Indonesia trip: Yogyakarta - Malang - Bromo and the missed Sunrise Tour

If you're headed to East Java, the Gunung Bromo should definitely be on your to-do list! Next to spotting Orangutans it's certainly one of the top attractions of Indonesia.

Mount Bromo is probably Indonesia’s most famous volcano located at the Eastern end of Java between Surabaya and Yogyakarta. As it is quite a unique experience you might have guessed that hiking up to the top of mount Bromo and watch the Sunrise from the crater was also high on my bucket list.

The trip to mount Bromo

There are a lot of Sunrise tours that you can book from Yogyakarta or you can try and organise everything yourself.

One of the options to visit Bromo is to stay in Malang and do a guided tour from there. You can fly directly from Jakarta or take the train from Yogyakarta and stay in one of the many hotels like the Atria hotel Malang (see for more info) for example.

While Malang is a good option, it is still a bit of a ride from the crater, so I arranged that we would stay in the Yoshi Hotel which is located close to the national park and right on the hill that leads up to the viewpoint, perfectly located as the starting point for Mount Bromo explorations.

yoshi hotel bromo

Yoshi Guesthouse

We took an early start from Yogyakarta and left our hotel around 7:30 in the morning. Normally it would take us about 10 hours to get to Bromo, however because it was Idul Fitri (end of Ramadan) we had lots of traffic jams again and only arrived around 1 AM in the morning, the nex day!

trip malong bromo traffic jams idul fitri

Traffic jams on our way to Bromo because of Idul Fitri

We were all pretty beat from the long journey and we would normally start our hike up the crater around 3AM, just 2 hours later!!

While travelling is an adventure and I didn't mind the short night, not everyone in the group felt like hiking up a crater after 2 hours of sleep, so I asked our guide if it would be possible to insert an extra day into our tour package, so we could sleep in, stay an extra day at the national park and go for the sunrise hike up the crater the next morning.

Thinking everything was arranged, we went to sleep....


Next morning we woke up, went to breakfast .... and got the message that it wouldn't be possible to stay for an extra day because it wouldn't work out with the rest of our tour and that we would need to leave for Ijen around noon.

I felt gutted!

There I was, at what supposed to have been the highlight of my trip to Indonesia, seeing other travellers coming back from an 'Amazing hike!' and a 'Stunning sunrise!', watching their awesome video footage of the nightly climb up the crater and knowing that I wouldn't be doing that myself! DAMN!!!

Not everything goes as planned I guess...

Of course at that time, I wished I had just gone at 3 AM that morning. But it was too late, that ship had sailed!

The only thing left, was to drive up to the Penanjakan viewpoint with a jeep, take some pictures, drive back down to the hotel and leave straight for Ijen.

jeep drive

Keeping our spirits up while driving up to the viewpoint

mount Bromo penanjakan viewpoint

Mount Bromo, seen from Penanjakan viewpoint, AFTER sunrise ;-(

Lesson learned

  • Not everything goes as planned
  • Take your time to visit mount Bromo and perhaps include an extra day in your itinerary to scout out the place one day before the climb up the crater at sunrise.
    There are actually multiple viewpoints to see the sunrise, so you could actually go for more than one sunrise.
  • Never visit Indonesia during Idul Fitri !

Have you ever visited mount Bromo? Did you get to do the sunrise tour? How was your experience?
Let me know in the comments!


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4 years ago

I’m currently transferring my hand-written journals to my blog, and I had to grin while reading the part about the” missed” sunrise tour. Alright, watching the sunrise from Bromo itself may work out, or not. (depending on how much mist is around you might not see anything at all). The other option is being at the Penanjakan viewpoint at sunrise (higher, above mist): If you are lucky, it will be less crowded than usually… Imho, watching the sunrise at Bromo can be great depending on the weather conditions and the other travellers that are around at that day. I guess… Read more »

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