How to get to Mount Bromo from Yogyakarta without joining a tour. Java, Indonesia.
In my late teens I toured a lot in a punk band, doing gigs all over Ireland and the UK. It was very much a DIY ethos with Griswold, our drummer, booking any shows he could get his grubby little mits on – no matter how far the distance or how long we’d have to drive to get there. These wretched all-night jaunts soon became known as ‘Hellrides’, with us having to play Slayer on repeat and keep the windows open even in winter so that the driver wouldn’t fall asleep.
In Asia, the equivalent of a Hellride is a minibus tour which promises to cover vast distances in a short amount of time, taking in a couple of sights along the way. On paper they look good – but the reality is that you are crammed into a small bus for ten hours at a time, ‘let out’ to see an attraction for a few hours then shoved back in the van for the remainder of the journey.
One such Hellride is from Yogyakarta in Java to the island of Bali, stopping at Mount Bromo along the way. The journey takes two days, and is notorious for hotel scams and ensures virtually zero sleep. I really don’t understand why people choose to do these tours when solo, independent travel is safer, more enjoyable, and costs about the same.
If you are in Yogyakarta and want to go to Bromo, don’t take a tour. Do it yourself. After all, it’s the journey that counts, not the destination.
DIY Travel from Yogyakarta to Mount Bromo
- Take train from Yogyakarta to Surabaya (5 hours).
- Take train from Surabaya to Probolinggo (2 hours).
- Take becak from Probolinggo train station to bus station (30 min).
- Take motorbike up to Cemoro Lawang (1 hour).
I got talking to one of the waitress girls on the train. I liked her reaction when I told her I was going to the Yadnya Kasada festival. She, like many people outside of the Bromo region, had never heard of it. She gave me free coffee throughout the journey. Hurrah.
On this segment of my trip I:
- Spent the night in Surabaya and was lucky enough to check out some illegal street racing, as well as go to a rave in a derelict building. (Read here.)
- Stayed with a local family in Cemoro Lawang up in the hills. (Read here.)
- Did some hikes and saw some incredible scenery. (Read here.)
- Took part in Yadnya Kasada – a festival on top of a volcano where locals make offerings (and even animal sacrifices) to the mountain gods by throwing them into the caldera of the volcano. (Read here.)
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