Indonesia: Mt. Bromo – digging in the dust

Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park is situated in the eastern part of Java in Indonesia. It is an active vulcanic area with several vulcanos in a massive caldera, that looks more like a plain covered with sand and dust.

You can find actual ticket prices on the National Parks website.

Ticket Prices 2020:

Foreigners: Working Day Rp. 210,000 pp/24h
Holidays + Weekends Rp. 310,000 pp/24h
Locals: Working Day Rp. 19,000 pp/24h
Holidays + Weekends: Rp. 24,000 pp/24h

Don’t wonder – like everywhere in Indonesia, you have to pay unadequately more money as a foreigner than the locals do.

How was it?

When we arrived at the National Park, it was almost dark. Mike, a british rider, who had been travelling with us for several weeks, was part of our little rider gang. We came from northeast and the entrance gate is in the little village Putus. It is quite a busy and touristic place, but has its own charm due to the fact, that its appearance could also be a mountain village in the european alps. Or in other words – it doesn’t look like a common southeast asian region.

You can find many hotels, restaurants and shops in Putus, but they are costlier than in non touristic areas, of course. Since we wanted to camp in the park anyway, we continued to the entrance gate after some dinner.

The ticket house seems to be staffed 24 hours a day. At least it was still open when we came there at 22:45h.

After the gate you follow a little track for a few hundred meters, before you can face the huge sand plain. You don’t have a real road anymore after this point, since everything is covered in ~25cm deep dust. If you get stuck, you have to be careful to not destroy your clutch.

It was pitch black when we arrived there, so we followed some tracks until we reached a big parking area. We pitched our tents behind some rocks that restricted the parking lot, to make sure we are not getting overrun by a car in the middle of the night. It already became exceptionally cold. The temperature dropped to ~5°C, what you wouldn’t expect in the tropics so close to the equator.

Early the next morning, the crowds moved to Mt. Bromo for sunrise. We crawled out of the tent and could see the massive dust plain with various volcanic cones. The volcanic dust is extremely fine and was whirled up by people, cars and horses. After a short while you could find dust literally everywhere yet. It looked like the rally scene of the film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

We decided to bring our luggage to a hostel in Putus. Without all that weight it was way more fun to ride the Tengger Sand Sea.

First we rode to the parking of Mt. Bromo. Climbing the crater is short but steep. The rim is extremely narrow in some parts and you have to be careful not to fall into the crater. You can circle the whole crater and the panorama is absolutely fantastic.

Afterwards we plowed through dust to the other side of the park. It felt like riding the Dakar Rally. Many dusty kilometers later we reached a tiny steep winding road that leads to Penanjakan viewpoint. It seemed to have bad weather in lower areas. Dense clouds formed a carpet of clouds and provided a spectacular panorama with smoking volcano cones during the sun set. On the way back it was pitch black again, of course.

Conclusion:  Tengger Semeru National Park is a real highlight in Indonesia. Most of the people imagine beaches and jungle, as soon as they think of Indonesia. However you can find amazing mountain areas all over Indonesia. Mt. Bromo is lots of fun with a motorcycle, but also worth to visit without an own vehicle.

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