Few weeks ago, my friends and I were planning the same Friday weekend: grab some dinner and sip some coffee while catching up with each other’s lives. That same week, the President of Singapore announced that the Parliament is dissolved and that an election will be held on the 11th of September. For us who don’t vote, it’s another long weekend to spend. Immediately, I messaged my circles if they wanted to join me for a very short trip to Mt. Bromo—a three-day trip to be exact. Fortunately, 4 of them responded: Anna, Gay, JL, and Bren. So the Party of Five goes to Bromo was formed.
Our budget for this trip was set to $300 per person including the plane tickets. That’s roughly 3 million IDR—we’ve never felt so rich! Finding a cheaper accommodation, transportation and food is always part of the fun of travelling. We managed to limit our expenses near that amount. Well, almost.
Here’s the breakdown of our expenses:
|Return Tix (Singapore-Surabaya) from Tiger Airways||$123SGD|
|Innova Taxi from Juanda International (Surabaya) Airport to Cemoro Lawang||600000 IDR||$60SGD|
|Innova Taxi from Cemoro Lawang to Surabaya||700000 IDR||$70SGD|
|Taxi from Kwok Inn (Surabaya) to Airport||150000 IDR||$15SGD|
|4WD (Jeep) around Bromo + Tip||400000 IDR + 100000 IDR for tip||$50SGD|
|Overnight stay at Cafe Lava Indonesia for the family room + 1 extra mattress + breakfast buffet||1.130M IDR||$113SGD|
|Krowi Inn (Surabaya) for 5 pax||690200 IDR||$69SGD|
|Lunch from Surabaya to Cemoro Lawang (Restaurant)-Ikan Bakar Cianjur||360000 IDR||$36 SGD|
|Dinner in Cemoro Lawang (Cafe Lava Hotel)||346000 IDR||$35SGD|
|Lunch in Surabaya||561000IDR||$57SGD|
|Dinner in Surabaya (A&W)||82000IDR||$8.2SGD|
|Entrance Fee in Cemoro Lawang||10000 IDR||$1.5SGD|
|Entrance Fee to Mt. Bromo Park||217000 IDR||$22SGD|
If you’re planning to go in a group, the ideal number of people is 5. That will give you comfortable space in the Innova taxi. Our 4WD Jeep can accommodate only 5 people excluding the driver: 1 at the front passenger seat and 4 at the back although it might be possible to squeeze in another person at the middle but that wouldn’t be too comfortable. I am not sure if they have a bigger 4WD Jeep.
Here’s what our itinerary was like:
7:30 – Depart from Singapore (Tigerair)
9:45 – Arrive in Surabaya Airport
11:00 – Take an airport taxi and ask the driver to drive you to Cemoro Lawang and a stop over at Pondoki (Tempo Doeloe) for lunch
12:00 – Depart to Cemoro Lawang
16:00 – Arrive in Cemoro Lawang and do hotel check-in
If you are a photography enthusiast, I’d suggest that you catch the sunset at Cemara Indah Hotel. It has one of the best views of the sunset and the Bromo mountain. It’s 5-10 minutes walk from Cafe Lava Lodge.
17:00 – Sunset photography
19:00 – Dinner
After having your dinner, you may proceed to Cemara Indah Hotel for a star trail photoshoot. They also offer free wifi, just ask the staff from the restaurant.
I suggest that you sleep early because you have to wake up around 3 in the morning.
3:00 – wake up and drive to the viewing point of Bromo mountain.
5:30 – Sunrise
7:00 – breakfast (beef noodle soup and the banana fritters)
8:00 – go down to Bromo’s crater
9:30 – go back to hotel
12:00 – go back to Surabaya/Lunch
17:00 – Free and Easy
6:30 – go to Airport
10:00 – depart from Surabaya
Note: We booked our ticket thru Tigerair and we didn’t have to pay any terminal fees.
We were very lucky to have chosen good hostels in Cemoro Lawang and Surabaya city. By the way, Cemoro Lawang is the small village at the foot of Mt. Bromo. It is very near the mountain itself, walking distance in fact. But there are other options should you prefer to stay in a backpacker place or some cheaper alternatives. I heard Malang and Probolinggo have a lot of those.
Cemoro Lawang gets really cold at night (10°C) so don’t forget to bring a jacket, warmer clothes, gloves and a beanie. I didn’t bring my own beanie and gloves because I thought that the jacket is enough. I ended up buying a set because of the freezing temp. It’s relatively cheap though, around $3 for the set.
Cafe Lava Lodge
We stayed in a family room because there are 5 of us. The room is big and very clean. I think 10 people can fit in, but they only allow one extra mattress. There are two King size beds, a sofa, a balcony, and a large toilet. There is also a heater that is powered by a gas so don’t be surprised when you see a blue flame at the back of the machine. I remember when I was in Uncle Jack’s hostel in Kota Kinabalu, he’s using the same kind of heater and for fear of getting burned alive, I decided to switch it off and endured the freezing water while taking a shower.
There’s a wifi but it is only available at the restaurant and at the lobby. Besides, it’s the best time to be away from the cyber world and start having “real” conversations with your friends without being distracted by social media.
They also provide buffet breakfast. You should try their fried banana with chocolate on top. It’s amazing!
We paid 1M IDR for the typical family room and an additional 130K IDR for the extra mattress.
You can drop them an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to do a booking or visit their website: Cafe Lava Lodge. You don’t need to pay a deposit in advance.
This place is 20 mins away from the airport. If you’re taking a taxi, you only need to pay 150,000 IDR.
The place is very clean and the staff is friendly. The lady manning the counter wasn’t familiar with the town though so you’d better do your own research on the places to go. You can ask them to book for your taxi to the airport.
We booked one room which has a bunker bed and a king size bed. They gave us one extra mattress. The bunker bed isn’t sturdy so I suggest that the person who sleeps like an immobilized zombie take the upper deck. We had our own big private bathroom with a water heater and a place to dry our wet clothes. There’s free wifi and breakfast (Mee Goreng and coffee/tea).
We paid 690200 IDR for the entire room.
You can book the hostel via hostelworld.com or visit their website: Krowi Inn.
Things To Bring
The highlight of the Bromo trip is the sunrise and the sea of clouds. It was a jaw-dropping experience to see the floating clouds embracing the fields and the mountains. The random “farting” of the Cemeru volcano adds an extra nudge to that feeling. In order to enjoy the entire adventure, make sure that you bring the following:
1. Good face mask – the walk at the Bromo crater is really dusty. It’s a dry land of volcanic ashes. This is a must! I failed to bring one, so I was struggling to cover my nose and walk to the crater.
2. Scarf or cap or head gear – if you don’t want your hair to get sticky after, this is optional.
3. Jacket, gloves and beanie – it’s really cold in the evening and morning
4. Flashlight – this is optional, the phone can be a substitute
During the trip, we let our driver decide the place for eating. The lunch on the first day was worth the price, but the second wasn’t. Make sure you let your driver bring you to Ikan Bakar Cianjur. Aside from the typical nasi meals, here’s the list of food that you should try during this trip:
1. BBQ Chicken intestine skewer (Cemoro Lawang)
2. Beef noodle soup – near the viewing point
3. Banana fritters in Cafe Lava Lodge
4. Fried Tilapia (Ikan Bakar Cianjur)
5. Nasi Liwet (rice with fish on top) (Ikan Bakar Cianjur) – 28,000 IDR
6. Nila Pesmol – 72,000 IDR
7. Nila Pepes – 72,000 IDR
Note: Normally the driver will recommend to have lunch at Ruma Makan Kartika Sari. I would suggest that you ask for a different place. The food here isn’t really good and fresh.
The trip wouldn’t be fun if I wasn’t joined by a crazy group of friends so make sure you tag your funniest troop!
Other Useful Info
4WD Jeep rental
We had a satisfying experience with Heri that’s why I’m recommending him. He asked us to pay only 400k for the sunrise tour + Bromo crater. You’ll need to give him a tip though. Please send my regards if you do plan to hire his service. I told him I’ll be mentioning his name on my blog.
His contact number is: +62-852-36568944