the relatively small Gunung Penanggungan.

The route on the road with the motorbikes has many more great photo opportunitiesand you can take one of the many ojeks on offer (motorcycle taxi) – don’t forget to bargain! If you wisely choose to hike back and shun motorised transport, don’t miss the path on the left that brought you onto the road before dawn. The hike back the same way is very different in daylight, and there are numerous great photo opportunities – the views of the farmland on the rim as you descend are also wonderful.

It is also essential tourism to walk down into the crater from Cemoro Lawang and across the Sea of Sand to Bromo, which is possible in same morning after a well-earned breakfast. At the foot of Bromo is the temple where every year at full moon December/January the traditional Kasodo ceremony is held. The Tengger people thow offerings into the crater to ask for a good harvest and for the healing of various ailments. Near the temple there are a few hundred steps to reach edge of Bromo and peer inside, and across to Batok and Panajakan.

Bagging information by Andy Dean.


Getting there Easy to arrange from practically anywhere in East Java.
Accommodation There are several hotels near Bromo or, further away, in the coastal town of Probolinggo.
Permits Buy a ticket on entry to the National Park area.
Water sources There are many shops selling drinks and snacks nearby.
Travel insurance We recommend World Nomads insurance, which is designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities including mountain hiking.
Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm): probolinggo


Origins and Meaning

Gunung Bromo = Brahma’s Mountain. Bromo is a Javanese pronunciation of Brahma, one of the gods of the Hindu trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva). (George Quinn, 2011)

Links and References

Wikipedia English
Wikipedia Indonesia

11 thoughts on “Bromo (Pananjakan)


    Yadnya Kasada Festival lasts 1 day. On the fourteenth day, the Tenggerese make the journey to Mount Bromo to make offerings of rice, fruits, vegetables, flowers and livestock to the mountain gods by throwing them into the volcano’s center.

    The origins of the event emerged in the 15th century after a princess named Roro Anteng started the principality of Tengger with her husband when the couple asked the mountain gods for help in bearing children. Legend says the gods granted them 24 children but only if the 25th was tossed into the volcano as a sacrifice. The 25th child, Kesuma, was finally sacrificed in this way after an initial refusal. The tradition of throwing sacrifices into the caldera to appease the mountain gods continues to this day.

    Hafidz Wahyudi

    ( Tenggeresse, Cemoro lawang 1 Ngadisari Bromo )

  2. Climbed up the beautifully-shaped Gunung Batok last week. Brilliant weather and stunning views just after sunrise. Took an ojek down into the mist-covered sea of sand from Cemoro Lawang to the usual starting point for the hike up to the steps to Bromo itself (a mere 15 or 20 minute ride). My ojek guy, Joko, then led me up the side of Batok itself. As expected, this highlands villager was a super-fit hiker and left me panting almost as soon as we had started. Nevertheless it took just 30 minutes to reach the top, which is flattish and covered in the dark brown sand from its naughty neighbour. There is a small Hindu pillar on the Bromo side of the summit, and an empty Bintang bottle and some offerings of local potatoes were there too! At around 6am, the views were magnificent – including Semeru erupting and Arjuno-Welirang in the west and Argopuro in the distance to the east. The blanket of clouds covering the sea of sand slowly began to dissipate as we did a quick clockwise circuit of the summit area (the Pananjakan side appears to be a couple of metres higher than where the little monument is but I didn’t have my GPS with me to check). We had to retrace our steps before descending via the same route because there is a mini-ravine up there which is best avoided.
    All in all a great viewpoint and easy peak to bag for those who have already done the obvious Panajakan and Bromo. We were back at the hotel in Cemoro Lawang by 7.15.

  3. I bagged the Pananjakan/Bromo duo on Oct. 29-30. I took the train from Solo to Malang just to be close since I didn’t want to take the presumably interminable Bromo/Ijen/Bali trip from Yogyakarta/Solo that agencies there were offering.

    I contacted one of the three tour agencies listed in the Indonesia Lonely Planet guide under the Malang entry: Hotel Helios. I thought I lucked out that somebody answered my late Saturday evening call for a Monday tour start.

    Just like all the climbs and tours in Indonesia, this too started at midnight. I was starting to think that I’ll be perpetually sleepy over the entire duration of my holiday but the writing’s on the wall. Gotta get there by sunrise. Indonesian volcanoes apparently are early risers.

    I was picked up first so I got to ride shotgun. This would prove to be felicitous because, as it turns out, the Helios Hotel’s jeep was long overdue for maintenance and my seat was the only bearable position inside the jeep.

    I slept most of the way and when I woke up we were already traversing the Sea of Sand. I remember marveling at our driver’s keen sense of direction. I could not discern any road markers in the infinite darkness. We finally arrived at the Cemoro Indah hotel in Cemoro Lawang on the Tengger ridge. That was where we got our first glimpse of Batok and its brothers silhouetted in the moonlight. Just from those faint immense shadows in the distance I already knew that the morning would be breathtaking. It was only a short stop. Our driver then drove us the zigzagging road up the ridge to “meet our guide”. I never really knew what to expect. I was under the impression that we would just stay in Cemoro Lawang until the morning. Well, it turns out that my companions (an old French couple) were die-hard trekkers and they especially requested to hike to Pananjakan instead of being driven. This confused me as I thought we’d be climbing Bromo. But I had no other choice but to follow. Only a few minutes into the hike in the dark, first on ash then on a very dusty trail, did it dawn on me that we were walking up to the highest point on the ridge. Doh!

    It probably took about an hour to 1.5 hr. We were the first ones to arrive at the viewing platform under the cellphone towers. There was a bitter biting wind at 4 am. The volcanoes on the Tengger caldera emerging in the dawn light erased all memory of a long trek on a dusty trail. The platform soon filled up. I noticed that people were arriving in jeeps! Why weren’t we driven and why all that walking? Again, by special request of those darn Frenchies. I therefore “bagged” Pananjakan inadvertently without even asking for it.

    I could not forget the sight of Cemoro Lawang, perched on the edge of the ridge, with twinkling lights at dawn and with wraithlike fingers of mist hovering above it, as the horizon lights up, first with pink glimmers, then orange, then red and yellow.

    The walk back through the same trail was actually a vastly more pleasant experience than the hike up. First of all, that view is priceless. The planted terraced fields all around Pananjakan are also an awesome sight to behold.

    It was then time to drive to the crater. It was a gorgeous morning. It was a great feeling to stand finally a few hundred meters from Batok, when you were just looking at it from far above the ridge. I refused the horse ride that seemed to be the local cottage industry in those parts as this would’ve defeated the mountaineering experience, n’est-ce pas?

    But after about 30 minutes of trudging on hard-packed earth, and then on ash and pumice as the trail meandered up Bromo’s slope, I began to doubt my early decision to refuse that horse ride. Oh, I could be merrily riding on that saddle, sniggering at those fools who opted to walk instead of ride. Huh, wait a minute, I’m one of those fools!

    So back to more work. I have not come to a firm belief that Indonesian tourist attractions all demand sweat and toil. Be prepared to work a lot to reap the rewards. It’s not just a walk a few steps here, jump over a barrier there. Nope, Barry and Mary, be prepared to slog it.

    Ok, back to the hike. I finally reached the concrete steps for the final approach. But hang on, why are people so slow? Well, folks, it turns out that the steps are all covered with dust and ash, so the only viable way of progress is to slip and slide. More frickin’ work, I thought!

    So there I was finally on the Bromo ridge. Was it all worth that sweat? Of course it was. Quit kvetching and bellyaching, Marcus!

    When I was sufficiently rested I had the hairbrained idea of handing over my camera to the French guy. I then followed the ridge to the left for about 10 minutes until my mettle gave in. I walked about 300 meters to the left of the top of the stairs. I stopped and turned around since I was thinking: what the hell are you doing?! The trail was getting narrower and narrower and ending up in Bromo’s belly was a reluctant sacrifice was not on my agenda. That would’ve pissed me off enormously.

    I was glad though that the Frenchie took a picture of me as I was walking up Bromo’s ridge.

    So there. Two baggings in one morning.

  4. When I was visited Bromo on July 2011, the stairs was covered by the ash so it’s hard to reach the crater so I need to crawl.

  5. After having tasted some of the ash from Bromo’s ongoing eruption (which has caused many flights to Bali to be cancelled) yesterday on my hike up to the top of Gunung Tarub – the highest peak of Lamongan – I decided I ought to check out Bromo closer up while in the area. I woke at 3am this morning and set off up to Cemoro Lawang – it takes just under 2 hours from Probolinggo. Beyond Sukapura I began to notice the ash collecting on the windscreen and we began to cough! When we finally reached the end of the road at Cemoro Lawang, on the edge of the Tengger crater rim overlooking Bromo itself, it sounded like light rain hitting the windows. Even with the windows and doors shut, very fine volcanic sand was finding its way into the vehicle so I had to cover my mouth and nose. There were occasional flashes of light from the crater itself – at present you can apparently see lava during the middle of the night if you get up there for 3am.
    At first light I ventured out – a very eerie scene indeed. There were no other ‘tourists’ about and the entire area was coated in about a centimetre of brown sand from the eruption for many miles around and it was raining ash particles. It was difficult to take photos – simple a case of covering your head and pressing the button on the camera and hoping for the best. Birds were hopping around dirty brown farm fields looking for food as very occasional motocyclists negotiated the treacherous dusty road. It was a desolate scene and the few villagers I saw were coughing as they swept the dust from front of their homes. I’ve never experienced anything like it – the closest would have to be a thin covering of snow in the UK with medium continuous ‘snowfall’.
    There was no sunrise to speak of and certainly no classic postcard panorama for anyone waiting on Pananjakan – the entire sky was simply filled with volcanic dust. Now and then, a bit of blue sky above was visible and allowed a limited panorama of Bromo ejecting vast amounts of material continuously. It was mostly inaudible (from just under 3km from the Bromo crater itself) but now and again sounds similar to gunfire and thunder were heard.
    Jeep tracks were visible on the Sea of Sand below but I didn’t see any vehicles down there this morning – perhaps the wind has changed from blowing to the east to blowing to the north-east. After an hour or so, we headed back down the road and took some more shots from near Wonokerto, where the huge plume of dark volcanic material was contrasted sharply with the bright blue sky above. I finally spotted another ‘tourist’ car heading the opposite direction. Back at the hotel I had a much needed mandi to get rid of the coating of sand on me.
    I’ll be uploading some of these photos from Cemoro Lawang in the next few days….

  6. I Choose to take a Package Tour for Bromo Trip. with shuttle bus From jogja to bromo (it took 9 hours), hotel room for a night (plus breakfast), and jeep ride around Bromo. The Package only cost Rp.400.000.

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