Named after the Hindu’s God of Creation, Bromo is actually a Javanese pronunciation of Brahma. Mount Bromo Peak is one of several peaks in a really vast Tengger caldera, surrounded by a sea of sand. The peak is located in the middle of this sea of sand with four other volcanoes. Surrounding the Tengger Caldera are several other mountains, with Mount Pananjakan as the most famous one.
This area is the most visited tourist destination in East java. Considering that Mount Bromo is not the most accessible place on the region, one can conclude that it’s the sheer beauty that attract people here. There are several ways you can enjoy Mount Bromo.
The Unearthly Mount Bromo
The most popular destination in this area is visiting the crater of Mount Bromo. It is a volcano that is already collapsing due to its activity. The volcanic activity caused the area closed for tourists several times during the last decade. One of the most iconic picture of Indonesian tourism is showing a steaming Mount Bromo with a tame Batok nearby and the mighty Mount Semeru as the backdrop.
Magnificent Sunrise from Mount Pananjakan
This is one of the most favorite attractions here. Mount Pananjakan is arguably the best vantage point in the area. You can see all five volcanoes as well as the sea of sand from this easily accessed mountaintop.
You have to compete with many people who come to this peak very early in the morning. The sun typically rises around five in the morning. The sunrise there is simply breathtaking with the sea of sand and the five volcanoes in the foreground.
Walking Through the Whispering Sands
In the olden days, when the area was not as popular, local people wandering the sea of sand heard nothing but the moving sand. Those who experience that serene moment described that the sand whispers. Nowadays, that whispers are rarely heard, only when there are not many people around. Exploring the sea of sand is another otherworldly experience, just wear your glass or goggles.
Yadnya Kasada, an Offering to the Volcanic Gods
When Majapahit Empire fell, those people who didn’t want to convert to Islam had to run to mountains and jungles to avoid persecution. Roro Anteng, a princess, and her husband Joko Seger who settled in Bromo were happily married but desperate to have an offspring. They asked to God to give them children.
Their prayer was answered; they would be given 25 children, but the last one should be sacrificed to the mountain. Roro Anteng and Joko Seger refused to sacrifice his last son, Prince Kusuma. The God got angry, Bromo erupted and swallowed the prince.
To appease the anger of their God, Kusuma’s brothers and sisters held an offering ceremony every year, known as Kasada. Today, this ceremony is held on the full moon of the 12th month of Tenggerese calendar.
Note that you can rent a jeep to explore even larger area around this large mountain complex. Apart from the main attractions, you can explore the savanna and the rolling hills dubbed as Teletubbies hills. If you enjoy serenity, you can just camp at B29 Argosari. You can also visit Bromo Milky Way, a place where you can enjoy the starry sky of the night.
How to get to Bromo
Mount Bromo is accessible from many cities in East Java. There are three main routes to get to Bromo; from Probolinggo, Pasuruan, and Malang. Most tourist take the Probolinggo route as it’s the most convenient one.
The Pasuruan route is a little bit rougher, but overall is still passable, especially if you are driving a four wheel drive car. The Malang route is less taken because the condition is not suitable for normal cars. Only 4×4 cars can tackle the challenges of this route.
Alternatively, if you are already in East Java, you can just ask your hotel for any tour to the mountain. If your hotel doesn’t provide such service, they usually cooperate with some travel agency that will arrange the tour according to your preference.
Make sure that you pay everything in advance so that you don’t need to pay anything later, including ticket fees. If you somehow manage to get to the entrance of Bromo park yourself, always make sure to buy ticket from an official outlets. Never ever pay a middleman to buy your tickets. Here are the entrance fee to Bromo as of October 2018
- Domestic tourist – IDR27,500
- Foreign Tourist – IDR217,500
- Domestic tourist – IDR32,500
- Foreign tourist – 317,500