Here’s how I got to hike Mount Bromo for free! Seeing Mount Bromo without a tour is the BEST choice if you’re not into crowded viewpoints, exorbitant prices, and enjoy walking in nature as opposed to a drive in a Jeep. Do your own DIY Bromo tour for a more authentic experience.
UPDATE: As of 12/2018 people have reported that this DIY Bromo tour guide is still valid and have successfully done the hike at Bromo without a tour!
Mount Bromo, quite possibly the most famous and iconic place on Java. My initial “plan” (because you should know I literally don’t plan…it happens to work out most of the time, like this time) was to work my way west towards Jakarta because the concert I was going to was about 6 days away now. It didn’t make sense for me to do anything else…except there isn’t as much to see between Jogja and Jakarta. And I say that relatively because I’m sure there is some cool more off the path shit, but I didn’t have that much time for it. I did find a few beach spots of interest, however, the weather was a bit gloomy. I figured if there are more cool and accessible things to do east, and my cool new friends that I literally just met want to go there too, then east I shall go.
What it’s like hiking Mount Bromo without a tour and for free!
Not only did I really wanted to see Mount Bromo, but now Kawah Ijen was in the picture. I had read about it briefly, but your options come more to light when you’re right there planning your adventure… This spot was even more east. So that was it- I was going east and then I’ll just to fly from the east of Java to Jakarta!
We looked at tours to both of these spots for reference, and they were quite pricey. But the worst part is, sometimes going on tours are really no fun. It’s more exciting to figure it out on your own, and when you have a few friends you met on the road also trying to be a bit more budget savvy, it’s a no-brainer. Figure it out yourself! So a DIY Bromo tour was the best choice.
To sum up the actual hike and experience, we all loved it. It was a really beautiful morning, which we were worried about because it had rained a lot the previous day. We saw the sunrise but it was to the side of the mountains at this time, yet still provided a spectacular show. The views were really gorgeous and the hike wasn’t too difficult, yet still rewarding to do.
Inside the volcano was nice and worth the walk up. This was where there was a lot of people, so it wasn’t my favorite spot. I also was upset about the amount of horses around. I don’t think the horses anywhere in the country get treated correctly. The walk isn’t hard, and you have to walk up the steps yourself anyway. Please don’t support it.
I’ll let the pictures do the talking… It’s a phenomenal way to spend the early morning hours and it was worth every bit in my opinion. I have a feeling if I did it by tour my opinion would be different.
If you’re like me and often don’t want to pay for the touristy buses or just simply like figuring your way around yourself, I try to break it down as much as possible. I hope this helps as seeing Mount Bromo for free is probably one of my coolest experiences of my travels so far!
**Obviously the buses there and back are not free. When I say “free” I mean we didn’t pay for a tour, a guide, a jeep to drive us around the volcano, or the entrance fees.
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How to get to…Probolinggo from Surabaya:
We started out in Pacitan, so if you happen to be there, you can expect to pay 55,000 Rupiah to get to Surabaya. We took the night bus which left around 10-11pm. Surabaya to Probolinggo cost us 31,000 Rupiah ( pretty sure that 1,000 got pocketed.)
How to get to…Probolinggo to Bromo:
We got to Probolinggo quite early in the morning and we stood around trying to find the right way to finally make it from Probolinggo to Mount Bromo. We needed the public bus that goes there to take us, but they, unfortunately, wouldn’t leave until it was full. Luckily we met a German couple and got to talking. We went to have breakfast at a local restaurant to scheme. We eventually negotiated to 75,000 Rupiah each and we were a group of 6. Not that great of a deal, you’re paying for the empty seats. It took around an hour and a half.
We got to our accommodation at the top of the mountain village that has the entrance to the viewpoints. The closer you stay up, the better. I’m honestly not even sure the name of my place. It was nothing to write home about. We almost stayed at Cafe Lava Hostel. It was 200,000 Rupiah and we then found a place for 150,000 Rupiah down the street. It might have been better to get the proper spot, ours sucked. The water was scalding hot, and it was a bitch to shower. It was cold up there sooo… I guess I was happy that it wasn’t freezing? I don’t know. It had some hangout spots on each floor, but the room was pretty dingy and gross, but it was for one night only.
Check for accommodation here:
Devising a plan to see Mount Bromo without a tour and for free:
We spent the rest of the day out of our dingy rooms and trying to see how we can do Bromo without doing a stupid jeep tour that was expensive and just going to take you up a mountain to a crowded viewpoint. It didn’t seem as rewarding as hiking everything yourself.
So we got some info from the hotels in the area.The Cemara Indah Hotel is a spot we asked questions at, but of course, everyone in town is going to tell you that it’s hard, it’s far, it’s too dangerous without a guide…etc. I wouldn’t say to ignore this advice, but after doing some research and speaking to the people who were checking out of our hotel and just did the hike… We knew we were fine. We asked our questions and went to bed early. The hike starts at 3am!
Instructions for Hiking Mount Bromo for free and without a tour:
I’ll try to be as detailed as possible. I hope this helps some of you.
Get walking around 3am. (not a typo- yes, 3am)
You start at the Cemara Indah Hotel. The pathway to the right, not the path going down the side of a nature path, that’s the way you will come back. Go up the pathway to the right, it’s paved. You will pass two small viewpoints with a small wooden fence. Keep going up until you find stairs.
The top of the stairs has a big sign and a proper viewpoint with small gazebo. Enjoy the sunrise from there. After that, continue walking up the dirt and rock pathway that’s behind you (behind you if you’re gazing at Bromo from the viewpoint). When you look at the steps you just came from, it will be to the left. Be careful especially if it’s muddy. There are a few points where you’re close to the edge of the cliff. Continue up, more views – gorgeous! There are some more viewpoints higher up, but we didn’t go, the views we had were awesome enough. We didn’t see a point in going any higher.
When you get to the road, go down to the left. Walk for maybe 20 minutes, we were chatting, I don’t know how long we walked for really. You will see some restrooms eventually at the intersection. Here is where you can choose to continue seeing Bromo for free… Or pay a $1.50. From those restrooms we negotiated and agreed on 15,000 Rupiah each for a motorbike ride down the hill. There will likely be random locals hanging around that will ask you if you want a ride. Two passengers and a driver per bike. Well worth the money, I promise you. It was a steep downhill that would have crushed our toes and took a couple of hours. This is the only money we spent, you can choose to walk it, though. (It’s $3 for the ride, but $1.50 each as two people were on each bike. Yes, so that’s three people total! Asia stylz!)
They took us down into the caldera region, snapped a few pictures, and then they drove us to where the hike up to Bromo is. They dropped us there.
Go up the stairs, this is the most obvious part of the hike as there are tons of people trying to sell you horseback rides. There’s also hoards of people going up the stairs. Everything we saw was desolate until now. From this point, you can see inside the volcano.
** Mini-rant about the horses… Like, just don’t do it. The horses are not properly cared for. I don’t think anyone should support the people who can’t care for their animals who work all day to make THEM money. The least they can do is care for the poor animal properly. This is just my opinion and something for you to think about when traveling Indonesia (horses are in many places, not just here). Also, the walk is so easy, so stop being lazy unless there is something seriously wrong with your legs/body.
To get back to town, walk all the way out and head towards the town on top of the hill. Bromo behind you. There’s a small pathway, you might not see it from far away but it becomes more apparent once you walk up to the hill. When you get up that hill you will be where you started near the hotel.
By doing the hike like this, we avoided the tour groups at the view points, we didn’t pay the exorbitant 300,000 Rupiah entrance fee, and we hiked it ourselves which felt great.
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We left at 3am and got back to our hotel around 8:30am. We weren’t rushed or anything, it was an amazing morning!
What to bring on your DIY Bromo tour
- Bring food! We got really hungry and there’s nothing really around.
- Bring enough water.
- Wear warm clothes that you can also easily take off. We were all taking our clothes on and off. While you’re hiking, it gets super hot. Once you stop for a bit and enjoy the sunrise, it’s freezing again.
- If you’re here when I was, (Dec), it might be a bit rainy. You don’t want to be stuck in the rain on the mountain and be freezing. Grab a cheap poncho just in case.
- Decent shoes. Well, it could be cold, so you’re likely to be wearing decent enough shoes. I wore my All Stars and was OK. Hiking shoes aren’t necessary.
Please let me know if you got to hike Mount Bromo without a tour and for free using my guide, I’d love to know if I helped and please help the rest of the readers here by letting us know if anything changed! 🙂
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Nina Ragusa is an adventurer, messy bun master, breakfast fan, and full-time travel blogger. She’s been abroad since 2011 and blogging on Where in the World is Nina? for nearly as long. Nina helps people like you move around the world while making money. She loves talking about how to work abroad and online to travel longer!
Dear Nina ! Congrats on your new lifestyle and on your passionnate blog. I am planning on visiting Bromo end of this week and scams seem to be just everywhere in the area. I have read several people avoided the scandalous entrance fee by taking the road by the Cemoro Indah hotel BUT the ticket office seems to be BEFORE Cemoro Lawang village….. is it so ? How did you avoud this stage if it’s not too much asking 🙂
Hey thanks, Isabel! This lifestyle isn’t so new anymore, nearly four years 🙂 I’m not so sure of the village you speak of. I stayed very close to the beginning if the trail, so maybe this was passed that village?? I think if you get a taxi from below to the top before the hike they might get you. And the taxi will prob get a chunk for bringing you there. We stayed so close and it was so dark we literally walked out our door and began hiking up! 🙂 sorry I couldn’t be more helpful. Have a good time!
Thank you for your advice. We walked it all and really enjoyed our morning whilst saving a little money too.
I’m so happy to hear that, Jonathan! It was a bit confusing on how to do it for free when I was there, so that was the purpose of this blog. It means a lot that I was able to help! Thanks for letting me know ?
Where exactly are the ticket gates?
The bottom of Bromo or on the way to the view points?
Thanks for the question, Ben. I’m honestly not sure. Bc I stayed where I did (very close the hotel mentioned above) I never saw it. I believe they are a bit further down?? Also, if you’re on a tour, they will surely take you through the ticket gate. Since we did our own, we didn’t. Sorry I don’t have more of a solid answer to that.
Nice Orli! Honestly this hike isn’t too hard. You should try it
What an amazing adventure! I have been thinking we need to do more adventurous staff lately, but I don’t think we’re up to this level yet 😉
Thanks! Hopefully you get to go soon!
a very detailed and budget way to see Mount Bromo. I don’t remember when was the last time I hiked a volcano, wish I could do this one since it’s not that far from me.
Amazing adventures and sharing! Is it a bigger bike that can accommodate 3 persons on the bike? Is the route that the bike bypassed the entrance where the tickets are sold? Or the bike passed by the main entrance where other tourists will pay for their tickets but you just simply didn’t need to pay because you are not on the jeep? How this is not too much asking.
I’m sorry but I don’t understand? There is no bike in my story. What are you asking??
I envy you! I ended up getting a great deal with some fellow travelers because our Ijen driver kept offering us one amazing deal after another, including a drive up to the sunrise view. I wanted to hike up, but I was the only one who wanted to. And honestly, I was exhausted after the early morning Ijen hike and the long drive immediately after. I am curious though, how long did it take you to walk from Cemara Indah Hotel to the actual viewpoint?
Hi! Ahh, the motorbike! Sorry, I get it now. That motorbike ride was kinda if in between. We already hiked up to the multiple view points. We took the motorbike down to Bromo where we can hike up to see inside. The tickets I believe are paid in the very beginning and the tour buses take you there on the way, that’s my understanding however I didn’t go on the tour so I couldn’t really be positive on that. Just my understanding. Sorry for misunderstanding. I hope this helps! Also, to my understanding the tours don’t really include much of a hike as they drop you at view points. Again, just what I understood from speaking to tour operators, but can’t say for certain the exact way the tours run.
I think Pang referred to the bike that took you guys down. He got confused trying to figure out how is it you guys managed to avoid paying the entrance fee! Was it by not hiking through the normal tourist path that the buses and tours will drop those paying tourists at?
i love your blog! was thinking for my upcoming trip likely this September, i was thinking if you still remember the route to the top to see sunrise, likely maybe (if you got the time) to yknow draw a small map that represent the route to see the sunrise and the crater w/o paying any single cents to the entries.
Sorry Azizi, no map! But if you follow these directions you’ll find the way. I recently had a reader email me and tell me it worked for them and thank you, so it seems it’s still good info here. Have fun 🙂
Awesome Ferdy! lmk how ya go 🙂
Great post! We are looking into how to get to Bromo without booking a tour and this information certainly helps! One of the most detailed guides out there. Hope we will find our way:) Thanks!
Great post! I am planning to hike up Bromo at the end of the year and don’t really want to go through a tour. Could I ask when in December were you there? I’m going over xmas, do you think I should book my accommodation ahead?
Thanks much in advance!
Yay it will be so epic! You might want to book ahead then, it could be a busy time! I was there before xmas.
Reading your posts on Bromo and Kawah Ijen is making me even more excited!
I see, thanks!
Hey! Sounds great! This kinda gave me the confidence to try going there without a tour haha. Anyway how long did it take to hike from the start point to the viewpoints? Thanks!
Not sure, but I think 5-6 hrs in total.
Hi Nina! I’m Fatimah from Malaysia. We have successfully seen Mt. Bromo for free by following your guide. There were 5 of us; me, my husband, our kids (6yo and 8months), and my sister. From Probolinggo train station, we were taken to a tourist office and persuaded to take their package. We politely declined and after about an hour the public bus to cemoro lawang arrived (or was it arranged to arrive late so that we’ll take their package…maybe). After taking off with the bus, they park at a warung and told us to wait until the bus full, or pay 557,000 IDR to leave immediately. So we had lunch there while waiting. It actually kind of weird because the bus is parked not at a station and it didn’t seem like there will be anyone else going to take the bus. Feeling like being cheated, we decided to hitchhike. When they saw what we were doing, they tried to talk us out of it and at last offered 300,000 IDR to take us up. (We came to Probolinggo from Surabaya, and there was a taxi driver offered to take us from Surabaya up to Cemara Indah for 500,000 IDR. Unfortunately we’ve already bought the train tickets to Probolinggo, otherwise taking the taxi is cheaper and more comfortable). We stayed at Cemara Indah and asked for direction for self-hiking to Bromo there. Everyone was saying that it’s far and dangerous especially when they saw our kids. They were right, but it was totally doable! The view along the path up to King Kong Hill was spectacular! We took ojek for 100,000 IDR per ojek to take us down from the hill, to Bromo, and back to our hotel. I’m glad we took it because the ride down the hill was steep and far, plus we did enjoy the ojek ride, especially my 6yo. We really enjoy the hike, the view, and of course seeing the volcano was priceless! Thanks a lot and keep writing!
Hi Fatimah! Thanks you SO much commenting and letting me know my guide worked for you! I’m so happy to hear it. Yeah, the ride up from Probilinggo was a bit hectic for us too! It’s an easy way for them to scam and get extra money. Glad you got through it and enjoyed yourself with the whole fam 🙂
Thank you for writing this guideline. It helped us a lot.
My girlfriend and I succesfully did this Tour may first 2017, so it still works! The viewpoint from where you watched the sunrise is called Seruni point (locals know it) and is probably a lot more known nowadays, because it was teeming with people when we were there (it was also labour day, lots of Indonesian tourists). And the walk up they call King Kong hill. Anyway, still free, still possible. Saved us 320,000 rp each. Thanks!
Yay!!! Thanks so much for confirming, Stef! Glad it worked and you had a nice time
I am looking to plan a trip to Bromo without tour as well, also exploring the “no entrance fee” route. After reaching the Seruni Viewpoint (as according to Stef), do you head further up or back down on your way to find the ojek rides? The description wasn’t too clear.
Thanks! This was years ago for me. You’ll have to go on the info that’s provided here. Sorry. Many others found it using this guide. Good luck.
Thanks for this Nina! Confirmed to still work in December 2017, the bike prices have gone up a little but had an awesome day thanks to this!
Thanks so much for the update! Happy you enjoyed 🙂
Thanks. Very informative indeed. I’m planning a trip there soon. About the horses, what I saw in Bandung was exactly that: the horses were not properly cared for. What a pity.
It’s around the whole country. It’s so sad 🙁
The path in front of Cemara Indah hotel is still ok (June 2018). Just came back from Mt Bromo and I paid nothing to go uphill to the viewpoints and to climb the crater. I even sneaked in to the crater area around 9 am, it was day light and people saw me getting in, no one said nothing (maybe I was just lucky). It seems the path is quite well known, many people seem to use it to get in free. Also, there is another way to get to the crater. If you go first to the view points (the road that goes to the right, from the junction of Cemara Indah Hotel), there are paths to go to the crater from there. And the path to the view points is a normal road up to some point, there are many indonesians there with horses or geeps as well, but they won’t charge you anything (if they do, say you know this is a free road).
Thanks for the update! 🙂
What an amazing experience this is! Well worth it. We were a group of three. We took local bus to the bus station in Probolinggo, from our hostel, where there were already two other tourists waiting. Within an hour another two arrived as well so we were a group of seven. The bus agreed to take us up. We paid 525000 between us, so 75000 each . More expensive than it used to be but still so much cheaper than paying for a tour, and in my opinion a much better experience too.
We took the secret path down and walked across to the crater. Wow! The noise surprised me and there was gases pouring out which looked amazing. Such a good experience, definitely worth going to, especially with these tips which make it so cheap.
Thanks a lot Nina 🙂
So happy this worked out for you Kelly! 🙂
I was searching on Internet for days of how to do a DIY tour to Bromo but all the info i found was vague and unclear. So glad i found this. Thank you very much Nina.
I’m going to be there early Nov, and going to be by myself. Would you think it’s a bad idea to hike that tour alone? (I’ll try looking for companions but worst case i think i’m going to hike by myself. I’m female, 28 yo, from Vietnam)
Hey Kien! Great to hear this was helpful! It’s totally safe and you will be fine. If you don’t meet friends at your hotel the night before, you’ll meet them climbing I’m sure. This is a popular place and I’m pretty confident you will find someone to walk with if you’re friendly! 🙂 If you stay in the recommended area, EVERYONE is there to climb Bromo.
Such a big relief to hear that. Again, thank you very much!
Thanks for all the info Nina. I will be going to Mt Bromo solo. your blog will be my guide. It is pretty detail and I should figure this out. I will try to go to the cater in afternoon . if i reach the village in afternoon, this is to see my route for the next day.
I read you went in Dec. Isn’t it supposed to be a wet season ? How difficult was it for you to travel in Dec in Indonesia, I am planning to be there in first 2 weeks. I also read people watch sunrise from Gunung Penanjakan. Did you watch it from there as well ?
thanks for your blog . it is very helpful
Hi Nina,I’m going to Bromo in 23 June 2019 then to Ijen the next day. I hope this help me. But if anyone plan to go on same day,I’m very please to join the DIY group.
Hi Nina, just an update that in Nov 2018 your tour is still valid. I did the tour follow your instruction just by myself (i was not lucky as i was the only guest in that homestay lol). I started at 3am with a flashlight and walked under beautiful starry sky to the 1st viewpoint. Felt just so wonderful… On the way i met 2 other guys who also doing the DIY tour but i can not keep up with them. Arrived at first viewpoint at 5am, after the sunrise i trekked up the the 2nd viewpoint then took motorbike down to the carter… It was my most amazing experience and achievement for years.. Thank you very much again for sharing x
Thanks so much for the update, Kien! 🙂 Super happy this still works and you enjoyed yourself!